THE WARTIME DIARY OF GAULEITER OTTO TELSCHOW
OTTO TELSCHOW (1876–1945) German Nazi Party official who served as Gauleiter in Eastern Hanover from 1925 to 1945. Telschow joined the anti-Semitic German Social Party in 1905. He served with the police until the beginning of the First World War and was drafted as a field hospital inspector, serving from 1914 to 1917 on the front lines. He was also a member of the German Deutschvölkischer Schutz-und Trutzbund, the largest and most active anti-Semitic federation in Germany. On July 15, 1925 Adolf Hitler formally named him Gauleiter of Gau Luneburg-Stade, renamed Gau Eastern Hanover three years later. During his tenure, complaints began to surface concerning womanizing by Telschow. An investigation was quashed due to the intervention of Martin Bormann who was familiar with Hitler's reluctance to discipline or remove any Alter Kampfer ('old fighter') that had been with him from the earliest days. Once captured at war's end, Terschow slashed his wrists, killing himself. Offered here is a superlative manuscript, a leather-bound diary presented to Telschow on his 65th birthday by the 'Ortsgruppe der NSDAP, Deutsch-Evern', Feb. 27, 1941. The 9 x 11 in. book bears an beautiful, ornate, heavy gold-plated filigree decorative frame affixed to the front cover, and the presentation page has been hand-inked in calligraphy and signed by an unidentified Ortsgruppenleiter. The contents include 75pp. of text including 31 photographs (the very last one after all text, showing Telschow atop his horse and signed by him), and four facsimile signed correspondence cards sent to Telschow by Adolf Hitler. Much excellent content, reading in very small part: '...[On my 65th birthday] The Fuhrer sent to 'his old loyal Gauleiter'...his picture in a glorious heavy, silver frame...' He also mentions other lavish gifts sent to him by Goebbels, Schwarz, Schwann, and the public. He continues: '...This morning the radio announced the invasion of British troops into Yugoslavia from Greece...the English dropped bombs on Wesermunde...The Special service announces the fall of Saloniki! Three days after the invasion!...I was forced to start my return home...by the announcement that the Reichstag would meet...[Rudolf Hess] had been a physically very feeble man...and took his refuge in all sorts of quacks...His pompous, lectured speeches were the delight of old bourgeois hags; to us old fighters he had nothing to say...on 5.12, at night, the radio announced that Hess had left Augsburg in an airplane...apparently in a state of mental illness...[I] arrived in Munich the next morning. At that time, Hess had landed in Scotland. The Fuhrer was deeply shocked...the Fuhrer...gave me the order to start with the reconstruction of the city of Luneburg...The wonderful restaurants on the lake at Hohenschwangau had been confiscated by the Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler, for resettled Germans. For that, I lack all appreciation...Dr. Piech, the son-in-law of Dr. Porsche demonstrated to us a cross-country Volkswagen which mastered even the greatest difficulties in the field...Dr. Ley spoke in an open air public rally...there was quite a surprise. Party Comrade Prof. Dr. Ley received the first [Volkswagen] and I the second Volkswagen produced in the Volkswagenwerk [pictures of the vehicles and the ceremony are included further on]...the Volksschule in Wesermunde, Otto-Telschow-City will now be called Otto-Telschow-School...Today, the men of the Legion of Norway took their oath...for the war against the Soviets. For this, Quisling had come [photo of Quisling, Telschow, and an SS general attached]...All Gauleiters were ordered...to Munich...the Fuhrer received his Gauleiters with a handshake [he also quotes a speech by Hitler condemning Franz Pfeffer von Salomon for his indiscretions concerning Hess' flight]...Japan has entered the war against England and the USA...The Fuhrer is being hit hard. After the case of Blomberg and the case von Brauchitsch, the escape of Hess, and the air accidents of Udet, Molders and Dr. Todt; the sudden death of Dr. Reichenau, the worsening of the situation in the east...My brother lost both his boys, now Rudolph, his only one...The Reichstag met on Sunday, the 26th of April. The Fuhrer...received the authority to decide over life and death of each single individual and now has a power so mighty as no ruler has had before him...The English have started a new method of war...[they] drop phosphorus canisters, which produce gasses...Today, the state funeral fo SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich...the Fuhrer spoke in the Burgerbraukeller...the Fuhrer kept us in the Casino of the Fuhrerbau so that we were not exposed to possible raids...The Fuhrer explained to us the causes of the loss of Stalingrad...The British air war on North German territory has terrible results [statistics set forth]...Mussolini has abdicated on the 24th. Marshall Badoglio took his place. There is no Hamburg any more...hundreds of thousands of evacuated people are populating my gau. The misery is unsurveyably heavy...Italy treacherously arranged an armistice...The factory floor of the Volkswagen plant is in flames!...The invasion of the Anglo-Americans has taken place last night in the area of the mouth of the Seine...Assassination attempt onthe Fuhrer by Oberst von Stauffenberg! I have started a separate file for that...The Fuhrer greeted us with his left hand, since the right one is still swollen. The same old, though, when he speaks...On Nov. 12, the Volkssturm took the oath...The enemy air force has dealt us heavy blows; the enemy is on all our borders...The Gau has now become a provider for others...Hamburg sponges upon us...Roland Freisler fell victim to a terror attack in Berlin...The Fuhrer is very worn out, his back is bent over, the left arm 'shivers' constantly, he speaks very softly...The Gau is crowded with 185,000 bombed out people and 300,000 refugees from the Eastern Gaus...General Lieutenant...accuses Reichsmarshall Goring...guilty of the decline of the Luftwaffe...a Freikorps Adolf Hitler will be formed...under the leadership of Dr. Ley, in order to destroy tank troops. The NS Wehrwolf has congregated...[Last entry, Apr. 16, 1945] The Gau is a combat area. Gifhorn, Celle, Burgorf are taken by the enemy...17 tanks have been destroyed up there...Walsrode is under attack. Verden is being held, although it is almost totally destroyed...' Telschow's final act is to place a signed photograph of himself atop his horse immediately after his final entry. Throughout the diary, Telschow also constantly refers to gifts received, artworks, wines, etc., attesting to his corruption and extravagant lifestyle. He also increasingly mentions those killed in action, trials of friends and subordinates, etc. With much more excellent content. There are four letters to Telschow from Hitler, all signed in facsimile and transmitting Christmas gifts. Photographs appear throughout, and include Telschow, Porsche, four images of the first Volkswagens, Quisling, generals, fellow gauleiters, and so on. With full translation. An especially rare look at the life of a top Nazi leader for the duration of war.