Remer, Otto Ernst, born in Neubrandenburg on 18-08-1912, volunteered for military service in 1932 at the age of 20. By the time of the attack on Poland, in September 1939, he was an Oberleutnant in a Motorized Infantry Company, and went on to serve in the Balkans campaign, as well as in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. By April 1942, he was a battalion commander, and he joined the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland, nicknamed “Die Feuerwehr”, The Fire Brigade in order to lead the special-weapons 4th Heavy Battalion which supported the three rifle battalions of the elite regiment. By February 1943, he commanded the 1st Armoured Battalion of Großdeutschland Division, after the original Infantry Regiment GD expanded to become a full division. His troops, mounted in halftracks, covered the withdrawal of an entire Waffen SS tank corps during the fighting at Kharkov. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for his service as battalion commander, and in November 1943, he was awarded the Oak leaves to the Knight’s Cross for leadership at Krivoi Rog, which was presented by Adolf Hitler personally (did you know). In March 1944, after being wounded, Remer – now a major – was chosen to command the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland, a unit that performed public and security duties in Berlin. During this time, Remer and his men successfully stopped the 20 July plot to seize control of the German government, following the assassination attempt on Hitler. Hitler talked to him by phone Major Otto Ernst Remer was the commanding officer of the “Wachbattalion Grossdeutschland”. These forces were the only existing Battalion of the Wehrmacht in Berlin of July 20th , 1944 which was not involved by order in the commanding structure of the group of conspiracy officer – led by von Stauffenberg. Upon being ordered by General Paul von Hase
to arrest Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels. In the trial against Hase and a number of other members of the plot at the Volksgerichtshof under jurist Roland Freisler on 08-08-1944, they were sentenced to death and hanged later the same day at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin, age 59. Remer went to Goebbels office to do so, pistol in hand. Goebbels, however, used his oratory skills to dissuade Remer from arresting him, insisting instead that Hitler was still alive. When Remer asked for proof, Goebbels picked up the phone and asked to be put through to Hitler. Within the minute, Hitler was on the phone, and Goebbels handed the receiver to Remer. He was the first and only neutral officer to hear the Führer’s voice live , during a phone “Blitzgespräch” call to the Wolfsschanze Headquarters in East Prussia. In that phone call he identified Hitler’s voice as real and realized that The Führer was alive. Hitler asked Remer whether he recognized his voice, then gave Remer orders to crush the plot with his troops, which he did. That same night Remer was promoted two ranks to Oberst. An order by Hitler was given to surround the Berlin Government area of “Bendlerblock”. The explosion merely wounded Hitler, but the conspirators spread the word that he was dead. Remer gave order immediately to “Grossdeutschland Guard Soldier” to rush to that area. Remer went on to command an expanded Führer Begleit Brigade (FBB), a field unit formed from a Grossdeutschland cadre, in East Prussia with little success. His men suffered high casualties, reportedly due to his leadership. The brigade was then transferred to the west for the Ardennes Offensive, in December 1944, and again suffered high casualties for little gain. In 1945, when the FBB was expanded to divisional status, he was promoted to Generalmajor, and appointed to command it. He was not considered a successful division commander, for when the FBD moved to Silesia in March 1945, Remer was criticized for lack of ability once again. He was eventually captured by American troops, and remained a prisoner of war until 1947. Remer’s Socialist Reich Party, which he had co-founded in 1949, was banned in 1952, after it had gathered about 360.000 supporters in Lower Saxony, and won 16 seats in the state parliament. The Socialist Reich Party also won eight seats in the Bremen state parliament. In the 1980s General Remer headed Die Deutsche Freiheitsbewegung, German Freedom Movement and published a newsletter, Der Bismarck-Deutsche. From 1991 to 1994, Remer put out his own publication, the Remer-Depesche. Remer was sentenced to 22 months of imprisonment in October 1992, for writing and publishing a number of articles that were said to incite “racial hatred”, through their questioning of the allegiated Holocaust. The political impact of this case upon the government is discussed in Searle’s WehrmachtGenerals. His complaint over alleged violations of fairness of trial and freedom of speech was unanimously rejected by the European Commission on Human Rights. He filed numerous appeals, and eventually fled to Marbella, Spain, prior to his actually being incarcerated. The high court of Spain ruled against appeals made by the German government to extradite Remer, claiming that he had not committed any crime under Spanish law.
Death and burial ground of Remer, Otto Ernst.
Later living in Egypt and Syria, Remer returned to Spain, and remained a wanted man in Germany and died old age 85 on 04-10-1997 in Marbella.
Remer died of natural causes, said the director of the mortuary handling the funeral details. He had used a wheelchair in recent years
and breathed with the help of an oxygen pump, Spanish news reports said. Remer is buried on the local cemetery of Marbella, Spain. He is survived by his wife, Marie Agustin.
A fellow veteran of the Grossdeutschland Division had the following to say about his former commanding officer:
We, his former comrades, have deeply regretted that destiny confronted this young officer in July 1944 with a situation with consequences the bearing of which I should assume are beyond the powers of any human being. No judgment will be made here as to whether his decision on 20 July was right or wrong. But the consequences of his decision were so terrible, and have cost so much of the best German blood, that we old soldiers had expected that a man to whom destiny gave such a burden to carry until the end of his life would recognize this, and would thereafter live quietly and in seclusion. We, his former comrades, lack any sympathy for the fact that Herr Remer fails to summon up this attitude of self-effacement