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Leslie Howard - Filmstar of the 30's & 40's


Paul Johnson
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Moonraker/Dominic,

I too have seen the Churchill Bodyguard series and you are quite right, there is a resemblence between Thompson & Howard that could easily lead to a mistake being made from a distance, or in the dark!

Was he working for MI5? Who knows but it's worth looking at.

PAUL J

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The Northampton-born aviation writer Arch Whitehouse mentions his acqaintance with Howard / Steiner in his autobiography 'The Fledgling', while serving as a trooper with the NY.

Sorry I cannot go into more detail at present, but other duties call...

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Thanks Kate,

At least this helps to further confirm that the Leslie Howard Steiner we have looked at is was the famous actor. There is still no indication as to why he relinquished his commission or why he was not conscripted later in the war.

Doubtless, there are some answers somewhere but, as with many things in life, some questions will remain unanswered.

Thanks Again

PAUL JOHNSON

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  • 1 month later...
Could a factor in all of this be the fact that he was Jewish?

Not in the sense that Jewish citizens were not interested in serving, but in the sense that, in various subtle ways, Jews may not have been especially welcome, especially as officers, and a request to opt out would be received positively. This might explain why he was allowed (or pressured?) to leave.

(...)

Thinking about it... wasn't Siegfried Sasoon jew or of jewish parentage? He served in a high-esteemed regular battalion and was awarded the MM. Maybe this wasn't the main issue in Howard's motives to relinquish his commission and leaving the army.

Gloria

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Thinking about it... wasn't Siegfried Sasoon jew or of jewish parentage? He served in a high-esteemed regular battalion and was awarded the MM. Maybe this wasn't the main issue in Howard's motives to relinquish his commission and leaving the army.

Gloria

There was anti semitism in WW1, but I get the impression that anti-German sentiment was more common. So much so that the Windsor's and Mountbatten's adopted these names in place of their true German names.

It's a long time since i have read it but doesn't Robert Graves in "Goodbye To All That" say something like it is a good job that most people didn't realise that Sasoon MC, who had turned pacifist, had the first name of Siegried?

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There was anti semitism in WW1

Beppo,

Not that I would deny it, but I have the feeling that an officer in the Great War might have more chances of being mistreated/given the cold shoulder by other officers (or superiors) on account of "unproper" class origins unbecoming to an "Officer and Gentleman" (i.e.: being Working Class or Trade) than on account of ethnic origins. Though possibly howar, as other posters have indicated, had the added difficulty of having "enemy" parentage. I wonder if his father was ever interned on that account.

Gloria

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A biography on Leslie Howard in "Stars of The Screen 1933" published late 1932, says that "Leslie Howard was born in London and educated at Dulwich College. His stage debut occurred in 1917 in "Peg o' My Heart" on tour." It goes on to say that "after appearing in several West-End productions he went to America in 1920, where he made a distinct success on the New York stage." He returned to work in England in 1931. The list of "Noms de Plume" at the end of the book has him listed with the original name of Leslie Stainer. ;)

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  • 3 months later...

There's a TV documentary about Leslie Howard's death on the History Channel this Friday, April 28 at 1930. (Until I next turn on my TV I'm not sure whether this is Free-to-vVew or subscription-only.) The Sunday Times listing says the programme-makers consulted declassified German military papers. Wonder if it will reveal anything new; sometimes programmes like this disappoint.

Moonraker

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  • 4 months later...

Following up on Moonraker's posts above

I have just seen the episode of 'Bodyguard...........' and the story is a little more complicated as I recall it....

Churchill was in North Africa with the American, Marshall. They were meeting with Eisenhower to discuss the invasion of Italy.

Churchill was accompanied by his bodyguard Walter Thompson.

There was a problem with the magneto on one of the four engines of their plane and Churchill and Thompson were forced to delay their flight home to the UK

In 1946 (?) one of Eisenhower' staff mentioned in his memoirs that it was Churchill's bodyguard who had tampered with the plane

At that time this story was strenuously denied by both Churchill and by Thompson

However Thompson's version of the denial is a little askew since he seems to have mixed up the affair with another flight from North Africa that same year

Also, the account of Eisenhower's aid was backed up by another person there at the time (sorry, I didn't catch who this was)

Thompson's son claims that his father certainly had the necessary expertise to easily do the necessary work on the plane's engine

Why would they do such a trick? e.g.: If you're Churchill, then why not just say "I want to stay an extra day or two" and that's an end of it.

The programme suggests that the answer may be Ultra

Churchill may have had advance warning of a planned German attempt on his plane, thanks to Ultra. Also, he was most insistent, that whenever Ultra information was used, a cover story must always be provided, so that the Germans would not suspect that their codes were broken.

Hence the tampering with one of the plane's engines.

It may also have been that counter-intelligence were also suggesting 'in the field' at this time that Churchill may return via Portugal to put the Germans off attacking his flight from North Africa.

Sadly, and by unforeseen co-incidence, Howard and his agent were flying from Lisbon at this very time. As Moonraker points out, the programme provided photographs indicating that Howard's agent could have been mistaken for Churchill, and Howard himself was tall and slim, rather like the bodyguard Walter Thompson. They could easily have been mis-identified by a German agent watching Lisbon airport.

Regarding Terry's point that the plane was BOAC rather than KLM. The programme did refer to Howard's flight as a KLM one.

As Holland was occupied at this time did KLM operate then from the UK under BOAC's banner, and hence the confusion here?

To digress a little; a comment on the observation of Bob's father which he referred to in his post # 42 above, regarding the numbers of Jews involved in the fighting of the Great War.

