What's wrong with this photo?
This is Fritz Wiedemann. He was a supervisor and a father figure to Adolf Hitler, and later his adjutant - then he changed to become his enemy: New research shows the resoluteness with which he urged the British and the Americans to Hitler's overthrow.
I found this photo in an article of "Der Spiegel" with the title Hitler's Commander (in WWI) conspires with British (in WWII). The original photo is located in the US National Archives.
The photo of Fritz Wiedemann was made during a meeting with German-Americans. He was the Consul General in San Francisco - a position he held from 1939 to 1941. According to historian Thomas Weber Wiedemann felt often very uncomfortable at those meetings, as the German-Americans were extremely fond of Hitler's Nazi Germany. You can clearly see it on the Indian headdress his hosts forced him to wear for this photo.
I can't wrap my mind around this ... read the story behind it.
This is my attempt to translate the article. All my bad English does belong to me.
Aberdeen/Hamburg: Since October 1915 Wiedemann was one of the few who, for several years, issued orders to Adolf Hitler. Fritz Wiedemann was an adjutant on the staff of the so-called Regiment List in World War I and therefore was Hitler's direct supervisor to whom Hitler had to report. Wiedemann apparently valued Hitler and supported granting him the medal of an "Iron Cross". After Hitler's empowerment in 1933, Hitler paid him back by making Wiedemann his adjutant in 1935.What I find so mind-numbing in that photo is the fact that German-American Nazi supporters abused an Indian headdress by putting a swastika on it, and then pushed it on a German Consul General's head, who tried to do his best to use his position to fight the Nazi regime. How much more bitterly ironic can it get?
Of all people, this long-time confidante of Hitler would later become a staunch enemy of the dictator. Even more, documents show that Wiedemann urged the British and American Secret Services in all earnesty to take resolute action against Hitler. And he did this at a time, when Hitler already had reached the height of his power - in the fall of 1940, after the successful Invasion of France.
"The fact that Wiedemann completely turned against Hitler, is still unknown," says Thomas Weber, a historian from Hagen, who teaches at the University of Aberdeen. Already last year he published a widely acclaimed book about the role of the First World War in the biography of Hitler. For the paperback edition of his book, Weber researched further more about the fate of Hitler's comrades from the Regiment List (WWI).
Wiedemann and Hitler had lost contact after the end of war in 1918. Only after the Nazis seized power in 1933 they both came in contact again. From the beginning of 1935 Wiedemann served as adjutant of Hitler, but he soon lost Hitler's favor in the wake of increasingly aggressive German foreign policy, against which Wiedeman had apparentely many reseravations, especially against the war. It finally came to a complete discord in early 1939. Eight months before the start of World War II, Hitler sent Wiedemann far away - as Consul General to San Francisco in the United States.
There, after the outbreak of World War II, Wiedemann met several times with the British secret agent Sir William Wiseman. Historian Thomas Weber found in the estate records of Wiseman transcripts of one of these conversations in the fall of 1940. In these conversations Wiedemann warned them particularly open about Hitler, saying that he (Hitler) has a split personality, that his success has gone to his head, that he is one of the cruelest people in the world, sees himself as a better Napoleon and that there could never be a peace with Hitler.
Wiedemann spoke with Wiseman also about Germany's plans to attack Britain and strongly recommended the British to strike the Germans hard and as soon as possible He also told the British secret service that the morale of the German population and their support of Hitler were lower than expected.
Wiedemann made his opposition to Hitler in public, in order to strengthen the US willingness to fight against the Nazi dictatorship, because the US was not yet in war with Germany. He offered to testify and unwrap the situation in Germany as key witness in front of the US press in order to reveal the true nature of Hitler's regime. However, the White House intervened. The Roosevelt administration was not interested at this time in a confrontation with Germany.
Historian Weber also found evidence that Wiedeman used his influence to protect several Jewish friends out of Hitler's former Regiment List (WWI) from persecution.
His commitment - Weber calls it "high treason" - against the Hitler dictatorship would have almost certainly cost Fritz Wiedemann his life, had it become known to the Nazis. But as it was, after Germany declared war on the United States, Hitler dismissed him in December 1941 from his post in San Francisco and transferred him to China.
Why did they have to use an Indian headdress ?
I can't wrap my mind around it. Help me expressing why I find this racist, demeaning and utterly sad.