Lindeiner genannt von Wildau, Friedrich-Wilhelm Franz Max Erdmann Gustav von, born 12-12-1880 in Glatz, Province of Silesia, German Empire, present-day Kłodzko, Poland, entered the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß as a Second Leutnant on graduating from the Corps of Cadets on 15-03-1898. On 01-05-1902 he left the Prussian Army and the following day entered the Schutztruppe for German East Africa. Here, he served as the Adjutant of Gustav Adolf von Götzen , the German explorer and Governor of German East Africa. He came to Rwanda in 1894 at the head of a troop of 620 soldiers, becoming the second European to set foot in Rwanda, after Oscar Baumann , and later became the first European to cross the length of Rwanda. Von Götzen was the first governor of German East Africa. Governor of German East Africa, from June 20th to 13-09-1905 and as the Headquarters Adjutant of the Schutztruppe for German East Africa from September 7th to 11-10-1906. Von Gotzen died on 02-12-1910, aged 44, in Hamburg, German Empire
Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau took part in the Maji Maji Rebellion, for which he received the Pour le Mérite the “Blue Max” and the Prussian Order of the Crown 4th Class with Swords. The Maji Maji Rebellion, sometimes called the Maji Maji War, was an armed rebellion against German colonial rule in German East Africa. The war was triggered by a German policy designed to force the indigenous population to grow cotton for export, and lasted from 1905 to 1907.The war resulted in 250,000–300,000 total dead, mostly civilians from famine.
He left Schutztruppe service on 31-07-1908 and rejoined the Prussian Army on 01-08-1908 with a simultaneous promotion to Oberleutnant and was assigned to the 4. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. On 20-07-1912, upon promotion to Hauptmann (Captain), he was assigned as the Commander of the 11th company of 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. On 10-08-1914 he was assigned as the Commander of the Infanterie-Stabswache (“Infantry Staff Guard”) at the Kaiser’s General Field Headquarters. On September 19th he returned to his regiment as Commander of the 11th company, where he was wounded during the First Battle of Ypres on 17-11-1914. Returning to duty on 13-04-1915 he assumed command of the regiment’s 5th company, and then of its second battalion on 27-05-1915. He was again wounded during the pursuit between the Bug River and Jasiolda on 29-08-1915. On returning to duty he assumed command of the Füsilier battalion of 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß and was again severely wounded on 05-12-1915 in fighting around Roye-Noyon. On 24-09-1914 he was assigned to Etappen-Inspektion 5 (Lines of Communication Inspectorate) and on 04-10-1916 he was assigned as the Personal Adjutant of Prince Joachim of Prussia, the youngest son of Wilhelm II,
German Emperor, by his first wife, Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. He committed suicide at age 29. After his return to his Regiment on 30-10-1917 he became the Adjutant to the Governor of Riga-Dünamünde. Appointed as Adjutant to the Garde-Reserve-Korps on 23-04-1918 he was promoted to Major on 15-07-1918. His final wartime appointment was as Adjutant of the 4th Army, a post he assumed on 08-11-1918. Following the Armistice he was leader of the collecting point in Potsdam of the Volunteer Border Protection Unit East and Upper East (Grenzschutz Ost/Oberost) from January 18, 1919. He retired on 20-09-1919 with permission to wear the uniform of the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. He worked in several civilian posts, and on Den Haag 25-03-1909 in the Haque married a Dutch baroness,.Henriette Baronesse van der Goes van Dirxland, born in Utrecht on 23.12.1878. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1937 as one of Hermann Goering’s personal staff.
Refusing retirement, he was the Kommandant of Stalag Luft III at Żagań during World War II. Following the prisoner escape he feigned mental illness to avoid imprisonment. He was wounded by Russian troops advancing towards Berlin while acting as second in command of an infantry unit. The Great Escape took place on the night of 24-03-1943. 76 prisoners escaped through a 110 meters long tunnel named “Harry” in Stalag Luft III. After the alarm was raised and the hunt on the airmen seized only 3 escapees managed to stay out of German clutches, the other 73 were caught again and brought back to the camp. Hitler personally ordered the infamous “Sagan Befehl”. Ordering all 73 to be shot, as well as camp commandant Lindeiner who designed the camp. It is said that due to the interference of Herman Goering this number was reduced to 50. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, – Generalmajor Adolf Westhoff and Generalmajor Hans von Graevenitz all argued against this order for it was in conflict with the Geneva convention. Lindeiner later surrendered to advancing British forces as the war ended and was imprisoned for two years at the British prison known as the “London Cage”. He testified during the British SIB investigation concerning the Stalag Luft III murders. He had followed the Geneva Conventions concerning the treatment of POWs and had won the respect of the senior prisoners. Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell RAF (30-10-1910 – 29-03-1944) was a South African-born British military aviator. T He is best known as the mastermind of the “Great Escape” from Stalag Luft III in 1944, but was one of the men recaptured and subsequently murdered by the Gestapo.
Death and burial ground of Lindeiner genannt von Wildau, Friedrich-Wilhelm Franz Max Erdmann Gustav von.
He was released when the testimony given by Allied prisoners at Stalag Luft III saved him from life imprisonment or possibly the death penalty. He died on 22-05-1963 at the age of 82, less than two months before the film, “The Great Escape” was released. Oberst Friedrich Wilhelm Gustav von Lindeiner genannt von Wildau was buried in Frankfurt am Main.