Benita von Falkenhayn

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by Uncle George, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Uncle George

    Uncle George Active Member

    I wonder if anyone one has a copy of Shirer's 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', and can confirm something for me. My understanding of the life of Benita von Falkenhayn, who was found guilty of espionage in 1935 and beheaded in Plotzensee, is that her one-time husband Richard von Falkenhayn was a distant relative of the Great War Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn. This is what Wikipedia tells us.

    My memory, after many years, is that Shirer described Richard as the SON of Erich. If anyone can have a quick look and check that this is what Shirer wrote, I'd be very grateful. Thanks.
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Uncle George,

    Falkenhayn doesn't show up in my ebook version of Shirer's book. The index shows the following:

    Falkenhausen, Gen. Alexander von, 906, 1031, 1047, 1074
    Falkenhorst, Gen. Nikolaus von, 680–82, 696, 706fn., 709fn.
    Falkenstein, Maj. Frh, von, 879

    Nothing for "Benita" either.

    Regards ...
  3. Uncle George

    Uncle George Active Member

    Thanks very much for looking. My memory must be playing tricks!
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    According to this thread Erich von Falkenhayn had two children, Fritz and Erika:

    Digging around I see Erika married Lieutenant-Colonel Henning von Tresckow (An Honourable Defeat). The book The Shadow War has a photo of Benita sitting with Juri von Sosnowski at a Berlin restaurant.

    Regards ...
  5. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    The same people are named in the index to my paperback edition, although the page numbers are different.
  6. Uncle George

    Uncle George Active Member

    Thank you Cee and Gibbo.

    A couple of us on another Forum are trying to get to the bottom of news reports from 1915 which mention the death of the son of Erich von Falkenhayn. Erich's private life is almost impossible to access - he was a notoriously withdrawn and private man. Even his memoirs are written in the third person.

    It is known that his son Fritz survived WW1. So, who on earth did the news reports concern? It may be that a mistake/misidentification was made; but it may be (because so little about Erich is known) that he had a second son, or indeed many other children.

    Thanks Cee for posting the Axis History Forum link, which mentions a son of Erich called Robert: but Robert soon disappears from the thread, and I can find no other mention of him anywhere. The confusion deepens.

    I have found online mention of a book by Steve Wicks called 'The Long Night - William Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', which quotes Shirer saying that Benita married Richard von Falkenhayn, the "son of Erich von Falkenhayn, a fabled general from the Great War". But this doesn't take us very far: whether he was Erich's son or not, Richard would appear to have survived WW1.
  7. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

  8. Uncle George

    Uncle George Active Member

    Thanks for your suggestion. However, I think Richard is a blind alley: it seems that he survived the war.

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