Jill Hamilton offers the following figures in her book 'God, Guns and Israel' [chapter 13, page 115]

Germany - at least 100,000 including 4,000 officers

Austria-Hungary - 300,000 including 25,000 officers

Turkey - 20,000

France - 55,000 of whom 9,500 were killed in action

British Empire - 50,000 [2,300 of them Australians] of whom 8,600 were killed in action

Regards

Michael

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According to LesleieHoward's medical board at Colchester, he claimed to be suffering from headaches and faintness which the board termed "eurathenasia" They also noted that he suffered from "irregular nocturnal exudations". However his heart was sound and there was no evidence of any organic trouble. The board concluded that he was fit for general service and that, although he contracted this condition whilst in the Army, it was not caused by his military service.

Four months later he was discharged as no longer fit for service.

Interestingly the same question being asked here ,was also asked in 1957 by ET Williams CB CBE DSO MA LLD,of Balliol College, Oxford. In a letter to the War Office Librarian headed "The Dictionary of National Biography" he said:

"I wonder whether it would be possible for you to turn up the records and tell me why Leslie Howard Steiner resigned his commission as a second lieutenant in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry in May 1916? I would be interested to know. He dropped the Steiner and became a well-known actor."

The request was denied on the grounds that it was "contrary to the practice of the Department to furnish information of the nature asked for..."

Leslie Howard Steiner did not serve overseas, which is confirmed in his file.

Terry Reeves

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  • 6 months later...

Radio 4 is broadcasting "The Wrong Hero" at 14.15 on Friday, April 27, a play which "tries to add up the puzzling element in the story" of Howard's disappearance. Apparently the official files on the mystery won't be opened until 2025.

Moonraker

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Blimey,

I'll only be 67 !!!!!!!!

Paul J

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Guys;

On the other side, my father, in his oral history, said that he encountered few Jews in the German Army in WW I. (As I work with it I am finding his oral history remarkably accurate.) Again, the same mechanism might have applied, Jews, especially "obvious Jews", being excluded at various points of the enrollment process. Most German Jews (by Rabbinical law, i.e., a Jewish mother) were highly assimilated, and many baptized. Certainly an obvious Orthodox or Hassidic Jew would have made the eyes of a enrollment commission roll. After WW I organized German Jewery engaged in a campaign, publishing books, proporting that they had done their share in the war effort. It would have been an irony to have been excluded from service based on subtle predjudice, and then discriminated against based on supposed failure to serve.

Certainly there were exceptional war heros of Jewish origin in both the UK and German forces. But to the non-expert in this area they seem to be a bit thin on the ground. Again, this was likely due to openly Jewish men not being accepted with open arms.

My father's commander in the Freikorps, Major von Stephani, the son of a Prussian general, a Guards officer, and a post-war extreme right-wing plotter, later served in the Reichstag as an Ehrenaryan, or "honorary Aryan"; he was to the right of the Nazis and was Jewish, it seems, so he had to serve in the Reichstag as an "honorary Aryan". Wierd!

Bob Lembke

Hallo Bob, :D

the following information (kindly supplied by Mr. Dave Danner of the GNIC Forum) might be of interest to you with regards Jewish Officers in the German Army of WW1:

Approximately 100,000 German Jews served in the Imperial German Army and Navy in the war, and about 85,000 were Frontsoldaten. About 12,000 were killed. The Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten was founded in February 1919 by Hauptmann Leo Löwenstein. Löwenstein was a reserve officer and physicist, so he doesn't show up in the Ehrenrangliste, but he was an Oberleutnant d.R. with IR 15 in 1914.

The Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten eventually had over 40,000 members. It published a Gedenkbuch of the fallen German Jewish soldiers in the war. It was banned by the Nazis in the late 1930s. Löwenstein ended up in Theresienstadt, but survived the war.

I'm not sure what percentage of those veterans were officers. Given their tendency to be more well-educated and urban, there might have been a fair number of Jewish reserve officers, but the active officer corps was heavily biased toward the German aristocracy. So if the two factors might have balanced out, the percentage of Jewish officers to Jewish soldiers might have been similar to that of the army as a whole.

Among a sampling of German Jewish officers who fell during the war and are included in the Gedenkbuch are:

