On 18 August, two Israeli F-16 warplanes and three German Eurofighters thundered in a joint formation over the former Dachau concentration camp. This is cynical and a scandal. The Bundeswehr was co-founded by Nazi generals who were partly responsible for the Holocaust. Ex-NS soldiers were the top representatives of the Bundeswehr until the mid-1960s. To this day, the German army and the Bundeswehr Association have not consistently separated themselves from the traditional line to the Nazi Wehrmacht.
The aim was to demonstrate with the flight of warplanes over the Dachau concentration camp memorial that Germany and Israel are linking a fraternity of arms. It should not remain at the unique appearance of the Israeli Air Force and the Bundeswehr Air Force. In the next two weeks there will be “joint exercises” between the two air forces under the name “blue wings 2020”.
A reporter from Bild – Maximilian Kiewel – literally overwhelmed himself with enthusiasm in a video report on the spot, claiming that “both sides can benefit a lot from each other”. The Israeli military would not know “the German terrain, the German forest, the terrain here”. In addition, the Bundeswehr’s air force “has a modern aircraft with the Eurofighter, which the Israelis do not have.” In the past, men’s people. Today, for the time being, only headteachers.
The German and Israeli soldiers taking part in the exercise wear badges on which the Star of David and the Iron Cross are “interwoven”. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke of “a moving moment” and stressed: “Today, Israeli and German soldiers stand side by side. Let’s remember the painful story for a better future.”
Remember? In such a way? For what kind of future?
Let us note that the Bundeswehr, with which the Israeli soldiers train together, was founded by Nazi generals who were partly responsible for the Holocaust. And it has not consistently detached itself from the criminal tradition of German militarism and the Nazi Wehrmacht in its traditional care and in its symbols to this day. In concrete terms:
Personnel continuity Nazi army and Bundeswehr: The Wehrmacht was actively involved in the Shoa, in the extermination of the Jewish population organized by the Nazi regime throughout Europe. The Bundeswehr was founded by Nazi generals in the early 1950s. Nazi military have led this army for about a decade and a half. Three examples: The first inspector general of the Bundeswehr was the former Nazi general Adolf Heusinger. The reviewer of a Heusinger biography writes: “No second Bundeswehr general had occupied such an exposed position in the Nazi dictatorship. General Hitler and Adenauer, vicarious agent of warlike megalomania and founding father of the Bundeswehr – a German career…” Heusinger was inspector general of the Bundeswehr from 1955 to 1964 and most recently chairman of the NATO Military Committee. A second Bundeswehr founder was General Hans Speidel. This militarist was appointed Chief of Staff of Army Group B in France in April 1943. Speidel was involved in war crimes in France. Speidel was a general of the Bundeswehr from 1957 to 1963 and most recently commander-in-chief of the Allied Land Forces Central Europe of NATO. The third example: General Johann Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg. This man was last colonel and close collaborator of Heusinger during the Nazi era. Together with Heusinger, he wrote “Secret Command matters”, which documented the “atonement shootings” of civilians carried out by the Wehrmacht on the various front sections. Heusinger and von Kielmannsegg helped to “ensure support by army forces” in the “gang fight”. In the Bundeswehr he last had the rank of general. In the last stage of his military career (until April 1968) he was NATO Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces Europe Center.
Commitment of the Bundeswehr to the Wehrmacht tradition. For decades, there was an open tradition of the Bundeswehr with a positive reference to the Wehrmacht. It was only to the extent that the crimes of the Wehrmacht were made known to a wider public in West Germany – here the “Wehrmacht Exhibition” (“War of Extermination” (“War of Extermination” (“War of Extermination” (“War of Extermination” was developed by Hannes Heer and supported by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. Crimes of the Wehrmacht 1941-1945") played a prominent role – these references were partially eliminated and partly relativized. But they have not disappeared at all. Karl Theodor Molinari is still the patron saint of the German Bundeswehr Association (DBwV). Molinari was a highly decorated Wehrmacht officer, most recently in the rank of lieutenant colonel; He was convicted of war crimes in Belgium. He last held the rank of major general in the Bundeswehr (1961). To this day, there are the Generalfeldmarschall-Erwin-Rommel-Kaserne in Augustdorf in North Rhine-Westphalia and the “Rommel-Kaserne” in Dornstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Erwin Rommel was a leading Nazi military (“Desert Fox”). He was involved in jewish deportations. In November 1997, the Eichelberg barracks were renamed Bruchsal to “General-Dr.-Speidel-Kaserne”. For this Nazi military, see above. The “mountain hunter” traditionalists of the Bundeswehr still stand in the Nazi mountain hunter tradition. This unit was involved in the destruction of hundreds of villages and their populations in Greece.
The symbolism, which recalls German militarism and the Nazi military, also persists. The quoted maneuver designation “blue wings” reminds us that the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht had the color “blue-grey”. One may still believe in chance and speak of externality. But the interweaving of the Star of David and the Iron Cross is openly cynical. All the Above-quoted Nazi military and Bundeswehr co-founders, who were directly or indirectly responsible for the Nazi crimes against the Jewish population, were bearers of the Iron Cross. The Iron Cross of the Bundeswehr differs only insignificantly from the Iron Cross of the Wehrmacht. The Iron Cross is thus a symbol of German militarism, of the break-off of two world wars. The Iron Cross cannot be detached from the war crimes of the Wehrmacht in general and from the participation of the Wehrmacht in the Holocaust in particular. To associate this symbol of the perpetrators with the Star of David, the symbol of the victims, is cynical. In this way, the Nazi crimes are to be put into perspective.
If the German Minister of Defence justified the military exercise of the German and Israeli Air Forces on 18 August with reference to “the better future”, then the Bundeswehr is also to be included in the aggressive policy of the Netanyahu government against the Palestinian population. This is precisely at a time when tens of thousands are taking to the streets in Israel against this government, demanding the resignation of Netanyahu, who is being accused of corruption.