Löhr, Alexander, born on 20-05-1885 in Turnu-Severin in the Kingdom of Romania, was the youngest child of Hauptmann Friedrich Johann Löhr and his wife Catherine, born Heimann, who was a Russian. His father a Danube steamship captain, had served as a 2nd captain on a hospital ship in the Black Sea during the Russo-Turkish War. Here his father had met his mother, a Ukrainian nurse. She was the daughter of the Russian military doctor Mihail Alexandrovich Heimann from Odessa. After the war, they married in 1879 and moved to the Turnu-Severin in Romania. The marriage produced three sons, Friedrich born in 1880, Michael born in 1882, and Alexander in 1885. Due to his mother faith he belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Alexander Löhr, just like his brothers, attended the Reichsdeutsche, Imperial German, Evangelic Volksschule, primary school, in Turnu-Severin. The brothers grew up speaking four languages which were German, Russian, French and Romanian. The various nationalities in the multinational state of Austria-Hungary and their particular family situation were the driving factors behind this. His father spoke little Russian and his mother barely German, the consequence was that the family language was French. His father was transferred to Vienna on business, where Löhr completed his elementary schooling. He then pursued a career in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, which was denied to him out of medical reasons. He then attended the Militär-Unterrealschule in Kaschau, in Slovakia, in January 1896 where he remained until 1900. Löhr transferred to the infantry cadet school at Temeswar, in Romania, in January 1900. Until 1903, he was prepared for military service under the influence of the subaltern. In 1903 he, age 18, was posted to Vienna where he attended Theresianische Militärakademie in the Burg Wiener Neustadt until 1906.
Löhr, together with his two brothers, traveled to the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Egypt during the summer holidays. While visiting relatives in Odessa, he became witness to the mutiny on the Russian battleship Potemkin in late June 1905. He graduated from the military academy on 18-08-1906, the birthday of Franz Joseph I
, with an overall rating of “very good”. Franz Joseph I died old age 86, on 21-11-1916 in Vienna. On the same day Löhr was retired as a Leutnant and immediately volunteered for service in the Royal Hungarian Infantry Regiment. Nr. 85 “von Gaudernak” where he served as a platoon commander. Löhr served as Platoon Commander of a Pioneer Battalion in the 85th Infantry Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I. By 1921 Löhr had reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Between 1921 and 1934 he held many staff positions in the military, including Director of the Air Force in the Federal Armies Ministry. In 1934, he was made Commander of the small Austrian Air Force, a position which he held until the Anschluss in 1938. Löhr, who had been promoted to Major on 01-07-1920, was accepted into the newly created Austrian Bundesheer on 01-09-1920. On 15-03-1938, Löhr a Hitler fan from the beginning and who exhorted his men to join the Nazi Party, was transferred to the Luftwaffe where he became commander of the German Air Force in Austria. By then he had been promoted to Generalleutnant. He was commander of Luftflotte 4 in the East from May 1939 until June 1942 and succeeded by Generalfeldmarschall Wolffram Freiherr von Richthofen. Luftflotte 4, at Löhr’s orders, carried out the bombing of Warsaw, Poland in September 1939 and of Belgrade, Yugoslavia in April 1941. Löhr had developed a plan to bomb Belgrad with incendiary bombs first, that the fires help the nightly second attack to find the targets. This costs thousands of people their lives. Through the high appreciated, merciless leading in these bombings, Löhr made fast career and was promoted to Generaloberst effective on 03-05-1941. Löhr commanded the 12th Army from 12-07-1942 through to December 1942 where he succeeded General der Pioniere, Walter Kuntze
Kuntze here in prison with Fieldmarshal of the Infantry, Wilhelm List in English prison, died age 77, on 01-04-1960 in Detmold. Löhr lost his command to General der Panzertruppen Walter Wenck and was appointed the Wehrmacht Commander in Southeast Europe on 01-08-1942, and from 28-12-1942 this position was re-designated as Commander-in-Chief in southeast Europe. The forces under his command were also designated as Army Group E, and he was appointed as its commander. A member of Army Group E who later rose to prominence was Austrian president and United Nations General Secretary Kurt Waldheim, who served in the military administration of Thessaloniki . As Commander-in-Chief, Löhr controlled all subordinate commands in southeast Europe, including the Commanding General der Artillerie in Serbia, Paul Bader , the military commander in the Salonika-Aegean area, the military commander in southern Greece, the commander of Fortress Crete, the naval commander in the Aegean Sea, the German plenipotentiary General in the Independent State of Croatia, the Commanding General of German troops in the NDH, and the military attaché in Sofia, Bulgaria. Paul Bader died old age 87 on 28-02-1971 in Emmendingen. As Commander-in-Chief of Army Group E, Löhr, here with Generaloberst Bruno Loerzer
, oversaw the successful Dodecanese Campaign. The last Wehrmacht reports on 09-05-1945 say: Reports regarding the situation of the army groups Löhr, Lothar Rendulic and Ferinand Schörner are unavailable to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht to this hour. Löhr surrendered on 09-05-1945 to Yugoslav Partisans at Topolšica, Slovenia, Yugoslavia.
Death and burial ground of Löhr, Alexander.
Alexander Löhr was imprisoned by the Yugoslavs from 15-05-1945 to 26-02-1947. He was found guilty of war crimes, and executed on 26-02-1947, age 61. Specifically, Löhr was executed by firing squad in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, for his role as the commander of the Luftwaffe units involved in the Bombing of Belgrade in 1941. Also sentenced to death and executed by hanging were the SS-Brigadeführer August Schmidhuber age 45 on 19-02-1947 and the Generals Johannes Hans Fortner, age 62, , Fritz Neidholdt age 52, , General der Gebirgstruppe, Ludwig Kübler and his brother Generalmajor, Josef Kübler, Adalbert Lonczar and Oberst Günther Tribukait. Bischof, Plasser and Stelzl-Marx state that Löhr’s role in the bombing of Belgrade is “hotly contested”. Some sources argue that he was not in a position to oppose Hitler. Others state that because he had been partly responsible for the firebombing of Warsaw in 1939, he was well aware of the likely results of such an attack on Belgrade, and could have resigned. It has been observed that his resignation would not have stopped the firebombing, but also that he displayed no civil courage later in the war, particularly when it came to the deportation of Jews. Alexander Löhr was buried somewhere in Belgrade or just thrown in the Danube river by the Partizans, but, very still honoured in Austria,
There is very contested Remembrance stone in a chapel of the Stifts Church in the Mariahilfer Strasse no 24 in Vienna. Wolfgang Linke sent me the pictures.