Lt. Hans Abrahamsohn - 9./IR 426, d. 29.06.1918

Lt. Ernst Adler - Flieg.Ers.Abt. 238; Res.DragR 4, d. 25.04.1918

Lt. Max Aron - 10./IR 363, d. 27.08.1918

Lt. Heinrich Auerbach - 4./RIR 440, d. 23.08.1917

Lt. Dr. Fritz Berend, 10./IR 92, d. 29.09.1915

Lt. Otto Bergmann - 4./IR 65, d. 10.08.1917

Lt. Bruno Berneis - FFA 17, d. 08.08.1916

Lt. Fritz Bernhardt - Nachr. Zug/2.bay.IR, d. 28.09.1918

Lt. Rudolf Bernheimer - 4./bay. RIR 19, d. 19.02.1915

Lt Dr. Heinrich Fritz Bettsak - FFA A209, d. 11.09.1917

Lt. Ludwig Binswanger - Gr.Staffel Stab 5, d. 12.07.1918

Lt. Friedrich Brummel - 9./IR 43, d. 15.03.1917

Lt. Adolf Caro - 4./RIR 80, d. 22.06.1915

Lt. Martin Citron - 3./RIR 228, d. 02.09.1915

Lt. Friedrich Fritz Cohen - 11./RIR 212, d. 20.07.1918

Lt. Otto Cohn - 1./Fußar.Btl. 78, d. 06.04.1918

Lt. Carl Dresdner - 2.Ers.Btl./IR 163, d. 13.10.1918

Lt. Dr. Carl Elsas - 7./FAR 281, d. 30.03.1918

Lt. Hermann Engel - MG-Scharfsch.Abt. 28, d. 01.10.1918

Lt. Dr. Alfred Geiger - 4./RFAR 6, d. 09.10.1918

Lt. Alfred Gerstel - 3./FAR 403, d. 18.07.1918

Lt. Fritz Gerstl - 8./3.bay.IR, d. 15.04.1918

Lt. Alfons Glaser - 10./13.bay.IR, d. 25.08.1914

Oberlt. Dr. Emil Goldschmidt - 4./18.bay.IR, d. 31.03.1918

Lt. Kurt Gottlob - 2/2.Gd. RIR, d. 23.08.1917

Lt. Otto Grosser - 9./GIR 6, d. 31.05.1918

Lt. Dr. Fritz Walter Hantke - 2./1.bay.IR, d. 09.06.1916

Lt. Georg Hartmann - 6./LIR 72, d. 19.05.1915

Lt. Wilhelm Heimann - 11./RIR 99, d. 14.04.1917

Lt. Felix Heymann - 5./RIR 52, d. 28.07.1916

Lt. Aron Hirschmann - 8./22.bay.IR, d. 23.07.1918

Lt. Erich Hofmann - 9./RIR 252, d. 25.10.1918

Lt. Julius Wilhelm Holz - 3.MG./IR 99, d. 13.06.1918

Lt. Alfons Jakob - Stab Art.Kdr. 197, d. 17.10.1918

Lt. Edmund Joelsohn - 5./IR 446, d. 01.09.1918

Lt. Friedrich Kamp - 12./IR 25, d. 05.01.1915

Lt. Alfred Kahn - 1./RIR 203, d. 15.08.1918

Lt. Walter König - d. 08. 1915

Lt. Max Emanuel Koch - Stab/209.Inf.Brig.; DR 6, d. 09.03.1918

Lt. Walter Kronfeld - d. 16.07.1916

Lt. Oskar Kullmann - 7./bay. RFußarR 2, d. 07.06.1917

Lt. Bruno Levi - 8./RIR 120, d. 02.04.1916

Lt. Gustav Lewin - 1./IR 477, d. 10.10.1917

Lt. Hans Lewin - 1.MG/bay.RIR 5, d. 23.08.1918

Lt. Helmuth Lilienfeld - 2. MG/IR 70, d. 10.04.1918

Lt. Hans Lindenberg - 12./12.bay.IR, d. 05.09.1914

Lt. Hans Lobethal - 6./IR 82, d. 30.09.1918

Lt. Ernst May - MG-Abt. 9, d. 26.09.1915

Lt. Fritz Mecklenburg - Kampfgeschw. 1 der OHL Staffel 1, d. 21.09.1917

Hptm. Georg Meyer - 4./bay. RFAR 10, d. 15.12.1916

Lt. Walter Meyer - 10./LIR 15, d. 10.10.1918

Lt. Otto Mond - 3./RIR 52, d. 05.04.1918

Lt. Hans Ulrich Mosse - 10./13.bay.IR, d. 03.08.1916

Lt. Herbert Wilhelm Müller - 6./RFAR 10, d. 05.10.1916

Lt. Alfred Oppenheim - 3./RIR 29, d. 16.04.1917

Lt. Hermann Pelzer - MG/RIR 94, d. 07.10.1917

Lt. Leo Perl - 8./RIR 271, d. 29.07.1915

Lt. Kurt Pfingst - 10./RIR 12, d. 04.01.1917

Oberlt. Dr. Hans Philipp - MG/bay. RIR 7, d. 09.05.1915

Lt. Simon Pinczower - Flieg.Ers.Abt. 11, d. 15.05.1918

Lt. Oswald Röhl - Flieg.Ers.Abt. 1, d. 26.09.1918

Lt. Erich Roth - 8./RIR 130, d. 27.05.1918

Lt. Heinrich Samuelson - 9./IR 79, d. 02.07.1915

Lt. Moritz Friedrich Schäffer - 2./IR 51, d. 08.06.1917

Lt. Karl Scheuer - 7./FAR 92, d. 10.06.1918

Lt. Erwin Schlesinger - 6./IR 457, d. 04.10.1918

Lt. Adolf Max Schottlaender - 2./RIR 88, d. 15.08.1916

Lt. Ernst Schrag - 3.MG/RIR 94, d. 05.10.1917

Lt. Dr. Moritz Schüler - 9./bay. RIR 10, d. 04.11.1914

Lt. Heinrich Schwarzwald - 1.MG/LIR 6, d. 26.03.1917

Lt. Gottfried Sender - 9./RIR 24, d. 13.06.1915

Lt. Walter Sieburth - Min.Werf./IR 43, d. 28.03.1918

Lt. Otto Spanjer-Herford - 12./IR 58, d. 09.08.1918

Lt. Ludwig Stern - 1. Ldst.Inf.Ers.Btl. Landau, d. 01.12.1914

Lt. Georg Sternberg - 4./RFAR 36, d. 27.09.1917

Lt. Alfred Story - 11./RIR 269, d. 02.05.1915

Lt. Max Straus - Luftschiff-Abt. 37; Fesselballonzug 98, d. 13.12.1918

Lt. Martin Strelitz - 11./bay. LIR 7, d. 23.09.1914

Lt. Bernhard Trier - 1.Ers.Abt./FAR 61, d. 23.09.1915

Lt. Rudolf Weill - 3./LdwFAR 8, d. 09.06.1918

Lt. Walter Weiß - Div. Brückentrain 98, d. 24.09.1918

Lt. Ernst Werner - Mag. Fuhrparkkol. 486, d. 08.08.1917

Lt. Max Zeller - 10./bay. RIR 5, d. 24.06.1915

Major z.D. Max Hollerbaum - 2. Lst.Inf.Btl. Passau, d. 26.09.1915 (Maj. Hollerbaum was also a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War).

