Visit a Battlefield

Wannsee Conference Participants

Gerhard Klopfer

Gerhard Klopfer, attendee at the Wannsee Conference

The following individuals participated in the Wannsee Conference (Wannsee-Konferenz, Wannseekonferenz), held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on January 20, 1942, to achieve bureaucratic unanimity concerning the Final Solution of the Jewish Question (Endlösung, Endlösung der Judenfrage), a euphemism for the destruction of the Jews in Europe.

SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt/ Reich Main Security Office) and Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia; ambushed in Prague on May 27, 1942 and died of his wounds on June 4, 1942.

State Secretary Roland Freisler, Reich Ministry of Justice; killed in an air-raid in Berlin on February 3, 1945.

SS-Sturmbannführer Rudolf Lange, Commander of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police; SiPo) and the SD for the General-District Latvia, Deputy of the Commander of the SiPo and the SD for the Reichskommissariat Ostland, and Head of Einsatzkommando 2; killed in action (or suicide) at Posen/Poznań, Poland on February 23, 1945.

State Secretary and Deputy Reich Minister Alfred Meyer, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories; committed suicide on April 11, 1945 near Hessisch Oldendorf.

SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, Chief of Amt IV (Gestapo) in the Reich Main Security Office; last seen in Berlin on April 30, 1945 – fate unknown.

Undersecretary of State Martin Luther, Reich Foreign Ministry; finished the war in a concentration camp after falling out with Foreign Minister Ribbentrop; died in Berlin of heart failure in May 1945.

SS-Oberführer Karl Eberhard Schöngarth, Commander of the SiPo (Security Police) and the SD (Security Service) in the General Government; hanged for war crimes (killing British prisoners of war) at Hameln Prison on May 16, 1946 (executioner – Albert Pierrepoint.)

Ministerial Director Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger, Permanent Secretary at the Reich Chancellery (representing Dr. Hans Lammers); acquitted of war crimes; died at Nürnberg on April 25, 1947.

State Secretary Josef Bühler, General Government (representing Governor-General Dr. Hans Frank); tried in Poland for war crimes and executed in Kraków, Poland on August 22, 1948.

State Secretary Erich Neumann, Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan; briefly imprisoned; died at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on March 23, 1951.

State Secretary Wilhelm Stuckart, Reich Interior Ministry; imprisoned for four years before being released for lack of evidence in 1949; killed in a car accident near Hanover on November 15, 1953.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, Head of Referat IV B4 of the Gestapo; hanged at Ramla Prison in Israel on June 1, 1962.

Ministerial Director Georg Leibbrandt, Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories; charged with war crimes but the case against him was dismissed in 1950; died in Bonn on June 16, 1982.

SS-Gruppenführer Otto Hofmann, Head of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA); sentenced to 25 years in prison for war crimes, but was pardoned in 1954; died in Bad Mergentheim on December 31, 1982.

Ministerial Director Gerhard Klopfer, Permanent Secretary of the Nazi Party Chancellery (representing Martin Bormann); charged with war crimes but released for lack of evidence; died on January 29, 1987.


Wannsee Conference Participants2016-03-02T21:18:07-06:00

Sergeant Major Pierre A. Banker (Army Discharge from 7th Cavalry, 1871)

Army Discharge for Sergeant Major Pierre A. Banker

If you collect items associated with the Seventh Cavalry, I can help you there also.  Shown is the Army Discharge for Pierre A. Banker, who served in 1871 as the senior enlisted man in the regiment.

