Christiansen, Friedrich, born on 12-12-1879 in Wyk, Föhr, into an old seafaring family, the son of a sea captain. The generations-long seafaring tradition within his family charted an obvious course for his future. In 1895 he joined the merchant marine, serving for 7 years and volunteering in 1901 for MTBs. After one year, he returned to the merchant marine, serving several years aboard the 5-masted Preussen
at the time, the largest sailing ship in the world, as Second Officer. In 1913 he decided to deviate from this career, and learned to fly. Having graduated and gaining licence No. 707, he became a flying instructor at a civilian flying school was a World War I German seaplane ace, who claimed shooting down twenty planes and an airship, thirteen of those victories were confirmed. Christiansen claimed his first air-to-air victory 15-05-1917 by shooting down a Sopwith Pup off Dover. On 06-07-1918 Christiansen strafed British submarine HMS C25 in the Thames estuate in southern England , United Kingdom, killing its captain and five crewmen. By 11-11-1918, he raised his personal tally to 13, as well as some shared victories, which cumulatively may have brought his total to 21. he was also awarded the Pour le Mérite (“Blue Max”)
, the first of only three given to naval aviators and the only one to a seaplane pilot. He was promoted to Kapitänleutnant in 1918. Christiansen’s distinguished career led him eventually to being called to a post in the Reich aviation ministry from 1933 to 1937, and in 1936 he was promoted to Generalmajor. In 1937 he was appointed Korpsführer of the National Socialist Flyers Corps, or NSFK
and was promoted to Generalleutnant. On 01-01-1939 he was named General der Flieger in Hermann Goering’s
(did you know
) Luftwaffe. From 29-05-1940 until 07-04-1945 Christiansen was Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands,(see About
and from 10-11-1944 until 28-01-1945 supreme commander of the 25th
Army. Christiansen’s brother Karl Friedrich a Korvettenkapitän was the Commander for Naval matters in Holland. Friedrich Christiansen here with his brother and Generalleutnant der Flieger, Commanding General of Support Staff of the Royal Hungarian Luftwaffe
, Walter Schwabedissen
and the Chief of Staff to the Wehrmacht Commander in Holland
General der Flieger, Kommandeur der 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment
, Kurt Student
captured Rotterdam after the bombing, and another General in Holland involved in the Netherland invasion, was Oberbefehlhaber Heeresgruppe Nord
, Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie Georg Küchler,
commander of the Eighteenth Army. After the war Christiansen was arrested for war crimes. On 02-10-1944 he had ordered a raid on the village of Putten in Gelderland, the Netherlands,
in retaliation, after one of his officers, Leutnant Otto Sommers, age 27, was killed on 22-10-1944 near Putten by the Dutch resistance. When he heard about the actions of the resistance near Putten, Christiansen is reported to have said, „Das ganze Nest muss angesteckt werden und die ganze Bande an die Wand gestellt!
“, “Put them all against the wall and burn the place down!” In compliance with this retributive sentiment, several members of the civilian population were shot, the village was burned, and 661 of the males of the town were deported to labor camps, the vast majority of whom never returned. Christiansen was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in 1948 in Arnhem for war crimes, but was released in December 1951 from imprisonment.
It was the occasion for his native town, Wyk auf Föhr, to renew Christiansen’s honorary citizenship and reinstate a street name in honor of him, which had been changed by the British military administration in 1945. These honors sparked controversies in Germany and the Netherlands and they were revoked in 1980 by the town counsel.? Christiansen as one of the few received the Golden Party Badge
and Adolf Hitler’s own Golden Party Badge had the number ‘1’. He awarded it to Magda Goebbels
on 27-04-1945, less than 48 hours before he committed suicide in his Führerbunker. She called it “The greatest honour any German could receive”. It was awarded to her for being “The Greatest Mother in the Reich”. The ‘1’ badge was stolen from a display in Russia in 2005. The guards thought that a cat had set off the alarms and this allowed the burglar to escape.
Death and burial ground of Christiansen, Friedrich.