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|Born||19 November 1880
Nuremberg, German Empire
|Died||22 June 1962
|Service/branch||Artillery Branch, German Army|
|Years of service||1902-1919|
|Commands held||16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment|
(First and Second Class)
Hugo Gutmann (1880–1962) was a German-Jewish veteran of World War I who is famously known as Adolf Hitler's superior officer during the war, as well as the man responsible for recommending Hitler for the award of the Iron Cross.
Early Life and Army career
Gutmann was born on November 19, 1880 in Nuremberg. In 1902, Gutmann joined the Bavarian Army and had risen to the rank of highest ranking NCO (Feldwebel) by 1904, when he was transferred to the reserves. When World War I began in 1914, Gutmann was recalled and soon after he joined a unit known (after its first commander) as the "List" Regiment. On April 15, 1915, he was promoted to Lieutenant (Leutnant), and appointed as a Company Commander and Acting Adjutant for the Regiment's artillery battalion.
Throughout most of 1918, from January 29 to August 31, Gutmann served as Adolf Hitler's direct superior. Gutmann later lobbied for Hitler's award of the Iron Cross First Class (an award typically reserved for commissioned officers), and the decoration was presented on August 4, 1918, near Soissons, on recommendation from Gutmann. Some accounts further state that it was Gutmann who made the actual award and pinned the medal on Hitler's chest. Hitler would wear this medal throughout the remainder of his career, including while serving as Fuhrer of Nazi Germany.
Gutmann himself was an Iron Cross recipient, having been awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on December 2, 1914 (incidentally the same day as Hitler), as well as the Iron Cross 1st Class on December 4, 1915.
Post World War I and Nazi Years
On February 8, 1919, Gutmann was demobilized from the German Army but still maintained on the Army rolls as a Reserve Lieutenant. He married later that year and would go on to father two children. During the 1920s, Gutmann owned and operated an office-furniture shop in Vordere Steingasse 3 in Nuremberg.
In the fall of 1933, Gutmann applied for a veteran's war pension, which was granted (President Hindenburg had passed several decrees protecting Jewish war veterans from the rising tide of antisemitism). In 1935, after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, Gutmann lost his German citizenship and was formally discharged from the veteran rolls of the Army, but still continued to receive a pension, possibly due to Hitler's influence.
In 1938, Gutmann was arrested by the Gestapo, but released as a result of the influence both of SS personnel who knew his history, and of anti-Nazi elements in the German Police. In 1939, Gutmann and his family escaped to Belgium just as World War II was beginning. In 1940 he migrated to the United States just prior to the invasion of the Low Countries.
Post World War II
Gutmann eventually settled in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, where he changed his name to Henry G. Grant and went back into the furniture business. He died in 1962.
Portrayals in Media
- According to the historian Werner Maser, Gutmann received, by Hitler's intervention, a pension from the Third Reich down to the end of the war.