Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

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little grey rabbit
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Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by little grey rabbit » 10 Oct 2013 06:13

I have been investigating the basis of the claim that Hoess fought in Mesopotamia and at Al-Kut. I was wondering if I could call on the expertise of members here on Hoess's likely experience of WW1.

This is what is a statement of Hoess at the IWM
On 25 Nov 1900 I was born in BADEN-BADEN as son of the merchant Franz Xavier HOESS. I have two sisters who are married and who are at present living in MANNHEIM and LUDWIGSHAVEN. Their addresses are -

PUEHLER Maria - LUDWISGHAFEN-OGGERSHEIM/Rhein Bruckenweg 31.
? Grete- MANNHEIM-FREUDENHEIM, Feldstr 16

After elementary schooling I attended the Humanistische Gymnasium (Secondary School - Classiss) in MANNHEIM until "Untersecunde" (Fifth year) On 1 Aug 1916 I joined as war volunteer the Badische Dragoner Regiment 21 with the Ersatz (Reinforcement) Squadron in PRUCHSAL in BADEN. After a short training I was posted to the Asien Corps in Turkey. Until the end of 1917 I was in the Mesopotamia and from then until the Armistice I served on the Palestinian front. I was twice wounded, contracted malaria, and was decorated on several occasions.
For references purposes [warning: probably a denial site]:
http://www.sunray22b.net/auschwitz.htm

I follow this with a long section from The Death Dealer. pages 55-59
In 1916, with the help of a captain in the cavalry whom I had met in hospital, I succeeded in quietly sneaking into the regiment in which my father and grandfather had served. I arrived at the front line after a brief period of training. All this happened without my dear mother knowing. I never saw her again because she died in 1917. I wasn't quite sixteen yet when I arrived in Turkey on the way to the Iraqi front. The fear of being discovered and sent back home, the secret training, and the long trip to Turkey made a tremendous impression on me. I had many new experiences during our layover in Istanbul, which was still rich in Oriental tradition, and on the horseback ride to the distant Iraqi front line. I've forgotten most of these impressions because they weren't important. But I do remember my first firefight with the enemy.
Right after we arrived at the front line we were assigned to a Turkish division. Our cavalry unit was divided into three regiments in order to give the Turks some backbone. As we were being assigned, the English attacked. When the shooting got heavy, the Turks ran away.
Our small German unit lay alone between the rocks and ancient ruins defending our skins in the vast expanse of desert. We didn't have much ammunition because the main supply stayed back with the horses. Very quickly I noticed that our situation was getting damned serious, especially since the explosions of the grenades were becoming more accurate. Comrade after comrade fell wounded, and the one lying next to me didn't answer my calls. When I turned to look at him, I saw he was bleeding from a large head wound and was already dead. Never again in my entire life did I experience the horror that seized me then, and the tremendous fear that the same would happen to me. If I had been alone, I would have run as the Turks did. Something kept forcing me to look at my dead comrade.
But then in desperation I looked at our captain, lying among us behind a large rock. I watched as returned the fire, shot after shot, with iron discipline. He handled the carbine of my dead comrade as if he were in a shooting gallery. Then, suddenly, a strange, rigid calm came over me that I had never known before. It became clear to me that I was also supposed to fire. Until then, I had not fire a single shot as I fearfully watched the slowly advancing Indians. I can still picture to this day a tall broad Indian with a distinct black beard, jumping from a pile of rocks. For a moment I hesitated, the body next to me filling my whole mind, then I pulled myself together even though I was very much shaken. I fired and watched the Indian slump forward during his jump. He didn't move. I really can't say if I aimed correctly. He was my first kill! The spell was broken. Still unsure of myself, I began firing and firing, just as they had taught me in training. I didn't think about the danger anymore because my captain who was nearby kept shouting encouragement.

The attack bogged down as the Indians noticed that there was resistance. In the meantime the Turks had been driven forward again and now a counterattack began. That day we recovered a large part of the ground we had lost. During the advance I hesitated and reluctantly looked at my kill. It made me feel a little squeamish. It was so exciting for me that I can't say whether I wounded or killed any more Indians during this first firefight. After the first shot I aimed and shot carefully at those who emerged from cover. My captain mentioned his amazement at how cool I was during this, my first firefight, my baptism of fire. If he had only known what was really going on inside me!

