Friedrich Gustav Jaeger
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|Friedrich Gustav Jaeger|
25 September 1895|
Kirchberg an der Jagst
|Died||21 August 1944
Berlin (Plötzensee Prison)
|Years of service||1914–44|
|Commands held||II./Infanterie-Regiment 8|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
In 1938, after the Sudeten Crisis, Jaeger took part in the German invasion of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten-German areas. With the outbreak of the Second World War, he was deployed in the invasion of Poland. From 1939, Jaeger forged contacts with resistance elements within the Wehrmacht, including Hans Oster, Friedrich Olbricht and Ludwig Beck. In 1940, he participated in the Battle of France where he earned the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross[clarification needed] (German Medal Of Honor) and in 1941, he was deployed in the Russian Campaign.
After his wife's death during a British bombing raid on 17 February 1942, Jaeger spoke with his son for the first time about his contacts with the resistance and their plans to overthrow Adolf Hitler. In the course of the year, Jaeger was made a colonel, and he was sent to the Battle of Stalingrad. There, he was wounded eight times, and after becoming sick with epidemic typhus, he was flown out to Lublin.
In 1943, Jaeger was approached and reluctantly agreed to the plans for an attempt on Hitler's life. Owing to his Christian convictions, he would rather have seen Hitler standing before a duly constituted court. Jaeger's son was a Captain in the Gross Deutschland Division, one of Germany's most elite units. Jaeger's son Krafft was arrested and charged with attempted treason and leading a comrade into military disobedience. Krafft was freed for lack of evidence, but he was then sent back to the front so that he could "recover his honour".
Plot failure, arrest, and death
On 20 July 1944, the day of the attempt on Hitler's life, Jaeger was commander of the Panzer reserve troops in defence districts II (Stettin) and XXI (Kalisch). After the briefcase bomb exploded at the Wolf's Lair in East Prussia, Jaeger received orders from Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg to arrest an SS Oberführer. Furthermore, he was also to arrest Joseph Goebbels and occupy the radio station in Masurenallee. After it became known that Hitler had survived the attempt on his life, however, the soldiers under his command would no longer take his orders. Jaeger himself was arrested by his own army on the same day when the plot failed in connection with the plot. His son was likewise arrested, being taken from an Italian military hospital and brought by train to the Gestapo prison in Berlin. On 21 August, Friedrich Gustav Jaeger was sentenced to death for treason by Roland Freisler at the Volksgerichtshof, and he was hanged later the same day at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. His family's property was confiscated.
Krafft Jaeger was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He survived, however, and on 25 September 1995, he unveiled a memorial plaque to his father at the house where he was born exactly one hundred years earlier. The house is now Kirchberg an der Jagst's town hall.
Friedrich Gustav Jaeger has also been honoured by having a street in Wünsdorf named Fritz-Jaeger-Allee after him.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Biography at DHM LeMO (in German)