Meet

SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Hans-Jörg Hartmann

III Batl. "Nordland" regiment 5th SS division "Wiking

 

This is a photo-essay based on a stack of Photo albums and documents from the estate of  SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Hans-Jörg Hartmann Born in Berlin-Licterfeld on October 21, 1913

The associated text is drawn from the captions of the photos as well as information in the documents that are associated with this grouping. None of the photos have been published or widely viewed outside of the family. I have put this together chronologically inasmuch as is possible given the available information. I think you'll find the photos interesting.

4 of the albums are from the pre-war period and depict Hartmann's early life

 

 

They begin with Hartmann's grandparents. Left; on his father side, Right; his mothers side

 

 

 

Hartmann's father; Artur Emil Gottfried Hartmann was a cavalry officer  during WW1. In civil life; a gentleman, business manager and land-owner. The photos appear to show him as a member of the Prussian "Junker class" military establishment.

 

By all that can be ascertained, the family enjoyed some level of opulence; at very least maintaining an upper middle class life-style. Hartmann attended classes in locations relatively far-flung from home; The Gymnasium Lichterfelde, Katharineum Lubeck and the  Oberrealschule Schwerin.

 

Hartmann in 1914. At right; "Rolf"; the family dog

 

Froma a family portrait in 1916; Hartmann's Mother; Martha Antonie Hartmann, Milo; Hartmann's younger brother and father; clad in a cavalry officer's Ulanka with high collar.

 

Hans-Jorg and Milo in 1917. At right; a photo with their sister; Helga from 1928

 

 

 

Hartmann's school class in Lichterfeld. He is not identified in the photo.

 

Early Hitler youth photo; during the years before Hitler's 1933 take-over. Hartmann is at upper left

 

 

As an SA member 1932

 

 

 

Hartmann served nearly a year as a Wachtmeister with the landespolizei 1934-35

 

A hefty stack of documents attests to Hartmann's Aryan lineage dating back to 1750.

Hartmann joined the SS on October 1, 1935; SS number 272.292

 

 

After November 1936; with SS standarte "Germania"

 

 

 

 

Mother and father; Easter 1937. The senior Hartmann was; by this time, a minor functionary in the Nazi party. His uniform displays awards given him during the Imperial times.

 

 

The photos are captioned "Christmas leave 1937" but note that Hartmann already wears the cuff title of "SS schule Tolz". His brother; Milo is a lieutenant with the army.

 

The Hartmann Siblings. Sister Helga and Brother Milo; now an officer with the Luftwaffe.

 

 

 

Berlin after January 1933

  

At left is Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring's Air ministry building on the Wilhelmstrasse. At right, a Municipal building flies the Government service flag

 

 

The 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin

The Brandenburg gate and the unter den Linden were festooned with decor during the summer of 1936; as Berlin not only hosted the summer Olympics but served as a show place before the world, of National socialism and Hitler's new order.

 

 

The Sportpalast decorated with flags of the participating nations

 

  

The alte museum at left; a photo taken from the center of the Lustgarten. At right; the Berliner dome.

 

 

  

The soccer competition; semi finals at the Olympic stadium; August 10-15, 1936

 

 

 

 

     

With the standarte "Germania" after November, 1936. Although of the same size and quality as other photos appearing on the page of the album; the vantage points from which these two photos were obviously taken leads one to believe they could be "official" photos rather than privately made.

 

 

 

With the Verfugungstruppe 1937. Note "Germania" cuff titles

 

 

Hartmann takes aim with a Dreyse model 1907 automatic pistol; made by Rheinmetal. The Ugliest German pistol ever made.

 

 

 

 

The photos in this series of three are not captioned so the location is unknown

  

 

 

 

    

 In the picturesque alpen region of southern Bavaria. Photos taken during the time that Hartmann attended the junkerschule at Tolz.

 

 

 

 

Note the "Bergmutz" caps hanging  on hooks and the Bakelite cased "Volksemphanger" radio.

 

 

 

 

 

Munich November 9, 1937. The anniversary of the Beerhallputsch

From within the ranks, Hartmann took this series of Photographs of Hitler arriving at the Max-Joseph platz followed by the bearers of the wreathes. (enlarged below)

 

 

The bearers of the "Deutschland erwache" standards gather in front of the Residenze theater on the Max-Joseph platz

 

 

Marching up the Residenzstrasse

 

 

Along the Residenzestrasse where it joins the Theatrestrasse at the Feldherrenhalle

 

 

Parading past the Feldherrenhalle; the repository of the remains of the men who fell during the Beerhallputsch

 

 

 

Adolf Hitler stepping away from the sarcophaguses of the "Fallen heroes" of November 9, 1923.

