German Jewish Aces

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Willy Rosenstein was a World War I ace and a pre-war aviation pioneer. He was born in Stuttgart on January 28, 1892. Because he had a keen interest in engines and cars, he decided to become a motor engineer. In 1912 he earned his pilot's license (No. 170) at the famous flying school at Johannisthal. Soon afterwards he became a flight instructor, a test pilot, and a contestant in airplane competitions. His great flying talent made him nationally known. When war was declared in 1914, Rosenstein volunteered for duty as a pilot. At first he piloted two-seaters: while he flew the plane, another man would observe the enemy below. Later in the war the observers were armed with machine guns and participated in air combat. Pilots of one-seaters had both jobs of flying and shooting, and Rosenstein eventually became the pilot of a one-seater. From February to December 1917, Rosenstein was a member of Jasta 17, which was under the command of Lieutenant Hermann Goering. (Jasta was short for Jagdstaffel, or squadron. It was part of a Jagdgeschwader, or wing.) Rosenstein had his first confirmed aerial victory while in Jasta 17. In late 1917 an incident occurred in which Rosenstein became very upset after Lt. Goering made an anti-Semitic remark in front of several people - Rosenstein requested an apology but when Goering refused, Rosenstein asked for a transfer out of the unit.

    After Hitler came to power, Willy Rosenstein found it difficult to fly. The Nazis made it very clear that he was not welcome at any flying fields. An old war comrade was in charge of one of the flying fields, however, and he refused to comply with Nazi orders that Jews were forbidden to fly. He allowed Rosenstein to use the field whenever he wished, but Rosenstein became concerned that his old comrade would soon get into serious trouble, so he stopped going to the flying field. Rosenstein decided that he and his family should get out of Germany, and although the Nazis did not want Jews in the country, they made it increasingly difficult for Jews to leave. When German Jews tried to emigrate, the government taxed so much of their money and property that in most cases there was not enough left to buy a passage to another country or to provide a means for making a living. Rosenstein was running into all kinds of Nazi bureaucratic roadblocks as he tried to leave the country. A man Rosenstein had barely known from his days in Goering's squadron told Rosenstein he would inform Goering of his dilemma. Considering the circumstances under which he had left Goering's squadron, Rosenstein expected no help. To Rosenstein's great surprise, Goering sent him a letter that he admits "made things easier in some ways," because he was allowed to leave the country and take three planes and their spare parts with him, "a privilege which was not granted to other Jews at that time [summer 1936]."

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  2. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    An interesting character. Where did he emigrate to?
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Hi Andy !

    He died 1945 in Rostenberg South Africa

    And his is his son ........ ironically enough !

    ROSENSTEIN, Lieutenant (Pilot), ERNEST WILLY, 328895V. 185 Sqdn. South African Air Force. 2nd April 1945. Age 22. Son of Willy and Hedwig Rosenstein, of Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa V. A. 5

    ERNST 20 Feb 1923 - 1945 pilot of British Royal Air Force was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea in combat action during World War II

    Annie :)
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Berthold Guthmann was born in 1893 and volunteered for military service in WWI, as did his two brothers (one of whom was killed at Verdun).
    He became observer and gunner on military aircrafts and was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class), the Tapferkeits medaille (Medal for Bravery), and the Verwundetenabzeichen (equivalent to the Purple Heart)

    After the war he became a successful attorney in Wiesbaden. He was the secular leader of the Wiesbaden Jewish community during its darkest years (1938-1942) and second in charge of the Frankfurt Jewish congregation during its final months (1942-1943)

    Jews and Communists were blamed for Germany losing the war. After the Nazi party came to power in Germany, Hitler immediately set upon making life as difficult as possible for German Jews. He first did this through anti-Semitic legislation designed to isolate Jews from the rest of society. Fritz Beckhardt, the Jewish pilot who had flown in World War I with a swastika on his plane, was imprisoned in a concentration camp because of his relationship with an "Aryan" woman. His old flying comrade, Berthold Guthmann, boldly appealed to Hermann Goering, Hitler's right-hand man, as a fellow flier and asked him to intercede on behalf of Beckhardt. Although Goering was the creator of the concentration camps (and the Gestapo), he granted Guthmann's request and released Beckhardt, who then left the country.