Oberlt. Oskar Herz - 1./bay. RIR 23, d. 16.07.1918

Oberlt. Heinrich Kohn - 4./bay. RIR 12, d. 26.09.1918

Oberlt. Hermann Stettiner - d. 11.1918

Lt. Dr. Bertram Ascher - 5./IR 146, d. 18.08.1915

Lt. Leopold Auerbacher - 3.MG/RIR 121, d. 24.03.1918

Lt. Fritz Baer - 1./MG-Scharfsch.-Abt. 11, d. 25.03.1918

Lt. Arthur Baerlein - Stab I./bay. RFAR 1, d. 28.10.1917

Lt. David Bauernfreund - 3./RIR 227, d. 11.08.1918

Lt. Max Bendix - 12./RIR 53, d. 30.04.1917

Lt. Walter Berent - 2.MG./RIR 82, d. 11.10.1918

Lt. Julius Bloch - 1./IR 144, d. 22.07.1917

Lt. Heinz Bogusch - 3./IR 43, d. 03.11.1917

Lt. Fritz Bonheim - 12./RIR 76, d. 30.09.1915

Lt. Julius David - 5./FAR 70, d. 22.10.1916

Lt. Kurt Elias - 15./IR 92, d. 25.06.1915

Lt. Alfred B. Elkan - 8./FAR 7, d. 08.10.1918

Lt. Berthold Elsas - 12./LIR 120, d. 29.03.1916

Lt. Max Engel - 4./IR 129, d. 23.10.1918

Lt. Alfred Falk - FFA A292, d. 30.01.1917

Lt. Friedrich Fuchs - 11./IR 362, d. 10.05.1917

Lt. Julius Fuld - 7./RIR 30, d. 02.08.1917

Lt. Julius Fürst - 2.MG/IR 189, d. 28.03.1918

Lt. Paul Martin Gans - 7./IR 76, d. 08.05.1919

Lt. Walter Erich Gans - 9./IR 67, d. 02.03.1915

Lt. Ewald Glaser - 9./IR 157, d. 08.08.1918

Lt. Julius Goldfinger - 9./LIR 29, d. 16.10.1915

Lt. Martin Goldschmidt - 6./FAR 20, d. 19.04.1918

Lt. Fritz Grabowski - 1./Gd.Gren.R 3, d. 14.09.1916

Lt. Ernst Grunewald - 9./IR 60, d. 19.08.1917

Lt. Fritz Guggenheimer - 3./bay. RIR 18, d. 25.07.1918

Lt. Josef Gumperts - 1./IR 53, d. 08.01.1916

Lt. Rudolf Gumprich - Minenwerf.Kp./JägR 11, d. 15.09.1918

Lt. Artur Gutenberg - 5./LIR 116, d. 25.09.1915

Lt Dr. Hans Gutmann - 1./RIR 242, d. 05.07.1916

Lt. Dr. Joseph Gutmann - 7./bay. RIR 5, d. 05.09.1914

Lt. Waldemar Heidegger - 6./RIR 67, d. 07.04.1915

Lt. Emil Heilbronner - 1./bay. RIR 15, d. 15.07.1918

Lt. Hellmut Hellwitz - 5./IR 112, d. 25.05.1915

Lt. Siegfried Henle - 1./IR 76, d. 26.04.1915

Lt. Otto Herz - 12./RIR 122, d. 29.12.1917

Lt. Dr. Alfred Herz - 6./RIR 68, d. 23.02.1915

Lt. Dr. jur. Paul Herzberg - 3./FAR 183, d. 23.10.1918

Lt. Erich Hesselberger - Bal.Abw.Kan.Zug 117, d. 27.03.1916

Lt. Friedrich Heymann - 11./RIR 78, d. 26.04.1918

Lt. Heinrich Hirsch - 2.MG/IR 408, d. 02.10.1918

Lt. Emil Höchster - 6./6.bay.IR, d. 12.10.1917

Lt. Max Holzinger - bay. FFA 290b, d. 11.09.1917

Lt. Hermann Horn - 2./Fußar.Btl 75, d. 03.09.1918

Lt. Dr. Alfred Jacobsohn - 12./RIR 67, d. 24.10.1916

Lt. Adolf, Dr. Jacobsohn - 5./RIR 226, d. 17.03.1918

Lt. Ernst Joseph - Mun.Kol.B./Fußar.Btl. 157, d. 13.03.1918

Lt. Robert Kahn - 3./Brig.Ers.Btl. 30, d. 19.06.1915

Lt. Ernst Kassel - 10./IR 162, d. 11.04.1918

Lt. Alfred Katzenstein - 7./bay. RIR 17, d. 28.11.1916

Lt. Hermann Kern - 3./FüsR122, d. 30.06.1918

Lt. Hans Kimmelstiel - 9./RIR 59, d. 13.01.1919

Lt. Hans Koch - 6./bay. RIR 18, d. 15.07.1917

Lt. Ernst Kohlberg - 10./IR 364, d. 30.10.1917

Lt. Franz Koppel - 10./IR 150, d. 21.03.1918

Lt. Ernst Krakenberger - 2.MG/14.bay.IR, d. 20.09.1917

Lt. Hermann Kramer - 12./IR 336, d. 09.06.1918

Lt. Alexander Landmann - 6./bay. RIR 5, d. 26.04.1918

Lt. Erich Landsberger - 7./IR 50, d. 13.04.1918

Lt. Julius Leeser - MG./RIR 21, d. 05.08.1915

Lt. Marcel Lévy - 3./IR 99, d. 22.08.1917

Lt. Dr. Isai Lewin - 5./IR 113, d. 25.09.1915

Lt. Richard Lißberger - 6./bay. EIR 1, d. 22.10.1918

Lt. Dr. Willy Loewenthal - HusR 7, d. 27.12.1918

Lt. Walter Löwenstein - 7./IR 44, d. 24.09.1918

Lt. Robert Marburg - Ballon Zug 1, d. 12.10.1918

Lt. Gerhard Maschke - 2./Kav.Schütz.R. 87, d. 01.07.1918

Lt. Fritz Mayer - 2./bay.RIR 17, d. 19.07.1916

Lt. Franz Meyer - 4./bay. FußAR 4, d. 09.03.1917

Lt. Hermann Meyer - 6./FAR 44, d. 13.11.1918

Lt. Fritz Friedrich Meyer - Fußar.Bttr. 478, d. 05.05.1917

