Friedeburg, Hans Georg
Hans Georg Friedeburg, born 15-06-1895 in Strassbourg, Elsass, joined the German Navy in 1914. After training on training cruiser Hansafrom April to Oct 1914 he served on the Naval Staff in cipher services until December when he was assigned to the battleship Kronprinz. He served there until Dec 1917. Hans-Georg von Friedeburg joined the U-boat force in Dec 1917 and went through training until June 1918. He then served as a watch officer on the U-114 from June to Nov 1918 then being assigned to the U-boat inspectorate until Dec 1918. After the Armistice he served on various warships and also in many staff positions. Just prior to WWII von Friedeburg again served in the U-boat force, taking command of the U-27 for a month in the summer of 1939. From July 1939 he served on the Staff of U-boat Command, under Grossadmiral Erich Raeder (see Raeder). From Sept 1941 Hans-Georg von Friedeburg was the deputy commander of the U-Boat Forces of Nazi Germany and the last Commanding Admiral of the Kriegsmarine. From Sept 1941 he oversaw training and deployment of the U-boat bases in France. In Feb 1943 he took command of the U-boat force, meanwhile under Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz (see Dönitz). When Dönitz became Reich President on 01-05-1945, before Hitler (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know) and Eva Braun (see Braun) committed suicide Hitler appointed him in his last will, von Friedeburg succeeded him as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, the German Navy.
He was heavily involved in preparing and signing the German surrender together with General Eberhard Kinzel (see Kinzel) in early May 1945, to Bernhard Montgomery (see Montgomery). At the end of the war Friedeburg himself committed suicide in the Flensburg headquarters , at the age of 49, on 23-05-1945, after learning that the Allied Control Commission were going to arrest him as a suspected war criminal. Any such charges against him would most probably have been unfounded. Friedeburg is buried on the Neuen Friedhof Adelby in Flensburg, next to Wolfgang Lüth (see Lüth) the U boat captain who was was shot in the head by 18 year-old Matrose Mathias Gottlob, a German sentry at the Flensburg-Mürwik Naval Academy, when he failed to respond to the sentry's challenge. Also buried there is U boat captain Rudolf Petersen (see Petersen).