    Berthold Guthmann once said that Richthofen ( who was also thought to be Jewish ) was like "an umbrella that gave all the German pilots a covering of fellowship and chivalry," and Hermann Goering, in the case of Rosenstein and Beckhardt, was loyal to the brotherhood of fliers.

    Unfortunately, a new kind of chivalry was rising up in Germany, one that was being developed by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. Himmler was obsessed with tales of knights and Camelot, but he wanted a uniquely German brand of chivalry.

    In the First World War, Richthofen had described the chivalry of fliers as: "A chivalrous battle with similar weapons, each with a machine gun, an airplane, and some athletic ability; only the heart remains to be weighed."

    Berthold Guthmann had served Germany faithfully in its fledgling air force during World War I, but that made no difference to the Nazis. He was not seen as a German, a veteran, or a human being. In 1943 Guthmann and his family were arrested, split up, and sent to various concentration camps. Although Guthmann had saved Beckhardt's life a few years earlier through his plea to Hermann Goering, no one interceded on Guthmann's behalf, and he was killed at Auschwitz

    From and
  5. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Werner Voss was the most famous Jewish ace of the war.

    He achieved 48 victories. The last 13 of them were in the last six weeks of his life, after being entrusted with one of the prototype Fokker Triplanes (known as the Fokker F.I, later renamed Dr.I).

    On 23rd September 1917, when flying alone, he was ambushed by six SE5a pilots including James McCudden, of 56 squadron, then the leading squadron in the RFC. It is said that he put bullets into all of their aircraft, before being shot down and killed, the fatal shots being fired by Arthur Rhys-Davies.

    He was 20 years old. Rhys-Davies, then aged 19, had been head boy of Eton school the previous year; he was killed on 27th October 1917 aged barely 20, being by then a 25-victory ace.

    "His flying was wonderful, his courage magnificent and in my opinion he is the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight." James McCudden

    "If I could only have brought him down alive..." Arthur Rhys Davids to James McCudden
  6. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    According to the latest biography of Ltn Werner Voss, September Evening by Barry Diggens (ISBN 1 904010 47 4) his family wasn't Jewish, despite persistent stories to the contrary. The ace's people were staunch Evangelical Lutherans. There was a prominent Jewish family named Voss living in Krefeld, where Werner was born, but they weren't related.

  7. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member


    Interesting - but if they had the same name, could they have been of Jewish ancestry but converted to Christianity?
  8. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Here's some snippets about Voss ... though you probably already know them all !! :)

    September 23, 1917, twenty-year-old Werner Voss, commander of the Yellow Nosed Jasta 10, was about to go home on leave, but decides to go on a lone wolf-patrol, probably hoping to achieve the half-century mark in victories.Earlier that day, he shot down a DH4 from squadron 57 which brought the young Werner's tally to 48 victories.
    Voss took off alone and came upon SE5's of Squadron 60 escorting a two seater.He swooped down upon the straggling R. Chidlaw-Roberts in his SE.
    Voss, already anticipating the rescue maneuver, met Hamersley head-on and severly shot-up his craft, forcing him down in a spinning dive.Chidlaw-Roberts tried to intervene, only to find Voss had once again anticipated the move, and turned his plane in an "impossible way," and sent a stream of bullets which ripped into his aircraft, leaving Chidlaw-Roberts only option to dive away.
    Voss followed to finish them off.
    The 56th started out organized in pairs, but that soon broke- down, due to the tight turns and the superb flying skills of Voss.For a short time, a red-nosed Albatross, flown by Carl Menckhoff of Jasta 3, joined in the fight and performed well with Voss, but was shot-down by Rye Davis.
    With B and C flight of the 56th Squadron, plus what was on hand of the 60th, it is uncertain the number of planes Voss flew against in the duration of the fight. (It was no less than nine, and possibly twelve.) With it being said, Voss holed every plane in the sky against him.Every time the British felt they had a shot at Voss, he would turn his plane in an unexpected way and would shoot them before they could get-off a well-aimed shot.In fact, it was stated Voss had times where he could have broken off the fight, but would keep coming down upon them.At one point, Mac thought of braking off the fight himself, due to gathering darkness.At 6:05, in fading light, Rhye Davis was credited with ending the life of probably the most gifted pilot of the war, or even of all time, Werner Voss.