(Although this photo is included in Hartmann's album, it is most likely not a private photo as it would seem improbable that either Hartmann or one of his companions; being among the "rank and file", would have gotten to this vantage point in order to take the picture.)

 

 

SS Officers at parade rest on a Munich street

(In strange contrast to the advertisement at upper left for Doctor Scholl's foot care)

 

 

 

Heldengedenkentag in Bad Tolz 1937

The German version of "Armistice day". Since 1919, November 11 had been considered "people's day of mourning" but was renamed Heroes remembrance day by Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and turned from a day of mourning and solidarity to one of celebration.

Passing the bookstore of Johann Dewitz on the cobble stoned Marktstrasse, Bad Tolz. Hartmann appears in the center of the first rank

 

 

An SA Band follows the column of SS men

 

 

 

 

Junkerschule Tolz

April 1, 1938. Hartmann entered the SS Junkerschule at Bad Tolz as a StandartenJunker (officer candidate)

 

The Imposing main gate of Junkershule Tolz

 

  

The parade grounds of Bad Tolz

 

 

Hartmann puts horns on a colleague as Heinrich Himmler looks on from the wall.

 

Hartmann with two friends. Note the Cuff title on the overcoat sleeve at right. "SS Schule Tolz"

 

A field exercise with senior officers at Bad Tolz

 

 

 

According to a personal review by the commander of the Junkerschule Tolz in July of 1938;

"Hartmann has a solid, impeccable character. Physically mediocre, his services are sufficient and better. In recent times, he has suffered from bad family circumstances; this is also due to the lack of concentration. Lack of front service and short training time still allow him sufficient achievements in practical service. His level of performance at the front is still uncertain."
 

"Guidance in and out of service was very good. In relations, especially with superiors, he is calm and reserved., yet trusting. Hartmann is still capable of development in his life and will become a useful leader with the appropriate performance"

 

Newly minted officers from the Junkerschule Bad Tolz

 

 

Hartmann appears at center foreground second from the left of the rank

This SS Officer degen is typical of a sword obtained by an officer at the Junkerschule Tolz. It comes from the Hartmann estate and has Hartmann's SS number stamped into the blade. It is quite likely the same one as is pictured in the above photographs.

 

 

 

October 1-10 1938. After the Munich accord, German troops move to occupy the Sudetenland

SS standarte "Germania" took part in the occupation; integrated with army units. Here; German soldiers crossing the former border. Apparently Hartmann recognized the historical significance of taking this photograph at this particular place.

 

 

"Germania" troops entering predominantly German towns are welcomed enthusiastically by the inhabitants. Note the rifles carried are WW1 vintage G98s used widely by SS-VT units.

 

 

 The Czech army was ordered not to resist. These two Czech soldiers must appear as a curiosity to the advancing soldiers of "Germania"

 

 

"Krystalnacht" in Munich November 9-10, 1938

The locations of destruction caused to Jewish shops and properties through-out Germany appeared to have been the subject of a fair amount of curiosity by sight-seers, regardless of where their sympathy may lay.

These photos were taken in the days immediately after the vandalism of "Krystalnacht"

   

The orthodox Synagogue on Herzog-Rudolfstrasse. In the photo at left, the picture appears to have been taken from the driver's side of a vehicle

 

The shoe store of J Speier on the Kaufigerstrasse

 

 

 

 

There is a large gap in the photo albums between 1938 and 1941 with the exception of these two loose photographs.  In October of 1940, Hartmann married Dorothea Hembes who was the mother of the child in the above two photos; Werner, born to her in the Lebensborn facility at Steinhoring on May 27, 1939. Hartmann adopted the child upon the marriage. Mother and son were moved to the SS family residence at Klagenfurt.

 

According to a performance overview by the commander of the "Germania" replacement battalion in February 1940, Hartmann "is of moderate physical size. (Hartman was 5'8") his official appearance leaves something to be desired. This small lack of appearance does not allow for personal performance.

Hartmann has a tendency to softness as a superior, which has a detrimental effect on the education of underlings and men (especially in times of war).
[However] through the influence of his company commander and his work on himself, he has acquired the respect and trust of his subordinates. He was involved in the Polish campaign as MG platoon leader and was wounded [in the upper right arm]. At his request and the existing inclination he was transferred to the [75mm] infantry gun replacement company.

 

Hartmann was promoted to SS Obersturmfuhrer on August 1, 1940; attached to 4th company, SS regiment "Nordland" as part of the cadre of German officers around which was built the predominantly Dutch, Danish, Scandinavian unit later attached to 5th SS Panzer division "Wiking". In April of 1941, Hartmann was given command of 12th company regiment "Nordland" prior to moving in position for the attack on Russia in June.

 

 In June of 1941, the SS division "Wiking" was composed mainly of three infantry regiments: "Germania", Westland" and "Nordland".

