Edwin Erich Dwinger

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SS-Obersturmführer Edwin Erich Dwinger

Edwin Erich Dwinger (b. 23 April 1898 in Kiel, Province of Schleswig-Holstein, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire; d. 17 December 1981 in Gmund am Tegernsee, Bavaria, FRG) was a German officer candidate of the Imperial German Army and the Russian White Guard as well as author, farmer and officer of the Allgemeine SS (Reiter-SS). In WWII, he served as Kriegsberichter and Sonderführer of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the Battle of France and on the Eastern Front.


Edwin Erich Dwinger wrote many books since 1920, at least 13 of them were placed on the "list of literature to be discarded" (Liste der auszusondernden Literatur) in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany. In West Germany they remained popular, in the 1950s and 1970s, the publishing house Bastei Lübbe Verlag reissued some of his books. In 2017, after files from the German Federal Intelligence Service (German: Bundesnachrichtendienst) were published online in Oktober 2016, it was discovered, that Dwinger also wrote anti-Stalinist treatises for the Gehlen Organization, e.g. Was muss im Augenblick geschehen, um Stalins System zu stürzen? ("What must be done now to overthrow Stalin's system?"). He remained a German patriot and ardent anti-communist.
Edwin Erich Dwinger (grave).jpg
  • 1898 Born in Kiel as son of engineer Johann Heinrich August Dwinger (1867–1945). His mother died 1914. Later his father married the young Elena "Elly" (1895–1967).
    • His father joined the Kaiserliche Marine on 2 February 1888 and was, as of Rangliste 1914, promoted to Ober-Maschinist (deck officer) on 1 March 1906 and served at last with the I. Werft-Division. The parents of his mother, presumably Baltic Germans (Baltendeutsche), supposedly emigrated from Russia to Prussia in 1868. Dwinger is said to have spoken Russian fluently,[1] but also Englisch and French. Other sources claim, the story of the Russian mother was not true.[2]
    • His older brother Alfred also joined the Kaiserliche Marine, he fell () as Feuerwerker-Maat (Junior Petty Officer) on 31 May 1916 on board the SMS "Wiesbaden" during the Battle of Jutland. The ship finally sank sometime between 01:45 and 02:45. Only one crew member, Oberheizer Hugo Zenne, survived the sinking. Among the 589 killed was the well-known writer of poetry and fiction dealing with the life of fishermen and sailors, Johann Kinau, known under his pseudonym of "Gorch Fock".
  • 1908 to 1914 Dwinger attends the Oberrealschule in Kiel. He regularly spends his holidays at his uncle's riding school.
  • 1914 After the outbreak of World War I, Dwinger volunteered. He is assigned to the Dragoner-Regiment „König Karl I. von Rumänien“ (1. Hannoversches) Nr. 9.
  • 15 March 1915 Dwinger's regiment is transferred to the Eastern Front.
  • 14 June 1915 Fahnenjunker Dwinger is severly wounded (head and right thigh) and captured by Imperial Russian soldiers (de).
    • Dwinger meets the later writer Hauptmann Bruno Brehm (1892–1974) in a military hospital (Gruditzky Barracks Moscow); they became lifelong friends. During his captivity, Dwinger worked on the theater stages of German, Austrian and Turkish prisoners of war.
  • 1917 He could escape the POW camp in Siberia, fought with the White Army, but was later captured by the Bolsheviks near Lake Baikal.
    • One may well believe Dwinger that this takeover was not quite as "voluntary" as some assume today. In 1917, the German prisoners of war in Russia were given the choice by the "Whites" to either fight "voluntarily" in their ranks against the "Red Army" or to be handed over to the "Czech Legion", which was unfortunate for Germans and Austrian prisoners of war - especially for officers - and meant the certain death sentence.
    • “There is no doubt that his captivity in Russia and the herewith associated suffering, in their truthful description by Dwinger, are the most important reasons for his antipathy to Bolshevism.”
  • 1919 to 1920 Fähnrich in the Russian White Guard under Admiral Alexander Kolchak (1874–1920)
  • 1920 After the defeat of the "Whites", Dwinger flees through Mongolia back to Germany. He writes his first novel, "The Great Grave" (Das große Grab).
  • 1921 Dwinger takes over a farm in Tanneck/Allgäu, where he breeds horses and gives riding lessons.
    • In all of Dwinger's works, his affectionate depiction of horses stands out - even where it is not strictly related.
