Theodor Eschenburg

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Theodor Eschenburg (ᛉ 14 March 1876 in Lübeck; ᛣ 26 February 1968 in Kiel) was a German officer of the Kaiserliche Marine and the Reichsmarine, finally rear admiral (Konteradmiral), later Generaladjutant of the German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Military Career

Familie von Konteradmiral Theodor Eschenburg.jpg
"Eschenburg visited the Katharineum Lübeck until graduation Easter 1895. Against the will of parents Theodor Eschenburg aspired to the profession of naval officer, who was then a terminological distinction from the wider concept of naval officer. In 1904, when he was young, he was assigned to Tsingtau as the capital of the German protected area of Kiautschou in China for two years, so that he only met his eldest son Theodor when he was two. After returning to Kiel, he initially served as an officer on watch on ships of the line and armored cruisers. In 1909 Eschenburg became a training officer for mines and torpedoesCuxhaven moved and there took over a minesweeping unit consisting of six boats promoted to lieutenant captain. In 1913 he was transferred to Kiel and was given command of a special ship, the submarine rescue ship SMS Vulkan . At the beginning of the First World War in 1914, as a corvette captain, he was the highest ranking naval officer in the Imperial Navy with practical submarine experience. With an interruption of a top-secret commands in Wilhelmshaven from November 1914 to March 1915 remained Eschenburg 1918 Commander of until November SMS volcano . In 1915 he became head of the submarine school in Eckernförde. In 1918 he worked for a few months on a front boat in the Adriatic from Trieste to supplement his practical experience. The commander of this front boat was a Pour-le-Mérite porter whom Eschenburg had known personally for a long time. On October 29, 1918, Eschenburg was promoted to frigate captain. After the collapse of the German Empire and the November Revolution of 1918, Eschenburg was taken over as Chief of Torpedo Staff in the new Republican Imperial Navy in 1919. He was one of the 1,500 naval officers that the Versailles Treaty granted the Weimar Republic. His adjutant was Karl Dönitz, and Wilhelm Canaris was another member of his staff at the Kiel Naval Academy. During this time he was one of the founding members of the Kiel Skagerrak clubs, in which royalist naval officers met with leading personalities of the economy. Shortly after the Kapp-Putsch, Eschenburg was appointed captain of the sea. As such, from July 16, 1920, he was initially charged with the inspection of torpedoes and mines with the performance of the inspector's business. From September 4, 1920 to March 31, 1922 he was Chief of Staff and then until September 30, 1923 inspector. This was followed by his use as a naval commissioner for the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. At the same time he was also port captain of Kiel. On September 27, 1924, Eschenburg was finally made available to the chief of the naval station of the Baltic Sea and on December 31, 1924, while being promoted to rear admiral, he was retiered from the Navy. From then on he spent about six weeks a year at the Emperor's court in exile in Haus Doorn. Wilhelm II appointed Eschenburg his adjudant general and awarded him the Grand Commander's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern."[1]


Theodor was the son of Dr. jur. Johann Georg Eschenburg (1844–1936), a lawyer, senator and mayor of Lübeck, and his wife Mathilde Antoinette, née Lerche.


Oberleutnant zur See Eschenburg married 1903 his fiancé Ellen Wieler (1883-1918). They had four children, three sons and a daughter. His oldest son was Prof. Dr. Dr. phil. h. c. Theodor "Theo" Rudolf Georg Eschenburg (1904–1999),[2] who would later become Rector of the University of Tübingen.


  • 2 April 1895 Kadett (after 1899 Seekadett)
  • 13 April 1896 Seekadett (after 1899 Fähnrich zur See)
  • 2 October 1898 Unterleutnant zur See (after 1899 Leutnant zur See)
  • 23 March 1901 Oberleutnant zur See
  • 30 March 1906 Kapitänleutnant
  • 19 September 1912 Korvettenkapitän
  • 29 October 1918 Fregattenkapitän
  • 8 March 1920 Kapitän zur See
  • 31 December 1924 Charakter als Konteradmiral

Awards and decorations

  • Prussian Centenary Medal 1897 (Zentenarmedaille)
  • Prussian Lifesaving Medal on Band (Rettungsmedaille am Band)
  • Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, 4th Class (Roter Adlerorden, IV. Klasse)
  • Colonial Medal of the German Empire (Kolonial-Denkmünze)
  • Iron Cross (1914), 2nd and 1st Class
  • Lübeck Hanseatic Cross (Lübeckisches Hanseatenkreuz; LübH)
  • Knight's Cross 1st Class of the Saxon Albrecht Order with Swords (Albrechts-Orden, Ritterkreuz I. Klasse mit Schwertern; SA3a⚔)
  • Knight's Cross of the Order of the Württemberg Crown with Swords (Orden der Württembergischen Krone, Ritterkreuz mit Schwertern; WK3⚔)
  • Military Merit Cross (Austria-Hungary), 3rd Class with War Decoration (Österreichisches Militärverdienstkreuz, III. Klasse mit der Kriegsdekoration; ÖM3K)
  • Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords on 25 September 1918 (Ritterkreuz des Königlichen Hausordens von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern)
  • Prussian Long Service Cross for 25 years (Preußisches Dienstauszeichnungskreuz)
  • Commander's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords on Ring (Königlicher Hausorden von Hohenzollern, Großkomturkreuz mit Schwertern am Ringe)
  • Memorial Ribbon for Kaiser Wilhelm II's 70th Birthday 1929 (Erinnerungszeichen zum 70. Geburtstag Kaiser Wilhelms II. )
  • Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918 with Swords
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II 80th Birthday Badge 1939 (Erinnerungszeichen zum 80. Geburtstag Kaiser Wilhelms II.)