Baron ( Freiherr ) Alexander Ernst Alfred Herrmann von Falkenhausen ( Blumenthal , Silesia , Germany , 29 of October of 1878 – Nassau , Rhineland , Germany , 31 July of 1966 ) was a military German with the rank of General of Infantry Wehrmacht belonging To the German nobility and involved in parallel as a conspirator against Hitler’s regime ; and repressive anti – Semitic by the Belgian Jewish communities while he was Head of the Military Occupation Government in Belgium since 22 of maypole 1940, during the occupation by Nazi Germany in World War II . Interestingly, there was relative of Ludwig von Falkenhausen , who was also governor of Belgium during the German occupation, but during the First World War .
Von Falkenhausen was born in Blumenthal (Schleisen), Germany in 1878, the second of seven children of Baron Alexander von Falkenhausen and his wife Elizabeth Schuler von Senden.
Beginnings of his military career and service in China
It realized its basic studies in Breslau and entered like cadet to the military academy of Wahlstatt in Lower Silesia at the age of 12 years. In 1897 von Falkenhausen was promoted to second lieutenant in the German Army and served as an adjunct military man in Japan before World War I. During the war, he served in the Sixth Army and received the Pour le Mérite for his services to the Ottoman army in Palestine . He formed ranks in the Oldenburg No. 91 Infantry Regiment in the city of Oldenburg and was sent as part of an expeditionary regiment to China during the Boxer War in 1899 to 1902, where he became fascinated with Eastern cultures.
On his return he married Paula von Wedderkop, daughter of Marshal Julius von Wedderkop and was an assistant to the General Staff of the 91st Infantry Regiment, took a course at the Prussian Military Academy from 1904 to 1910, reaching the rank of Hauptmann or Army Captain .
Von Falkenhausen learned the Japanese language and was sent as a military attache to the German Embassy in Japan from 1911 to 1914.
World War I
In the preambles of World War I, he was assigned as a military attache in Turkey where he was surprised by the opening of the Great War .
He served as Inspector of the Turkish 2nd Army and later as Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army in the Caucasus .
He was Chief of Staff of the 7th Turkish Army in 1917 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He was awarded the Order of Merit ( Pour le Mérite ), the highest decoration of the Prussian army, and completed his mission in Turkey with the rank of military representative plenipotentiary in that country in 1918.
Republic of Weimar
Falkenhausen was assimilated to the Reichswehr , and assigned as Head of the Military District of Army Command II in Berlin in 1919 (Chief of Staff of the Wehrkreis ). On April 12, 1920, he was transferred to the Ministry of Defense, as Chief of Staff of Reichswehr Training and Education Inspectors, until 1921.
At the end of the war he continued in the army, and was transferred to Danzing to take care of a brief commission of the High Command in Polish affairs in that port. From 1922 to 1927 he served in several smaller commands.
In 1927 he was appointed to serve as chief director of the School of Infantry of Dresden , until in 1930 the Army introduced its voluntary resignation and retired from service.
In 1934, in the advent of Nazism, Falkenhausen openly rejected the policy of Hitler and managed to be sent to serve the East . He traveled to China , sent as deputy military advisor to the government of Chiang Kai-shek in China nationalist where he collaborated with the Chinese leader in the construction of the new national army in view of the conflict held with Japan during the ( Second Sino-Japanese War ) .
In 1937, Nazi Germany allied with the Empire of Japan , which had just resumed hostilities with the Republic of China in what became known as the Second Sino-Japanese War . The German government then suspended military aid to China and von Falkenhausen had to resign and return to Germany, under government threats to his family.
Falkenhausen, who had established good relations with the Chinese leader, resisted being withdrawn and threatened to resign from the Wehrmacht and renounce his nationality if forced to return to Germany. The Nazi regime, represented by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop , threatened to retaliate against his family if he remained in his position, so he returned to Germany in 1938. Before leaving, von Falkenhausen assured Chiang Kai -Shek would not reveal the battle plans drawn with his help and the military strategies implemented in China. He even witnessed an exception to the Nanking Massacre . [ Citation needed ]
Service in Germany and governorate of Belgium
While in Germany, Falkenhausen was contacted by the military group of his personal friend, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler opposed to the Hitler regime, while he was deputy commander in the 4th Infantry Corps in Dresden from 1939 to May 1940 and promoted to General Of Infantry. 1
In 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, von Falkenhausen was called to service again and served as an Infantry General on the Western Front . After the Battle of France , he was appointed Military Governor of Belgium in 1940.
