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Otto Ernst Remer

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Otto Ernst Remer (January 1945)

Otto Ernst Fritz Adolf Remer (born 18 August 1912 in Neubrandenburg; † 4 October 1997 near Marbella, Spain) was a German Wehrmacht officer and involved in the suppression of the attempted coup after the assassination of Hitler on 20 July 1944. After World War II, he emerged as a right-wing extremist politician and publicist, and was convicted several times for politically motivated crimes of utterance, including Holocaust denial.

Family

Otto Ernst Remer grew up as the eldest of six sons of a large Protestant family in the Mecklenburg front town of Neubrandenburg. His parents were the land registrar and later justice inspector Otto (Ernst August Martin) Remer (* 12 November 1888 in Neubrandenburg) and his wife Elisabeth (Auguste Friederike), née Pilgrimm (* 17 January 1889). The family had been resident in Neubrandenburg for generations as independent craftsmen. Two brothers Remers fell as soldiers in the Second World War.[1]

Remer attended the local humanistic grammar school and passed the Abitur there.[2] At an early age, the desire to become an officer was awakened in him. At the age of 13 Remer became a member of the Jungsturm, a youth organization belonging to the Bündische Jugend. It is said that he stood out so much for his dedication that Field Marshal August von Mackensen supported Remer’s application for an officer’s commission in the Reichswehr.

Remer was married twice and had two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.

Military career

In April 1933, Remer joined the 4th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment of the Reichswehr in Kolberg as a Fahnenjunker. By the time the invasion of Poland began on September 1, 1939, he had reached the rank of first lieutenant and was in charge of an infantry gun company. Before the start of the Western campaign, he took over a motorized infantry gun company of the 9th Panzer Division. With this unit Remer also took part in the Balkan campaign and the German-Soviet War.[3]

In April 1942, Remer was transferred, under promotion to Captain, to the newly formed Infantry Division (mot.) Division Großdeutschland as commander of the IV Battalion Infantry Regiment GD 1.[4] In 1943 he commanded the I Battalion Infantry Fighting Vehicle of the Panzergrenadier Regiment “Großdeutschland”.[5] Having been promoted to Major in the meantime, Remer was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in May 1943 for his military achievements in the Battle of Kharkov. In November of the same year, he was the 325th soldier of the Wehrmacht to be awarded the Oak Leaf to the Knight’s Cross.

Remer was wounded a total of eight times during the war.[1] After convalescing from a serious wound, he was transferred to the Guard Battalion “Greater Germany” in Berlin as commander in early 1944.

Remer’s role in July 20, 1944

The Guards Battalion was designated by the Berlin City Commander, Lieutenant General Paul von Hase, one of the participants in the attempted coup of July 20, 1944, to cordon off the government quarter during Unternehmen Walküre and to arrest Joseph Goebbels, among others.[6] Remer initially carried out this occupation order.[7] Will Berthold writes about the reasons for this behaviour

“Remer followed Hitler as a loyal acolyte, but the militant dogma ‘Befehl ist Befehl’ had become so second nature to him that – in good faith – he could also have turned against the ‘Führer’ on the orders of […] von Hases, if a […] coincidence had not once again intervened in the course of that day.”

Will Berthold: The 42 Assassinations of Adolf Hitler.S. 232.

One of the officers of the guard battalion, Lieutenant Hans Wilhelm Hagen, in civilian life an employee of the Ministry of Propaganda, began to have doubts as to whether Hitler was really dead. He suggested that he inquire of Goebbels about this before his arrest. The Propaganda Minister connected the officer by telephone with Adolf Hitler, who gave Remer orders by telephone to put down the putsch:

“Do you hear me? So I’m alive! The assassination attempt failed. A small clique of ambitious officers wanted to eliminate me. But now we have the saboteurs at the front. We’ll make short work of this pestilence. You will receive from me the order to immediately restore peace and security in the Reich Capital, by force if necessary. You will be placed under my personal command until the Reichsführer SS arrives in the Reich Capital.”

Otto Ernst Remer: The 20th of July.S. 12

Remer, a staunch supporter of the dictator, then arrested his superior Paul von Hase, contributing to the failure of Operation Valkyrie.[8] After the suppression, Hitler promoted him to colonel, skipping the rank of lieutenant colonel. Propaganda celebrated him as a hero.

Remers and Goebbels’ roles in putting down the putsch are often overestimated. The putsch’s chances of success were slim anyway, since Hitler had survived. Moreover, the conspirators did not succeed in getting complete control of radio and telecommunications. Thus, the OKW under Field Marshal General Wilhelm Keitel was able to initiate countermeasures as early as 16:00. From 17:42, the news of Hitler’s survival was repeatedly broadcast on the radio. Remer’s telephone conversation with Hitler did not take place until between 18:35 and 19:00.[9]