Later I told him how scared I had been. He laughed about it and said that every soldier had more or less gone through the same experience. I was strange for me to have such a great trust in my captain, my soldier father. I worshiped him a great deal.
It was a much more intimate relationship than I had with my own father. The captain always kept me in his sight. Even though he never let me get away with anything, he always liked me and worried about me as if I were his son. He did not like me to go on long-range reconnaissance patrols, but he always gave in to my constant nagging. He was especially proud when I was decorated or promoted, but he himself never recommended me When he died in the spring of 1918 during the second battle of the Jordan, I mourned for him with great pain. His death really hit me hard.

In early 1917 our outfit was transferred to the Palestine front in the Holy Land. All the familiar names from religion, from history, and from the legends about the saints came back to me again. And how different it was from the way we pictured it in our youthful fantasies from descriptions and pictures. At first they used us at the Hejaz railway station, then later at the front lines near Jerusalem.
One morning, as we returned from a long reconnaissance ride on the far side of the Jordan River, we met a line of farmers' carts loaded with moss in the Jordan Valley. We had to check all vehicles and pack animals for guns because the English tried in every way imaginable to deliver guns and ammunition to the Arabs and to other nationalities who wanted to overthrow Turkish rule. We asked the farmers to unload their carts and started to talk to them through an interpreter, who was a young Jewish boy. They explained to us that they were bring the moss to the monasteries for the pilgrims. They didn't make any sense to us at all.

A short time later I was wounded and taken to a field hospital in a German settlement in Wilhelma, between Jerusalem and Jaffa. The settlers there had emigrated a generation before for religious reasons, from the state of Wuerttemburg in Germany. In the hospital, I learned from these people that there was a very profitable trade in the great quantities of moss brought to Jerusalem. The moss is an icelandic variety, grey-white netting with red dots. The pilgrims were told that the moss came from Golgotha and that the red dots were the blood of Jesus. It was sold for a great deal of money. The settlers openly told us about the profitable business there was from pilgrims in peacetime when thousands flocked to the holy places. The pilgrims, they said, would buy anything connected with the holy places or with the saints. The large pilgrim monasteries were the best at it. They tried everything to get as much money from the pilgrims as possible. After I got out of the hospital I looked into this in Jerusalem. Because of the war there weren't many pilgrims, but there were many German and Austrian soldiers. Later I saw the same thing going on in Nazareth. I talked about it with my comrades because this trivial traffic in so-called holy objects by the Church disgusted me. Most of my comrades didn't care and said that if the people were so dumb to fall for such a fraud, they would just have to pay for their stupidity. Others just thought of it as a tourist industry which happens at special places. Only a few, as deeply Catholic as I was, condemned these activities of the Church. They too were disgusted by the sick manipulations of the sincere religious feelings of the pilgrims who often sold everything they owned just to see the holy places once in their lives.

For a long time after my discharge from the army I tried to come to terms with what I experienced, and this was probably the reason I later left the Church. I would like to state that the comrades of my outfit were all staunch Catholics from the Black Forest. During that time I never heard any words spoken against the Church.

In the hospital at Wilhelma, a young German nurse took care of me. It was at this time that I had my first sexual experience. I had been shot through the knee and also suffered a terrible relapse of malaria which lasted quite long. I needed special care and had to be watched closely, since I caused a great deal of damage during my delirious ravings due to fever. This nurse took care of me so well that my mother couldn't have done better. As time passed I noticed that it wasn't motherly love which caused her to nurse me in such a loving way. I had never been in love with a woman until then. I had heard about sex in discussions with my comrades and the way soldiers talk is quite explicit, but I didn't have desires perhaps because of the lack of opportunity. Also, the hardships and strains of the campaign didn't exactly bring out feelings of love. Her tender caresses, the way she propped me up and held me, confused me at first, because I had always avoided showing affection, but now I was under the magic spell of love and saw her with different eyes. This love for me was a miraculous experience. She led me through all the steps of love making, including intercourse. I would not have had the courage to do this. This first experience of love, with all its tenderness and affection, became the guideline for the rest of my life. I never again could joke about sex. Sexual intercourse without affection became unthinkable for me. So I was spared from having affairs and from the brothels.

World War I ended. I had matured far beyond my age, both inside and out. The experience of war had put an indelible mark on me. I had torn myself from the security of my parents' home and my horizons had widened. In two and a half years I had seen and experienced a great deal. I met people from all walks of life and had seen their needs and weaknesses. The schoolboy who had run away from homes and trembled with fear during his first battle had become a rough, tough soldier. At the age of seventeen I was decorated with the Iron Cross and I was the youngest sergeant in the army. After my promotion to sergeant I was sent on deep reconnaissance missions most of the time. It was then I learned that leadership does not depend on rank, but on better knowledge. The ice-cold, unshakable calm of the leader is decisive in difficult situations. I also learned how hard it was to be an example and to keep a straight face, even though inside there were fears and doubts.