Lt Viktor Moritz - 6./bay. RIR 5, d. 22.10.1915

Lt. Fritz Müller - 8./RIR 202, d. 29.08.1918

Lt. Ernst Adolf Müller - 6.bay. Kampfgeschwader, Kampfstaffel 36, d. 10.11.1916

Lt. Erich Nathan - 2.MG/IR 53, d. 03.12.1918

Lt. Fritz Oppenheim - 7./IR 181, d. 19.09.1918

Lt. Hugo Reyersbach - 12./RIR 29, d. 29.07.1917

Lt. Fritz Rosenheimer - 9./FAR 221, d. 17.10.1918

Lt. Dr. Franz Rosin - FFA A253, d. 03.06.1917

Lt. Julius Roßmann - 4./7.bay.IR, d. 24.03.1918

Lt. Max Rotschild - 7./22.bay.IR, d. 26.09.1916

Lt. Hugo Ruhstadt - 1./IR 458, d. 24.04.1917

Lt. Hermann Samuel - 9./14.bay.IR, d. 27.11.1914

Lt. Paul Scheyen - 2./Fußar.Btl. 23, d. 25.06.1916

Lt. Ernst Schöneberg - 12./IR 461, d. 15.06.1918

Lt. Arthur Simon - 5.Ers.M.G.-Kp. /XIII. A.K., d. 31.10.1918

Lt. Hermann Simon - 5./FAR 266, d. 23.10.1917

Lt. Friedrich Sommer - 3./IR 66, d. 13.09.1918

Lt. Max Stein - d. 16.08.1917

Lt. Heinrich Steiner - 8./FAR 238, d. 25.04.1918

Lt. Dr. Max Theodor - 2./Fußar.Btl. 114, d. 22.10.1918

Lt. Heinz Wachsmann - 3.MG/RIR 71, d. 14.06.1917

Lt. Viktor Weil - 5./FüsR 40, d. 28.02.1916

Lt. Andreas Wolf - 2.MG/RIR 237, d. 27.08.1918

Lt. Fritz Wolff - 12./RIR 69, d. 06.05.1917

Connaught Stranger :D

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The following information is provided by "Ulsterman" at the GMIC Forum:

Before 1848 only one Jew was a regular officer in the Prussian army: the exceptional Major Meno Burg of the artillery. A royal edict barred jews from officer rank. Several, especially medical officers, received commissions in the 'liberal' 1870s.

From 1885-1914 the German Jewish League actively campaigned for jews to be given reserve officer commissions and despite several Reichstag commissions, notably in 1908 and 1913, no Jews were given reserve commissions.

Between 20,000-30,000 served as Einjahriger volunteers between 1875-1914.

The political issue came to a head in May, 1912, when the Reichstag debated the case of Arthur Leiber, an Einjahrer who had been recommended for a commission by his regimental colonel, but denied by the War Department. The War Ministers' abysmal response was accorded by many to Be "not his finest hour" (Kaiser Wilhelm). Many anti-Semetic Prussian Reichstag Delegates openly stated that the jews should not be allowed officer status because of their inferior race and many senior Prussian officers openly agreed.

In 1914 the Reich had @ 650,000 Jewish citizens -not including illegal Polish Jewish immigrants.

The Bavarian and Austrian armies both gave commissions to Jews.

The Austrians had a number of Jewish Generals as well as a Field Marshall. In 1943 the Gestapo and Vienna SA and a few HJ helpers rounded up the inhabitants of the Vienna Jewish Disabled Servicemens' Home (@ 300 vets) and sent them to Auschwitz where they were all murdered.

I once knew a man whose family were sent to Thereisenstadt because he had been a Lt. d R. in the Bavarian army. He was given a rare Visa to the USA in 1937 because he had won the EK1-and it was noted on his Visa application.

His family, except his daughter Gerda, who I still know quite well, were all gassed in 1943. The SA man who took their house in Marburg still lived there in 1987. I expect his family still has the house.

Ann Franks' father was also a Lt.d R. and won the EK2.

"Ulsterman"

So if there were approxamatly 650,000 Jewish Citizens in 1914, presumeably Men, Women & Children, and 100,000 Jewish men served in the German military, it would be a fairly high percentage of the German Jewish population :blink:

Sorry for leading the topic off at a slant, but I feel that the facts have to be stated as oppossed to somebodys "oral" and unsupported claims.

