. . . when there is also a bit of an emotional "land mine" associated with the hunt, it only adds to the complexity
I looked for very specific details -- a German Army officer in World War II, specifically an officer in the SS
not too high, but sort of in the middle -- Major, Lt Colonel, something like that
he was bookwormish -- a scholar, also a graduate of the Bad Tolz military academy (there were 4 SS academies, but this one always "lit up" for me)
he had to have been somone who was BOTH a military attache AND a Panzer tank commander, also likely a member of the nobility in some minor capacity
Count, Baron, something like that . . . a name with "von"
he was also someone who likely crossed paths with ALL the Nazi bigwigs -- including Hitler and Himmler
someone who knew them, but was also "known in return"
I also believed he died in the Winter, most probably 1943
and fought on the "Eastern Front" in the Caucasus and the Ukraine
in addition to all that, he also had to have enough "clout" in the SS pantheon to have access to all restricted areas of the center of the SS "cult" -- Wewelsburg Castle
and was possibly connected in some fashion to the Ahnenerbe (the boogie man division of the SS to which conspiracy theorists of Nazi occultists and black magicians head straight away)
why did I think all this?
. . . because I had seen these images, literally, since I was 2 years old
he was also likely the recipient of the "Iron Cross"
I also said this was a "Hugo Boss" Nazi who did it because he liked the uniforms and the status and saw it as a "social advantage"
because he went to parties -- a very key element in the story as it turns out
as to the "other issues"; in my mind, he didn't go there
and I feel confident he had a bit of a hard time reconciling his desire to look smart in his tailored black uniform with the ugly reality of what happened when the parties ended
many minor nobles in the SS felt and acted that way; I believed (and hoped) he would be the same
. . . to say that I was "obsessed" with finding, and somehow making peace, with this soldier
is beyond understatement
it was a demon looking over my shoulder, a dark stain, something that (quite literally) TORMENTED ME
I needed to KNOW what he did, who he was
how "guilty" was he of the "crimes" ??
I had to know
. . . sooooooooooooooooooooo, a hunt
a needle in a haystack, my own Simon Wiesenthal tracking down
. . . myself
several "candidates" were considered over the years but none fit
it was by "accident" that I found a group photo "that lit up to me" in the ways in which pictures sometimes do
that led me to find him
and when I compared the photos -- let's just say I found (as likely you may, too) an eerie similarity
SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Hans Joachim Freiherr von Hadeln (1910-1943)
Dr. Hajo-Heinrich Freiherr von Hadeln.
Born on March 6, 1910.
Member of the SS(nr. 203.257).
Graduated at SS-Junkerschule in Bad Tölz in 1935.
In 1935 he got promoted to SS-Untersturmführer.
On 9-11-1941 he got promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer.
Till 12-1-1943 he was commander from I. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillon with
SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment ‘Westland’ van de SS-Panzergrenadier-Division ‘Wiking’.
Died (shot by a Russian sniper)on 12-1-1943 at Orlowskaja (in the neighborhood of Rostow in Russia).
09.11.1941 SS-Sturmbannführer der Waffen-SS
Decorations & Awards:
19.12.1941 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold as SS-Sturmbannführer and Kdr. I.Bataillon / SS-Infanterie-Regiment (mot.) “Westland” / SS-Infanterie-Division (mot.) “Wiking”, Eastern Front
00.00.19__ 1939 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
00.00.19__ 1939 Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse
00.00.19__ Verwundetenabzeichen, 1939 in Schwarz
00.00.194_ Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Bronze
[01.12.1937] Deutsches Reichssportabzeichen in Bronze
[01.12.1937] SA-Sportabzeichen in Bronze
[01.12.1937] Ehrendegen des Reichsführers-SS
[01.12.1937] Totenkopfring der SS
00.00.193_ Ehrenwinkel für alte Kämpfer
a complicated journey . . . complicated complicated