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  #11  
Old 28th August 2005, 14:04
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

According to diary from Koller under 17. january 1945:

After I came back from the advanced headquarter in the west i met with Oberst Lützow, Steinhoff and Rödel 17.30!

So I,m pretty sure that Steinhoff was present at the meeting on the 19. with Göring!

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  #12  
Old 28th August 2005, 14:25
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Quote:
It is interesting to note that Karl Bartz mentions Graf but not Steinhoff. But I agree that we don't know exactly who was present and who was not. That is why I published both sources in my book "Graf & Grislawski".
Small correction here:

Als der Himmel brannte
Der Weg der deutschen Luftwaffe
Karl Batz
Adolf Sponholz Verlag Hannover, 1955

p.252

Meuternde "Asse"

So trafen sich - auf Veranlassung Gallands, der im Hintergrund blieb - mehrere Obersten der Jagdwaffe, um eine Denkschrift zu forumulieren und Göring ins Gesicht zu sagen, wo die Fehler lagen und Abhilfe zu verlangen. - Es trafen sich Männer mit den höchsten Auszeignungen, Männer, die oft genug das Totenhemd getragen hatten... Es waren die Obersten Graf, Lüztow, Neumann, Rödel, Steinhoff und Trautlof.

So the original German copy of Bartz does include Steinhoff!

Lets not forget that also Steinhoff quotes from Koller's diary, on p. 112 & 116 as one of the prime instigators running up to the confrontation with Göring.

The Final Hours
A German jet pilot plots against Goering
Johannes Steinhoff
Nautical & Aviation Publ., 1985

Another list can be found in

Fighter General
The Life of Adolf Galland
Raymond Toliver & Trevor Constable
Schiffer, 1999

p.167

Goering immediately saw Steinhoff and Neumann at Karinhall. Their visit and views convinced Goering that he had a major crisis on his hands. The Reich Marshal thereupon called a meeting of all available Kommodores at the House of Pilots (Haus der Flieger) in Berlin. Colonels Luetzow, Steinhoff, Roedel, Trautloft and Neumann; Lt. Colonels Graf, Bennemann and Priller; and Majors Michalski and Aufhammer were available to attend. Galland was not invited. Trautloft and Luetzow nevertheless kept him informed of events.

Now here is what I think might be closer to the thruth.

The Obersten Lutzow, Neumann, Rödel, Steinhoff and Trautloft were prime movers in the case against Goering. They had been part of the planning phase or had contact with either Köller or Von Greim in the days previous to the January meeting.

Steinhoff p. 118

We gathered outside the building. At our suggestion all the conspirators had been summoned to Berlin who a month before had decided to take action: Lützow, Trautloft, Neumann, Rödel and Steinhoff.

Now Graf was there judging by what apears to be a more thorough list in Toliver & Constable, but likely only as an attendee: a meeting of all the available Kommodores.

So Steinhoff was in his right in excluding him as part of the conspiracy, however Graf was also correct as a participant of the infamous meeting.

What remains is an error in a Finnish translation of Karl Bartz, or an error in its re-translation to English, thus there remains no doubt that Steinhoff was there, and little doubt that Graf was as well...

Of course this is part assumption on my part.

(there is also a good account of the January meeting in Six Months to Oblivion, by Girbig p. 182, which together with The Last year of the Luftwaffe, by Price p. 131, also includes Graf in the list).
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Old 28th August 2005, 14:55
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Hi,

I.a.w. Steinhoff's The Last Chance there is no doubt that he was there. After the meeting he accounts how he attempts to contact Lützow in Italy, but is detained at the border and returned to Berlin.

It is noteworthy that Lützow, Trautloft, Neumann, Rödel and Steinhoff all are "relieved" of their present positions, but Graff continues as Kdore JG 52 ??????????????????
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  #14  
Old 28th August 2005, 15:15
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

If you read between the lines in my book "Graf & Grislawski", you will see that although I mention the two different versions, my own conclusion is that probably both Graf and Steinhoff took part in the confrontation with Göring in January 1945. At the end, I write: "Göring's most sinister threats never were realized. The most severe repercussions were brought down on Lützow, who was banned from German soil and sent to Italy to assume command of the German fighter units in the area. Oberst Rödel remained in command of 2. Jagddivision, and Oberst Steinhoff had been removed from his command of JG 7 previously in December 1944. The fact that Hermann Graf was allowed to return to JG 52. . ."

I don't see any objective circumstance which supports the conclusion that Graf was only a passive attendee. At least Graf himself describes the list of demands which was presented to Göring as "our proposals".

This is how Gollob commented on Steinhoff's description of the famous meeting with Göring:

"One finds that accurate statements are missing, detailed information is sometimes not correct. Anyone expecting objectivity/impartiality will be disappointed," Gollob writes on Steinhoff's description.

Continuing his review of Steinhoff's book ("Verschwörung der Jagdflieger"), Gollob wrote:

"One notices that many of the 'players' are referred to by their initials and not their full names. Why such secrecy? Often it is unclear who said what . . . We find for instance, Major Br. (page 82) and the Hptm. from the General der Jagdflieger's staff who 'arranged' Steinhoff's trip to northern Italy to see Lützow where he was held up by military police on orders of General Ritter von 'P'. Shall we insert the proper names? Brustellin, Kath and Ritter von Pohl. Or does Oblt 'B' (p. 52/54) and Obstlt B. have a similar personality to that of Bühlingen? Corrections would be welcome as much as any additions. The method of spreading allegations without providing any proof is inexcuseable."

