Bogislaw von Bonin

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Colonel Bogislaw von Bonin (center) is seen with fellow hostages shortly after their liberation by US forces in South Tyrol on 5 May 1945.

Bogislaw Oskar Adolf Fürchtegott von Bonin (January 17, 1908, Potsdam – † August 13, 1980, Lehrte near Hannover) was a German Wehrmacht officer and journalist.

Early life[edit]

Bonin was born in Potsdam, Brandenburg, and joined the 4. Reiterregiment (4th Cavalry Regiment) of the German Reichswehr in 1926. From October 1927 to August 1928 he received officer training at the School of Infantry, Dresden, together with Claus von Stauffenberg and Manfred von Brauchitsch,[1] and was promoted Lieutenant in 1930. In 1937-1938 he attended the War Academy (Kriegsakademie) in Berlin and became a member of the Army High Command in 1938.

World War II[edit]

In 1943 he was the chief of staff of the XIV Panzer Corps at Sicily and for a short time Chief of Staff of the LVI Panzer Corps of the 1. Hungarian Army in 1944. He attained the rank of a Colonel, and became the Chief of the Operational Branch of the Army General Staff (Generalstab des Heeres).

Arrest[edit]

On January 16, 1945 Bonin gave Heeresgruppe A the permission to retreat from Warsaw during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive, rejecting a direct command from Adolf Hitler for them to hold fast. He was arrested by the Gestapo on January 19, 1945 and imprisoned first at Flossenbürg concentration camp and then Dachau concentration camp.

With several family members (Sippenhäftlingen) of the July 20 plot and other notable prisoners such as Léon Blum, Kurt Schuschnigg, Hjalmar Schacht, Franz Halder and Fritz Thyssen he was transferred to the Tyrol but the transfer ended up delivering them to Niederdorf/Villabassa in the South Tyrol. On April 30, 1945 he managed to contact senior Wehrmacht officers who dispatched an overwhelming force of regular German troops to intimidate the SS guards into abandoning their position and leaving the prisoners behind.[2] The Wehrmacht freed the prisoners and then assisted them in being accommodated at the Pragser Wildsee Hotel south of Niederdorf until US troops marched into Niederdorf on May 4, 1945 [3]

Post World War II[edit]

Bonin became a prisoner of war and started working as a freight forwarder in 1947, later on for Daimler Benz. In 1952 he joined the "Amt Blank" (Bureau Blank, named after its director Theodor Blank), the predecessor of the later Federal Ministry of Defence, as the head of the subdivision "military planning", to map out a strategy of the German contribution to the European Defence Community, but came into conflicts with the Adenauer government, as he favored a rather neutral or independent German concept. Already in 1955, before the German Bundeswehr was established, Bonin was released and became a journalist.

Bonin died in Lehrte.

Awards[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Hoffmann: "Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg", München 2007, ISBN 978-3-570-55046-5
  2. ^ Pragser Wildsee.com
  3. ^ Hans-Günter Richardi, SS-Geiseln in der Alpenfestung http://www.raetia.com/index.php?id=338[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 51.