World War II
In May 1940, he was called to serve on the orders of Hitler as Military Chief of the Occupation Forces in Belgium and the north of France , whose functions were to administer military internal security under the directives of the RSHA , to apply the policies of occupation Of the Nazi regime including the guidelines of the Aktion Reinhard , supervise the distribution and logistics of German troops in charge of defending the Atlantic Wall .
Under this charge and in accordance with the racial policies of the Nazi regime ( Final Solution ), he managed under 17 racial decrees the deportation of 28,900 Belgian and French Jews to concentration camps; But not of extermination, the sending of 2250 persons to forced labor in the Todt Organization and 43 000 non-Jewish Belgians opposed to the forced labor camps, of whom 13 000 died. Under his administration, hundreds of partisans were also executed.
His deputy civilian with equivalent rank of Chief Administrative Officer, Eggert Reeder , systematically destroyed the economic structure of the Jews in Belgian territory, but preserved the economic structure of that country against the directives of the Nazi regime. Reeder, in coordination with the Belgian Security Services Chief, Robert de Foy , sent to France trains loaded with Belgian Jews, but they were released by the Wehrmacht in Antwerp; however those of German, Austrian or Polish origin were sent to the extermination camp of Auschwitz -Birkenau. However, in one way or another only 6% of the Belgian Jewish population were sent to Germany, both Reeder and Falkenhausen managed to send quotas of Jews to labor camps and other non-extermination camps making it difficult or Hindering Himmler’s guidelines .
Falkernhausen in his charge somehow managed to permanently get presents to Chiang Kai-shek .
On June 7, 1944, members of the Belgian maquis assassinated three Gestapo officers in Ecaussinnes, prompting 97 people from the village to be arrested to be executed as a measure of pressure to find the culprits. Fortunately, a Chinese immigrant named Qian Xiuling , a relative of a friend of von Falkenhausen’s acquaintance, learned of the situation and traveled to Brussels to request the release of the detainees. Although General von Falkenhausen had previously helped to save others by intervention of Qian Xiuling, the latter favor motivated his arrest for insubordination, although the 97 people were released.
On July 15, 1944, Falkenhausen was abruptly dismissed from his post being replaced by General Martin Grase and transferred to the reserve.
Participation in the antinazi conspiracies and their consequences
While serving as governor he befriended Erwin von Witzleben and Carl Friedrich Goerdeler , both heads of the July 20, 1944 bombing , and eventually began to participate in conspiracy meetings.
After the failure of the aforementioned attack on Hitler, Falkenhausen, due to his closeness to Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, is arrested on suspicion of complicity with the opposition military group.
General von Falkenhausen was sent to court martial . Although the German defeat prevented him from being tried, von Falkenhausen was sent on a journey to various detention camps and was eventually taken to the Dachau concentration camp , fortunate not to be executed by the regime, until he was released by the Allies and taken prisoner by the American troops of Niederhorf 5 of May of 1945, before the Gestapo could execute it. 2
Accusations for war crimes
The end of the Nazi regime did not mean any improvement in the fate of von Falkenhausen, and both Falkenhausen and Reeder were claimed by the government of free Belgium. In 1948 he was extradited to Belgium to be tried for war crimes .
On March 9, 1951, they were tried for crimes committed under Nazi occupation. Although some exprisioners provided evidence in favor of Falkenhausen, was condemned by the application of the racial policies dictated by Himmler under his administration.
On July 9, 1951 von Falkenhausen was sentenced and sentenced to 12 years of forced labor for allowing the deportation of 25,000 Jews and the execution of Belgian civilians. However, the timely intervention of Qian Xiuling, who brought together several of the people released thanks to von Falkenhausen, motivated his release. Falkenhausen only completed three months and that year he was released from charges for an amnesty from Konrad Adenauer .
General von Falkenhausen settled in Bonn . Falkenhausen during his retirement life maintained an epistolary communication with the government of Chiang Kai-shek who gave many expressions of gratitude to the retired German general.
Alexander Freiherr von Falkenhausen died at age 88, in 1966 in Nassau ( Rhineland ) , Germany.
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