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Old 25 January 2005, 04:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Fritz Beckhardt

I am looking for informations about my grandpa Fritz Beckhardt who was a jewish pilot from 1916 until 1918 in WW1 serving in Jasta 26 and eventually in Jasta 11 ... flying with Hermann Goering ... who later in 1941 or sth. helped him to get out of prison and/or concentraion camp ... anything you know will be interesting and evtl. used in a film or book I am preparing


Last edited by Lorenz; 16 March 2005 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 25 January 2005, 06:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe not new for you but all research about Fritz Beckhardt starts in general with the following lines of "Jüdische Flieger im Weltkrieg" by Dr. Felix A. Theilhaber:

"Im wirklichen Kriege hatte man das Hakenkreuz noch nicht gesehen. Nur der Jude Fritz Beckhardt aus Wallertheim im Hessischen (Sohn des Herrn Abraham B.) hatte, wie die Abbildung zeigt, mit dem Hakenkreuz-Flugzeug seine Siege und Erfolge erflogen. Er ahnte allerdings nicht, daß sein populäres Zeichen, mit dem er das Eiserne Kreuz 1. Klasse, den Hohenzollern mit Schwertern, die Hess. Tapferkeitsmedaille. den hess. Ernst Ludwigsorden, das Flugzeugführer- und das Verwundetenabzeichen sowie einen für Tapferkeit im Luftkampf gestifteten silbernen Ehrenbecher sich erwarb, das Symbol kindischer Demonstranten wurde, die auch ihm Mut und Ehre absprechen.
Fritz Beckhardt war unter Abenteuern zu Kriegsbeginn aus Frankreich nach Deutschland geflohen, machte hier als Freiwilliger den Krieg von Anfang an an der Westfront bei der Infanterie mit. In Hannover und Hamburg zum Flugzeugführer ausgebildet, kommandierte man ihn zuerst zum Flugpark 4 nach Gent und von da zu A.O.K., Abtlg. 3, Fernaufklärung, alsdann flog er bei der Schusta 11 und nach der Ausbildung bei der Jagdfliegerschule 1 beim Jagdgeschwader 3, Jagdstaffel 11, Hauptmann Sörzes."

In his book Theilhaber had some problems with aviation units and names.
I am not aware of any Hauptmann Sörzes and Jasta 11 was not part of JG 3. To my knowledge Beckhardt flew with Schusta 11, later Jasta 26 and Kest 2.
Maybe Rick can clarify this a bit more.
If he was getting EK I then I would expect him also to have won EK 2.
Beckhardt´s swastika was also discussed here earlier.
Go to "Search" and look for "Beckhardt".

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Old 25 January 2005, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Lorenz:

I could find only two pieces of info on your grandfather:

1) A photo of Jasta 26 taken at either Isgehem or Erchin airfields in May 1918. Beckhardt is identified as being on the far right. If you don't have this photo, I can scan it for you.

2) Beckhardt shot down an S.E.5a over Cherzey for his first victory.

Good luck with your search.

Cheers, Amy
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Old 25 January 2005, 10:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Smile Thanx Amy for Fritz Beckhardt

I could find only two pieces of info on your grandfather:

1) A photo of Jasta 26 taken at either Isgehem or Erchin airfields in May 1918. Beckhardt is identified as being on the far right. If you don't have this photo, I can scan it for you.

Yes, please, you would do me a great favour by mailing me this photo.

2) Beckhardt shot down an S.E.5a over Cherzey for his first victory.

Where did you find that?

I wonder why all these people in this forum are so much interested in this part of history and where they get all these informations? Anyway, what ever I can add to it I will.

Thanx for your help,
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Old 25 January 2005, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanx Herr Immelmann,
I bought this book some years ago but did not rememebr what is written in it. How did your special interest on this topic begin?
Best wishes nach Sachsen,
Lorenz Beckhardt
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Old 26 January 2005, 10:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hallo Lorenz,

Interesse an der Fliegerei habe ich seit meinem 11.Lebensjahr. Erst Mitte der 90er Jahre fand ich zur Fliegerei des 1. Weltkrieges. Ein wesentlicher Grund dafür ist die unverzeihliche Ignoranz deutscher Historiker gegenüber dem 1. Weltkrieg. Alles schaut gebannt wie das Kaninchen auf die Schlange auf Weltkrieg 2, ohne wirklich die Bedeutung der Zeit von 1914-1918 zu begreifen. Überdies ist die Frühzeit der Fliegerei einfach urwüchsiger, spätere Entwicklungen und Fehlentwicklungen in Technik, Strategie und Taktik sind durch ihre Kenntnis besser zu verstehen. Oft sind sogar noch ritterliche Gesten im Luftkrieg zu entdecken, wobei ich nicht so einfältig bin zu glauben, daß es jemals irgendwo einen „ritterlichen Krieg“ gab – sonst könnte man die Sache ja gleich im Turnier entscheiden!

