Scrapbook Pages

Taking the Oath January 30, 1939: "I swear loyalty and obedience to Führer, Reich and Fatherland." Willi is in center on the left.

Followed by parading before the airfield Commander at Straubing. Willi said, "After a few weeks of Boot Camp, we were able to march, salute according to the Prussian drill order of Gen. Gneisenau (1812), in front of the hangar at the airfield in Straubing."

Note: Zoom in on these pages to see the details; that's why I kept them as pdf's.

Willi's pilot's license dated 12-12-1939 which states that he "has permission to fly the aircraft of the Luftwaffe." Top left: Willi on right wearing open-cockpit flight suits. Center left: arrow points to Willi. Center right: that is Willi behind the plane window. Bottom left: Out on the airfield for practice flights, arrow points to Willi.

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 From "Life of WLK":  "I got lucky again during a bombing raid in June over the railway junction Wolhov-Stroj (also spelled Wolhof), near Leningrad. A Russian anti-aircraft shell tore a big hole into my fuselage and killed my radio operator. Two German fighters from the Gruen Herz squadron winged me back to the Luga airfield."  

Eugene Merz, Funken-Uffz, the radio operator from Rottweil, Baden, is pictured at top (see attched pdf). Willi was grieved at the loss of this good friend. In center picture, Willi and his crew are at the front of the funeral procession at the military cemetery Pleskau (Pskow), Korovje Selo, on June 21, 1943. Below, standing at attention and (right) lowering the casket. (Not shown on this page: the 21 gun salute at the burial site.)

Top row: 1) The 21-gun salute at the burial of Eugene Merz, 2) Willi's girlfriend Gerlinde in a 1942 photo when she was still in high school. They were "engaged" but at the end of the war in all the confusion and detention, they lost track of each other and both met and married someone else. He last saw her when he managed to find her at an anti-aircraft artillery unit in Berlin during the BofB.

Second row: 1) The crash site of Willi's lucky belly-landing at Opalkovo on July 5, 1943 not far from the headquarters of Gen. Feldmarshal Von Kluge. He began the mission at 6:41 and was hit at 8:09. 2) Tail gunner Rainer Korsch inspects the damage to the destroyed He 111, AI+BR.

From Life of WLK: 

On the first day of the big battle “Citadel,” July 5, 1943, around Kursk/Orel, four Russian Yak fighters caught me after my second mission and the release of my bombs, and shot my left engine afire. We did not dare to jump, the battlefront was too close. A steep dive kept the flames back and brought us over friendly territory and a huge field with six-foot high wheat. Never in my life did I manage a better landing. The tall wheat cushioned the belly-sliding aircraft and we were able to jump out and run away from the ammunition explosions and flames. A short while later, a German Panzer Spaehwagen (tank reconnaissance vehicle) picked us up and took us to the headquarters of Fieldmarshal von Kluge close by, where we were served with a hearty breakfast and congratulations.

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The certificate reads:

In the Name of the Leader and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, I award to Sergeant Wilhelm Kriessmann the Iron Cross 1st Class ... 20 January, 1943.

It is signed by Ritter von Greim but unfortunately the signature doesn't show up on the copy.

Pictured below: Col. Gen. Keller of the Luftflotte presented the awards and visited with Willi's squadron. I'm sure that is Willi in the picture on the left.

From their headquarters at Korovje Seco from 12 January to 18 July 1943, Willi's Staffel 7 went on missions to these 13 destinations. Welikije Luki was the worst. As he wrote in Life of WLK:

We survived as a group of 23 airplanes and 115 men ... 23 horrible missions to save Welikije Luki. We were very lucky to have survived.

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Leck was a secret airbase in Nordfriesland, Germany where 7 Staffel KG 76 was headquartered in May 1945. Willi is identified in the back row. Standing on the far left is Staffel Captain Hptm. Schillinger (my mother's maiden name). From the map you can see it is close to Klixbuell and Flensberg, on the North Sea.

From Life of WLK, Willi tells us how he arrived there:

The commandant of the RLM facility in Grossenhain, near Dresden, where we stayed for a few days, called us four pilots to a meeting on April 17. He told us that the facility would be blown up, that Russian and Allied forces had joined hands at the Elbe River some 100 miles further up, and our five jet planes, four AR 234s and one ME 262, had to be flown out the next day. The Arados were to go up North to KG 76 at the Schleswig airfield, the ME 262 to General Galland at Munich Oberwiesenfeld. I decided to stay with my good friends Waldemar Pollok, Kanngiesser and Winkler who decided to take the northern route. Early the next morning we took off. A low ceiling but open skies in Schleswig made me climb through the clouds, landing 52 minutes later at my destination.

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Trude, Willi's sister, was a high BdM leader in Kaernten from 1941 to 1943, although she was a follower of Adolf Hitler's National Socialism long before that. The Bund Deutscher Mädel was the National Socialist organization for girls and young women, comparable to the Hitler Youth for boys and young men. When Austria became part of the German Reich in April 1938, the BdM became popular.

On this page are Trude's very own badges, the red/white diamond swastika worn on the white nurses' aprons of the Gesundheitsdienst (Health Service), and the triangle of the Southwest Canton,  which she served. The photo is from a Hitler Youth gathering in her region during the war, somewhere in Kaernten. 


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Another view of the HJ gathering with speakers and other dignitaries, such as the Gauleiter of Kärnten and Gebiertsführer Schoas-Regger.

Below, Trude's boss, BdM leader Lore Peterschinegg, who married Odilo Globocnik.

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Sport Rally for the Youth, Krainburg , 1942

Top: Trude Kriessmann is seated on stage at far leftt next to Hermann Ebners, representing the leadership in Krainburg/Oberkrai, now in Slovenia.

2nd row: A BdM leader speaks to the gathered crowd; someone has an accordian.

Bottom: Trude to the right of the woman wearing hat.

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BdM girls of different age groups performed for the public. In the center photo, we see Trude standing at the far right as the girl's leader.

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Portraits of Trude Kriessmann from 1939 to 1960


More portraits of Trude Kriessmann as a dedicated National-Socialist woman. The ideal for German women at this time was "Faith and Beauty" (Glaube und Schönheit).

By 1946, Trude had gone into hiding in Germany from the Yugoslav partisans at home who would surely have killed her. Her father and brother were held in a detention camp under British control; her mother and sister were alone in Feistritz, struggling to keep body and soul together.

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2012 © Copyright information метр


Interviews and discussions with Wilhelm Kriessmann conducted by Carolyn Yeager for "The Heretics' Hour" between March 2010 and November 2011.


Pages from Willi's and Trude's scrapbooks, presented as PDF's so you can enlarge the pages for more detailed viewing of the photographs.

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