Kurt Dahlmann

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Kurt Dahlmann
Born (1918-03-04) 4 March 1918 (age 96)
Königsberg, Prussia, German Empire. (now Russia)
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany West Germany
Namibia Namibia
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1937–1945 (Wehrmacht)
1956–1957 (Bundeswehr)
Rank Major (Luftwaffe)
Commands held I./SKG 10, 28 Oct 43
III./KG 51, 15 Aug 44
NSGr 20, 18 Nov 44
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Kurt Dahlmann (born 4 March 1918) is a retired German pilot, attorney, journalist, newspaper editor and political activist. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life[edit]

Dahlmann was born in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad). In 1925 Dahlmann and his family moved to Danzig, where he was schooled.[1]

Upon completing his Abitur in 1936 he took up flight training at the Fliegerübungsstelle (flight training center) at Marienburg in Elbing. He began his flying career smuggling rationed gasoline from Germany to Poland in a light two seat aircraft, the second seat being used to hold a 60-litre (13 imp gal; 16 US gal) gasoline canister.[1]

Following obligatory service in the Reichsarbeitsdienst he was inducted into the Luftwaffe in November 1937 and furthered his flight training at Luftkriegsschule Wildpark-Werder, in 1939 shortly before the start of the Second World War he received his commission as a Luftwaffe Lieutenant.[1]

Second World War[edit]

He was further trained as a bomber and ground attack pilot flying both Junkers Ju 88 and FW 190 in that role. He participated in the Polish Campaign, the Battle of Britain, the campaign against France as well as the North African Campaign under Rommel at the controls of a Junkers Ju 88. He was never shot down although, according to him, he did have to leave his aircraft involuntarily on various occasions.[2]

Dahlmann later specialized in solo night bombing attacks against specific high value targets. Some of these missions included weapons factories in Britain, British airfields, late war harassing bombing raids over London and attacking the Remagen bridge which was the first Allied open crossing over the Rhine river into Germany among others.[2]

He was also personally assigned a specially stripped down, high speed, FW 190 for target marking, pathfinding, missions.[2]

He flew over 350 combat missions throughout Europe between September 1940 and 5 May 1945 (VE Day), and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (No. 711) for flying 200 missions and subsequently the Oak leaves for having successfully completed 300 combat missions becoming the highest decorated German Jabo (Schlachtflieger)[disambiguation needed] pilot of the war.[3]

He finished the war as a Major commanding a total of three squadrons, I./SKG 10, III./KG 51 and NSG 20, all were equipped with variations of fast noctunal attack aircraft based on the (FW 190).[4]

He is one of less than twenty Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and Oak Leaves holders still alive today.

Post war[edit]

Following his release as an Allied POW, Dahlmann studied law at the university of Kiel in northern Germany, which he completed in 1949 and subsequently became a member of the bar in Schleswig-Holstein. Shortly thereafter he became a junior correspondent for the Kieler Nachrichten newspaper which was to be the start to his second career.

In 1958 he left Germany for Namibia, where he was hired by the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in Windhoek. He remained there until 1978 as editor in chief, then was fired, in part, for his liberal political views on apartheid.

Between 1979 and 1984 he ventured into business within the Namibian tourism and advertising sectors.[5]

From 1984 until 1985 he was editor of the German language Namibia Nachrichten though to having been funded by the German government.[5]

After a long battle with cancer, which forced his return to Germany to seek treatment, he presently resides in a public assisted living facility in Baden-Baden. He has no known living relatives.[6]

Political activism[edit]

Writing under the pen name Stachus, symbolised as a potted cactus with an oblique dip pen, Dahlmann was adamant about the fleeting nature of Apartheid. He wrote many editorials on this topic suggesting ways that Namibia and South Africa should address the issue of inevitable black rule in both countries.[6]

His views so grated Dieter Lauenstein, who had recently purchased the paper, that he was fired from the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in 1978. Dahlmann alleges that Lauenstein fired him on 20 April 1978, the birthday of Adolf Hitler. Lauenstein was fiercely pro-apartheid and a staunch Namibian right wing Nationalist at odds with Dahlmanns' own views which were considerably more liberal and center left.[7] Dahlmann would later state publicly that the acquisition of the paper by Lauenstein was at the behest of the South African government with the view of expanding its dominance over Namibia.[8]

Dahlmanns' Namibian activism was based on three premises, the end of apartheid, continued independence vs integration with South Africa and universal, race and gender independent, suffrage for all Namibians.[7]

Awards and decorations[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b c "Von 90 Jahren war Dahlmann zwei Jahrzehnte bei der AZ" [90-year-old Dahlmann was two decades at the AZ]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 27 March 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Goss, Chris (2009). Luftwaffe Hit-and-Run Raiders. Ian Allen Publishing. ISBN 978-1-903223-99-4. 
  3. ^ "Dahlmann, Kurt". Lexicon der Wehrmacht (in German). 
  4. ^ "Kurt Dahlmann". Schlachtflieger.de (in German). 
  5. ^ a b "Biographies of Namibian Personalities: L". Namibia Library of Dr. Klaus Dierks. 
  6. ^ a b "20 Jahre lang Stoff für den Glossentopf - Resümee eines Dieners". Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 4 August 2006. 
  7. ^ a b Reinsperger, Regina. "Diether Lauenstein und die Apartheid". Ausführlicheres kritisches Porträt (in German).  503kB.
  8. ^ "Spitze des Eisbergs" [Tip of the iceberg]. Der Spiegel (in German). 13 November 1978. 
  9. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 264.
  10. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 156.
  11. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 95.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 

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