Blomberg, Werner Eduard Fritz “Rubber Lion” von, born on 02-09-1878 in Stargard , the son of Emil von Blomberg and Emma Tschep, joined the Army at the young age of 16 and attended the Prussian Military Academy in 1904. Serving with distinction on the Western Front during World War I, Blomberg was awarded the Pour le Merit By 1927 Blomberg was a Generalmajor and Chief of the Troop Office. Blomberg cared little for Nazi doctrines per se, his support for the Nazis being motivated by his belief that only a dictatorship could make Germany a great military power.
Blomberg had a reputation as something of a lackey to Hitler (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know). As such was nicknamed “Rubber Lion” by some of his critics in the army who were less than enthusiastic about Hitler. One of the few notable exceptions was during the run-up to the Night op the Long Knives in 1934, as the AS leaders Ernst Rohm and adjutant Edmund Heines were liquidated. The SA who didn’t like von Blomberg had given him the nickname, “Sülznase” “Brawn Nose”. In early June, Reichspresident Paul von Hindenburg decided that unless Hitler did something to end the growing political tension in Germany , he would declare martial law and turn over control of the government to the army. Blomberg with his, pro Hitler, Cabinet Chief Walther von Reichenau who had been known to oppose the growing power of the SA, was chosen to inform Hitler of this decision on the President’s behalf. As both the German Army and Navy had long-standing policies of refusing to accept Jews, there were no Jews to purge within the military; instead, Blomberg used the Nazi racial definition of a Jew in his purge. None of the men given dishonorable discharges themselves practiced Judaism, but all were the sons or grandsons of Jews who had converted to Christianity, and thus were considered to be “racially” Jewish. Blomberg ordered every member of the Reichswehr to submit documents to their officers, and that anyone who was a “non-Aryan” or refused to submit documents would be dishonourably discharged. As a result, seven officers, eight officer cadets, thirteen NCOs and 28 privates from the Army, and three officers, four officer candidates, three NCOs and four sailors from the Navy were dishonorably discharged, together with four civilian employees of the Defence Ministry. With the exception of Erich von Manstein who complained that Blomberg had ruined the careers of some seventy men for something that was not their fault, there were no objections. Again, on his own initiative as part of “self-Gleichschaltung”, Blomberg had the Reichswehr in May 1934 adopt Nazi symbols into their uniforms. In 1935, Blomberg worked hard to ensure that the Wehrmacht complied with the Nuremberg Laws by preventing so-called Mischlings from serving. After the death of Hindenburg, the loyal Blomberg was the first General Field Marshal appointed by Hitler (see Hitler Paula) (see William Hitler). Hitler convened a meeting of his Cabinet and had them promulgate a decree stating: “From now on I take over personally the command of the whole armed forces.” He abolished the entire War Ministry, replacing it with the new High Command of the Armed Forces, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW, headed by himself with complete control of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The nominal post of OKW Chief of Staff was assigned to Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Wilhelm Keitel. To replace Fritsch as Army commander, Hitler chose Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Walter von Brauchitsch,
Goering (did you know) (see Goering-Sonneman) and Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler, who didn’t like to see Blomberg in his high position, struck in January 1938, when Blomberg, then fifty-nine, married Erna Gruhn, a 26-year-old typist and his secretary. He was a lonely widower in his sixties whose first wife Charlotte Hellmig had died in 1932, they had two daughters, Sibylle and Dorothea “Dorie”. They had married in 1904 and had five children. He now fell in love with and subsequently proposed to his secretary, a Fräulein half his age named Erna Gruhn. However, since she was from a lowly working class background, Blomberg worried over how such a marriage would be received among his peers. He decided to ask Hermann Goering for his opinion and was duly relieved when Goering said there would be no problem. After all, Goering told him, he had married a divorced actress himself. And so the wedding took place on 12-01-1938. It was a private ceremony held in the War Ministry building witnessed by both Goering and Hitler. The happy newlyweds then departed for a honeymoon in Italy. But while they were away, all kinds of nasty rumors began to surface about the bride’s past. In Berlin, a police file was soon discovered bearing her name and was brought to the attention of Berlin’s police chief, Wolf Heinrich Graf von Helldorf, he was hanged in the Plötzensee, age 47, on 15-08-1944.
Wolf Heinrich Graf von Helldorf, a former Army officer himself, decided to bring it to General Wilhelm Keitel. However, Keitel promptly informed him that he had no desire to get involved in such matters and suggested that he bring the file to Goering instead, which Helldorf did. Goering read the file and was absolutely delighted to learn that the new wife of the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces had a police record. that proved that Gruhn in 1932 had posed for pornographic photos, taken by a Jew with whom she was living at the time.
Erna on the right.