Connaught Stranger. :D

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The following information is provided by "Ulsterman" at the GMIC Forum:

Before 1848 only one Jew was a regular officer in the Prussian army: the exceptional Major Meno Burg of the artillery. A royal edict barred jews from officer rank. Several, especially medical officers, received commissions in the 'liberal' 1870s.

From 1885-1914 the German Jewish League actively campaigned for jews to be given reserve officer commissions and despite several Reichstag commissions, notably in 1908 and 1913, no Jews were given reserve commissions.

Please note the credentials of the following gentleman:

Bernard Wasserstein:

Born London 1948. Educated High School of Glasgow and Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester. BA, Modern History, Balliol College, Oxford 1969. Graduate Studentship, Nuffield College, Oxford 1969-73. Visiting Research Student, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1970-71. MA, Oxford 1972. D Phil, Modern History, Nuffield College, Oxford 1974. D Litt, Oxford 2001. Research Fellow in Politics, Nuffield College, Oxford 1973-5. Junior Lecturer in Politics, Magdalen College, Oxford 1969-70. College Lecturer in Modern History and International Relations, Corpus Christi College, Oxford 1974-6. Lecturer in Modern History, Sheffield University 1976-9. Visiting Lecturer in History and International Relations, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1979-80. Associate Professor of History, Brandeis University, 1980-82, Professor 1982-96. Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1984-5. Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Brandeis University 1990-92. National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship 1994-5. Visiting Fellow, All Souls College Oxford, 1995. President, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Fellow of St Cross College 1996-2000. Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow 2000-3. Fellow, National Humanities Center, North Carolina, 2002-3. Fellow Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2004-5.

Professor Wasserstein, who you may note has a masters and two doctorates from Oxford, wrote a book, The Secret lives of Trebitsch Lincoln, published when he was the Chairman of the History Department at Brandeis University, the leading Jewish university in the United States.

In this book, he stated that the following officer was Jewish. (He was the father of my father's commanding officer in the Freikorps.) Generalleutnant von Stephani, who on May 7, 1900, was the commanding officer of the Prussian 11th Division. This is from the Prussian Rangliste for 1900, page 63. His son, who founded and led the Freikorps Potsdam, one of the only about two Freikorps based on Guards units, was, on May 6, 1914, was serving on the Great General Staff of the General Staff, seconded there from his home unit, the Guarde=Schuetzen=Bataillon, an elite unit even within the Prussian Guard. Only two officers of the battalion were not noblemen and/or "vons", and one of those was Captain Rohr who later commanded the Storm Battalion Rohr. In may 1914 von Stephani had been in the Great General Staff for three years. (The 1914 information is from the Prussian Rangliste of 1914, pages 27 and 161.)

So "Ulsterman" is telling us that even in 1914 a Jew could not get a commission as a reserve lieutenant? When there was a Jewish Generalleutnant commanding a Prussian division in 1900, and in 1914 his son was a Guards officer, and had been posted to the Great General Staff for three years?

Between 20,000-30,000 served as Einjahriger volunteers between 1875-1914.

Wasn't becoming a Einjahriger Freiwilliger a route to become a reserve officer? Why would 20,000 to 30,000 Jews pay for their own food, uniforms, etc. fo a year to then be denied a reserve officer commission?

The political issue came to a head in May, 1912, when the Reichstag debated the case of Arthur Leiber, an Einjahrer who had been recommended for a commission by his regimental colonel, but denied by the War Department. The War Ministers' abysmal response was accorded by many to Be "not his finest hour" (Kaiser Wilhelm). Many anti-Semetic Prussian Reichstag Delegates openly stated that the jews should not be allowed officer status because of their inferior race and many senior Prussian officers openly agreed.

In 1914 the Reich had @ 650,000 Jewish citizens -not including illegal Polish Jewish immigrants.

The Bavarian and Austrian armies both gave commissions to Jews.

The Austrians had a number of Jewish Generals as well as a Field Marshall. In 1943 the Gestapo and Vienna SA and a few HJ helpers rounded up the inhabitants of the Vienna Jewish Disabled Servicemens' Home (@ 300 vets) and sent them to Auschwitz where they were all murdered.

I once knew a man whose family were sent to Thereisenstadt because he had been a Lt. d R. in the Bavarian army. He was given a rare Visa to the USA in 1937 because he had won the EK1-and it was noted on his Visa application.

His family, except his daughter Gerda, who I still know quite well, were all gassed in 1943. The SA man who took their house in Marburg still lived there in 1987. I expect his family still has the house.

Ann Franks' father was also a Lt.d R. and won the EK2.

"Ulsterman"

So if there were approxamatly 650,000 Jewish Citizens in 1914, presumeably Men, Women & Children, and 100,000 Jewish men served in the German military, it would be a fairly high percentage of the German Jewish population :blink:

Sorry for leading the topic off at a slant, but I feel that the facts have to be stated as oppossed to somebodys "oral" and unsupported claims.

Connaught Stranger. :D

On the face of it, "Ulsterman"s" "facts" don't seem to make any sense, and are internally inconsistant at several places. However, what is probably the problem here are the questions "Who is a Jew?" or "What is a Jew?". This question is of interest to me; in fact I currently am having a UK-based geneologist look into the question of details of the identity of my English maternal grand-mother, who quite possibly, based on several clues, may have been Jewish, which of course would make me a Jew.

It is a bit odd that Connaught has dug back a year and a half to find something that I posted to take a shot at.

My father simply stated that as far as he could tell, there did not seem to be many Jews in the German Army. That probably is the key, since so many German Jews had assimalated (sp?), many of them also being baptized. Perhaps, probably likely, the German Army did not consider such a person a "Jew". But I am certain that the German Jewish League did consider them Jews.

