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The Nazi 1923 Blutfahne or Blood Flag.


The Blutfahne or Blood Flag flag was that of the 5th SA Sturm, which was carried in the march towards the Feldherrnhalle . When the Munich police fired on the Nazis, the flag bearer Heinrich Trambauer was hit and dropped the flag. Andreas Bauriedl,  an SA man marching alongside the flag, was killed and fell onto it, staining the flag with his blood.

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There were two stories about what happened to the flag in the aftermath of the Putsch: one was that the wounded flag bearer Heinrich Trambauer  took the flag to a friend where he removed it from its staff before leaving with it hidden inside his jacket and later giving it to a Karl Eggers  for safekeeping. The other story was that the flag was confiscated by the Munich authorities and was later returned to the Nazis via Eggers. In the mid-1930s, after a myth emerged that Andreas Bauriedl himself had been carrying the flag, an investigation by Nazi archivists concluded that Trambauer was the standard-bearer and that the flag had been concealed by an SA man, not taken by the police, though they had confiscated other flags which they later returned. Heinrich Trambauer, age 43 on 16-10-1942 in München died of  “catarrhal-purulent [bronchitis]”. He probably was not the victim of euthanasia during National Socialism. Munich funeral director Hans Hackl and an honor guard of participants in the Hitler Putsch took part in the memorial service with the “blood flag”. There is no graveside anymore. Regardless of which story was the correct one, after Adolf Hitler was released from Landsberg prison, after serving nine months of a five-year prison sentence for his part in the putsch, Eggers gave the flag to him after Hitler received the flag he had it fitted to a new staff and finial and just below the finial was a silver dedication sleeve which bore the names of the 16 dead participants of the putsch. Bauriedl was one of the 16 honourees. In addition, the flag was no longer attached to the staff by its original sewn-in sleeve, but by a red-white-black intertwined cord which ran through the sleeve instead.

In 1926, at the second Nazi party congress at Weimar, Hitler ceremonially bestowed the flag on Joseph Berchtold Joseph Berchtold.jpg, the then head of the SS. Berchtold died age 65 on 23-08-1962 in Herrsching. The flag was thereafter treated as a sacred object by the Nazi Party and carried by SS-Sturmbannführer, later Standarte Führer Jacob Grimminger at various Nazi party ceremonies. One of the most visible uses of the flag was when Hitler, at the Party’s annual Nuremberg rallies, touched other Nazi banners with the Blutfahne, thereby “sanctifying” them. This was done in a special ceremony called the “flag consecration”  in German Fahnenweihe.

When not in use, the Blutfahne was kept at the headquarters of the Nazi Party in Munich, the Brown House  with an SS guard of honour. The flag had a small tear in it, believed to have been caused during the Putsch, that went unrepaired for a number of years.

The Blutfahne was last seen in public at the Volkssturm induction ceremony on 18 October 1944. This ceremony was conducted by Heinrich Himmler and attended by Wilhelm Keitel Heinz Guderian Hans Lammers Martin Bormann , Franz Fiehler   Fiehler died on 8 December 1969 in the village of Diessen, and Obergruppenführer, Chief of Staff of the SA after Victor Lutze,  died in a car accident, Wilhelm Schepmann Wilhelm Schepmann, 1938 Schepmann died age 76 on 26-07-1970 in Gifhorn.

After this last public display, the Blutfahne vanished into history. Its current whereabouts are unknown and it is not even certain whether the flag still exists.

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