General Ramcke

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by redtop, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member


    I posted the above letter from a German Falschrimjager Officer on another site and received this reply below

    is it True about the Award being False?

    Just been reading a book called “The Walls Have Ears” about the interrogation and bugging of Axis prisoners. It describes how Ramcke was taken prisoner after the surrender of Brest along with a fair quantity of Champagne and Cognac. Ramcke proved uncooperative so his interrogators cooked up a scheme to loosen his inhibitions. They manufactured a fake German press release which awarded Ramcke the Knights Cross with Crossed Swords and Diamonds for the brave defence of Brest. They took the press release and plenty of the General’s own Champagne and Cognac and visited him to celebrate his award. All got completely rat arsed during which time Ramcke divulged all sorts of interesting information much to the satisfaction of the listeners. Ramcke never found out that his award was fake.
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
  3. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    In France in 1951 he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for taking French civilians hostage and executing them, for looting civilian property and for burning down civilian houses. In the 1950s he was also active in extreme right wing circles in West Germany.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
  4. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    The Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC UK) opinion of Ramcke was not high...

    'Ramcke is inordinately vain and has a most extensive knowledge of distorted history; ambitious, ruthless yet naive, an opportunist. As the Nazi Party is on the decline he is beginning to change his views. He claims to have made 800,000 Reichsmark out of his book From Cabin Boy to Paratroop General. When captured Rsmcke was found to be in possession of a large quantity of French brandy and liquors, also a complete dinner service, probably looted. Ramcke makes no bones about the fact that he was determined to win the highest decorations and has described to British officers how he recommended his subordinates for high decorations, knowing full well that the High Command would have to recommend him for a higher award than they received. He was awarded the Swords and Diamonds for his defence of Brest and his last act was to send a WT message to Hitler recommending himself for the award of an estate'. Soenke Neitzel 'Tapping Hitler's Generals', p.309, (Barnsley: Frontline Books 2007).

    I have yet to find any evidence for the fake Swords and Diamonds but I wouldn't have put it past the devious masters of Trent Park.
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  5. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes "Tapping Hitler's Generals" .....a very good source for British intelligence also in ascertaining who were loyal to Hitler and who were not.

    Von Thoma gave the game away with a very early warning of the development of what would be the V1 weapon,a weapon that would inflict widespread damage to London.He thought it should have being happening when he arrived at Trent Park...all from chit chat.

    This publication should be read in conjunction with Soldaten..Fighting,Killing and Dying by Neitzel and Welzer ,an eyeopener to the excesses that the Wehrmacht was engaged in, particular on the Eastern Front.
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  7. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    Couldn’t agree more. In the context of acquiring information, ‘deviousness’ is an excellent quality!

    Fully agree with you Harry. In many respects ‘Soldaten’ was by far the more distressing of the two books and gave lie to the view that atrocities were the responsibility of a few, ‘specialist’ organisations.
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  8. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    … and to round it off I again recommend: "Comrades: The Wehrmacht from Within" by Felix Römer (or Roemer). The English translation came out in 2019. Römer is describing and analysing the results of the tapping of German POW in Fort Hunt/USA. Similar to the findings of Neitzel and Welzer, maybe even more detailed … gives you insight into the mindset of WW2 German soldiers and officers.
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  9. Rabid Grandpa

    Rabid Grandpa Member

    IMHO Neitzel had not much thoughts about boasting. My favourite account in Neitzels book, is the story of a german pilot. Who allgedly used the landing lights of his plane - while flying low level along streets through the darkness (!) - to fool british (?) car drivers, that he was only an approaching car. So he could shoot them up more easily.
    I had that "boasting" feeling with many accounts in Neitzels Book.

    I guess it was in the book of Wolfgang Hirschfeld (Radio Operator on U-109 ) where he wrote something like: On the ship (which repatriated german POW's from the US to Germany) half of the men had been U-Boat Commanders the other half had been awarded with the knights cross.

    Those men had a lot time to kill and could go nowhere. From my daily experience I can asure you that boasting is even today still a hobby of many guys in germany :) And probably not only here.

    I still try to veriyfy another account. Where a german Pilot allegedly let loose on a "bright lighted" castle in England, where a big party took place. As if there hadn't been nighttime blackout rules in England as well.

    Some soldiers do ugly and questionable things in war. But I don't think that's a question of the country they had been born and raised in but rather a question of the personality of an individual. In the epilogues of german accounts of WWII and Vietnam Vets, you can very often find the same statement: I just served my country !
    I don't want to excuse anything or deny the Holocaust or german attrocities in WWII. But IMHO, a big part of the mindset of german soldiers and officers, had been the same strong feeling of duty and patriotism allied soldiers had too.
  10. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Ramcke's career was marked by the very lure that the Nazis made: Analogous to the quintessentially US-american credo "from rags to riches", they offered people from so-called humble backgrounds extraordinary opportunities for advancement if they aligned themselves with the regime.
    And whether someone was an ardent supporter of this ideology or just an opportunistic follower, it was in the deeper nature of this system that those who rose were usually corrupted. Very few passed this test of character - my own grandfather struggled with it until his death.

    Ramcke was also characterised by ambivalences: On the one hand, a strict follower of the regime and tough fighter, who collected titles and awards, on the other hand, known as "Papa" Ramcke because of his caring attitude towards his soldiers.
    After the war, he eagerly contributed to this legend when he escaped from French captivity - allegedly to draw attention to the bad treatment of his soldiers.
    The fact that his defence of Brest cost the lives of 10,000 of "his" soldiers was seen as unavoidable collateral damage.

    When the survivor Ernst Kuby published a radio play about his experiences in Brest after the war, in which Ramcke did not come off particularly well, there was quite an uproar.
    Ramcke took legal action against it - and lost.

    An astonishingly liberal public prosecutor for the time made a more than accurate statement about it:
    "If, at the right time, we had had fewer people of Ramcke's school of thought and instead many people of Kuby's attitude, millions of the fallen would still be alive, as would millions of Jews. And the expellees could live with their wives and children on their native soil. Would that have been such an intolerable outcome? For patriots who love their fatherland?"
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  11. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    ...when I hear of "caring" German commanders I wonder what that "care" entailed. In the case of many German senior officers in battle it did not include the care for the lives of their men. Again, I can only point to Felix Römer's study "Kameraden". From his sources he deduces that many German officers (commanding battalions, regiments) displayed an attitude of being "steely", many felt they were under observation from their peers and made a point of carrying out their orders at all cost, expecting the utmost from their men. Ruthlessness was often regarded as a sign of dedication and determination, and high losses among their men were acceptable, even regarded as sign of having put up a good fight...

    These senior officers also had great discretion to determine how ruthless civilians in their area of operations were to be treated, how extreme punitive measures were to be etc.

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