 These two photo albums were compiled from photographs Hartmann took between June and November 1941 while commanding 12th company in the campaign in the Ukraine.

 

 

The best arranged and most well captioned of the photo albums; each page is carefully laid out and captioned in white ink script.

 

 

 

The following photographs are in chronological order as they appear in the  2 wartime photo albums. They have been trimmed for size. In cases where the caption is used or paraphrased, the text is in Quotations. The 10 maps have been created and added by me as background; detailing the advance through the Ukraine during the summer/fall of 1941.

 

Hartmann recorded the scenes in the weeks following the opening of operation Barbarossa in much the same way as many Germans did. The curious nature of the land and the people; the open expanses of the Ukrainian plains; broken vehicles and equipment remaining as the residue of a retreating Red Army.

 

 

Hartmann with his "Befehlwagen" (On a misty morning; presumably at the beginning of "operation Barbarossa")

 

The cigar is ever present

 

 

 

Hartmann's driver and batman at the wheel of the KDF type 82

 

 

June 29; seven days after the beginning of "Barbarossa"; Crossing the border into Soviet Ukraine. Each of the vehicles bears the circular swastika emblem of  the 5th SS panzer division "Wiking" as well as the large stenciled "K" letters identifying them as belonging to "panzergruppe Kleist"; named for the commander, Field Marshall Ewald Von Kleist.

 

 

12th company vehicles at the head of the column

 

 

Along the rollbahn heading south to L'vov. Passing scenes of destruction caused by the leading elements some days before.

 

 

"Wiking's first advances into the Ukraine met little resistance as the way had been cleared by earlier advancing units.

 

 

    

Zhovka ancient city gate; 30kms north of L'vov. Note the Ukrainian language banners prepared and hung above the gate; welcoming the German "Liberators" with the greeting "Heil Hitler"

 

 

           

The lead vehicles first meeting with a Soviet 52 ton tank

 

This photo is captioned as "The Murder building".  A Church in L'vov; reportedly the location of atrocities committed by the G.P.U. ; (The Soviet state political directorate)

 

Ukrainian peasants

 

Field workers in what the page caption describes as the "bread basket of Europe"

 

A soviet KV-2 52 ton tank with a 15cm cannon. Note the Black & White Swastika identification banner displayed on the hood of the Volkswagen; at this point in the campaign the Luftwaffe enjoyed almost total air supremacy.

 

 

The advance continues north of Tarnopol. It was at Tarnopol that Units of "Nordland" caught up with the front-line and first encountered the red army. The scene is one which was ubiquitous in the Ukraine during the summer of 1941; German columns following the non-improved roads which stretched to the far-flung horizon.

 

 

Artillery preparations set against a barren landscape.

 

 

A striking photograph offering a clear close-up of the blurred edge SS camouflage smocks and various personal equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The The first prisoners taken after closing a major pocket of resistance north of Tarnopol.

 

 

 DKW 350 motorcycle with dispatch rider. Note the large "K" painted onto the fuel tank.

 

 

Destroyed enemy armor at Tarnopol. The giant KV2 tanks were a curiosity to the Germans whose own tanks were of roughly half the weight of the soviet monsters. 

 

 

 

 

"Wiking" Mk III tank lost to enemy fire

 

 

Knocked out Soviet T-34/76; smaller in numbers during the first year of the war yet highly efficient due to their mobility and striking power.

Through better coordination with air power and observation, many fell victim to the advancing German forces. As noted in the photo caption; In July Panzerarmee Kleist destroyed 160 enemy tanks.

 

 

 

 

Zhitomir was heavily contested by the Red Army. The buildings  show the effects.

 

Lead vehicles passing a T34/76 while moving through Zhitomir

 

 

Another T34/76 knocked out 50 meters further down the road. According to the caption: "The work of German Stukas"

 

 

"An MG nest in a corn field"

 

 

 On the north Rollbahn at Radomischel

 

 

"SS-Hstuf Erich Rosenbusch; 9th Kompanie commander"

 

 

 

 

 4 weeks since the beginning of regiment "Nordland"s offensive, in the vicinity of Cherkassy; half way through the Ukraine.

 

Difficult road conditions after heavy rain

 

 

The Ukrainian mud seems bottomless

 

 

Hartmann describes the conditions; "And in sunshine, dust and thirst are constant companions"

 

 

23-28 July 1941  Luka-Boguslav. DKW 350 motorcycles

 

 

 

 

"Wiking" Division headquarters. SDkfz 222 armored reconnaissance vehicles  and Horsch command vehicles

 

 

Sturmgeschutz

 

 

Panzer Mk III

 

 

 

 

 

Like many SS officers in this period; Hartmann has adopted the practice of removing his collar insignia. Note also the non-regulation wear of an Army officer side cap with a metal SS skull applied to the front.

