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Hajo Herrmann in January 1944
|Born||1 August 1913|
Kiel, Kingdom of Prussia
|Died||5 November 2010 (aged 97)|
|Years of service||1935–45|
|Battles/wars||Spanish Civil War
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Hans-Joachim "Hajo" Herrmann (1 August 1913 – 5 November 2010) was a World War II Luftwaffe pilot and officer and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
After the war Hermann became a Nazi activist and lawyer whose high-profile cases included the defence of neo-Nazis and genocide deniers while simultaneously promoting denial and the movement's organisations.
Hermann began his military career as an infantry officer, but was commissioned into the newly formed Luftwaffe (air force) in 1935. From 1936 until 1937 he was a bomber pilot in Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War.
In February 1941 his group was transferred to Sicily, from where it attacked Malta then fought in the Battle of Greece. In one attack Herrmann sank the ammunition ship Clan Fraser in the Port of Piraeus. The explosion sank 11 ships and made the Greek port unusable for many months.
In July 1942 he was assigned to the general staff in Germany, where he became a confidant of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring. In 1942 Herrmann was appointed to the Luftwaffe Operational Staff. He played a role in the creation of night fighter wing Jagdgeschwader 300 in response to the night raids of Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command on Germany in mid-1943.
In December 1943 Herrmann was appointed Luftwaffe Inspector of Aerial Defence. By 1944 he was Inspector General of night fighters and received the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. At the end of 1944 he led the 9th Air Division.
Herrmann was a leading exponent of the tactical deployment of Rammjäger Sonderkommando Elbe (ram fighters), sent into action in April 1945. Suicide pilot volunteers, often aged 18 to 20, were to be trained only to be competent enough to control specially lightened and unarmoured Bf 109 fighters and bring down Allied bombers by ramming the tail or control surfaces with the propellers of their aircraft and bailing out if possible. Herrmann's intention was to gather a large number of these fighters for a one-off attack on the USAAF bomber formations in the hope of causing enough losses to curtail the bombing offensive for a few months. Fuel shortages prevented employment of the large numbers necessary, although from one mission of this type, on 7 April 1945, of the 120 fighters thus committed only 15 returned.
Law career and Nazi activism
Herrmann surrendered to Soviet forces after the war, was held prisoner for 10 years and returned to Germany in 1955. Then he studied law and settled in Düsseldorf. He defended Otto Ernst Remer, the head of the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party and the genocide deniers David Irving and Fred A. Leuchter. Hermann's affinity for Remer, a committed Nazi and former SS member, was rooted in their mutual holocaust denial activities.
- Spanish Cross in Bronze with Swords
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (October 1939) and 1st Class (27 May 1940)
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (28 September 1940)
- German Cross in Gold on 5 June 1942 as Hauptmann in the III./KG 30
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 13 October 1940 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of the 7./KG 4 "General Wever"
- 269th Oak Leaves on 2 August 1943 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of JG 300
- 43rd Swords on 23 January 1944 as Oberst and Inspekteur der Nachtjagd in the Reichsluftfahrtministerium and commander of the 30. Jagd-Division
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Flieger, Ritterkreuzträger, Kamerad und Vorbild! – Wir gedenken Hajo Herrmann" (in German). National Democratic Party of Germany. 7 November 2010.
- Smith & Kay 1972, p. 405.
- Smith & Kay 1972, p. 492.
- "Documents on the Legal Actions against David Irving". Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Rembiszewski 1996, p. 30.
- "Hans-Joachim Herrmann". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Berger 1999, p. 125.
- Thomas 1997, p. 275.
- Obermaier 1989, p. 34.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 181.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 385.
- Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern [With Oak Leaves and Swords.] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
- Kaiser, Jochen (2010). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kampfflieger—Band 1 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Bomber Fliers—Volume 1] (in German and English). Bad Zwischenahn, Germany: Luftfahrtverlag-Start. ISBN 978-3-941437-07-4.
- Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Smith, J.R.; Kay, A. (1972). German Aircraft of the Second World War. London: Putnam. ISBN 978-0-370-00024-4.
- 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.
- Hajo Herrmann in the German National Library catalogue
- "Hans-Joachim Herrmann". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 24 November 2010.
| Commander of Jagdgeschwader 300
June 1943 – 26 September 1943
Oberstleutnant Kurd Kettner
| Commander of 30. Jagd-Division
September 1943 – 16 March 1944
Oberst Günther Lützow
| Commander of 1. Jagd-Division
23 March 1944 – 1 September 1944
Generalleutnant Kurt Kleinrath
| Commander of 9. Flieger-Division (J)
26 January 1945 – 8 May 1945