Baur, Johann Peter “Hansl”, born on 19-06-1897, 8 year after Adolf Hitler (did you know), in Ampfing, Bavaria, was Adolf Hitler’s pilot during his political campaigns of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Appointed Gruppenführer in the SS, Baur was later Hitler’s personal pilot and leader of the “Reichsregierung” squadron. Baur was called up to the Imperial German Army in 1915, and trained in Field Artillery at the airfield in Augsburg. He then joined the Air Force as an artillery spotter. During the war he claimed 6 victories, with 3 additionally unconfirmed.
During one flight, Baur’s plane experienced engine failure and subsequently started to nose dive, but he was able to restart the engine. For his victories, Baur was awarded the Iron Cross first class for bravery. From 1921 to 1923 he was a pilot for Bayrische Luftlloyd, and then Junkers Luftverkehr. Hans Baur married Elfriede Braur in 1923. Their only daughter Ingeborg was born the following year. After Elfriede Baur’s death from cancer in 1935, Baur married again, with Hitler as his best man. His second wife Maria, by whom he had two daughters, Frieda 1901, died 1935 and Maria 1907, who died age 46, while he was in captivity in Russia, in 1953. His third wife, Cresentia,”Centa “, survived him. In May 1923, Baur flew the opening flight of the Munich-Vienna route in a Junker’s F 13. In 1926, Baur became one of the first six pilots of Deutsche Luft Hansa and in May 1928 flew the opening flight of the Munich-Milan-Rome route Baur joined the Freikorps under Franz von Epp
and in 1926, Baur became a member of the NSDAP On 01-04-1931 Baur flew the opening flight of the Berlin-Munich-Rome route, known as the Alpine flight, whose passengers included Nuntius Eugenio Pius XII and tsar of Bulgaria Boris III. One of his most fanatic companions was his basset Waldi who joined him on almost all his flights. Hitler was the first politician to campaign by air travel, his propaganda minister was Joseph Goebbels (did you know), deciding that travel by plane was more efficient than travel by railway. Baur first piloted him during the 1932 General Election, as Baur was personally selected by Hitler (see Hitler parents) to be his official pilot in February 1933. Georg Betz was his co-pilot for Hitler’s aircraft and Hansl Baur’s substitute. Betz a SS Sturmbannführer fell in the battle of Berlin on 02-05-1945, age 41. The Führermaschine Baur flew had a small folding table in Hitler’s favorite seat on the right, with a clock, altimeter and airspeed indicator on the bulkhead just in front.
Adolf Hitler trusted few men, but his faith in pilot Hansl Baur never wavered. Although he tried to convert Baur to vegetarianism, Hitler also invited him to the Reich Chancellery for his favorite meal of pork and dumplings for his 40th birthday, and gave him a Mercedes Benz to replace his personal Ford. In September 1939, the squadron was renamed `Die Fliegerstaffel des Führers`. Hitler’s personal squadron now had a special insignia that was painted on the nose of all planes: a black eagle head on a white background, surrounded by a narrow red ring.
