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Four German Aviators' Graves

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Easter sunday afternoon. I arrive with my bicycle at the Invalidenfriedhof Berlin (Cemetery of Invalids).

The weather is a mix of sunny and clouded, and it is quite cold. I am pushing the bike along the pathes

between the sparse graves. There may have been more graves in the better days of the cemetery, but

when the DDR (GDR) built the wall, this area became a closed patrol strip - borderland; barbed wire

and mines in a ploughed strip, and the concrete wall.

Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the cemetery is open for everyone, and some people took their Easter

sunday walks here. Still, it was rather quiet. The cemetery lies stretched along the Nordhafen-Kanal.

Along the water the remaining graves are scattered - as if the graves had been partly removed for the

border line. Only further back it still looks like a cemetary.


I found the graves of high ranking German military officers like Helmuth von Moltke or Scharnhorst.

But my knowledge about German military is small, and I had come to see the graves of German WW1

aviators. I knew, that Berthold lies there, and I searched for him. I found his replacement gravestone

on the highest point under trees. He rests here with the pilots Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Buddecke,

Leutnant Alfred Schäfer and Leutnant der Reserve Olivier Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay.


Berthold's original gravestone was vandalised - it had carried the inscription:

"Erschlagen im Bruderkampf - Für Deutschlands Freiheit" (Slain in a brotherly fight - for Germany's

Freedom). Berthold got killed in an after-war street fight - he got knocked down and kicked and then

he got shot with his own pistol. Those were hard times in Germany, when rivaling groups and parties

fought their fights "for Germany". And the heroes of World War One either were monopolised or they

joined the Nazis, hoping they would install new order for a better Germany - with the results we all

know only too well.


Further down the cemetery I found Ernst Udet - back to back so to say with WW2 ace Werner Mölders.

Udet's grave is small and quite unpretentious. Udet shot himself in 1941. He had followed the invitation

of his former comrade Hermann Göring to become a high ranking officer in the GermanLuftwaffe, and

when he realised he didn't like it on the devil's party, he first drank more and more, and finally he found

there was only one way to end the entanglement. In those days it wasn't helping to have a conscience.

Kneeling down to get the right angle for the photograph, I saw that someone had lit a candle in the lantern

on Udet's grave. That was very touching to see - someone still cares...





Edited by Olham

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Very moving Olham..and a testament to those men, is the fact that a Brit has heard 'most' of their names :drinks:

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How sad to survive a world war only to be killed by ones own countrymen afterwards. Yes Widowmaker even some of us yanks know of these men. I think that it is our love of history and perhaps this flight sim that has contributed to our knowledge. Lord knows that it wasn't my school system. As I recall all that they taught of WW1 was Wilsons peace plan. Quite an interesting and thought provoking post Olham.

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What a great way to spend an Easter day, remembering heroes of past wars. It must be humbling to stand at the graves of these great fliers.


Quite ironically, I flew with Hans-Joachim Buddecke on a mission last night flying Dr.1 craft for Jasta 6.

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Thanks, and cheers, Widowmaker! :drinks:

Same for me, DonL, I only learnt to know more about these men since I got immersed into the world of OFF.

The forum veterans told me so much, I learned more every day, and these men came back to life in a way.

And as Shiloh says - in OFF we fly with them, or watch their A-flight taking off, and knowing their names now

we can look for them in "The Aerodrome" and stand in awe for their achievements.


When I went to bed last night, I grabbed me Franks' "Above the Lines" and looked up the aces in Jasta 14

at the time I am flying there right now in my campaign. I'll try to mention them more in my "Reports".

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Berthold got killed in an after-war street fight - he got knocked down and kicked and then

he got shot with his own pistol.

I thought that once knocked down, Berthold had been strangled to death with the neckband of his own Blue Maw he wore at the moment, thinking he could impress the rioters? Anyway, an infamous death from compatriots' hands, indeed... So many great pilots died in the years following the Armistice, from suicide (mostly Germans), bad wounds, Spanish flu, or accidents (like brother Lothar von R)...

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Capitaine, I just compared the longer and more informative German Wikipedia article with the very short French version,

and I saw the difference. That "strangled with the ribbon of his own 'Blue Max' " seems to be a legend.

He got beaten and kicked, but the mortal wounds were gun shots.


That must have been a very desperate time for Germany in general, with a bad morale among the German officers.

Seeking to keep the old order up, or to bring about a new stern order for Germany, most of them fell for the Nazis.

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