At the time of the armistice, we were in Damascus, Syria. I had definitely made up my mind not to put in a POW camp under any circumstances. I had decided to fight my way back to the Fatherland by own power. The Army Corps advised against it. After asking around, all the men of my platoon volunteered to fight their way back with me. Since the spring of 1918 I was leading my own cavalry platoon. All the men were in their thirties; I was only eighteen.

Our adventure took us through Anatolia. We sailed on a miserable derelict ship across the Black Sea to Varna and rode on through Bulgaria and Rumania. We traveled the deepest snows through the Translyvanian Alps, on through Translyvania, Hungary, Austria, and finally we reached the Homeland. After months of helplessly wandering about with no maps; using only the geography we learned in school, requisitioning food for men and horses, fighting our way through Rumania, which had become our enemy again, we reported to our reserve unit. No one at home expect us to make it back. As far as I know, no complete unit ever returned home from that theatre of war.

little grey rabbit
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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by little grey rabbit » 10 Oct 2013 06:44

Even though no place names are mentioned in the Iraqi front fighting, it is commonly assumed that Hoess was fighting with 6th Ottoman army in Al Kut and Baghdad. I am open to correction here, but I can't find any other reference to German units fighting with that army. Perhaps a small guard for German officers attached to it?

Anyway here is my reconstruction of what Hoess would have likely experienced.
He would have joined the Asia Korps in early 1917 in the construction of the Yildirim Battle group
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Korps

This involved troops being assembled in Silesia and then by train to Constantinople and presumably train again to the Taurus mountains. The German reinforcements were united with the existing German forces in Aleppo (which being part of the Euphrates basin Hoess might legitimately view as Mesopotamia). The original intention was to use this force to recapture Baghdad but this was seen as unrealistic and in June 1917 they were diverted to Palestine. As such I think it is unlikely Hoess saw action in Iraq.
Hejaz was lost by this stage, while the Hejaz railway station is in Damascus so this part is confused.

Hoess could not have been in Damascus at the armistice - as that had been lost 30 September/1 October. Aleppo was captured on 26th October, four days before the Armistice of Mudros. So he was likely back in modern day Turkey or very close by the armistice. My understanding is while the Asia Korps was very badly knocked about, their cohesion as a military unit was maintained.

This is what Papen had to say in his Memoirs
Turkey was forced to begin armistice discussions, which were concluded at Mudania. In once clause the Turks insisted that all German troops should be honourably interned with their side arms and standards, and not treated as prisoners of war, but the Allies did not honour this engagement. After the disintegration of defeat I was instructed to arrange for the homeward transport of the German survivors of the Liam von Sanders' Army Group, which was still concentrated in or to the south of the Taurus. I took the Baghdad railway for the last time and at Karapunar found the surviving units of the German Asia Corps
...
With the Armistice Liman lost his post as Commander-in-Chief. The demobilization of the Turkish Army was being organized by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, and I paid him a last visit at Adana in order to arrange details for the transport of the German units. ...He offered me what little assistance he could, but told me we would do better to look after ourselves. It had been agreed that the German troops were to be interned near Moda, a suburb of Constantinople, but this move was not completed until the end of November. It was high up in the grim Taurus, at Karapunar, that we had to endure the terrible news of our country's defeat. For most of us, it was the collapse of every value we had ever known made even more painful by exile, and it was not easy to maintain discipline when we reached the camp at Moda
Someone else has this
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 2&t=158764
Some remnants got back to the Constantinople area later,according to Hans Guhr in his Als türkischer Divisionskommandeur in Kleinasien und Palästina:

..Each day 800 or 1000 German soldiers were arriving at Istanbul from various parts of Turkey. On November 11st 1918 there were already 730 German officers and 9600 men in the camps of Haydarpasha and Moda. With these men a new "Reinforced Asian Corps" was founded under command of Lt.Col. Baron von Hammerstein who was commander of 146th German Inf Reg.
The exact timeline of their return to Germany I don't know, but Hoess might have been better off riding the Baghdad railway back and going into comfortable internment in Constantinople. Here is the Karapunar station, Baghdad railway
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... ahnhof.jpg

little grey rabbit
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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by little grey rabbit » 10 Oct 2013 06:59