Does anyone actually know anything about this? Did the Prussian Army accept observant Jews; what about what might be called Orthodox Jews?

Who actually is "Ulsterman"? To further prove my ignorance, what is the "GMIC"? I am not stating that his "facts" are rubbish, but they seem to be snippets, with each paragraph implicitly reflecting a different definition of who was a Jew. I doubt that my father knew that his Freikorps CO was Jewish.

Bob Lembke

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Hallo Bob,

I didnt realise there was a time limit to adding to any previous posts, funny its not mentioned in any of the regulations of the GWF (Great War Forum) to you.

By the Way the GMIC is the Gentlemens Military Interest Club located at:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=1764...mp;#entry171042

feel free to come along and take a look.

With regards Jewish Officers in the Service of the German Army in WW1 here are more names, courtesy of Mr. Dave Danner at the G.M.I.C Forum

"Another 75 fallen German Jewish officers below. Of these, 28 were Bavarian. Among the rest, among all the officers listed here and above, there does seem to be a fair cross section - Rhinelanders, Silesians, Württembergers, Badeners, Hessians, Thuringians, etc., even Guards officers (striking given the prejudices of the Prussian officer corps). One group that seems distinctly underrepresented are Saxons. The only two I see out of all 258 here are Lt. Dr. Hans Gutmann, a Dresdner in 1./RIR 242, and Lt. Fritz Oppenheim, a Chemnitzer in 7./IR 181.