Hitler ( Parents) flew into a rage and sacked von Blomberg on the spot, but Blomberg refused to annul the marriage, and consequently resigned all of his posts on 27-01-1938 when Goering threatened to make his wife’s past public knowledge. Generalfeldmarschall von Blomberg and his wife went on a honeymoon for a year to the island of Capri. Admiral Erich Raeder decided that Blomberg needed to commit suicide to atone for his marriage, and dispatched an officer to Italy, who followed the Blombergs around on their honeymoon and persistently and unsuccessfully tried to force Blomberg to commit suicide. The officer at one point even tried to force a gun into Blomberg’s hands, but he declined to end his life. Spending World War II in obscurity, Blomberg was arrested by the Allies in 1945 and later gave evidence at the Nuremberg trials. He kept his pension and he received a golden handshake of 50.000. The disgraced Field Marshal Blomberg and his wife retired to the Bavarian village of Bad Wiessee, in 1934 the crime place of the Knight of the Long Knives (see Ernst Röhm). He still desperate tried to get in Hitler’s attention, but forgotten, he never got a new position. 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.
A few days later after the Blomberg confrontation, Goering and Himmler accused Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Werner von Fritsch of being a homosexual. Hitler used these opportunities for major reorganization of the Wehrmacht. He himself took the leadership of the Army, with Wilhelm Keitel
and Walter von Brauchisch as closest commanders. Von Fritsch was later acquitted; together the events became known as the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair. Von Blomberg was captured in Bad Wiessee his residence 1945 by the Allied for being a witness in the Nuremberg Processes. No one of the other German Nuremberg prisoners wanted to talk to him.
Death and burial ground of Blomberg, Werner Eduard Fritz “Rubber Lion” von.
Blomberg here with Werner von Fritsch and Admiral Erich Raeder, on 12-10-1945, noted in his diary that he weighed slightly over 72 kilograms (159 lb). He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on 20-02-1946 and his health declined rapidly. Resigned to his fate and gripped by depression, he spent the final weeks of his life refusing to eat. He died while in detention at Nuremburg, on 22-03-1946 of cancer, at the age of 67 and was buried without ceremony in an unmarked grave. The Field Marshal, later was reburied at the local cemetery of Bad Wiessee, his residence, almost next to the graves of Field Marshal der Flieger, Albert Kesselring and General, Kommandeur LXXX Armee Korps, Franz Beyer. In April 1904, he married Charlotte Hellmich. The couple had five children. In January 1938, his daughter Dorothea “Dorie” became engaged to Sturmbannführer in the Waffen SS, Karl-Heinz Keitel, General Wilhelm Keitel’s eldest son, born on the 02-02-1914, in Wolfenbüttel. They were married in May the same year. Together they had one son, Hans-Christof, born 23-07-1939 and three daughters, Sybilla, born 17-12-1940; Jutta, born 14-05-1942; and Stephanie, born 26-12-1943. At the time of the marriage, his father Wilhelm Keitel made no attempt to hide the fact that through the engagement of his son to von Blomberg’s daughter, he was working towards an entente with his superior, Field-Marshal von Blomberg himself.
WW II also demanded from the family of Blomberg his victims. One of his sons, Major in the General Staff of the Air Force Axel von Blomberg, found in May 1941 in an operation over Syria the plane death. His brother Henning von Blomberg, was a captain and divisional adjutant in the German 1st Light Division before the war and on 22-11-1942, as Oberstleutnant and commander of No. 190 Panzer Battalion, fell in battle near Mateur in Tunisia. He had been Blomberg’s only surviving son. The wife of Henning von Blomberg was Ruth. Following established practice, Blomberg’s son-in-law, Oberst Ulrich Bürker , the senior staff officer (Ia=the operations officer) in the 10th Panzer Division, under command of Generalleutnant Wolfgang Fischer in Tunisia, was withdrawn from the front on 15 December and left his post on January 1943. Bürker was the Ia in the 10th Panzer Division from 01-08-1941 until 15-12-1942, during that time the division fought in the central sector of the Eastern Front, in April 1942 the division was sent to Amiens, France, for refitting, upon the Anglo-American landings in North Africa, the division participated in the occupation of Vichy France and in January 1943 the 10th Panzer Division was rushed to Tunisia as part of the 5th Panzer Army. Bürker became the Ia of Heeresgruppe B in February 1943. This command had just been transferred from the Eastern Front to Germany and was eventually sent to northern Italy (and then France). Bürker spent some time with OKW but by early 1944 he was a corps, then an army, chief of staff, first in the Balkans then on the Eastern Front. He was awarded the Knight’s cross for his service with the 10th Panzer Division. Bürker’s successor was mayor Wilhelm Bürklin, Bürklin and the longtime division commander ran over a mine in their command vehicle on 01-02-1943, the division commander the veteran Generalleutnant Wolfgang Fischer, was killed and Bürklin badly wounded. On 3 or 4 February Oberstleutnant Claus von Stauffenberg received his orders to take over as senior staff officer (Ia) in the 10th Panzer Division, and during the period it took for him to get there the army group Id, Major Josef Moll, filled in as the Ia. Major Moll survived the war and became a Generalleutnant in the German Bundeswehr.
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