Hoess would definitely have been better off staying put.
Am 30. Oktober 1918 kapitulierte die Türkei und schloss zum 31. Oktober 1918 den Waffenstillstand von Mudros (auf Limnos), der den deutschen und österreichisch-ungarischen Truppen freies Geleit zusicherte. Das deutsche Asien-Korps wurde nach der Kapitulation mit der anatolischen Eisenbahn nach Konstantinopel transportiert und dort mit den anderen deutschen Soldaten interniert. Die deutschen Soldaten kehrten teils über das Schwarze Meer und die Ukraine und teils ab Januar 1919 über das Mittelmeer nach Deutschland zurück. Die österreichischen Rückkehrer trafen über Triest am 24. Januar 1919 in Wien ein.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asien-Korps

Much more relaxing that running battles with the Rumanians.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by James A Pratt III » 11 Oct 2013 02:36

It looks like Hoess memoirs may not be 100% accurate. He wrote them from memory from death row. Somebody needs to check out his WW I record if that is possible.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by little grey rabbit » 12 Oct 2013 09:01

I can confirm the outlines of his WW1 service is in his SS personnel file - including iron crosses. He was very young when he was supposed to have enlisted - is it possible that someone with an inferiority complex about having missed WW1 might create a phony war record? I wouldn't think it was likely but I don't suppose you can rule it out.

One part of his alleged service in Iraq has an echo in the historical record.
Right after we arrived at the front line we were assigned to a Turkish division. Our cavalry unit was divided into three regiments in order to give the Turks some backbone.
In fact, in Palestine the cavalry didn't act as a stand-alone unit but was split between the 3 German battalions the 701, 702 and 703
At least that is how I interpret this Gliederung
http://www.asienkorps.de/Daten/Pascha_II.jpg

Hoess using the term regiment instead of company seems a bit unusual, it might be a translation issue.

My own view is that parts of memoir are bit too flowery to have come from Hoess - just a personal opinion. That it might consist of many genuine statements from Hoess embedded in a rather literary narrative from another writer.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by Tessio » 16 Sep 2015 08:38

little grey rabbit wrote:I can confirm the outlines of his WW1 service is in his SS personnel file - including iron crosses. He was very young when he was supposed to have enlisted - is it possible that someone with an inferiority complex about having missed WW1 might create a phony war record? I wouldn't think it was likely but I don't suppose you can rule it out.

One part of his alleged service in Iraq has an echo in the historical record.
Right after we arrived at the front line we were assigned to a Turkish division. Our cavalry unit was divided into three regiments in order to give the Turks some backbone.
In fact, in Palestine the cavalry didn't act as a stand-alone unit but was split between the 3 German battalions the 701, 702 and 703
At least that is how I interpret this Gliederung
http://www.asienkorps.de/Daten/Pascha_II.jpg

Hoess using the term regiment instead of company seems a bit unusual, it might be a translation issue.

My own view is that parts of memoir are bit too flowery to have come from Hoess - just a personal opinion. That it might consist of many genuine statements from Hoess embedded in a rather literary narrative from another writer.
I doubt he made it up since he was awarded a Turkish medal the Gallipoli Star by the Ottomans for his service and later always wore it proudly.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by little grey rabbit » 17 Sep 2015 06:31

I doubt he made it up since he was awarded a Turkish medal the Gallipoli Star by the Ottomans for his service and later always wore it proudly.
Agreed, my question did not relate to the reality of his Ottoman service ["I can confirm the outlines of his WW1 service is in his SS personnel file"], but the authenticity of the account in his alleged memoir.

I apologize if I did not make this clear

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by jluetjen » 20 Sep 2015 00:05

Curiously - when looking up the Badisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 21 in what I think is the fairly definitive "Die Deutsche Kavallerie in Krieg und Frieden" (published in late 1928 or 1929, so untainted by any Nazi propaganda), there is no mention made of Asian service. The regiment spent the last couple years of the war on the far northern end of the Eastern Front, first in the Kurland area, and then from November 1916 in Lithuania. In 1918-1919 they began to return to Germany from the Kurland, with a squadron of volunteers remained in the Lithuania. Considering that they specifically mentioned a squadron remaining in the Kurland, I find it curious that there is no mention made of larger units being detached to Asia.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by michael mills » 09 Nov 2015 09:57

I recall that when I read "Commandant of Auschwitz" (the Fitzgibbon translation of 1959) some 20 years ago, I found Hoess's account of his adventures in Palestine rather strange, and wondered whether they had been fictionalised in some way.