    • Dwinger had more perceived Hans Grimm than Ernst Jünger as a "guide on the way/journey". To Grimm and his novel Volk ohne Raum (People/Nation without Space) he wrote in 1926 (Munich): “One should nail sections of this work in large numbers on the billboards. One should include sides of this book in the learning books of our young students. One should let our preachers call out words of this work from their pulpits every day.”
  • 1929 to 1932 Dwinger's trilogy "Die deutsche Passion" (dedicated to Elsa Brändström, the "Angel of Siberia", whom he met as a POW – original title: "Siberian Trilogy") – "Die Armee hinter Stacheldraht" (1929), "Zwischen Weiß und Rot" (1930) and "Wir rufen Deutschland" (1932) – in which he describes his war experiences in Russia, becomes a bestseller, which is also published in English and French; However, left-wing and anti-German circles prevent plans to award him the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • 1931 Dwinger acquires Gut Hedwigshof near Seeg/Allgäu. He marries Waltraut Hedwig Wien (b. 31 October 1913; d. 4 Dec 2004 ), who he met 1929 in Greece, daughter of Prof. Dr. phil. Wilhelm „Willy“ Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien (1864–1928),[3] the 1911 Nobel Prize winner for physics, who died in 1928), with whom he travels extensively through Turkey, Greece and North Africa. Together they had two sons and a daughter. The marriage ended in divorce in 1945. The actor Raphael Dwinger (b. 1986) is Their grandson.
  • January 1933 Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg appoints the leader of the NSDAP - as the strongest faction represented in the Reichstag - Adolf Hitler as the new Reichskanzler; Dwinger is one of his favorite writers.
  • 1933 Member of the Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung (along with Agnes Miegel, Hans Grimm, Hans Friedrich Blunck, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Hanns Johst and many more)
    • since 1934 participant of the poet conference Lippoldsberger Dichtertreffen
  • 1935 Member of the Reich Cultural Senate (Reichskultursenat) of the Reichsschrifttumskammer (since 1937 Senator der Kulturkammer)
  • 1935 Dwinger publishes "Die letzten Reiter", dedicated to Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen (de), "the last cavalry general of the Great War". Along with the books of Ernst von Salomon, it is one of the most important contemporary testimonies about the Freikorps in the Baltic States.
  • 1936 Dwinger publishes "And God is silent?" (Und Gott schweigt?), the story of a German communist who emigrated to Stalin's USSR, where he turned anti-communist and returned to National Socialist Germany out of conviction.
  • September to November 1936 Dwinger goes to Spain – together with Colin Ross and Helmut Kurth – as a correspondent for the "Münchener Neuesten Nachrichten". From his reports, the book "Spanish Silhouettes. Diary of a front trip" was later created, the most important German-language work by an eyewitness to the Spanish Civil War on Franco's side.
  • 14 October 1936 SS-Anwärter (SS candidate) of the 15. Reiter-Standarte (Reiter-SS)
  • 9 November 1936 SS-Untersturmführer
    • accepted as such into the Allgemeine SS (SS rune.png-Nr. 277 082) with simultaneous appointment as SS leader/officer (SS-Führer) in the staff of the 15th cavalry regiment (15. Reiter-Standarte)
  • 1 May 1937 Member of the NSDAP (No. 5 293 309)
  • 15 May 1937 Transferred to the staff of the Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt (RuSHA) and appointed leader in the staff with effect from 29 May 1937
  • 18 May 1937 Intended as a honorary volunteer in the SS Education Office (SS-Schulungsamt); as such member of the NS.-Lehrerbund (NSLB)
  • 9 June 1937 Transfer to RuSHA reversed, because Dwinger was often abroad
  • 4 March 1938 Dr. Wolfgang Heinrich Veil[4] (Medizinische Universitätsklinik Jena): "Dwinger suffers from a chronic duodenal ulcer, this has been in my observation and treatment for over a year now. A military use, with regard to thiss suffering, is no longer an option."
  • March 1938 Dwinger worked on the campaign trail in his capacity as a writer in Austria.
  • 18 May 1938 Personnel report and appraisal (15. Reiter-Standarte):
    • General racial picture: Nordic with an Eastern touch, good normal build
    • Character: established open honest, courteous
    • Will: energetic, asserts itself
    • Common sense: above average
    • Knowledge and education: very good general education, well-known writer
    • Perception: very good
    • National Socialist worldview: solid, flawless
    • Appearance: military appearance, agile, with impeccable manners, nothing known to be disadvantageous
    • Teaching skills: good lectures
