Monday, June 26, 2017

The Greatest of Germans

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

Why is it that certain nations are afforded carte blanche at annexation and genocide? Why is it Russia is assaulted for Russians in Crimea and East Ukraine, a historic Russian state seeking to join Russia, while Poland after World War II, was awarded all of German Prussia, drove all the Germans out and changed every German name to Polish?

One of the greatest Germans of the modern era was a Count or Graf from Selesia, by the name of Strachwitz and later on the passing of his father, Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz. He would later receive the title of Graf, which is Count, and the sir name Hyazinth, after the Saint as was custom in his family.

Militarily trained, he was a remarkable male in advocating fitness before World War I, and a member of the Olympic team, but the war thwarted any Olympia dreams.

A master equestrian, he was put in command of a Cavalry scout troop, on the Belgian border, where he was dispatched on a reconnaissance mission which was a modern miracle. He literally was behind French and British lines for six weeks, unable to cross back into German territory, and was living off the land.

After six weeks behind the lines their rations were depleted and they had to resort to stealing or begging.  

Captured in purchased civilian clothes, he and his scout team were lined up to be shot, but were saved by a French officer arriving and stopping the firing squad. This would not be the end of the ordeal for this fantastic man, as he was then not afforded German Soldier status and put to hard labor, where he was tortured by the French and the inmates at prison, including being chained to a wall naked.

At Avignon prison he was physically and mentally tortured by both the guards and the other prisoners. This included being chained naked to a wall, deprivation of food and severe beatings. After one year at Avignon he was given a German uniform and taken to the prisoner of war camp at Fort Barraux

The situation as the fortress of Barraux did not improve, as he began digging an escape tunnel, and when discovered, Strachwitz was put as a human shield in allied ships to keep the Germans from sinking them. Yes a war crime and this is what the French were engaged in against the Fatherland.


After suffering a Seaward Holocaust in almost dying at the hands of the French allies, he was returned to prison where he again attempted to escape, sliced his foot on razor wire, developed blood poisoning, and was denied care by the French, where he almost died again, but was rescued by the Red Cross and taken to Switzerland for treatment.

At Barraux he learned that the fighting in the west had turned into a war of attrition and that only on the Eastern Front were German troops still reporting successes. His health improved rapidly and Strachwitz started making escape plans. With other German soldiers he started digging an escape tunnel, which was detected. Strachwitz was again put in solitary confinement. As a deterrence against German U-boat attacks, German prisoners of war were sometimes carried in the cargo holds of French merchant ships. Now classified as "determined to escape", Strachwitz was put in the cargo hold of a ship which commuted between Marseilles or Toulon and Thessaloniki, Greece. Malnourished after four trips without food, he was returned to Barraux. During further solitary confinement he recovered again, and made further escape plans. With a fellow soldier, he climbed over the prison walls, planning to head for neutral Switzerland. However, Strachwitz injured his foot when he fell into barbed wire, and the injury caused blood poisoning. While searching for help, they were picked up by the French police and turned over to a military court. He was then sent to a war prison for officers at Carcassonne where his request for medical attention was ignored. The injury was severe and he became delirious. An inspection by the Swiss medical commission from the International Red Cross resulted in him being transferred to a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, where he awoke after days of unconsciousness

After the Masticate, the Count returned to Germany and all was in chaos. The Soldiers had lost all discipline and the communists were about to overthrow Germany. It was at this point, Strachwitz traveled to Berlin at the center of the insurrection, asked for his uniform, and joined in the Freedom Corps to save Germany at the orders of the President.
Strachwitz saved Germany.

On his journey he saw many former German soldiers whose military discipline had broken down. Unable to tolerate this situation and fearing a Communist revolution, he travelled on to Berlin, arriving at the Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof where he was met by a friend. Strachwitz had called ahead asking his friend to bring him his Gardes du Corps uniform, which he put on immediately. Berlin was in a state of revolution. The newly established provisional government under the leadership of Chancellor Friedrich Ebert was threatened by the Spartacist uprising of the German Revolution, whose ambition was a Soviet-style proletarian dictatorship. Ebert ordered the former soldiers, organized in Freikorps (paramilitary organizations) among them Strachwitz, to attack the workers and put down the uprising.
By 1921, the Count was again defending Germany when the Poles attempted to annex Silesia. Again putting on his uniform, he led two corps against the invading Poles, outflanked them and routed them. For this Strachwitz was decorated with the highest of honors.

In 1925, amid differences with his father, he eventually would take over the family estate, found Dairy Cooperatives for the Germans, and literally became one of the most wealthy men in Germany in a wide array of businesses which flourished under the Count.