It is possible that the story of his return from Turkey after the armistice, leading a band of daredevils, is fictional, and he returned in the same way as the rest of the German and Austrian personnel who had served alongside the Ottoman forces, ie by train from Eastern Anatolia to Constantinople, and then by ship across the Black Sea to a Ukrainian or Romanian port.

He obviously knew something about the campaign in Mesopotamia, since he refers to fighting Indians; the British forces that invaded Mesopotamia were indeed part of the Indian Army and commanded from India, not from Egypt like the forces that invaded Palestine. I suppose he could have read it in a book somewhere.

I imagine one way to check on the veracity of his account would be to investigate whether any part of the Baden Army was ever sent to Palestine to serve alongside the Ottoman forces.

As to his young age, that is not decisive for an assessment of the veracity of his account. It is a well-known fact that boys of 15 served with the Australian forces at Gallipoli, having lied about their age.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by michael mills » 19 Nov 2018 04:48

I am currently reading the book by Edward Erickson, "Ordered To Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War", which contains some information about the German Asia Corps, that was part of the Ottoman "Yildirim Ordular Grubunu" (Thunderbolt Army Group). As I read the sections on the Asia Corps, I was reminded of what Hoess had written in his memoir about having served in that unit in Palestine during the First World War, and noticed certain discrepancies between his claims and what was written in Erickson's book.

The major discrepancy was his claim to have fought against British Indian troops in Mesopotamia early in 1917, whereas the part of the Asia Corps known as Pascha 2 did not arrive at Aleppo until October of that year. Pascha 2 was the only unit that included German cavalry, and hence was the only unit that Hoess could have served in. It was intended to be sent to Mesopotamia to participate in the planned reconquest of Baghdad, but was redirected to Palestine when that plan was abandoned. Hence Hoess might have served in Palestine, but definitely not in Mesopotamia.

I decided to do an online search to see if I could find some more information about the German Asian Corps that might either support or undermine the plausibility of Hoess's account, and in the course of that search I stumbled upon this thread. I was surprised to find that I had already posted to it, something that I had completely forgotten (not surprising given my advanced age). After reading through this thread, and comparing the information in it to other information I found, I am now inclined to the opinion that Hoess's account of having served as a member of a cavalry unit during the First World War is most probably entirely fictional, and that in 1917-18 he was still at high school.

I note the information from Little Grey Rabbit that details of his service in the First World War are in his SS personnel file, but I am left wondering about the source of those details. So far as I know, information in SS personnel files predating recruitment to the SS was provided by the recruits themselves, and it does not appear that there was any subsequent effort to check that information against independent sources. In any case, records of an individual's war service were held by the Wehrmacht, which was always very reluctant to let its archrival the SS to stick its nose into its files.

Hoess would certainly have had a motive for inventing a glorious military career, in which he was the youngest sergeant in the German Army and heroically commanded a unit of much older men, leading them on a perilous journey back to the Fatherland. We know that Himmler himself, who was about the same age as Hoess, had a deep sense of inferiority about having been too young to serve in the First World War, especially as many of his subordinates were decorated veterans, and it is entirely credible that Hoess would have had that same sense of inferiority.

In conclusion, I think that Hoess's claims about his war service in Mesopotamia and Palestine should be regarded as essentially implausible, unless independent verification can be found in the form of genuine contemporary German Army records of such service.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by Latze » 06 Dec 2018 14:08

michael mills wrote:
19 Nov 2018 04:48
After reading through this thread, and comparing the information in it to other information I found, I am now inclined to the opinion that Hoess's account of having served as a member of a cavalry unit during the First World War is most probably entirely fictional, and that in 1917-18 he was still at high school.

I note the information from Little Grey Rabbit that details of his service in the First World War are in his SS personnel file, but I am left wondering about the source of those details. So far as I know, information in SS personnel files predating recruitment to the SS was provided by the recruits themselves, and it does not appear that there was any subsequent effort to check that information against independent sources. In any case, records of an individual's war service were held by the Wehrmacht, which was always very reluctant to let its archrival the SS to stick its nose into its files.