    The first prototype of the Dr I triplane was delivered to Werner Voss, commander of Jasta 10, a part of the Flying Circus. Richthofen had two quick victories in his triplane, but on September 15th he lent it to Kurt Wolff, the commander of Jasta 11, who was shot down by a Sopwith Camel of the Black Flight.

    Voss, for his part, enjoyed tremendous success in his plane, but by late September he was also brought down in an epic single-handed dogfight against seven SE5a's.


    The German war cemetry of Langemark which evolved from a small group of graves from 1915, has seen numerous changes and extensions. It was dedicated in 1932. Today, visitors find a mass grave near the entrance. This comrades' grave contains 24,917 servicemen, including the Ace Werner Voss. Between the oak trees, next to this mass grave, are another 10,143 soldiers. The 3,000 school students who were killed during the First Battle of Ypres are buried in a third part of the cemetery. At the rear of the cemetery is a sculpture of four mourning figures by Professor Emil Krieger. The group was added in 1956, and is said to stand guard over the fallen. The cemetery is maintained by the German War Graves Commission, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge.

    Though I also read

    "Werner Voss's body is buried at Plums Farm with the remains of his triplane in a trench, about 100 yards from plums farm - he is still m.i.a. At Langemarck is only his name on the gravestone so that he is not forgotten"

    Werner Voss, Germany's fourth ranking ace was born 13 April 1897 in Krefeld Germany. Krefeld is a located in Northwestern Germany, along the Rhine River, just North of Dusseldorf and South of Duisburg. It is approximately 30 Km or 19 miles from the Netherlands. While it has been reported that he was Jewish, official records claim that he was Lutheran. There is the possibility that either one of his parents or possibly a grandparent was Jewish, but there is no hard evidence to suggest this. The rumors that he was Jewish are from an unsubstantiated claim made by Arch Whitehouse. All sources agree that he came from a working class background. Most sources say his father owned or managed a commercial dye factory..
  9. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    Again according to Werner's biography, Voss is a common surname in the Krefeld area, and there's no connection between the airman's family and the Jewish one. However, it seems that once someone came to an incorrect conclusion, and the suggestion won't go away.

  10. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Too much of my knowledge of WW1 aces comes from books that I read as a boy in the 60's and 70's; these books perpetuated myths that serious later research has dispelled.
    The myths are gradually being weeded out of my knowledge-base but probably some remain!
  11. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Wilhelm Frankl
    Leutnant (Reserve), Commander, 23rd Field Aviation Unit, Jasta 4

    He was awarded the Pour le Merite for distinguished military service, leadership, and his 8th aerial victory.

    Born December 20, 1893
    Jasta 4
    19 Victories
    Awards: 1st or 2nd? class Iron Cross, and the Pour le Merite.

    He was the son of a Jewish business man who resided in Hamburg, Germany and later relocated to Frankfort/Main. After successfully passing all examinations at school, he left school and developed an interest in aviation. He went to Johannisthal, the famous German pre-war aviation center and became a flight student of Germany's first female pilot, the charming Melly Beese. He was a quick learner and obtained his pilot's license, number 490.

    When the war broke out in 1914, he did not hesitate to volunteer to the Flying Corps. Due to his experience, he was immediately accepted and was placed in Feldflieger Abteilung 40. Frankl's unpretentious and complaisant attitude, couple with his excellent flying ability, soon won the affection of his superiors.

    Warning ... this next picture maybe disturbing

    A German photo inscribed - "Canadian Pilot taken down by Lt. Frankl, after jumping 1000 metres from his burning aircraft". Lt. Wilhelm Frankl was one of Germany's famous WWI pilots - bringing down 19 planes. The identity of the Canadian is unknown. Lt. Frankl was killed in action in on April 8, 1917.
  12. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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