Johannes Blaskowitz

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Johannes Albrecht Blaskowitz (b. 10 July 1883 in Paterswalde, Kreis Wehlau, East Prussia; d. 5 February 1948 in Nuremberg) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally Generaloberst (colonel general), commander-in-chief (Oberbefehlshaber) of the 25th Army (25. Armee) from 7 April 1945 until 6 May 1945 and commander-in-chief of the fortress Holland (Festung Holland) as well as recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords in WWII.

Life

Johannes Blaskowitz II.jpg

Johannes Blaskowitz was born on 10 July 1883, in Paterswalde, Kreis Wehlau (East Prussia). He was the son of Protestant pastor Hermann Adam Friedrich Blaskowitz (1848–1919) and his wife Marie, née Kuhn (d. 1886). Widower Pastor Blaskowitz married later Louise Steiner (d. 28 November 1927 in Walterkehmen), born in Görlitz. They had two children, so all together Johannes had eight siblings. In 1894, Blaskowitz joined cadet school at Köslin and also afterwards at Berlin Lichterfelde.[1]

On 2 March 1901, he started his military career as a Fähnrich in the Infanterie-Regiment „von Grolman“ (1. Posensches) Nr. 18 in East Prussian in Osterode, where he should serve the next 11 years. 1906 he married his beautiful and rich fiancée Anna Emilie Mathilde Riege (b. 27 September 1879 in Libau; d. 18 September 1950 in Bommelsen), they had a son and a daughter. Anna was actually originally engaged to Johannes' brother Leutnant Kurt Blaskowitz, who died on 4 November 1901 near Gumbinnen due to a duell with Oberleutnant Hildebrand.[2]

WWII

From left to right: Johannes Blaskowitz, Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt in Paris, May 1944

Blaskowitz was commander-in-chief in Occupied Poland in 1939–1940 (thus before the claimed start of the Holocaust) During this period, he is claimed to have protested against claimed SS war crimes, such as by the Einsatzgruppen. Strangely, he continued to command Army Groups, was not part of the July 20 plot, and was not included in the large-scale SS repressions afterwards.

Reference in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Wednesday, 27 September 1939 Der Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres hat den General Blaskowitz beauftragt, die Übergabeverhandlungen zu führen.[3] The Commander-in-Chief of the Army has instructed general Blaskowitz to lead capitulation negotiations.

Nuremberg

Suicide

At the Nuremberg trials, he was charged with war crimes, allegedly ordering the execution of two deserters after the German surrender, despite his earlier alleged protests against war crimes by the SS. Allegedly, he committed suicide. Both the indictment and the alleged suicide have been considered a mystery by scholars ever since, because he was later acquitted on all counts and had been told to expect to be acquitted by his defense. He was buried in Bommelsen, Gemeinde Bomlitz, Landkreis Soltau-Fallingbostel.

Promotions

  • Fähnrich (2 March 1901)
  • Leutnant (27 January 1902)
  • Oberleutnant (27 January 1910)
  • Hauptmann (17 February 1914)

Reichswehr

  • Major (1 January 1922)
  • Oberstleutnant (1 April 1926)
  • Oberst (1 October 1929)
  • Generalmajor (1 October 1932)
  • Generalleutnant (1 December 1933)

Wehrmacht

  • General der Infanterie (1 August 1936)
  • Generaloberst (1 October 1939)

Awards and decorations

Writings

  • German reaction to the invasion of southern France - (ASIN B0007K469O) - Historical Division, Headquarters, United States Army, Europe, Foreign Military Studies Branch, 1945
  • Answers to questions directed to General Blaskowitz - (ASIN B0007K46JY) - Historical Division, Headquarters, United States Army, Europe, Foreign Military Studies Branch, 1945

Further reading

  • Thomas, Franz (1997): Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945, Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6
  • Patzwall, Klaus D. / Scherzer, Veit (2001): Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber, Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007): Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2

References

  1. Blaskowitz, Johannes Albrecht, Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, 2022
  2. General Johannes Blaskowitz
  3. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 40.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Thomas 1997, p. 49.
  5. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 537.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 224.