We always hear stories about the cruelty of Nazi Germany. We know the horrors, but what about the heroes? There were a number Nazi war heroes. These were men served under Hitler, but performed amazing feats. Some even saved many lives.
Rommel is huge Nazi war hero. He believed in training his men so well that they could not fall. His fighting forces were seemingly unbeatable. He also hated war causalities. The Afrika Korps headed by Rommel was never guilty of war crimes. He paid workers instead of used slaves. He routinely defied orders to kill Jews, POWS, or traitors. He continued to rise in the ranks and spread his humanitarian views on war.
How did his story end? Rommel joined the opposition against Hitler. The man was against Hitler, but did not want to kill him. He didn’t want to make Hitler a martyr and instead wanted justice to prevail. In the end, Rommel willingly took a cyanide pill and Hitler told the world he had died from wounds sustained during an accident.
John Rabe was a lone Nazi in a city during one of the most atrocious war crimes in history. Few people know about the “Rape of Nanking.” Even if you watched “The Flowers of War,” you won’t understand and you won’t hear about Rabe. Rabe remained in the city during the Japanese invasion and cordoned off part of the city to protect civilians from brutal rape and grotesque murder. He would go out in the city and stop Japanese soldiers from harming people, risking his life every minute.
How did his story end? Rabe was lost in history. He tried to show Hitler the horrors of Nanking and it went ignored. Rabe and his family lived in poverty. They survived thanks to survivors in China who sent him regular care packages. He died a miserable death in Germany, but survives as a hero in China.
Hans Fritzsche’s life story is one that makes little sense. He was a nobody. He didn’t harm anyone, but he didn’t take great strides to stop it, either. Yet, communists captured him and tortured him in a Soviet prison. They pulled out his gold teeth, kept him in a standing coffin prison where he could not sit, and nearly starved him on bread and water. Throughout his stay, his jailers hounded him for information that he could not provide. He heard about the war crimes against Jews and didn’t believe them. He didn’t know.
How did his story end? Fitzsche “confessed” during his stay in jail, and it became apparent he was a scapegoat for Goebbels. He was set up and tortured to provide “information” against Goebbels. He faced denazification and later acquitted at the Nuremburg trials, having proven that he was an innocent.