Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Discussions on the personalities of the Wehrmacht and of the organizations not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Dieter Zinke, askropp and Frech.
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Colonel Kurtz
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Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by Colonel Kurtz » 20 Jul 2009 15:22

Bonjour tout le monde,

There are many topics and posts regarding Karl Strecker's status as a Generaloberst in this forum.

Here is a résumé of what I found:

What happened to Paulus when he surrendered ? - September 2002
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7591

Awards Generaloberst Karl Strecker - August 2003
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=28337&highlight=strecker

Karl Strecker - January 2006
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=93182

Karl Strecker (for Dieter Zinke) - February 2006
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=95785

Karl Strecker - December 2008
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=147654&p=1281595

The present topic is not meant to throw a bone into the discussion. I am answering Steen Ammentorp's post.

Steen Ammentorp wrote: 04 May 2006 - Karl Strecker (for Dieter Zinke)
Just wondering whether any of you have read the biography on him: Lieutenant General Karl Strecker : the life and thought of a German military man / ed. by Uli Haller (isbn 0-275-94582-0) and maybe could give a review of the book and what explaination it gives on the confusen regarding his rank.

Kind Regards
Steen Ammentorp
The Generals of World War II


I have read this book. It was edited by Uli Haller, a grandson of Gen.Obst. Strecker who lives in Seattle. The book was published in 1994 by Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT (256 pages).

The book provides a very interesting biography of Strecker, his West Prussian youth, WWI experience, police career, WWII and Stalingrad, his years of captivity and final years of freedom. I appreciated the fact that the bio dwells on Strecker the man, and not the Stalingrad tragedy of which so much has been written about elsewhere.

The second part of the book relates Strecker's own experiences of the Stalingrad campaign and his impressions as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. These experiences are provided by Strecker's own notes as compiled by the editor. It is very simply written, but goes deep into the soul of the man and the difficult decisions he has taken during the war, including his decison to sign the December 1944 proclamation of the "Bund der Deutschen Offiziere ".

Several appendices include various letters and notebook excerpts of Strecker. This completes this excellent document very well. I highly recommend it to all, who like me, are interested in the "inner lives" of the German generals.

The curious thing about the book is its title - Generalleutant Karl Strecker. Although Strecker ended the war as a Generaloberst, the editor may have wanted to point out the fact that Strecker's best years were as commander of 79. Infanterie-Division. His funeral plaque was dedicated to him by the soldiers of the Tapfer und Treu division. I will try to provide a scan of this plaque.

Finally, here are Karl Strecker's thoughts on his promotion as Generaloberst as outlined in a letter to Walter Terhard-Bommann, an old regimental comrade. Bommann's daughter provided the editor of the book with a box of Streckers' letters to her father following the latter's death.

March 1, 1959

...I went into captivity knowing nothing of my promotion. Then it was rumored that I had been promoted via radio message to full general. Shortly after these rumors started I was called in by Field Marshal Paulus, who officially - as much as anything was official then - passed on the promotion to me. I accepted the promotion from Paulus, but asked that I not be required to recognize it because there was no written proof and , understand this correctly, Bommann, because at the time, and given the spiritual distress I and others felt over the whole situation, this promotion business seemed ridiculous. In view of the tremendous courage shown by our brave soldiers during the course of the doomed battle, this promotion situation depressed me even more. I can't add anything more to the story.

Excerpt from Lieutenant-General Karl Strecker - The Life and Thought of a German Military Man, ed. Ulli Haller, p. 198-199.



Never get out of the boat !

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Bernd R
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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by Bernd R » 20 Jul 2009 21:47

Colonel Kurtz,

just would like to say thanks for this résumé and very interesting information ! This kind of summary is a great deal to concentrate a topic and to finally come to the point and the possible solution of an issue.

If I take this right there is no other conclusion, better to say fact, that his GenO promotion is the case de jure and de facto. The persons views and attitudes are one most important and fascinating thing, historical research and let's say "output" of military historians can't stop with a story without interpretation and explanation of complex aspects.

Best regards
Bernd

PS: I like the film, too, for sure top ten on my list.. :wink: :)

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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by Colonel Kurtz » 21 Jul 2009 02:04

The first picture is of a plaque dedicated to Karl Strecker. This picture was given to me by Geert Rottiers about ten years ago. I do not know where the plaque stands.

It reads
Tapfer und Treu - Ihrem General Karl Strecker, 1884-1973 - In Dankbarkeit die Kamaraden der 79. Infanterie-Division


Brave and Faithful (motto of the 79. Infanterie-Division) - Your General Karl Strecker - 1884-1973 - In gratitude. The comrades of the 79th Infantry Division.