Jochen Prien is another one who questions the accuracy of some statements in Steinhoff's book "Verschwörung der Jagdflieger". See p. 138 in Prien's et al excellent "Jagdfliegerverbände" 9/I. Although Prien touches another subject in the same book by Steinhoff, it forms a questioning of the reliability of Steinhoff's book as a source.

As for myself, I rest my case. I was in personal contact with Steinhoff for many years and received much valuable information from him - information which I later have been able to find confirmation for in original documents etc. However, Steinhoff diplomatically avoided to identify the people mentioned by single characters (letters) in "Verschwörung der Jagdflieger".

For different reasons, these three men - Graf, Steinhoff and Gollob - are quite controversial persons in the society of WW II Luftwaffe fighter pilots.

To SES:

Quote:
It is noteworthy that Lützow, Trautloft, Neumann, Rödel and Steinhoff all are "relieved" of their present positions, but Graff continues as Kdore JG 52
The assertion that Steinhoff and Rödel were removed from their posts because of their participation in the so-called "mutiny" in January 1945 is wrong, as you can see above and in my previous post. Steinhoff was removed from his post as JG 7's commander in December 1944, and due to other reasons. Rödel remained in command of 2. Jagddivision, just as Graf remained in command of JG 52. The reason why precisely Graf remained in command of JG 52 is discussed in my book "Graf & Grislawski"; I find it quite understandable in view of circumstances. By the time the meeting with Göring was held, the Soviet winter offensive caused the German lines to collapse, and the Red Army was streaming into Germany. To remove such a popular commander and hero as Graf from his command of a key Eastern Front unit like JG 52 - and precisely in that moment - probably would have been psychologically unwise ( to say the least). You have to understand that by that time, Graf was a "super hero" to the German airmen and soldiers, way above Steinhoff, Neumann, Trautloft and Lützow. Such a cult figure can't just be dismissed - particularly not exactly in the very days when the Third Reich is flung into its deepest crisis ever.
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Last edited by Christer Bergström; 28th August 2005 at 15:34.
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Old 28th August 2005, 15:47
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Hi Chris,

Thank you very much for this most thorough analysis. I was working off books only, and they are seldom the best sources. The present company excluded .

Bregds

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Old 28th August 2005, 15:48
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Gustav Rödel was not in command of 2. Jagddivision at the time of this meeting. He served in the Stab of the Jagddiv. Rödel became commander on the 16. february 1945, taking over from GenMj. Ibel!

It would still be great to see Koller's notes in his diary about this meeting!

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  #17  
Old 28th August 2005, 15:57
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Quote:
You have to understand that by that time, Graf was a "super hero" to the German airmen and soldiers, way above Steinhoff, Neumann, Trautloft and Lützow.
Der Abgang General Galland wird von der Truppe nicht verstanden, da er in der Waffe als der übertragende Kopf und Führer anerkannt ist und - trotz seiner Härte nach unten - das Herz der Jagdflieger besitzt.

The dismissal of General Galland was incomprehensible to the men of the fighter units. He was recognized by the fighter arm as its outstanding personality and leader and - despite the demands he made on those under him - enjoyed its loyalty and love.
Original from facsimile copy of memorandum in Dahl's Rammjaeger, translation from Girbig's Six Months to Oblivion.

Would a system which took on Galland really have such second thoughts on Graf?

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle but I believe it is unwise to make such blanket statements on either side of the argument.

However personally I am tempted to believe that the role of conspirator (or Luftwaffe politics) is ill suited to the character we generally attribute to Graf.
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  #18  
Old 28th August 2005, 15:58
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Quote:
Gustav Rödel was not in command of 2. Jagddivision at the time of this meeting. He served in the Stab of the Jagddiv. Rödel became commander on the 16. february 1945, taking over from GenMj. Ibel!
IIRC, different sources differ on that issue - some stating that Rödel was in command of 2. JDiv already by the time the famous meeting with Göring was held. In any case, my point was that Göring's most sinister threats against the so-called "mutineers" never were realized. If it is true that Rödel after the confrontation with Göring was elevated from a staff position to command the 2. JDiv, he is the one who got the best treatment after the meeting with Göring; in that case, we have one man who was even elevated, in spite of his criticism.
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  #19  
Old 29th August 2005, 00:34
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

Thanks for the interesting contributions here which have presented concisely the different possibilities as to what may have actually occurred with regard to this matter. The conflicting information available no doubt precludes any definitive conclusions from being drawn in regards to whether Graf, Steinhoff or both of them were in the room that day. Thanks again for the input.
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  #20  
Old 29th August 2005, 03:36
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Re: Graf or Steinhoff?

A little off topic, but I have always been a big fan of Johannes Steinhoff, and Walter Krupinski. So much so that I gave them both one of my original paintings of one of the aircraft they flew. Every time I wrote them for info. they always wrote back. ( like most of the German pilots I wrote to) Unfortunately I have not had as good of luck with the RAF pilots. Bob
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