Gerhard Bechly (born 1898) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Wehrmacht (German Army) that helped to establish the League of German Officers in September 1943 as a part of the German resistance to Nazism movement.
Gerhard Bechly was a professional soldier that rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Adjutant in the 295th Infantry Division of the German Army In 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Bechly was captured during the Battle of Stalingrad by the Soviet Army and became a prisoner of war at the Lunjowo POW camp 27 in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast. As a prisoner, he worked to establish the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) on July 12, 1943. Subsequently, and through his leadership, the League of German Officers (BDO) was formed September 11/12, 1943. Gerhard Bechly served as co-founder and board member of the organization. During the period 1943-1945, Gerhard was Staff Engineer at, "Freies Deutchland", newspaper and radio station "Free Germany" The 295th Infantry Division was decimated from those killed in action during the Battle of Stalingrad and the many thousands that died as prisoners. Of the 300,000 Germans that were involved with the Battle of Stalingrad, only about 6000 lived to return to Germany. The survival rate was much higher for officers, and many of those that were able to return took positions in the new government of East Germany.
Lieutenant Colonel Bechly was able to return to Germany in September 1947, and in 1952 he joined the Kasernierte People's Police, becoming Head of Department in the 6th Management of Staff of the Kasernierte Volkspolizei (KVP) In 1956, Gerhard Bechly became Colonel, and Chief of Staff of the 4th Administration of the Ministry of National Defense (East Germany)
League of German Officers
Shortly after the establishment of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD), a recruitment campaign was envisioned for German officers who were held as prisoners of war within the Soviet Union. In order to facilitate the recruitment of these officers, Bund Deutscher Offiziere (BDO), known in English as the League of German Officers, was created on September 11/12, 1943. Starting with 95 officers in the Lunjowo POW camp, and with assistance of the Soviets, the BDO grew to well over 1000 German officers held at POW camps within the Soviet Union. The BDO greatly assisted the efforts of the National Committee for a Free Germany in providing propaganda as part of the German resistance to Nazism movement, culminating with the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. After the war, the BDO was dissolved by Joseph Stalin on November 2, 1945.
- Battle of Stalingrad
- National Committee Free Germany
- German Resistance to Nazism
- Operation Valkyrie
- National People's Army
- German Democratic Republic
- Die getarnte Armee: Geschichte der Kasernierten Volkspolizei der DDR, 1952-1956, by Torsten Diedrich & Rudiger Wenzke, Hrsg. vom Militargerchichtlichen Forschungsamt, Berlin, 2003, page 892, ISBN 3-86153-242-5
- Die 295. Infanterie-Division van 1940 bis 1945, by Wolfgang Kirstein, 2004, page 13, ISBN 3-00-012242-7
- Ich Bitte Erschossen Zu Werden, Der Spiegel, December 2, 1949, page 16
- The Free Germany movement: a case of patriotism or treason?, by Kai P. Schoenhals, Greenwood Press, 1989, pp. 51, 59, 61
- Paulus - Das Trauma von Stalingrad, by Torsten Deidrich, 2008, page 321
- Manifesto of conscience, by Peter Rau, Young World Online, December 7, 2013
- 295th Infantry Division article on German Wikipedia
- League of German Officers article on German Wikipedia
- Kaserniete People's Police article on German Wikipedia
- National People's Army article on German Wikipedia
- Ministry of National Defense article on German Wikipedia