Languages that persons of the Axis spoke

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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Christian W.
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Languages that persons of the Axis spoke

Post by Christian W. » 24 Apr 2006 19:56

Let's try to build a list of languages that different persons of the Axis spoke.

For a start...

Germany:
Adolf Hitler=German, French (?).
Rudolf Hess=German, English, ????
Heinrich Himmler=German, English (?), ????
Joachim von Ribbentrop=German, English, French.
Joseph Goebbels=German, English (?).
Hermann Göring=German, ????

Contribute, please. :)

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Walter Model
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Post by Walter Model » 25 Apr 2006 09:20

Adolf Hitler only German.

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 25 Apr 2006 22:40

As far as I have ever read, Hitler spoke only German. He took French in school but did so poorly that he had to repeat the class.

Magda Goebbels was said to speak multiple languages, but it wasn't specified which. My guess would be French and maybe English.

Hermann Göring spoke English and probably at least some Swedish, considering he lived there for a time, and it said he did well in French and Latin in school.

Joachim von Ribbentrop spoke English and French.

Rudolf Hess must have known at least some English for when he flew to Scotland.

Reinhard Heydrich spoke English and French.

Adolf Eichmann spoke Hebrew.

Albert Speer spoke English and maybe French, because unless I'm mistaken he had a French nanny when he was young.

Karl Dönitz and Alfred Jodl spoke some English.

Gerd von Rundstedt and Heinz Guderian spoke English and French.

Erwin Rommel spoke a "smattering" of French, and understood some Italian and English, although he didn't speak any fluently.

Hans Speidel spoke French.

Hans Krebs spoke Russian.

Adolf Galland spoke English.

Joachim Peiper spoke at least some English.

Claus von Stauffenberg spoke English, French, Latin, Greek, and Russian.

Isoroku Yamamoto spoke English, as he spent time in the United States. Walter Warlimont also spent time in the United States.

Ernst Hanfstaengel was American-born.

Benito Mussolini spoke German, and I believe also French and some English.

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Plavá bestie
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Post by Plavá bestie » 01 Aug 2007 19:00

Karl Hermann Frank spoke Czech, but as he wanted to show, which nation and language ruled to Bohemia and Moravia, he almost didn´t spoke it.

Heydrich also spoke Russian, but not fluently.

Wilhelm Canaris spoke Spanish.

Alexander von Dörnberg spoke English and French.

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Post by Potsdamerplatz » 01 Aug 2007 22:42

Roland Freisler spoke good Russian He spent World War I as a German prisoner-of-war in a Russian camp and studied the language whilst in captivity.

General Hans Krebs was also a Russian speaker and helped to conduct the negotiations for the surrender of Berlin to Soviet forces on 1st May 1945.

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AJK
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Post by AJK » 02 Aug 2007 18:05

Alfred Rosenberg spoke Russian fluently, having received a PhD in Engineering from Moscow University in 1917.

AJK

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 02 Aug 2007 18:56

Walther Darre spoke german and spanish

Ernst Röhm spoke some spanish too.

Tapani K.
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Post by Tapani K. » 03 Aug 2007 07:14

Hjalmar Scahcht must have spoken English.
Baldur von Scirach's mother was American so he maybe spoke English, too.


regards,
Tapani K.

Phil Nix
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Post by Phil Nix » 03 Aug 2007 12:06

Walter Warlimont, Hasso von Manteuffel, Siegfried Westphal all spoke English, I was watching them on DVD;s this week
Gunther Blumentritt and Friedrich Wilhelm von Mellenthin also spoke English I have them on tape.
Ludwig von Schröder Vize Admiral and the General der Flakartillerie and SS Gruf spoke English, French and Spanish
Willy Schmelcher spoke schoolboy English and French
Fritz von Scholz spoke excellent English
Phil Nix

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 20 Aug 2007 14:30

Let's try to build a list of languages that different persons of the Axis spoke.
To clarify: high ranking Axis personnel. Goverment members and high ranking military personnel.

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim spoke Finnish, Swedish, Russian, French, German, English, Polish, Portuguese, and understood some Mandarin Chinese.

Does anyone know what langues Ion Antonescu, Ante Pavelic, Miklós Horthy, Jozef Tiso and Boris III? Horthy was fluent in German and to my knowledge Ante Pavelic was too, along with Italian. I don't know about Antonescu, Tiso and Boris.

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Plavá bestie
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Post by Plavá bestie » 20 Aug 2007 15:11

Jozef Tiso spoke German. He didn´t needed an interpreter between him and German Nazis. He also spoke Czech, because Czech and Slovak language are almost same. And maybe he spoke Hungarian, but there I´m not 100% sure.
Plavá bestie.

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Plavá bestie
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Post by Plavá bestie » 20 Aug 2007 15:25

SS-Standartenfüher Eugen Dollmann, Himmler´s representative in Italy spoke excelent Italian.

SS-Gruppenführer Konrád Henlein spoke Czech.

SS-Obergruppenführer Arthur Phleps served long time in Romanian army in 1930s.

Erhard Milch spoke English.

Ernst Röhm in 1920s lived in Bolivia, so he probably spoke Spanish.

Czech state president dr. Emil Hácha and all protectorate government spoke German.

Slovak prime minister Vojtìch Tuka and lots of Slovak state officials spoke German.

Count Galeazzo Ciano surely spoke German.

Chief interpreter Paul Schmidt spoke English and I think he spoke French too.

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cavszabo
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Post by cavszabo » 19 Oct 2007 05:11

Christian W. wrote:

Does anyone know what langues Ion Antonescu, Ante Pavelic, Miklós Horthy, Jozef Tiso and Boris III? Horthy was fluent in German and to my knowledge Ante Pavelic was too, along with Italian. I don't know about Antonescu, Tiso and Boris.
I've done some studies on Horthy. He spoke German, Latin, English, Croatian, French and some Slovak.

Regards,
Chris

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Pax Melmacia
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Re: Languages that persons of the Axis spoke

Post by Pax Melmacia » 18 Jun 2009 07:35

Hermann Göring spoke English
Ah! That answers something I'd wondered about after seeing Nuremberg(?), when HG supposedly befriended a GI private, whom, I am guessing, spoke only English. I first thought it was artistic license. (In Spandau prison, at least, the prisoners were forbidden to speak anything but German.)

Baldur von Schirach kept a diary that had been indecipherable for a time, until someone realized it was English written in German schrift!

I wonder if Adolf Galland spoke at least some Spanish, both from his stint in the Spanish Civil War and then after WW2 when he was a trainer for the Argentine Air Force (who would go on to use Galland's lessons to face his old foes, the British in the Falklands War).

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Re: Languages that persons of the Axis spoke

Post by Frankfurter » 18 Jun 2009 11:12

General Geyr von Schweppenburg spoke English, he spent some time in England as a military attaché..
Generalmajor von Liebenstein also spoke English (he was a relative of Geyr)
AJK wrote:Alfred Rosenberg spoke Russian fluently, having received a PhD in Engineering from Moscow University in 1917.
AJK
I escapes my mind how someone who spent years at an university in Russia can become such a racist he regarded the Russians as sub-human.

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