Gutmann, Hugo later known as Henry George Grant

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Gutmann, Hugo later known as Henry George Grant
germanyGeneralleutnant

Gutmann, Hugo later known as Henry George Grant, born on 19-11-1880 in Nuremberg. In 1902, Gutmann joined the Bavarian Army and had risen to the rank of highest ranking NCO (Feldwebel) by 1904, when he was transferred to the reserves. With the start of World War I in 1914, Gutmann was recalled and he joined a unit known (after its first commander) as the “List” Regiment.under Regimentskommandeur Oberst Julius List , On 15 April 1915, Gutmann was promoted to Leutnant, and appointed as a company commander and acting adjutant for the Regiment’s artillery battalion.  Oberst Julius List was seriously wounded in the chest at the beginning of his regiment’s three-day battle at Gheluvelt on October 31-10-1914, age 49, and died the same day of his shrapnel injury in Gheluvelt Castle Park. He was also buried there.

Throughout most of 1918, from 29 January to 31 August, Leutnant.Gutmann served as Adolf Hitler’s direct superior. Gutmann later recommended Hitler’s award of the Iron Cross First Class  (a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler’s Gefreiter rank).  The decoration was presented to Hitler on 04-08-1918, near Soissons, by the regimental commander, Major Anton von Tubeuf. Hitler wore this medal throughout the remainder of his career, including while serving as Führer of Nazi Germany. 

Gutmann himself was an Iron Cross recipient, having been awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 02-12-1914 (incidentally the same day as Hitler), as well as the Iron Cross 1st Class on 04-12-1915.

On 08-02-1919, Gutmann was demobilized from the German Army, but still maintained on the army rolls as a reserve leutnant. He married later that year and went on to father two children. During the 1920s, Gutmann owned and operated an office-furniture shop in Vordere Steingasse 3 in Nuremberg. 

In the autumn of 1933, Gutmann applied for a veteran’s war pension, which was granted (President Paul von Hindenburg  had passed several decrees protecting Jewish war veterans from the rising tide of antisemitism). In 1935, after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, Gutmann lost his German citizenship and was formally discharged from the veteran rolls of the army, but still continued to receive a pension, possibly due to Hitler’s influence.

In 1938, Gutmann was arrested by the Gestapo, but released as a result of the influence of SS personnel who knew his history. Gutmann was in fact fearful that his direct connection with Hitler years earlier would endanger him. He was in fact interrogated by the Gestapo , which was charged with neutralizing any potential threats to the Fuehrer’s image.

Although Gutmann was nervous enough to change his name once he arrived in the United States, hoping this would prevent German agents from tracking him down, he waited until the start of World War II to flee Nazi Germany with his family. First stop was Belgium, followed, on May 14, 1940, by France, on the last train out of Brussels, on which the Gutmanns narrowly avoided being bombed by invading German forces. Through the help of a distant but well-connected relative in the U.S., and the payment of generous bribes, the were able to get visas to allow them passage to Portugal. They sailed on the S.S. Excalibur  from Lisbon to New York on August 28, 1940, just prior to the invasion of the Low Countries, Belgium France and Holland..

Death and burial ground of Gutmann, Hugo later known as Henry George Grant.

Gutmann, Hugo later known as Henry George Grant 

Under his new name – Henry Grant, which was inspired by a W.T. Grant dime store he walked by shortly after his arrival – Gutmann lived for the next 20 years in St. Louis, where he sold typewriters and furniture. He never spoke of his previous life, not even with his family. W. T. Grant or Grants was a United States-based chain of mass-merchandise stores founded by William Thomas Grant  that operated from 1906 until 1976. The stores were generally of the variety store format located in downtown’s .

Gutmann/Grant retired in 1961, when he and his wife moved to San Diego. He died there of cancer on 22-06-1962, age 81. Shortly beforehand, he wrote to his son Heinz, who had changed his name to Howard when he immigrated and joined the U.S. Army: “I enjoyed a wonderful life and [at] 81, you have to know that you cannot live for ever.”

Gutmann lived in St. Louis and worked as a typewriter salesman. He was buried with his wife Mary Tedi, who died age 85 on 13-03-1982, at Home of Peace Cemetery in San Diego.

 

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