Oberlt. Karl Moßmann - I./bay. RIR 11, d. 09.08.1915

Oberlt. Dr. Julius Schloß - Stab/11.bay.Inf.Div., d. 29.06.1918

Lt. Dr. Arthur Aal - 11./bay. RIR 21, d. 01.10.1016

Lt. Erich Adam - 2./RIR 256, d. 22.09.1915

Lt. Josef Altmann - 5./RIR 273, d. 29.07.1917

Lt. Fritz Arndt - 3./IR 401, d. 10.09.1918

Lt. Alfred Baer - 8./württ. FußAR 13, d. 24.07.1918

Lt. Julius Bauer - 2./IR 185, d. 21.03.1918

Lt. Stephan Bauer - bay. Inf.Gesch.Bttr. 5, d. 01.04.1917

Lt. Georg Bloch - Nachr.Zug/Res.Jäg.Btl. 3, d. 02.05.1918

Lt. Max Bonheim - 4./Ldw.Brig.Ers.Btl. 55, d. 15.07.1916

Lt. Martin Cohn - Minenwerfer-Kp. 10, d. 07.06.1918

Lt. Alfons Dingfelder - 10./bay. RIR 23, d. 25.07.1915

Lt. Bernhard Ellenstein - 7./bay. RIR 6, d. 01.07.1916

Lt. Heinz Epstein - 3./bay. RIR 26, d. 23.12.1916

Lt. Emil Jakob Ettlinger - 2./IR 360, d. 20.07.1918

Lt. Dr. Leonhard Frank - 8./RIR 270, d. 08.07.1917

Lt. Erwin Freudenthal - 8./RIR 247, d. 29.10.1917

Lt. Richard Friedmann - 7./bay. RIR 21, d. 25.03.1918

Lt. Siegfried Friedmann - 1./RIR 261, d. 16.08.1917

Lt. Artur Gabbe - 1/IR 185, d. 18.11.1916

Lt. Elija Goitein - 11./RIR 224, d. 26.05.1915

Lt. Ludwig Goldschmidt - 7./bayRIR 19, d. 09.09.1916

Lt. Jakob Guggenheimer - 7./bay. RIR 12, d. 27.09.1918

Lt. Walter Gumprich - 5./IR 30, d. 30.09.1918

Lt. Hugo Gutmann - 4./FAR 116, d. 28.10.1915

Lt. Walter Hammerstein - 4./RIR 267, d. 16.02.1915

Lt. Erich Heilbrunn - 8./bay. RIR 10, d. 21.03.1918

Lt. Karl Heilbrunn - 12./IR 87, d. 02.04.1917

Lt. Leopold Hirsch - 12./RIR 94, d. 30.04.1918

Lt. Fritz Kahn - 9./2.bay.IR, d. 24.05.1917

Lt. Nathan Kahn - 2.MG/bay. RIR 32, d. 30.09.1918

Lt. Max Kahn - 3.MG./bay.RIR 22, d. 14.04.1918

Lt. Otto Kahn - 1./22.bay.IR, d. 24.06.1918

Lt. Walter Kaß - 11./IR 135, d. 26.09.1915

Lt. Siegfried Kaufmann - 6./RIR 40, d. 08.01.1917

Lt. Dr. Justin Kühn - 7./bay. RIR 10, d. 08.10.1914

Lt. Richard Kürzinger - MG/bay. RIR 21, d. 24.11.1915

Lt. Emil Landau - 3./IR 174, d. 10.04.1918

Lt. Dr. Josef Lehmann - 7./bay. RIR 21, d. 24.03.1917

Lt. Dr. Otto Levinger - 8./RIR 68, d. 16.04.1917

Lt. Curt Löb - 11./RIR 203, d. 18.06.1918

Lt. Hans Siegfried Loeb - 6./IR 365, d. 02.08.1916

Lt. Alfred Löwenthal - 2./2.Ers.Btl./Jäg.Btl. 5, d. 07.03.1916

Lt. Hugo Lyon - Stab/IR 25, d. 07.09.1917

Lt. Hans Mann - Minenwerfer-Kp. 33, d. 10.05.1916

Lt. Alfred Marum - 9./IR 145, d. 01.12.1917

Lt. Stephan Mayer–Weismann - 6./bay. RIR 7, d. 16.04.1917

Lt. Leo Mohnr - 3.MG/bay. RIR 16, d. 04.11.1918

Lt. Theodor Moos - Gebirgs-Btl. 11, d. 27.05.1918

Lt. Dr. August Moser - FFA 235, d. 18.09.1917

Lt. Albert Neuburger - 12./RIR 247, d. 14.05.1915

Lt. Robert Ottensooser - 2./bay. RIR 20, d. 12.11.1914

Lt. Adolf Proskauer - 8./RIR 202, d. 03.05.1918

Lt. Hans Proskauer - 5./RIR 66, d. 23.07.1918

Lt. Fritz Reifenberg - 3./Fußar.Btl. 127, d. 21.04.1918

Lt. Friedrich Reis - 12./bay. RIR 21, d. 08.05.1917

Lt. Fritz Friedrich Rosenzweig - 3./bay. MG-Scharfsch.Abt. 2, d. 01.04.1918

Lt. Siegfried Rothschild - 2./IR 124, d. 13.07.1917

Lt. Walter Salomon - 6./IR 165, d. 27.09.1918

Lt. Prof. Dr. Karl Schwarzschild - Ldw.Bez. Potsdam, d. 11.05.1916

Lt. Eugen Selig - 1./FußAR 22, d. 22.08.1917

Lt. Siegfried Silbermann - 10./bay. RIR 23, d. 15.04.1918

Lt. Ludwig Stahl - Stab/bay. RIR 25, d. 08.08.1918

Lt. Dr. Daniel Stein - d. 22.03.1922

Lt. Felix Steinfeld - LIR 385, d. 22.07.1917

Lt. Max Stern - 7./LIR 61, d. 16.08.1915

Lt. Alfred Emil Stettiner - 9./LIR 111, d. 11.11.1918

Lt. Ernst Straus - 4./EIR 29, d. 02.07.1917

Lt. Paul Strauß - 2./bay. RIR 19, d. 01.09.1914

Lt. Hugo Sundheimer - Stab II./bay. RIR 20, d. 01.06.1918

Lt. Ernst Emil Weil - FFA A213, d. 26.07.1917

Lt. Otto Weil - 12./IR 121, d. 18.06.1917

Lt. Siegfried Wolff - 3./Ers.Btl./IR 64, d. 04.06.1918

Lt. Josef Zürndorfer - Fliegertruppe; RIR 154, d. 19.09.1915."

I would like, if possible, these posts to be split off in to a seperate thread as its getting to be a very interesting thread by its own right to the memory of a largely forgotton group of men who history has passed by..

Connaught Stranger :D

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  • 9 months later...

Both the German and AH authorities openly allowed German and AH Jewish soldiers and officers to practice their religion at least on the Eastern Front (facing Imperial Russia) in order to reinforce the Central Power's "liberation" and "civilizing" philosophy versus the Czarist yoke of the Slavs generally including Russo-Polish Jews living in the pale of settlement(that is the official Imperial Russian area set aside for Jewish habitation). As well the German and AH authorities recognized early that for military morale allowing soldiers to practice their religion in far off rural areas would do no harm since the numbers of Jews were relatively smallish and the forces scattered.

John

Toronto

There are btw some fascinating photos in various published histories of the Eastern Front in German during and after the war showing German soldiers being greeted warmly by such Russian Pale and Polish Jews.

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Part of the mystery I think from the above posts alone, is whether Howard resigned voluntarilly in the spring of 1916 or severed ALL military ties including his commission in 1917. What interests me are the reasons for his resignation: did he in fact have "shell shock?" Obviously he never went any where near the front lines with conclusive primary evidence that he only ever served in Great Britain and probably did not do much travelling even then. Did he try to "fake" a mental condition including the very commonly diagnosed "epilepsy?"

John

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If you want to look at the details of the Jewish war dead who served in the German Army you need only look at the book 'Die Judischen Gefallenen des Deutschen Heeres, der Deutschen Marine und der Deutschen Schütztruppen 1914-1918, Ein Gedenkbuch'. The edition I have was published in 1933 and lists over 10,000 Jewish war dead by unit, by town and provides rank in many cases, company, regiment, etc.

While providing the details on the Jewish war dead it of course fails to provide the details on the men who served and survived or were wounded. In my studies of casualties among the German states I have fond that the percentage of killed to those who survived regardless of religious background remained the same.

In regard to officers the lists include the names of 322 officers, 185 Medical officers and 30 aviator officers who were killed. The numbers given for Jewish soldiers that served was 100,000, a number that sounds too vague. It is possible the exact number was never truly known.

Ralph

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Just done a quick search of NA files on the search engine and there is a Home Office file on what might be Leslie's father. This must relate to his original naturalisation in the 1890's-wonder if contains any later notes etc.?

HO 144/333/B11330 Nationality and Naturalisation: Steiner, Ferdinand, from Austria. Resident in London. Certificate A6849 issued 26 September 1891.

I wonder if Howard spoke fluent German (taught by his father) and if he got intelligence work as a low grade translator in the security services for the rest of the war. There are staff lists for MI5 during the war years in the National Archives. Might have given him the contacts for later work (if he did it!)

Cheers

Dominic

Hi Folks

Browsing through old mails I came on this one and just to mention I went to Kew about a year ago and checked Ferdinand Steiner's Home Office file which, unfortunatley, contained nothing relevant or earth shattering to contribute to the Leslie Howard story.

Cheers

Dominic

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