Hoess would certainly have had a motive for inventing a glorious military career, in which he was the youngest sergeant in the German Army and heroically commanded a unit of much older men, leading them on a perilous journey back to the Fatherland. We know that Himmler himself, who was about the same age as Hoess, had a deep sense of inferiority about having been too young to serve in the First World War, especially as many of his subordinates were decorated veterans, and it is entirely credible that Hoess would have had that same sense of inferiority.

In conclusion, I think that Hoess's claims about his war service in Mesopotamia and Palestine should be regarded as essentially implausible, unless independent verification can be found in the form of genuine contemporary German Army records of such service.
There is a new German book (Wilhelm Kreutz/Karen Strobel "Der Kommandant und die Biblforscherin: Rudolf Höß und Sophie Stippel. Zwei Wege nach Auschwitz", Marchivum, 2018) that rather strongly debunks Höß' claims.
1. Höß' was up to the end of 1917 registered in the city of Mannheim (that register would have recorded him entering any military formation).
2. The Stammrollen of 21st Dragoner are extant in the the Landesarchiv in Karlsruhe. Höß is not listed as a member of the regiment.
3. The "Pascha II" unit was raised in Bavaria (not in Baden) and that in the August of 1917 (so, Höß' statement that he was a member of this unit in November 1916 cannot be true).
4. Gerhard Roßbach states in his autobiography that the promoted Höß to the rank of Unteroffizier in 1921. Within the Freikorps the ranks of the Imperial army were all valid. This cannot be squared with Höß' claim to have been the youngest NCO in the old army.

It goes on and on... I think one can say that the military exploits of Höß are not only implausible but bogus.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by michael mills » 06 Dec 2018 21:49

Thanks for this information. The hard evidence shows that Hoess did not serve in the German military during the First World War in any capacity.

Presumably he felt a need to invent a military career for himself, probably because in the SS he was mixing with men who did have commendable war service and he felt inferior to them. That is not an uncommon phenomenon; I have a vague memory that there was a politician who falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam, and was eventually exposed as a fraud.

What would be interesting would be to determine when Hoess began making his false claim to have served in Palestine. If that claim is included in his SS personnel file, as Little Grey Rabbit has informed us, then he was already making it at the time he joined the SS. Perhaps he was already making it at the time he became acquainted with Himmler in the Artamanen League.

There are some elements in his claim that do accord with historical reality. For example, there was indeed a German agricultural colony called Wilhelma in Palestine, founded by the Templers, a religious group. Presumably he had read about the Templers and their settlements in Palestine, and so was able to include that item in his account. However, it seems that knowledge of those settlements was fairly common in Germany; for example, Eichmann knew about Sarona, another Templer colony, and at times claimed to have lived there, or even to have been born there.

What puzzles me is that although Hoess's memoirs were published as long ago as the 1950s, his claim to have served in the German military during the First World War, and in Palestine of all places, seems never to have been questioned or subjected to serious examination until recently.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by Gorque » 07 Dec 2018 19:05

michael mills wrote:
06 Dec 2018 21:49
I have a vague memory that there was a politician who falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam, and was eventually exposed as a fraud.
That would be Senator Richard Blumenthal.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by Latze » 08 Dec 2018 16:53

michael mills wrote:
06 Dec 2018 21:49
What would be interesting would be to determine when Hoess began making his false claim to have served in Palestine. If that claim is included in his SS personnel file, as Little Grey Rabbit has informed us, then he was already making it at the time he joined the SS. Perhaps he was already making it at the time he became acquainted with Himmler in the Artamanen League.
Höß claimed to have served with Pascha II/Abteilung 702 and to have entered 21. Dragonerregiment in 1916 during his trial for the murder of Walter Kadlow in August 1923. Kadlow had claimed (so the statements of Höß and the other defendants) that he had been a lieutenant (which he hadn't) and claimed to have been highly decorated. So maybe Kadlow and Höß (and others) invented some glorious military careers in parallel while idling away at Parchim. The trial transcripts from 1923 in every case predate the SS files.
michael mills wrote:
06 Dec 2018 21:49
What puzzles me is that although Hoess's memoirs were published as long ago as the 1950s, his claim to have served in the German military during the First World War, and in Palestine of all places, seems never to have been questioned or subjected to serious examination until recently.
I think historians simply found his role in Auschwitz and his time in Freikorps Rossbach (that great incubator of later NSDAP leaders) more interesting than his military exploits.

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Re: Rudolf Hoess's likely experience of WW1 and his memoirs

Post by michael mills » 08 Dec 2018 20:49

Thanks for this information.

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