Military use until the end of the war

From September 1944, Remer was assigned as combat commander of the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia.[1] In November 1944, he took over as commander of the Führer-Begleit-Brigade (later expanded into a division), newly formed after the 20 July 1944 uprising,[10] which he led into the Battle of the Bulge. At the end of January 1945, at the age of 32, he received his promotion to Major General.[10] Remer was thus one of the youngest generals in the Wehrmacht. In early March, the Führer-Begleit-Division participated in the recapture of Lauban, one of the last counterattacks the German Reich was capable of in World War II. In April, the unit was crushed by the Red Army in the Spremberg area. Remer himself, disguised as a civilian, escaped the Soviet encirclement. American troops captured him in the Teplitz/Brüx area.[1]

Post-war period and Remer trial

After the end of the war and his capture, Remer was handed over by the US to the British, who interned him until 1947. He then took up residence in Varel and learned the bricklaying trade. During the denazification process, he was classified as a fellow traveler in Group V (not affected by guilt).[1]

Remer subsequently emerged as an extreme right-wing publicist and joined the Gemeinschaft unabhängiger Deutscher under Fritz Dorls. After this had joined the German Right Party in 1949, but had been excluded again after a short time, Remer was co-founder and later 2nd chairman of the Socialist Reich Party (SRP). Because he had called those involved in the assassination of Hitler at a party event in May 1951 “traitors to the country”, he was sentenced in 1952 to three months in prison by the Regional Court of Braunschweig for defamation of character and disparagement of the memory of the deceased (Remer Trial). Remer evaded the sentence and fled abroad.

An application by the Federal Government to deprive him of the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association as well as the right to vote pursuant to Art. 18 GG to deprive him of the fundamental rights of freedom of opinion, assembly and association as well as the right to vote and stand for election (forfeiture of fundamental rights), was rejected by the Federal Constitutional Court on 25 July 1960, because there had been no knowledge of further anti-state efforts by Remer for some time and because the Federal Government had not reacted to Remer’s most recent defence writings.[11] The SRP had already been classified as unconstitutional and banned in October 1952.

Other activities

After his escape, Remer worked for several years as a military advisor to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and in Syria.

Remer appeared as a keynote speaker at numerous events organized by right-wing extremist Thies Christophersen. In 1983, after falling out with the neo-fascist Freundeskreis Ulrich von Hutten, which he had co-founded the previous year[12] neo-fascist Freundeskreis Ulrich von Hutten, which he had co-founded the year before, he founded Die Deutsche Freiheitsbewegung e. V. (DDF), with its youth organization Bismarck-Jugend[13], a neo-Nazi grouping, of which he remained chairman until 1989 and which he left again in 1991. He published numerous articles in their organ Huttenbriefe.

Remer was part of a group of people who organized a large Holocaust denial event with an audience of 800 in Munich’s Löwenbräukeller on April 21, 1990. Present and speaking at the event was Holocaust denier David Irving. The organizer of this event was the neo-Nazi Bela Ewald Althans.[14]

In 1991, he published his Remer-Depesche, a historical revisionist paper. The Regional Court of Schweinfurt sentenced him to 22 months imprisonment for incitement of the people and incitement to racial hatred based on articles in these publications. He escaped from this sentence in 1994 by fleeing to Spain[15] and ceased publication. Since Spanish law at the time did not know of any corresponding penal provisions for Holocaust denial, an extradition request submitted by the German authorities was rejected in 1996.

Processes

Remer was convicted in several court cases.[16] For example:

  • 1951 because of defamation against persons of the public life (Federal Chancellor and Federal Minister) by the regional court Verden to a four-month prison sentence which he served.
  • In 1952 he was sentenced by the Regional Court of Braunschweig (Remer Trial) to three months imprisonment for defamation and slandering the memory of deceased persons, which he avoided by fleeing abroad.
  • In 1985, he was sentenced to 50 daily sentences by the Kaufbeuren District Court for defamation and slandering the memory of the deceased. He had distributed a flyer with vituperations against resistance fighters of July 20.
  • In 1986, the Kempten Regional Court sentenced him to three months’ probation for defamation and slandering the memory of deceased persons. He had distributed videotapes of the French Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi[17] Robert Faurisson.
  • 1992 for incitement of the people and incitement to racial hatred by the District Court of Schweinfurt, subsequently
    • In 1993, the appeal against this was dismissed by the Federal Court of Justice
    • 1994 Escape from 22 months imprisonment to Spain

Publications

Anneliese Remer-Heipke, Remer’s wife, ran the Remer-Heipke publishing house, first from Bad Kissingen and later from Spain, which in addition to Remer’s writings also published Florentine Rost van Tonningen and J. G. Burg, among others.[18]

  • 20.July 1944, published by Hans Siep, Hamburg-Neuhaus/Oste 1951.
  • 20.July 1944. 5th edition. Verlag Deutsche Opposition, Hamburg-Neuhausen 1951.
  • Conspiracy and treason around Hitler. Judgement of the front-line soldier. 5. Auflage, Remer-Heipke, Bad Kissingen 1993, ISBN 3-87725-102-1.
  • Kriegshetze gegen Deutschland: Lüge und Wahrheit über die Ursachen beider Kriege. Remer-Heipke, Bad Kissingen 1989.