  • 9 November 1938 SS-Obersturmführer
  • 1939 Dwinger publishes - as a sequel to "Die letzten Reiter" - "Auf halbem Wege", a report on the failed "Kapp Putsch" and the fighting in the Ruhr area of ​​1920.
  • 1939 Kriegsberichterstatter during the Poland campaign
  • 1940 Dwinger publishes "Der Tod in Polen. Die Volksdeutsche Passion" (English-language edition 2004, second printing 2021), a chronicle of Poland's crimes against its ethnic German minority, with special reference to the "Bromberg Bloody Sunday" (Bromberger Blutsonntag) of 3 September 1939.
  • May 1940 Sonderführer of the Wehrmacht (10. Panzer-Division/XIX. Armeekorps/Panzergruppe Kleist) during the Battle of France
  • 1941 Dr. jur. Rudolf Brandt (1909–1948) asks Dwinger in the name of the Reichsführer SS to join his staff for the Operation Barbarossa; Dwinger asked to be appointed to a Panzer division.
  • 1 August 1941 Drafted as SS-Sonderführer of the SS-Division (mot.) „Wiking“; granted leave from the divisional commander of the Wehrmacht.
    • "SS-Ostuf Dwinger is deployed in the East at the personal request of the RFSS to get to know the mission of Waffen-SS, police, SD etc. there. He should be granted all freedoms. He is to be supported anytime as much as possible." In Wiedersehen mit Sowjetrussland he writes about his experiences.
  • November 1942 In the fall of 1942, Dwinger gave a lecture at Book Week: "Bolshevism as a threat to world culture."
  • 1943 "The Russian empire and the reorganization of Europe" (Das russische Großreich und die Neuordnung Europas)
  • 23 July 1943 Gottlob Berger complained, that Dwinger's contacts to General Andrej Andrejewitsch Wlassow were to close; Dwinger promised adhere to the guidelines of the SS in the future.
  • 1944 Dwinger was mainly on behalf of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Propaganda abroad
    • stories, that he was put on house arrest and even dismissed from the NSDAP, are mearly fairy tales. They come from his defence after the war and from his second wife, who tried to portray him as a resistance fighter.
  • 1945 Dwinger settled down on Gut Hedwigshof, where he ran a riding school, and continued to work successfully as a writer.
  • March 1945 Dr. jur. Rudolf Brandt writes Paul Walter von Kielpinski from the Reich Security Main Office, that he wants to ask Dwinger not to lecture about "east questions", at least not in the uniform of the SS.
  • 24 April 1945 General Wlassow visits Dwinger at Hedwigshof; his children call the Russian general "Uncle Andrew"
  • 29 April 1945 The US-Americans occupy Hedwigshof, Dwinger is interned
  • October 1945 Return from the internment camp to Hedwigshof
  • May 1946 Blacklisted author
  • 29 July 1948 Established (denazification court): Follower (German: Mitläufer); Atonement: 1,500 Mark
  • Post-war Dwinger married Ellen, née Rösler, divorced Wirsing (1907–2004), ex-wife of author Giselher Wirsing
    • after 1947 he wrote manuscript Das war Theresienstadt: "In it he describes in cruel, unbearable detail what was done to the Germans by Jews after the liberation of Theresienstadt in May 1945."
  • 1957 Es geschah im Jahre 1965: "In his last novel, he had the USSR finally destroyed by the atomic bombs of the NATO countries.”
  • 1966 Die 12 Gespräche 1933–1945 (Velbert/Kettwig): "He clearly distanced himself from National Socialism, but not from the nationalistically determined fight against communism.”[5]
  • c. 1967 Sale of the Hedwigshof after 35 years; moved to Landhaus Sulzberg (built 1938), Seeg/Ostallgäu.
  • c. 1977 Moved to Gmund am Tegernsee (the Landhaus was bought by Albrecht und Silvia Ostertag)

Awards and decorations (excerpt)


Further reading


  1. Edwin Erich Dwinger (Nikolas Dikigoros)
  2. EDWIN ERICH DWINGER 1898 - 1981
  3. Wilhelm Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien, married to Luise Therese, née Mehler, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1911 "for his discoveries regarding the laws governing the radiation of heat." He held Professorships at University of Munich, University of Wurzburg, University of Giessen, and the Technical University of Aachen, and was a research assistant at University of Berlin. Source: https://history.aip.org/phn/11811011.html
  4. Wolfgang Heinrich Veil he worked from 1934 as a first as a senior physician and from 1939 as an Außerplanmäßiger Professor (without formally being appointed) at the Medical University Clinic in Jena and was a member of the editorial board of the Jena Journal for Medicine and Natural Sciences.
  5. Sarkowicz, Hans und Alf Mentzer: Literatur in Nazi-Deutschland. Ein biografisches Lexikon. Hamburg/Wien 2002, p. 144-6