22 March 1912|
Fürth, Kingdom of Bavaria
|Died||11 March 2000
|Rank||Major of the Reserves|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Country represented||West Germany|
|Former countries represented||Nazi Germany|
|Discipline||Men's artistic gymnastics|
He won three Gold medals and two Bronze medals in the Gymnastics at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and another Silver medal in the Gymnastics at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. As a Fallschirmjäger he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
Alfred Schwarzmann joined the 13th Company of the Nuremberg Infantry Regiment on April 1, 1935 after signing up for a twelve-year period of service. He was promoted to Unteroffizier on May 1, 1935 and was a member of the Gymnastics team preparing for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he won three Gold medals and two Bronze medals.
Schwarzmann served as an army sports instructor at the Army Sport School in Wünsdorf. From there he went to II. Battalion, 1st Parachute Regiment in Stendal on January 1, 1939 and later to Braunschweig. On March 11, 1940 he was promoted to Oberleutnant and on April 1 became commander of a machine gun platoon in the 8th Company of the 1st Parachute Regiment.
On May 10, 1940 Schwarzmann and his company parachuted into the Netherlands and took a key bridge at Moerdijk. This his unit held until relief forces arrived. In the first hour of the fighting Schwarzmann was badly wounded when a bullet pierced a lung. He was treated for his wounds in Dordrecht after the Dutch capitulation.
Alfred Schwarzmann received both Iron Crosses on May 25, 1940 and four days later the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[Note 1] It is very likely that Schwarzmann was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for propaganda purposes only, for he had not distinguished himself during the brief period that he was involved in the fighting. As a matter of fact, he was (within his company) the only platoon-commander not achieving the given objectives. When he seemed to succumb to his lung wound, after a strong wound fever caught him, he was quickly awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Amazingly he managed to beat the fever and fully recover after a long treatment. Notwithstanding his own knowledge of the cheaply earnt awards, he didn't hesitate to flash his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross all the time, which caused him to be rejected by many of his comrades during, but particularly after the war.
In the Battle of Crete Schwarzmann saw action in the Heraklion area. Promoted to Hauptmann on June 27, 1942, he led the 3rd Parachute Regiment's 8th Company and was later made company commander. From 1941 to 1942 he fought in Russia on the Eastern front.
Schwarzmann was forced to enter the Luftwaffe hospital in Munich on March 4, 1944 because of his old wound. On April 20, 1945 he was promoted to Major. Schwarzmann was held prisoner of war by the British from May 9 to October 29, 1945.
His daughter is the former and first Bundestrainerin (national head coach) in Equestrian vaulting, international referee and renowned coach Helma Schwarzmann. She is one of the most successful coaches world wide, having won more than 30 World Championship titles in her career.
The Swiss gymnast, Jack Günthard, winner of the Gold medal Horizontal bar at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics about Alfred Schwarzmann: "The victory should have belonged to Alfred – but he was a German" (Der Sieg hätte eigentlich Alfred gebührt - aber er war eben Deutscher.)
- Luftwaffe Parachutist Badge
- Iron Cross
- Wound Badge (1939) in Black (29 May 1940)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 24 May 1940 as Oberleutnant and platoon leader in the 8./Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1[Note 2]
- Kurowski and Fellgiebel present contradicting dates for the Knight's Cross
- According to Scherzer on 29 May 1940.
- Thomas and Wegmann 1986, p. 284.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 395.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 696.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Kurowski, Franz. Knights of the Wehrmacht Knight's Cross Holders of the Fallschirmjäger. Schiffer Military. ISBN 0-88740-749-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz and Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-1461-6
- Williamson, Gordon and Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1939-40. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-641-0.