SS Reichsführer, Heinrich “Reichsheini” Himmler ( did you know) gave Baur, no soldier, the rank of SS Gruppenführer. On 31-01-1944, Baur was promoted to Generalmajor of the Police; and on 24-02-1945 became Generalleutnant of the Police. The youngest Generalleutnant in WWII was Theodor Tolsdorff. Baur allowed Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini once to take the control of Führer’s plane and he together with Hitler, had a narrow escape from a German air base as Soviet tanks arrived at the perimeter at the same time. Baur as an of the few belonged to Hitler’s infamous inner circle, (see Joseph Goebbels) (see Martin Bormann) (see Wilhelm Keitel). He was good friends with Eva Braun. In the end, Baur paid for his blind loyalty to Hitler. (see Hitler Paula) (see William Patrick Hitler). During the last days of the war, Baur was with Hitler in the Führerbunker. Baur had devised a plan to allow Hitler to escape from the Battle of Berlin: a Fliesler F1 156 Storch was held on standby which could take off from an improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten, near the Brandenburg Gate. However, Hitler refused to leave Berlin. On 26-04-1945, the improvised landing strip was used by Hanna Reitsch
to fly in General Oberst, Robert Ritter von Greim, appointed by Hitler as head of the Luftwaffe after Hermann Goering’s dismissal. During the evening of 28 April, Reitsch flew von Greim out on the same road-strip and Hitler suggested to Baur that he evacuate himself and Martin Bormann the same way. Baur stayed with him until Hitler committed suicide on the afternoon of 30 April. After Hitler’s suicide, Baur found the improvised road-strip too pot-holed for use and overrun by the Soviet 3rd Shock Army , under Vasily Kuznetsov, Kuznetsov died age 70, on 20-06-1964.
A plan was devised to escape out from Berlin to the Allies on the western side of the Elbe or to the German Army to the North. SS-Brigadeführer, one of Adolf Hitler’s last remaining Generals, Wilhelm Mohnke, split up the Reichs Chancellery and Führerbunker soldiers and personnel into ten main groups. Baur and Bormann left the Reich Chancellery as part of one of the groups. During his escape, after losing touch with Bormann, Baur was shot in the legs, and the wound was so serious that his right lower leg was later amputated, with a pocket knife in Posen on 10-06-1945. Trapped by the Soviet Red Army in the war-torn Berlin, he was captured after Hitler’s suicide and imprisoned in the USSR. He was one of the most interested prisoners being Hitler’s pilot for so many years. He endured ten years of imprisonment in the USSR before being released on 10-10-1955 to the French where he was kept prisoner until 1957.
Baur returned to West Germany and in 1957 wrote his autobiography “Ich flog mit Mächtigen”, which liberally translates as “I flew with [the] mighty.” I have a personal signed biography of Hans Baur, who seemed to be a pleasent guy, see below The book contains an account of the events surrounding the arrest of Ernst Röhm, by Hitler himself, on June 30, 1934 at Bad Wiessee in which Baur took part. The Night of the Long Knives between 30 June and 2 July 1934 saw the killing of approximately 82 SA men, including almost its entire leadership, effectively ending the power of the SA. .
The book also tells of Baur’s dislike for Hermann Goering, whom Baur describes as a “thick headed glutton”. Hans Baur was one of the few people who were truly close to Hitler and was one of the people assigned by Hitler to cremate his remains. Baur was one of the last persons to see Hitler alive in the Berlin bunker.
He remained friends with Hitler’s secretaries, Johanna Wolf, Gerda Christian-Dranowski, she died 14-04-1997 age 83, in Düsseldorf, Christa Schroeder, and Gertrud “Traudl” Junge and with Hitler’s SS adjutant Sturmbannführer, Otto Günsche.
These pictures with permission of Harry von Gebhardt.
Death and burial ground of Baur, Johann Peter “Hansl”.
Baur died in Herrsching, Bavaria of old age ailments at the age of 95. For a time, his house in Herrsching served as a place of pilgrimage for many veterans of the war. In Herrsching lived and died Hitler’s architect Roderick Fick. Baur is buried in the family plot on the Westfriedhof in Munich, not far from the graves of the SA leaders Ernst Röhm, Edmund Heines
and Johannes Schweighart, who were killed, in the Knight of the Long Knives, in 1934. Also close by the graves of the Oberst der Flieger, Company Chief of a Stuka Squadron, Alfred Genz and General der Flieger, Chef Kommandeur der Luftwaffe, Josef Kammhuber and Generalleutnant der Wehrmacht, Inspecteur der Fahrtruppen, Rudolf Trauch, the founder of the NSDAP Anton Drexler and SS Oberführer, Führer des Einsatzkommando 8 der Einsatzgruppe B, Otto Bradfisch.