Georg’s Pipe Dream
Pulling the right strings at the right authorities, Georg von Waldenfels managed to acquire from the DAG the trusteeship over the ‘abandoned’ estate property at Angern on the River March between Lower Austria and Slovenia. As a trustee he worked there for two months from August 3 to October 1, 1938.
His ultimate goal was by hook or by crook to take possession of the property of the Jewish family Löw, who had owned and worked this large parcel of land of prime agricultural land for many generations. The DAG (Deutsche Ansiedlungsgesellschaft), the so-called German Settlement Agency, had set into motion punitive court proceedings against the Löw family to the tune of 13 million Reichsmark (RM). Eight million RM were covered by the sale of all movable equipment. Remained the five million RM, which the DAG desired to collect. To fully comprehend the value of the entire estate, one can easily peg the sale’s price on today’s real estate market at around 100 million dollars. The commissioned administrator von Waldenfels bragged among friends that he could easily come up with the five million RM. Through marriage he had connected with father-in-law Jan F. Jannink, “one of the wealthiest mega-industrialists of Holland, who would throw the five million RM on the table with a smile.”
Von Waldenfels had also set his eyes on the palace-like mansion of the Löw family located at the 19th District of Vienna. This stately and historically important residence also belonged to the total ‘aryanized’ property of the SS. The low ranking SS officer of Lagowitz, swept up by his incredible pipe dreams, now beyond all reasonable dimensions appeared to drift away into the fantasy world of his own desires.
New Prospects on the Horizon
or Georg’s Unlimited Greed and Ambition
After the 27-year old von Waldenfels had left his high school in 1921 with the equivalent of a grade 10 education, he asserted later in a curriculum vitae that the November revolution of 1918 had ‘prevented him to take the highly desired officer’s career.’ Now the SS had raised hime to a high staff rank without even requesting proof of qualification at an officer’s training centre or military academy. Judged by his tone and tenor of his literary outpouring, Georg’s academic horizon corresponded to the one of his role model Sepp Dietrich, who according to statements made of SS officers was incapable to digest not even half-way the complexity of a military report. But in their Bavarian foolhardiness and wanton bravado they were very much alike. Even in their physical appearance, corpulent and of low stature they showed great similarities. Both were miles apart from the ideal type of an ‘aryan model of light.’ Georg had good reason for unlimited gratitude towards his benefactor. But by a hair he almost spoiled things with Sepp.
In March 1938, Hitler brought about the annexation and integration of Austria into the ‘Greater German Reich’. Within half a year the ‘Special Leader’ with the rank of an SS lieutenant embarked on surveying the ‘East Mark’ of Austria for new activities with his strong agricultural background. In 1938 Georg felt the time had come to get rid of the estate Lagowitz. Because of envy and a harsh letter writing campaign against Georg by NS party members at home, he wanted to move as far as away as possible.
In the summer of 1938 he found out through his network of connections about a very large ‘abandoned’ estate in Austria. A few days after the wedding von Waldenfels approached the SS very own ‘German Settlement Agency” (Deutsche Ansiedlungsgesellschaft -DAG), which had its head quarters in Berlin. At the office of director Richard Rücker he applied directly for the agricultural and industrial ownership of the Jewish family Gustav and Wilhelm Löw in Angern at the River March (Moravia).
The area contained more than 3,000 ha (about 7,400 acres) some 40 km southeast of Vienna. It was fertile and very productive land used for centuries for growing crops of grain, corn, sugar beets, potatoes, even vineyards. The industrial real estate consisted of an alcohol factory, refinery, a molasses-spirit facility, potash plant, pea shelling outfit, feed mixing centre, grain elevators and central workshops with seed research station. The mega estate was governed at the castle-like building complex, which served as residence for the administrator and his family.
Georg von Waldenfels
His Aryan Background under Scrutiny
The investigation process by the “department for Racial Purity” was dragging on deep into the war years and hung like the Sword of Damocles over Georg von Waldenfels. On May 1943 he received the following threatening message, “In his letter to the personnel main office dated April 15, 1943, the Reich’s Leader SS (Himmler) has ordered the review of your ancestry.” On June 12, 1943, the department for racial questions toned down the threat, “The Reich’s Leader SS desires the process for final clarification to start right after the end of the war.” Sepp Dietrich must have put a word in for Georg.
Two aspects saved von Waldenfels, who himself was caught in the Nazi net of racial insanity: The generosity of the SS towards people from the aristocracy even burdened with a questionable ancestry background. The name counted, when it could be used to advantage for the ’NS Movement’. Secondly, during the war against Poland and later as administrator in the agricultural field at Glückshütte near Schrimm/Posen Georg had earned considerable recognition for his work.
Whoever might have been Georg’s supporter, his SS career continued with lightning speed. On July 1, 1942 in Schrimm Georg was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. With full support of his friend and boss Sepp Dietrich, he could boast bearing the rank of captain in April 1943. In the fateful and dangerous month of May Dietrich’s influence brought about Georg’s promotion to the rank of major in the SS. Right from the first contact with Sepp Dietrich Von Waldenfels had unerringly placed his bet on the right horse. Two promotions within 8 weeks from April to June 1943 is quite a remarkable fact. Sepp Dietrich must have had a ‘Spezi’ (Bavarian: meaning friend) in the department for racial questions making it clear with the bold statement, “I decide, who is a Jew!” Indeed he could care less whether Georg had a non-aryan grandmother or not.
Both Sepp and Georg knew how to play the game in this complex multi-faceted system, which in spite of its reputed ruthlessness left significant gaps, which allowed personal initiative, civil courage and connections to change or even reverse an administrative decision. Of course, outsiders had no such luck. However, if the Nazi regime had survived the year 1945, Georg von Waldenfels’s SS career would have in the long run ended in a big fall.
To be continued next Friday …