Joachim von Winterfeldt-Menkin

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Joachim von Winterfeldt-Menkin as a member of the Reichstag 1912

Joachim von Winterfeldt, from 1925 von Winterfeldt-Menkin (* 15 May 1865 in Grünberg; † 3 July 1945 in Harmshagen), was a German jurist, Prussian chief presidential councillor and provincial director of the province of Brandenburg, as well as a legal knight of the Order of Saint John.


He was a descendant of the von Winterfeld family, a noble family from the Mark Brandenburg with the ancestral home of the same name near Salzwedel. He was the son of Ulrich von Winterfeldt (1823-1908), landowner, royal Prussian district administrator and privy councillor, member of the manor house and the Reichstag, landowner of Menkin and others (Prenzlau district), and Marianna von Stülpnagel (1836-1873).

Winterfeldt married Elisabeth Freiin von Entreß-Fürsteneck (* 27 June 1878 in Gardelegen; † 21 July 1954 in Haus Alsbach near Engelskirchen), the daughter of the Prussian Major General Eugen von Entreß-Fürsteneck and Margarethe Nette, in Berlin on 16 May 1899.

From 23 November 1925, with the approval of the Ministry of Justice in Berlin, he used the name “von Winterfeldt-Menkin”.


Winterfeldt attended grammar schools in Glogau, Brandenburg and Prenzlau and studied law and political science in Lausanne, Rome, Leipzig and Greifswald. He began his career in 1888 as a court clerk, became a government clerk in Frankfurt (Oder) in 1892 and a government assessor in 1894. From 1895 to 1896 he worked at the district office of the county of Prenzlau for his father, who was district administrator there at that time. From 1897 to 1903 he was himself district administrator of the district Prenzlau and went to Potsdam in 1903 as Oberpräsidialrat and deputy Oberpräsident of the province Brandenburg. In 1904 he became a member of the commission for the preservation of monuments of the province of Brandenburg. From 1911 to 1930 he was finally provincial director of Brandenburg. From 1928 to 1931 he was a member of the Senate of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society.

Politically, he was active for the German Conservative Party as a member of the Reichstag from 1907 to 1918 and a member of the Prussian House of Lords from 1905 to 1918.[1] Winterfeldt was sent to Brest-Litovsk in 1917 to negotiate the peace preliminaries with Russia with the Kerensky government. On the whole, however, he was rather hostile to the parliamentary system. In terms of political attitude he was rather monarchical and was described by the Reich Chancellery as a “thoroughly right-wing personality”. After receiving an honorary doctorate (1934), he withdrew from the public eye to his estates in the Uckermark (Menkin with Wollschow and Fahrenholz in the district of Prenzlau). In 1942 he published his memoirs Seasons of Life.

Winterfeldt died on the refugee route in Harmshagen and was buried in the hereditary burial ground of Menkin.

Activity for the Red Cross

In an honorary capacity, Winterfeldt took over the presidency of the Men’s Branch Association of the Red Cross in Prenzlau in 1902, was Deputy RK Chairman of the Province of Brandenburg from 1904 to 1912, a member of the Central Committee from 1916, and President of the Prussian and German Central Committees from 1919. In 1921 he became the first president of the DRK. With the coming into force of a new DRK statute on 29 November 1933, with which further Gleichschaltung measures took place, Winterfeldt-Menkin resigned as president[2] and was appointed honorary president by the Reich president and DRK patron Paul von Hindenburg.[3] Still on May 12, 1933, he had declared in a letter to Adolf Hitler: “In the name of these one and a half million men and women in the German Red Cross, I declare the unconditional willingness to place ourselves under your leadership and to follow you”.[4][5]

Udo von Alvensleben, who had visited Winterfeldt-Menkin in Menkin on August 19, 1929, judged in his diary: “Winterfeldt has been able to work a great deal as State Director of Brandenburg. It is a successful life, but he is too left-wing for the right-wingers and too right-wing for the left-wingers. He is animated by an indestructible élan.”[6]


  • 1914: Honorary member of the Niederlausitzer Gesellschaft für Anthropologie und Altertumskunde (Lower Lusatian Society for Anthropology and Archaeology)
  • 1933: Honorary President of the German Red Cross
  • 1934: Honorary doctorate from the medical faculty
  • Honorary member of the historical society Brandenburgia


  • Genealogical Handbook of the Nobility. Adelige Häuser A Volume XVIII, p. 542, Volume 87 of the complete series, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 1985, ISSN 0435-2408
  • Eckhard Hansen, Florian Tennstedt (eds.) et al: Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte der deutschen Sozialpolitik 1871 bis 1945. vol. 2: Sozialpolitiker in der Weimarer Republik und im Nationalsozialismus 1919 bis 1945. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2018, ISBN 978-3-7376-0474-1, pp. 217-219(Online, PDF; 3.9 MB).
  • Acta Borussica. Volume 9 (1900-1909) (PDF file; 2.74 MB)
  • Albert Kiekebusch: Joachim von Winterfeldt-Menkin. In: Brandenburgia. Vol. 40, Berlin 1931, p. 1 (with picture plate before p. 1)
  • Joachim von Winterfeldt on his sixtieth birthday. Pontos-Verlag, Berlin 1925, with 7 illustrations by Götz von Seckendorff.
  • Kurt Adamy: Winterfeldt-Menkin, Joachim Ulrich August Heinrich v. In: Friedrich Beck, Eckart Henning (eds.): Brandenburgisches Biographisches Lexikon. (= Single publication of the Brandenburg Historical Commission e. V., Volume 5). Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2002, ISBN 3-935035-39-X, pp. 424-425 (with portrait).
  • Anton Schlögel: Five Presidents of the German Red Cross. In: Geist und Gestalt des Roten Kreuzes. 2. Edition, Bonn, 1988

Web links

Individual references

  1. Carl-Wilhelm Reibel: Handbuch der Reichstagswahlen 1890-1918. alliances, results, candidates (= Handbücher zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien. Vol. 15). Semi-volume 1, Droste, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-7700-5284-4, pp. 150-153.
  2. German Red Cross: Blätter des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes. 12. Jahrgang, 1933, p. 515f.
  3. German Red Cross: General Report of the German Red Cross 1931-1933. 1934, p. 5.
  4. German Red Cross: Blätter des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes. 12. Jahrgang, 1933, p. 276.
  5. Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8, p. 679.
  6. Udo von Alvensleben (art historian), Besuche vor dem Untergang, Adelssitze zwischen Altmark und Masuren, Aus Tagebuchaufzeichnungen zusammengestellt und herausgegeben von Harald von Koenigswald, Frankfurt/M.-Berlin 1968, p. 242