The second picture was also given to me by Geert Rottiers at the same period. It was most likely taken before October 1941 as Strecker was not wearing his RK.

Geert Rottiers hosts a very good Stalingrad site on the web:

http://users.telenet.be/stalingrad/
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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by askropp » 10 Jan 2015 16:49

I'm still somewhat doubtful regarding the Strecker affair. If it he was really promoted to Generaloberst, why of 1 January 1943 as stated? That would have put him ahead of Heitz who was lightyears his senior as a General. Also, he would have been grouped with Heinrici and Salmuth who were army commanders while Heitz and Strecker were only corps commanders. If so, his RDA should have been 01.01.1943 (3), but there is no mention of a rank number. It all looks as if Hitler changed his mind and decided to stall the promotion after he suspected the Stalingrad generals were not behaving as he expected them to do. Whether a promotion only made by Funkspruch is valid and whether Paulus had the authority to announce a promotion (do we have any other sources than Strecker's word that he really did this?) is a question for legal experts.

PS: When exactly was the Akte found by Wegmann in the MGFA created?
Er ist wieder da. Aber auch dieses Mal wird er nicht siegen!

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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by histan » 11 Jan 2015 23:41

I tend to agree with askropp.

There is no indication in any of the sources I have that he was promoted to Generaloberst. [Not to say that someone might not find a document that proves he was!]

Promoting him after Heitz but changing their relative seniority by giving him an RDA that would place him above Heitz in any DAL would look like a public insult to Heitz. Soldiers tend to be very sensitive to issues of relative rank, particularly since the more senior can give orders to the junior. As we have discussed in other threads, the HPA seemed to make sure that relative positions were maintained when promotions were close together.

I would guess that his promotion was discussed and Paulus may have been told that the intention was to promote him but that no official order was issued to the army saying that he had actually been promoted and giving his new position in the DAL.

Regards

John

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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by Dieter Zinke » 12 Jan 2015 10:24

Another thing that I’m curious about is to query whether Strecker wore the rank insignia of a Generaloberst in the Russian captivity – or not.
I would like to remind you that Paulus managed [with the permission of the Soviets] to get six pairs of rank insignia of a german Generalfeldmarschall via Generalleutnant Rohde, the german military attaché in Ankara. Paulus wore also the oakleaves in captivity.

Dieter Z.

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General der Infanterie Karl Strecker (1884-1973)

Post by askropp » 08 Aug 2017 15:16

Let me sum up the result of my research in the original documents from NARA:

1.) Dienstalterslisten 1942-1944
NO mention of any promotion.

2.) Personalveränderungen 1943
NO mention of any promotion.

3.) Generalskartei (created in mid-1944 and updated until the end)
NO mention of any promotion.

4.) Verlustliste der Generale (created in mid-1944 and updated until the end)
NO mention of any promotion.

In each and every case, Strecker remains a General der Infanterie while the promotions of Paulus and Heitz are recorded. I found only one contemporary document which lists Strecker as a Generaloberst, and this is the NKFD-"Aufruf der 50 Generale" from December 1944. Of course, he signed this appeal himself and in knowledge of the current war situation. Interestingly, Soviet and DDR sources frequently mention him as Generaloberst (apparently trying to enhance the alleged signficance of the NKFD), while western sources rarely do. In 1973, the Soldatenjahrbuch announced his death as General der Infanterie a.D., and Keilig also listed him as such. To me, the story of the "secret promotion" by Paulus is not credible at all and probably a fabrication by Strecker himself, just like Karl Wolff's claim to the rank of Generaloberst.
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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by histan » 08 Aug 2017 19:31

From his Personalakte:
Karl Strecker (2).jpg
Karl Strecker (26).jpg
No indication of a promotion to Generaloberst.

Regards

John
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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by Stauffenberg II » 09 Aug 2017 11:19

Thank you Askropp and John, this should end a sticky topic clearly showing that his promo to Generaloberst is pure nonsense.

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General der Infanterie Karl Strecker (1884-1973)

Post by askropp » 11 Jun 2018 19:01

Now, here is a most bizarre document in which nearly every officer in Stalingrad is listed with his earlier, lower rank, but Strecker is called a Generaloberst! Not that I would believe this, but I wonder who compiled this list and when.
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Re: Status - Generaloberst Karl Strecker (In his own words)

Post by uhaller » 22 Jul 2018 05:41

I find it interesting that this phantom promotion continues to be a topic. Strecker initially believed he received the promotion verbally from Paulus, in the fog of the last days of the battle of Stalingrad. Yet there was never any confirmation, as the current lack of a document trail continues to show. He never chose to pursue the matter in his lifetime and even asked his military friends and supporters to drop the matter -- yet here it is still being debated.

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