Back to the topic „Fritz Beckhardt“:
That is my “interpretation” of Theilhabers lines about Fritz Beckhardt´s military aviation career (I risk to bore you because I don´t know about your knowledge about Grandpa or existing memoires, photographs etc. Maybe all not new to you):
“Hannover” = Flieger-Ersatz-Abteilung 5 or Fliegerschule of FEA 5
„Hamburg“ = Militärfliegerschule Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel
„Flugpark 4“ = Armee-Flug-Park 4
„A.O.K., Abtlg. 3, Fernaufklärung“ = not clear to me, either Theilhaber was meaning any „Flieger-Abteilung“ flying long range reconnaissance for A.O.K.3 or he was meaning Flieger-Abteilung 3 (?) flying long range reconnaissance for any A.O.K.
Schusta 11 = abbreviation for Schutzstaffel 11
[Göring suggested the (mis)use of this term later for Adolf Hitlers guards – the SS]
„Jagdfliegerschule 1“ = Jagdstaffelschule 1 in Valenciennes
„Jagdgeschwader3, Jagdstaffel 11, Hauptmann Sörzes“ – that is a mistake! Theilhaber should have written „Jagdstaffel 26 bei Jagdgeschwader 3 unter Hauptmann Lörzer“!

If I am not mistaken Theilhaber did neither mention Kampf-Einsitzer-Staffel 2 (B. was there without any doubt) nor Kampf-Einsitzer-Staffel 5 (One source says he was there and claimed 2 victories against Breguets there).
Until now I can not discover a direct link to Göring. According to my Grub Street books Göring did serve with Jasta 26 but he had left before Beckhardt came to Jasta 26. As well I can not see any proof that Beckhardt served with Jasta 11 (JG1). Maybe another “Forumite” knows more about B.s link to Göring. At least we know Beckhardt served with Loerzer and Loerzer was a former leader of Göring and one of Görings best friends. Maybe Beckhardt did meet Göring on this way.
By the way do you have any proof for Fritz service in Jasta 11 or the Jageri?

Lorenz, please can you tell us a bit about the later life of Fritz Beckhardt?
I think a lot of people are very interested in his life and fate.

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Old 26 January 2005, 10:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello Lorenz

Vfw Fritz Beckhardt served within FA 3 from 29 Aug 17 until 14 Nov 17 when he was posted to Schusta 11.
It can be noted that FA 3 was an AOK unit directly "under" the command of AOK 4 and was specilized in very long recce flights. This was the "only" German flying unit which had such duties until early Oct 1918...

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Old 27 January 2005, 12:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hello Hannes
and whoever is interested in Fritz Beckhardts live.

FB was born 27.3.1889 in Wallertheim/Rheinhessen and died 13.1.1962 in Wiesbaden. Before WW1 he became skilled as a salesman first in a grocer's shop, later in a big jewish menswear warehouse in Hamburg. In 1914 he was working in Marseille in his uncles clothing manufacrtory. The the war broke out and he returned to Germany to report to the army. Until 1916 when he became trained as a pilot he was part of the infantry. After the armistice in 1918 he flew his plane to Switzerland to prevent it from getting confiscated by the enemy. In Switzerland he was put into prison until 1919 I assume.
I do not know exactly what he was doing from 1919 to 1926 when he married Emma Neumann in Wiesbaden. Probably he was travelling as a salesman.
From 1926 through 1933/34 he ran the grocery's shop of his father in law Emil Neumann. After the nazis started with their boycott on jewish shops he moved from the small outskirt of Wiesbaden called Sonnenberg to the center of Wiesbaden where he took over a shop of edible oil and fats.
In 1935/36 he was accused of having committed "Rassenschande" (a jew having sexual relations with an "aryan" woman). His lawyer was Berthold Guthmann who was also mentioned in this forum already (I think he also was part of Jasta 26???). Guthmann later was murdered in Auschwitz. FB was sentenced to hard labour and imprisoned. After prison he must have spent some time in the KZ Dachau and KZ Buchenwald.
In 1941/42 FB was released und allowed to leave Germany. It seems that Herrmann Goering played a role in this unplausible relief from a KZ.
FB travelled with his wife to England via Portugal where his familiy reunited - Fritz, Emma, Kurt (son) and Hilde (daughter). The two children had been rescued in 1939 by the so called "Kindertransporte".
First FB and Emma became internees on the isle of Man. Then they found a flat to stay in Golders Green, Finchley road above the butchery of Fritz Frowein. FB saved Frowein's life in 1934/35 by driving him and one of his brothers to Belgium while the Gestapo was behind them. Therefore Frowein later then helped FB.
In 1950 FB went back to Germany to recover his property. He never sold the house and the shop in Wiesbaden-Sonnenberg. After a trial against a Nazi called Pfeiffer who had occupied the house the Beckhardts moved to the place where they lived before 1933/34 ... a very rare event at that time in Germany.
FB and his son Kurt again ran a grocery store (the first self service in Wiesbaden) until FB died in 1962.

I would like to know if anybody knows something about the Guthmann family (US) or the Frowein family (GB)? Or do you know some lieratur I should read on all this?

Thanx for now, Lorenz

Last edited by Lorenz; 1 February 2005 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 27 January 2005, 02:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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beckhardt info

Originally Posted by rammjaeger
Hallo Lorenz,
By the way do you have any proof for Fritz service in Jasta 11 or the Jageri?
In one article of 'Der Schild - der Jüdische Frontkämpferbund' all German Jews, who had been in the Fliegertruppe 1914-18 are listed. Beckhardt is give as a member of 'St. 11' -> but it was Schusta 11 and not Jasta 11

...I started my career as aviation-historian in june 1990. I bought Richthofen's "Der Rote Kampfflieger" [1933]...

Frontflieger - Die Soldaten der Deutschen Fliegertruppe 1914 - 1918
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Old 27 January 2005, 03:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Lorenz, for sharing this fascinating story with us.

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