Kurt Eggers

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Kurt Eggers (November 10, 1905 in Berlin – August 12, 1943, near Belgorod) was a German writer, poet, songwriter, and playwright with close links to the Nazi party. He served as both a member of a propaganda company (Propagandakompanie (de)) and a Waffen-SS man in World War II, and died in a tank regiment on the Eastern Front.

Early life[edit]

Kurt Eggers was born in 1905, son of a bank clerk. In 1917 he entered the Cadet Corps and began training on a school ship. In 1919 he witnessed the defeat of the Spartacist uprising. In 1921 he joined the Freikorps and was involved in the battle for Annaberg hill during the Silesian Uprisings, where German freikorp personnel fought against Polish nationalists.

Christianity[edit]

After a spell in an artillery regiment, he resumed his education in 1924. He studied Sanskrit, archaeology, philosophy, and theology in Rostock, Berlin and Göttingen.[1] He was particularly interested in the German Reformation and the revolutionary Ulrich von Hutten.[2] He joined the Corps Vandalia Rostock, a student group, in 1927. After his theology exams, he became a pastor in Neustrelitz and then a curate in Berlin. However he rapidly fell out with church authorities, with his "Song of the Struggling Peasants" calling for violent revolt, and broke with Christianity.

Nazism and World War II[edit]

With the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, he received rapid promotion through the new regime, gaining a succession of party positions while he continued to work as a writer, producing plays, radio drama, musical comedies, folk stories, walking songs, martial songs, and chants. His verse was widely used in Nazi ceremonies and events.

Following the invasion of Poland, he headed for the Front, joining the staff of a Panzer company, but he later returned to writing, as editor-in-chief of the SS's newspaper Das schwarze Korps (The Black Corps) and as a member of the SS propaganda company.

In mid 1942, working as a writer for the Party Chancellery, he expressed a desire to return to battle, and was transferred to the Panzer reserve. He then joined the SS Division Wiking, which was made up largely of foreign volunteers, and took part in the unit's retreat from the Caucasus in the winter of 1942-43.[3]

Death[edit]

In late July 1943, he rejoined the SS Division Wiking in the aftermath of the Battle of Kursk, which was followed by a Soviet offensive. On August 12, 1943 he died southwest of Belgorod (now in Western Russia near the border with Ukraine), while attempting to counterattack against the advancing Red Army troops. His death was marked by a memorial service on September 26, 1943 in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin. The SS War Reporters Section, a platoon of propaganda staffers attached to SS units, was renamed the SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers in November 1943.[4]

He had four children by his second wife, Traute Kaiser, whose father was a pastor.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jürgen Hillesheim, Elisabeth Michael, Lexikon nationalsozialistischer Dichter, Königshausen & Neumann, 1993
  2. ^ Jay W. Baird, Hitler's War Poets: Literature and Politics in the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p 226
  3. ^ Jay W. Baird, Hitler's War Poets: Literature and Politics in the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p 245-246
  4. ^ Jay W. Baird, Hitler's War Poets: Literature and Politics in the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p 251
  5. ^ Jay W. Baird, Hitler's War Poets: Literature and Politics in the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p 242