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01 September 2011 @ 10:48 pm
A real story that I found very touching !  
 I've actually been trying to come up with some catchy title that would make you, my followers, curious enough to not skip this post about a little story, a true story that has absolutely moved me . I know that very few people share my interest in historical stuff and so I tought long and hard before making this post but decided I have to, I have to share it and hopefully this post will succeed in making at least one more person in this world know about this.

So what I'm going to talk about is real, I read about it from various sources including one of the "parties" involved .

First of all, a little introduction so you have a bit of an idea who and what I'm talking about. This little story involves a guy called Alfred Jodl who was a General and Chief of Staff of Operations in the OKW. I'm not going to get into details about what his job implied, about his professional career and all that because you probably don't care ,there's a lot to tell ,complicated and I am still reading about it. Basically, if I can explain it correctly in just a very short form, he was in charge of the general military operations on all fronts( technical matters, strategic matters, stuff like that) . In 1945 he was the one to sign the unconditional surrender on behalf of the German army. Sadly , he was one of the defendants in the Nuremberg Trial and was sentenced to death by hanging just like his superior, Field Marshall Keitel .  In the '50 a German denazification court(who were, btw, even more bitter and quick to throw blame) found him not guilty on all counts, same counts for which he was hanged.

I know that most people are tempted to stop reading this cause clearly any German involved in any way with the state during that time is supposed to be evil ,crazy and stupid but please bare with me, this is not accurate and it's also impossible, anyone who is from a country that saw totalitarian regimes should know this.

Anyway, this man was the embodiment of the professional soldier and officer, with a sense of loyalty ,duty and obedience that is rarely seen today and that were basically used against him . As a person he was hard to grasp because he had some contrasting features. He was extremely disciplined ,capable of great self control, an introvert who didn't talk much ,smart ,always expressed himself in a succint ,clear manner, very ambitious ,could be a little hard headed . At the same time, he was a man with a big heart , friendly and humorus in the right circles, passionate and his biggest passion was mountain climbing and just things related to the outdoors/mountains and sports.

On to the story now. The guy was married twice. His first wife died in 1944 from complications after a surgery(there was an air raid over the hospital, they had to move to a bunker, she got complications), they had been married since 1913. He married his second wife at the beginning on 1945 , they knew eachother since the early to mid '30s and she was something like 15 years younger (when he died he was 56). She was a very smart, very nice, very strong ,educated woman, pretty too and really not the typical housewife type, from a good family of Prussian officers. I don't know the exact details of their relationship prior to his wife's death, as far as I know they were together and if I understand right, his wife knew and was ok with it(weird, I know but they even became great friends, it's complicated). Idea is that the love was probably pretty strong.

Now ,I bought a 2 books, they're in German so I'm struggling with them, both about him, one written by his second wife ,Luise( who btw worked for the Army for many years so she knew stuff) and one by a historian/biographer. Luise writes about their time together and how she experienced the last days of the war, how he convinced her to leave Berlin although she wanted to stay with him . There's a lot of sweetness and it's simple and genuine not like in sappy books and movies, it's real and poignant. Like, for ex, he left her a note before he went to work on the day when he convinced her to leave Berlin on a plane his superior prepared.  While she was recovering from reading the note  he also called her just to talk to her for a minute and thank  her again. Isn't that sweet?

The sweetest ,saddest part is the prison part though ! He was in Nuremberg from August 1945 to the 16th of October 1946 when he was hanged . Luise managed to get a job as an assistant on his defence team and worked very hard and quite successfully (although in the end it didn't matter) to get evidence and documents and stuff like that. This also meant she could see him every day in court and sometimes they could talk .

When it was his turn to testify in the witness stand, along with the necessary papers and such she also left him a painting of one his favorite places (she could paint apparently)and the second day she left some flowers I think.

During his time in prison, at one point, they made an arrangement : every day at a certain time in the afternoon, she would go stand in a place opposite the prison from where she could see the window of his cell and wave with her hankerchief while he would do the same. Thing is that normally he could not look out the window, it wasn't allowed and the window itself was placed above eye level. But he could get his hand out the window just enough to wave and a few times he ignored the rules and somehow managed to raise himself up to look out the window where he could only see her hand but it...warmed him.

At the end of the book there are letters he sent her from the time he got his sentence until the day he was hanged. These are the most moving things I've ever read. I mean, these are the thoughts of a man about to die and he's being very brave and composed about it but most of all he's showing great appreciation, love ,worry and recognition for her, it's so beautiful !

Now, I know this entry isn't written the way it should be to do the story justice and if you want to know more you can just ask. If the book was in english I'd put quotes but since it's not...

If you got this far, here are some pictures/gifs of him and his wife, to put faces to names. He wasn't the most handsome of men but he was very very elegant ,had great posture and military bearing and was well built since he was always a very sporty guy who did mountain climbing.

the tight uniform that compliments the figure, the riding breeches that compliment the ass and work fantastically with boots....I'll say, they had the best looking uniforms.

that is Luise ,he's behind her.

during the trial . They were given sun glasses that they wore sometimes because of the bright lights in the courtroom ,especially compared to the poor lighting in the cells.

this is when he went to sign the unconditional surrender

about to sign the instrument of surrender

dat uniform...

Luise with her/their dog either during Nuremberg or after, not sure.

with Keitel(right) and Bodenschatz (left). I must make a post about Keitel's smile, totally random subject lol