Erich von Bonin

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Erich von Bonin
Bonin, Erich von.jpg
Signature of Oberst von Bonin
Birth name Erich Rudolf Walter Swantus von Bonin
Birth date 1 February 1878(1878-02-01)
Place of birth Hanau, Province of Hesse-Nassau, German Empire
Death date 13 December 1970 (aged 92)
Place of death Wiesbaden, Hessen, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
War Ensign of Germany (1921–1933).png Reichswehr
Years of service 1898–1933
Rank Generalleutnant
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern
Relations ∞ 1904 Dorothea Sommerhoff

Erich Rudolf Walter Swantus von Bonin (1878–1970) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, Imperial German Army and the Reichswehr, finally Generalleutnant and Inspector of the Signal Corps. Between 1962 and 1967, he maintained an active correspondence with the German economist Edgar Bernhard Jacques Salin (1892–1974).

Military career (chronology)

  • Fahnenjunker in the Füsilier-Regiment „von Gersdorff“ (Kurhessisches) Nr. 80 (01 Aug 1898-01 Oct 1906)
  • Regiments-Adjutant of the Füsilier-Regiment „von Gersdorff“ (Kurhessisches) Nr. 80 (01 Oct 1906)
    • Commanded to the War Academy 1910 to 1913
  • Hauptmann in the I. Bataillon/Infanterie-Leib-Regiment „Großherzogin“ (3. Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr. 117 (01 Oct 1913-02 Aug 1914)
  • Company-Leader in the Infanterie-Leib-Regiment „Großherzogin“ (3. Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr. 117 (02 Aug 1914-00 Sep 1914)
  • Wounded, in hospital (00 Sep 1914-1915)
  • With the General-Staff of General-Command Korps „Marschall“ under General der Kavallerie Wolf Rudolf Freiherr Marschall von Altengottern (1915-1916)
  • With the General-Staff of the 19th Infantry-Division (1916)
  • With the General-Staff of Army High Command 4 (1916-1917)
  • With the General-Staff of Signals-Affairs, Supreme Army Command (1917-1918)
  • Chief of Operations (Ia) in the General-Staff of the 2nd Infantry-Division (1918-1918)
  • Department-Director in the Ministry for Economical Demobilisation (1918-01 Oct 1919)
  • RWM in Berlin (01 Oct 1919-01 Feb 1925)
  • Department-Director (Abteilungsleiter) of the Organisation-Department, RWM (01 Feb 1925-01 Feb 1927)
  • Commander of the III. Bataillon/2. (Preußisches) Infanterie-Regiment in Lötzen (01 Feb 1927-01 Feb 1929)
  • Chief of Staff of the 1st Division in Königsberg (01 Feb 1929-01 Feb 1931)
  • Inspector of Communications Troops / Signal Corps, RWM (01 Feb 1931-30 Sep 1933)
    • Inspekteur der Nachrichtentruppen (In 7) in Berlin
  • Retired (30 Sep 1933)


Dorothea von Bonin's younger brother (Erich von Bonin's brother-in-law), Rittmeister Otto Wilhelm Sommerhoff (1888–1960), married on 15 August 1918 in Büdesheim (Upper Hesse) his fiancée Marie von Buttlar (1894–1988). Otto served in the Kürassier-Regiment „von Seydlitz“ (Magdeburgisches) Nr. 7 and the Dragoner-Regiment „König Karl I. von Rumänien“ (1. Hannoversches) Nr. 9. He was discharged 1919. In 1934, he rejoined the army of the Reichswehr as a supplemental officer (Ergänzungsoffizier), took part in WWII as Major (later Oberstleutnant), was adjutant of Generalmajor Walter Schade in 1942/43 and Kommandant of the northern Italian town of Cremona, on the River Po. He died in Bad Homburg (one source claims 1962 instead of 1960).
Rangliste 1926, p. 119

Erich was the son of Generalmajor z. D. Konstantin Swantus Karl Walter von Bonin (1843–1914) and his wife (∞ 7 October 1876) Marie, née Ark (b. 26 January 1857 in Köln). Erich's only sibling, brother Walter Hermann Konstantin Swantus von Bonin (b. 20 November 1884 in Marburg ), was also an officer.[1] He also entered the Füsilier-Regiment „von Gersdorff“ (Kurhessisches) Nr. 80, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (in the 2nd Company) on 19 August 1903, was commanded to the Militärtechnische Akademie (MTA) in Charlottenburg near Berlin, promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 18 August 1912, transferred to the Garde-Pionier-Bataillon in Berlin, was commanded to the War Academy and was promoted to Hauptmann on 28 November 1914.[2]


On 19 November 1904, Leutnant von Bonin married in Wiesbaden his fiancée Dorothea Maria Luise Sommerhoff (b. 7 January 1884 in New York).

Dorothea von Bonin

Dorothea Maria Luise Sommerhoff was born in New York City in 1884 but returned to Germany with her parents and siblings in 1892. She was the niece of German merchant Arthur Louis Carl Sommerhoff (b. 1 February 1844 in Rodenbach near Hanau; d. 16 August 1911 in Domburg) and his wife piano teacher Elise, née Schumann (1843–1928), second-born daughter of Robert Alexander Schumann (1810–1856), German composer, pianist, and influential music critic. Other relatives were uncle Reinhard Sommerhoff, silk manufacturer, and his wife Anna, née Witt (b. 1856). Another aunt was the artist and painter Marie Bertuch, née Sommerhoff (1851–1932). Dorothea's grandparents were Johann Friedrich Cornelius Sommerhoff, pharmacist in Hanau, and his wife Elisabeth Louise, née Christ (b. 19 August 1816 in Hanau; d. 8 April 1906 in Frankfurt am Main).


  • Fahnenjunker (1 August 1898)
  • Fähnrich (18 March 1899)
  • Leutnant (27 January 1900)
  • Oberleutnant (18 October 1909)
  • Hauptmann (1 October 1913)
  • Major (16 June 1920)
  • Oberstleutnant (15 February 1923)[3]
    • another source states on 1 May 1924 with rank seniority (RDA) from 15 February 1923
  • Oberst (1 February 1928)
  • Generalmajor (1 April 1931)
  • Generalleutnant (1 February 1933)

Awards and decorations