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Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), Führer and Reich Chancellor of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945. Exceptional World War II-dated typed document signed, Adolf Hitler, three pages with integral leaf, folded folio, Führer Headquarters, February 28, 1942. Countersigned, Keitel, by Field Marshal Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (1882-1946), commander-in-chief of the armed forces, 1938-1945. In German.
By this document Hitler promotes 19 generals, an extraordinary number for one document. He made the promotions during the Soviet campaign and only a few months before the Battle of Stalingrad began in August 1942. He did so “In the Name of the German People” (“Im Namen des Deutschen Volkes”) and denominated the document “Secret!” (“Geheim!”).
This is a very desirable document. Although other promotion documents have been available, this is the only one that we have seen in which Hitler promotes so many generals at once. Furthermore, of the 19 generals promoted, at least 10, and probably 12, won the coveted Knight’s Cross, several with oak leaves and one with oak leaves and swords.
The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross recognized extreme battlefield bravery or successful leadership. Only 883 soldiers received the Knight’s Cross with oak leaves, the second of five degrees, and only 159 received it with both oak leaves and swords, the third of five degeees. The known Knight’s Cross winners promoted in this document are:
● Philipp Kleffel - Infantry General - Knight’s Cross, 2-17-1942
● Maximillian de Angelis - Artillery General - Knight’s Cross, 2-9-1942; with oak leaves, 11-12-1943
● Siegfried Thomaschki - Major General - Knights’ Cross, 11-1-1942; with oak leaves, 9-11-1943
● Richard Müller - Lieutenant General (here promoted to Major General) - Knight’s Cross 3-7-1943
● Werner Forst - Lieutenant General (here promoted to Major General) - Knight’s Cross 8-29-43; with oak leaves, 2-22-1944
● Heinrich Eberbach - Major General - Knight’s Cross, 7-4-1940; with oak leaves, 12-31-1941
● Wilhelm Wetzel - Infantry General - Knight’s Cross 8-7-1942
● Kurt von der Chevallierie - Infantry General - Knight’s Cross 10-23-1941; with oak leaves, 12-19-1943
● Ernst-Eberhard Hell - Artillery General - Knight’s Cross 2-1-1943; with oak leaves, 6-4-1944
● Otto Fretter-Pico - Lieutenant General - Knight’s Cross 12-12-1944
In addition, two others are probably promoted in this document, although our research has not confirmed that these names are indeed those of Knight’s Cross winners:
● Zorn - Probably Major General Hanz Zorn - Knight’s Cross 7-27-1941; with oak leaves, 9-3-1943
● Harpe - Probably Major General Josef Harpe - Knight’s Cross 8-13-1941; with oak leaves, 12-13-1941;with swords, 9-15-1943
This is truly an outstanding piece. It has a red pencil notation at the top of the first page and an ink initial in the lower right corner of the third, but it is in exceptional condition. The three pages document are typed on the front and back of the first page and the front of the integral leaf. The page on which Hitler and Keitel have signed bears a magnificent crisp, blind-embossed Nazi seal.
We reject Nazism and all that it represented. We nevertheless offer this document because Nazism, although despised, played a large role in the history of the 20th Century.
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