Literature

  • Martin Will: Ephoral Constitution. Das Parteiverbot der rechtsextremen SRP von 1952, Thomas Dehler’s Rosenburg und die Konstituierung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-16-155893-1 (biography of Remer on p. 93 ff.)
  • Herbert Kraus: Die im Braunschweiger Remerprozess erstatteten moraltheologischen und historischen Gutachten nebst Urteil. Girardet, Hamburg 1953.
  • Willi Lasek: “Revisionist” Authors and their Publications. In: Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, Wolfgang Benz, Wolfgang Neugebauer (eds.): Die Auschwitzleugner. Elefanten-Press, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-88520-600-5.
  • Robert Wistrich: Who was who in the Third Reich? P. 279, Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-596-24373-4.
  • Encyclopedia of the Second World War. P. 166, ed. Christian Zentner, licensed edition for Manfred Pawlak Verlagsgesellschaft, Herrsching 1977, ISBN 3-88199-361-4.
  • Jan Molitor The SRP condemned. A postscript to the Remer trial in Braunschweig. In: Die Zeit, No. 12/1952.
  • Peter Hoffmann: Resistance, Coup d’Etat, Assassination. The struggle of the opposition against Hitler. Series Piper 418, 4th edition Munich / Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-492-00718-X, p. 527-539, 593-603 u. ö.
  • Eckhard Jesse: Biographical Portrait: Otto Ernst Remer. In Jahrbuch Extremismus und Demokratie, Vol. 6 (1994), ISBN 3-416-02532-6, pp. 207-221.
  • Interview with retired Maj. Gen. Otto Ernst Remer in August 1990; DVD, 105 min., in colour. Media distribution-NVFP Uhde, D-37139 Adelebsen.
  • Ludger Tewes: Die Panzergrenadierdivision “Großdeutschland” im Feldzug gegen die Sowjetunion 1942 bis 1945, 16 coloured operation maps of the ZMSBw, 152 tables, Verlag Klartext Essen 2020, ISBN 978-3-8375-2089-7. Approx. 40 references to Remer including in detail 20. Juli 1944.

Trivia

  • In the 2008 feature film Operation Valkyrie – The Stauffenberg Assassination, which retells the events of July 20, Otto Ernst Remer is portrayed by Thomas Kretschmann.[19]

Web links

Commons: Otto Ernst Remer– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. a b c d e Dieter Krüger: Otto Ernst Remer – An Officer between Oath and Ignorance: A Person of Right-Wing Extremism after 1945 In: Resistance to the Nazi Regime in the Regions of Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania. S. 116–123
  2. https://archive.org/details/1990-Interview-mit-Generalmajor-Otto-Ernst-Remer
  3. Tewes, Panzergrenadierdivision “Großdeutschland”, p. 267 Curriculum vitae from his personal file, p. 1179, reference to his personal file in the Bundesarchiv Militärarchiv Freiburg Pers 6/300427
  4. Tewes, Die Panzergrenadierdivision “Großdeutschland”, p. 105.
  5. Ludger Tewes, Die Panzergrenadierdivision “Großdeutschland” im Feldzug gegen die Sowjetunion 1942-1945, Verlag Klartext, Essen 2020, p. 93, ISBN 978-3-8375-2089-7.
  6. Who was who in the Third Reich. S. 279.
  7. Tewes, Die Panzergrenadierdivision “Großdeutschland”, pp. 844-855, p. 849.
  8. World War II Encyclopedia. S. 166.
  9. Peter Hoffmann: Widerstand, Staatsstreich, Attentat: der Kampf der Opposition gegen Hitler. Piper, Munich, 3rd ed. 1979, ISBN 3-492-02459-9; pp. 528-529, 539-540.
  10. a b Samuel W. Mitcham: German Order of Battle: 291st-999th Infantry divisions, named infantry divisions, and special divisions in World War II. Stackpole Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8117-3437-0, p. 211 (google.com [accessed 2 May 2019]).
  11. BVerfG, Order of 25 July 1960, Ref. 2 BvA 1/56, BVerfGE 11, 282 f.
  12. Cf. Thomas Grumke, Bernd Wagner: Handbuch Rechtsradikalismus. Personen, Organisationen, Netzwerke: vom Neonazismus bis in die Mitte der Gesellschaft. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2002, ISBN 3-8100-3399-5, p. 298.
  13. Verfassungsschutzbericht 1983 (Bund), p. 144.
  14. Truth sets you free – Neo-Nazis in Germany
  15. Winfried Süß:Remer, Otto Ernst. In: New German Biography (NDB). Vol. 21, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-428-11202-4, p. 416 f. (Digitalisat).
  16. Jesse 1994, pp. 210-214.
  17. Jürg Altwegg: Noam Chomsky and the reality of the gas chambers. Time online, November 21, 2012
  18. Cf. Thomas Grumke, Bernd Wagner: Handbuch Rechtsradikalismus. Personen, Organisationen, Netzwerke: vom Neonazismus bis in die Mitte der Gesellschaft. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2002, ISBN 3-8100-3399-5, p. 299.
  19. http://www.filmstarts.de/kritiken/61360-Operation-Walk%C3%BCre/castcrew.html