 

 

The Battalion commander confers with company officers in front of Boguslav

 

 

SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Blöw (commander III Battalion) against the backdrop of the plains of north central Ukraine; rolling hills and grasslands interspersed by ravines and crevasses.

 

 

What follows are some fairly rare front-line shots of advancing "Wiking" armor.

 

 

 

 

 

A Feisler Storch observation airplane joins

 

 

 

Knight's cross winner SS-Oberfuhrer Fritz von Scholtz

Commander of regiment Nordland

 

 

 

SS-Oberscharfuhrer Mery   3. platoon leader of Hartmann's company.

 

 

Hartmann captions this photo: "The face of the German infantryman"

 

 

 Photo captioned as "SS Unterscharfuhrer Nigbur's Wonder Kitchen"; SS soldiers borrowing a Ukainian peasant kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

A Ukrainian Family

 

 

 According to a notation beneath this photo: "They are free again!"

 

 

The Ukrainian civilians had little to fear from the German occupiers that first summer.

 

 

Soviet prisoners

 

 

 

 

Dismounted from the vehicles and resting near Kremenchuk

 

 

Hartmann in a Horsch command car

 

 

 

 A BMW R12 motorcycle and sidecar. "A short rest..."

 

 

..." Then onwards again"

 

 

Russian "Elite" troops taken in front of Dneipropetrovsk

 

 

The caption describes these men as Stalin's "Guards"

 

 

Moving to the rear in columns

 

 

 

 

Western Suburbs of Dneipropetrovsk

 

 

Barricade constructed on the street car line

 

 

Moving through Dneipropetrovsk. Note the MG34 gunner with gunner pouch, 50 rd drum magazine and a holstered Luger pistol.

 

 

The main train station on the western bank of the great Dneiper river

 

 Earlier, other units of "Wiking" had gotten across the 1600 meters of the Dneiper. Here; men are carrying ration containers into the bridgehead via a pontoon footbridge

 

 

 

 A heavier bridge was built to accommodate vehicle traffic

 

 

Vehicles of SS Division "Wiking" in the Dneipropetrovsk bridgehead

 

 

 

 

 

Knightscross holder SS Gruppenfuhrer und Generalleutnant der Waffen SS Felix Steiner, Commander of the SS-Div "Wiking"

 

 

SS Sturmbannfuhrer Blöw, Commander III Battalion SS "Nordland"

 

 

Sturmbannfuhrer Blöw

 

 

Hstuf. Hartmann (12. Company commander)

 

 

Obstuf. Schroter and Muller (11. and 9. Company commanders) Shroter and some of his men would be killed in an action later on October 2.

 

 

 

 

Former Soviet position

 

 

Soviet RGD33 stick grenades scattered on the ground

 

 

A Soviet defender

 

 

  

Soviet munitions

 

 

An Ancient 76mm gun

 

 

 

The captions describe these men as "Jews, Siberian troops and Partisans"

 

 

The grave of one of Hartmann's soldiers in Dneipropetrovsk. Written next to the photo; "Their Honor is Loyalty. I swear to you; Adolf Hitler, Loyalty and obedience to the Death"

 

 

The photo is captioned "Breakthrough near Kamenka". The vehicle marking at right indicates a command vehicle of a Motorcycle mounted infantry platoon.

 

 

 

 

The caption describes these photos as Pictures of both the "creators" and the people of "Paradise"; a stab indicating Hartmann's opinion of the communist state.

 

 

 

According to the caption; "The Stalino Dam was blown up... yet it poses no obstacle"

 

 

"Safety in October 1941"

 

 

"North of Mariopol - near the sea of Azov"

 

 

 

SS obstuf Muller of 9. Kompanie

 

 

11. company's commander; Ostuf Schroter has fallen along with 3 of his men.

 

 

 

The death notice written by his wife:

"In the highest military tradition in the struggle against Bolschevism, my dear good-hearted husband; Hans-Jörg Hartmann Has fallen on November 20, 1941

Recipient of the Iron cross 1st and 2nd class, the wound badge and various other awards

He gave his life for Germany

Dorle Hartmann (Born Hembes) and children Werner and Hans-Jörg

Klagenfurt, January 1942

SS Officer living quarters"

 

 

The official word: fallen in action in the east.

 

Here was a man born to Military tradition, preened and primped in the tradition of the Junker class; recipient of a classical education; of the finest training, technology and theory; clad in the finest quality uniforms and accoutrements; armed with the best weapons. Like a modern day Knight.

 

Dead; along with millions, in the frozen mud of Russia. His grave later removed and dumped in a mass burial pit or simply burned by the Russians.

Hartmann's first born son was born 10 days after his death. It was not likely that his wife had yet received the news. She named the child after his father.

 

 

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