In 1925, Strachwitz and his family moved from their palace in Groß Stein to their manor in Alt Siedel, because of personal differences with his father, who remained in Groß Stein. Between 1924 and 1933 Strachwitz founded two dairy cooperatives which many local farmers joined. In parallel he studied a few semesters of forestry. He used his knowledge to influence the Silesian forest owners to sell their wood to the paper mills. He continued to use his influence in Upper Silesia to modernize forestry and farming. His ambitions were aided by his presidency of the Forstausschuss (Forestry Committee) of Upper Silesia and his membership in the Landwirtschaftskammer (Chamber of Agriculture). Strachwitz completely took over his father's estate in 1929, first as the General Manager and then as owner, with full responsibility. This made Strachwitz one of the most wealthy land and forest owners in Silesia. Along with the palace in Groß Stein he owned a lime kiln and quarry in Klein Stein—present-day Kamionek—and Groß Stein, a distillery in Groß Stein and Alt Siedel

In 1933, when the National Socialist came to power, the Count asked to be transferred from the Cavalry to the tank corp in Second Battalion made of Silesians, and took part in the first organized maneuvers of tanks in the field.

By 1939, in Second Panzer Regiment, he took part in the invasion of Poland, then the invasion of France where he was hospitalized with meningitis and then a foot injury, but by October, he was in the Balkans with the 2nd Panzer Regiment, liberating those peoples from the Soviet.

In a remarkable follow up, the Count would gain his nickname of the Armored Count in the 2nd Panzer Regiment would crush before it hundreds of Russian main battle tanks in successive battles. This was the glory days of the Eastern Front, and while Africa had the Desert Fox in Rommel, there was an equal in Russia in the Armored Count.

Throughout the summer of 1942 Strachwitz led his tanks in the advance to the Don River and across it to Stalingrad. At Kalach on the Don his regiment claimed the destruction of more than 270 Soviet tanks within 48 hours. His unit was the first to reach the Volga River north of Stalingrad on 23 August 1942. According to Williamson, it was during this campaign that Strachwitz gained the nickname der Panzergraf (the Armoured Count). By late August, the 16th Panzer Division was assigned to General der Panzertruppe Friedrich Paulus' 6. Armee, and Strachwitz had been promoted to command the entire Panzer-Regiment 2. During one engagement on the northern flank of the Kessel, his unit claimed to have destroyed 105 T-34s

A severe injury caused by his own gunner who smashed the Count's arm while firing a cannon, the Count had his arm resting on, caused him to retire from field command, which was a great loss to the German Army.
Bad things continued to occur to Germany from this point on in the war, and this included Strachwitz, who while winning in battles, eventually was involved in a car crash which killed all, except himself.

Falling back brilliantly before the Red Army, Stachwitz was finally encircled in Czechoslovakia, where again his brilliance followed through in he broke through the Russian lines, in order to surrender to the Americans at Bavaria.

The Count's life was shattered in the years after the war, and upon his release from prison in 1947, his wife had died, as had his son. The allies had allowed the Poles to steal his property, and he was left with nothing.

Strachwitz was released by the Allies in June 1947. He had lost his wife, his youngest son and his estate during the war. Alda had been killed on 6 January 1946 in a traffic accident with US military truck in Velden an der Vils. Strachwitz, still a US prisoner of war in camp Allendorf near Marburg, was denied permission to attend the funeral. Harti, who had lost a leg, was killed in action shortly before the end of the war on 25 March 1945 near Holstein. Strachwitz married again on 30 July 1947 in Holzhausen. With his new wife Nora, née von Stumm (1916–2000), he had four children, two daughters and two sons, born between 1951 and 1960

Never to be overcome though, the Count accepted a job in Syria, but not all went well in Syria, and with the overthrow of the regime there, his family departed to Italy, intent on gaining employment in Argentina, but fell upon managing a winery, whereupon they all returned to Germany in 1950 to settle on an estate, where they would live in peace until his death in 1968 from lung cancer.

They returned to Germany in 1951 with a Red Cross passport. Strachwitz settled on an estate in Winkl near Grabenstätt in Bavaria and founded the "Oberschlesisches Hilfswerk" (Upper Silesian Fund) supporting fellow Silesians in need.

Count Strachwitz was one of the greatest of Germans. He thrived through two world wars, which would have killed a million other men, and in the end this greatest of Panzer commanders, never forgot his people of Silesia in providing assistance to them.

This is a man to be celebrated in being of the finest order and caliber of manhood.  Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz.