More Promotions for Georg von Waldenfels
As noted earlier, Georg von Waldenfels had experienced a number of promotions in his officer’s career, quite unheard of and irregular in the German army, where advancements were based on military training and especially on merit on the battle field. The SS was, however, no regular army. On 1 July 1942, he was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer, somewhat equivalent to the upper rank of lieutenant and in April 1943 to SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain). Although von Waldenfels occupied the same ranks in another branch of the SS, he acquired them all over again in a more prestigious division. Now under the protective umbrella of influential Sepp Dietrich he now became so-to-speak a ‘regular’ in the hierarchy of the Common SS. It is not surprising that after the war the Allies were facing an incomprehensible phenomenon within the hierarchal structure of the SS.They were unable to cope with all the confusing differences within the ranking system and ignoring them erroneously treated all cases the same. In May 1943, barely four weeks later, Georg was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer (major).
In the spring 1944 there were definite signs that the idyllic life in the eastern province of Posen (Poznan) would come to an end.The commander Sepp Dietrich engaged on the western front arranged Georg’s transfer from the so-called ‘Common SS’ (Allgemeine SS) to the prestigious “Leibstandarte SS”. As support officer at the various battle locations after D-Day in France and Belgium he was never employed in a military function, but was responsible for providing food, drink and entertainment for his boss and his entourage. Georg must have experienced – obviously mostly far removed from the actual fighting – at least three of the four major battles, which took place after 6 June 1944.
The casino chef Georg von Waldenfels survived the dramatic weeks shortly before the Allied troops marched their troops into Paris away from the front lines in any of the numerous secure headquarters of the SS, which were mostly requisitioned hotels, residences and castles in and around Paris. Before the battle between Falaise and Caen, which ended in defeat and signalled the retreat of the SS units in August 1944, Georg, unsuitable for military duties, managed to be ordered back to Germany. By 1945 he acquired, no doubt with the help of some influential political ‘friends’, the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer.
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 …
The Problem with Georg’s Ancestry Passport
Heinrich Himmler, the Reich’s SS leader, had decreed that all members of his organization had to produce evidence of their aryan ancestry in order to retain their rights and privileges of their membership in the SS. By a good portion of luck and conniving Georg von Waldenfels managed to establish a personal connection to the special SS elitist group, which was sworn in as the one and only bodyguard responsible for Hitler’s limb and life. This personal connection was no other than the leader of the bodyguard, Sepp Dietrich. Georg had calculated in wise foresight that he could use his like-minded wedding guest as an influential person in his attempt to conceal his Jewish ancestry.
Georg had been unable to provide sufficient evidence for his aryan descent for the officials in the department for racial questions in Berlin. They had no issues with his ‘pure aryan’ wife Ilse Jannink. Himmler, who personally took care of such questions, granted the marriage licence without any reservations. Yet, feelings of relief for Georg were premature. One cannot fail to notice on his family records the blue stamps behind the various names of his forefathers, indicating a negative response by the agency’s officials.
In addition, the data which Georg had submitted did not go farther back in time than his great-grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Bauer born in1818 in Groß Ottersleben. A very suspicious gap remained in Georg’s records. Indeed, SS officers had to provide evidence for their aryan genetic background all the way back to 1750.
Also puzzling for the government race experts was the noble character of Ludwig von Waldenfels, who 12 years after Georg’s birth and one week after the wedding with Anna officially declared himself the father of this child. Obviously, such a declaration even in writing does not prove a blood line to the von Waldenfels family. Fortunately for Georg the officials did not investigate this matter any further.
In the meantime Anna von Waldenfels was sitting on pins and needles. Should she reveal the name of her son’s real father? Would such a revelation not make her son’s situation worse? Would the Nazi investigators not get really suspicious when eyeing the old Galician-Austrian Jewish sounding name “Grasmück”? Such thoughts occupied Anna’s mind and must have caused many a sleepless night at castle Panwitz. It was lucky that there was not sufficient time to turn the focus on grandmother Emma’s ancestry. The family kept her until her death (1941) in her tower room away from the public eye to make sure that the friendly old lady’s tongue would not let slip out an incriminating word or two.
To be continued …