  • Born in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York on December 5, 1845, the son of John Banker and Priscilla Alden.
  • Educated at the Mount Pleasant Military Academy in Ossining, New York at the same time as James “Jimmy” Calhoun.
  • Served as a private in Company A of the 20th Regiment, New York State Militia, from the beginning of the Civil War; the regiment was reorganized into the 80th New York Volunteers; it fought at Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and the Siege of Petersburg; Banker was originally discharged on February 3, 1865.
  • Enlisted in the 7th Cavalry Regiment on November 19, 1866.
  • Stood 5′ 4½” tall, with a fair complexion, gray eyes and dark hair.
  • Served in Company F.
  • Fought at the Battle of the Washita and succeeded Sergeant Major Walter Kennedy, who was killed during the battle, as the regimental sergeant major.
  • Functioned as a clerk at 7th Cavalry Headquarters at Fort Hays and Fort Leavenworth, where he transcribed many of the original reports submitted by Custer, including the official final report on the Battle of the Washita.
  • Wrote a letter to his father, John Banker of New York, which read in part: “I wish Congress would decide upon this Mormon business. I should very much like to go to Salt Lake and give old Brigham a good sound whipping.”
  • Discharged from the 7th Cavalry on June 9, 1871 at Taylor Barracks, Louisville, Kentucky.  Discharge was signed by Major W. P. Carlin, Commanding Officer of the 16th Infantry Regiment and Post Commander; and by First Lieutenant William W. Cooke, Adjutant of the 7th Cavalry Regiment.
  • Married Miss Julia Carroll, daughter of William Carroll a prominent merchant and businessman, in Rhinebeck, New York, on November 23, 1873.
  • Graduated from the New York Homeopathic College in 1879 and began practicing medicine.
  • Died at Elizabeth, New Jersey on December 2, 1909 of a heart attack.
  • Survived by his wife and children, George T. Banker (organist), Pierre Augustine Banker, Jr., Harriett Preston and Julia Carroll Banker.
Sergeant Major Pierre A. Banker (Army Discharge from 7th Cavalry, 1871)2013-02-12T13:56:11-06:00

Merode Castle After the Fight

Merode Castle After the Fight

After the 39th Infantry Regiment stormed and captured the castle from the German 3rd Paratroop Division (3. Fallschirmjäger-Division), they stayed there for the night.  The regimental cannon company, later that evening, began firing at the castle, believing an enemy counter-attack was underway.  The boys in Company B, 39th Regiment, including Private First Class “Mac” MacLean, did not find this amusing.  The author is currently amassing research material to wrote a book on his father’s company.  Visit the Hürtgen Forest during this process with French for a really in-depth look at the battle.

Merode Castle After the Fighting

Merode Castle After the Fight2013-01-13T16:26:20-06:00

Walking Through the Forest

Walking Through The Forest

The Hürtgen Forest has miles and miles of trenches and the remnants of the fighting, as well as pieces of the Westwall, or Siegfried Line.  Rusted helmets, broken messkits and even rotted German boots bear witness to the ferocity of the fighting.  When walking through the woods, be careful not to pick up bazooka rounds or other dangerous ordnance.

Walking Through the Trees

Walking Through the Forest2013-01-13T16:28:35-06:00

Dragon’s Teeth

Dragon’s Teeth in the Forest

Most open areas in the forest had this type of obstacle.  Standing in the middle of rows of dragon’s teeth and looking at the German side some 200-500 yards will often reveal where a bunker was that would keep the obstacle under observation and fire if necessary.  Obstacles not covered by fire are almost worthless.  The Germans also made extensive use of anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines.

Dragon's Teeth in the Hürtgen Forest

Dragon’s Teeth2013-01-13T16:31:50-06:00

Merode Castle

Merode Castle in the Hürtgen Forest

Both the 1st Infantry Division and the 9th Infantry Division tried to wrest this formidable fortress from the German 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division.  The 39th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division finally succeeded on December 12, 1944.  We will visit the scene of the fighting.  Here is a rare view of the castle from 70 years ago.

Merode Castle before the Fight

Merode Castle2016-01-13T18:02:11-06:00

Ride the Battlefield

Ride the Battlefield

You can ride the battlefield at the Little Bighorn with French and Crow Tribe expert horsemen with Ken Real Bird.  The photo shows me in my younger days riding the range in northern Colorado.  If I can do it, so can you — and you’ll have a memory of a lifetime.

You can ride the battlefield with French, shown here in his younger days riding the range in northern Colorado

You can ride the battlefield with French, shown here in his younger days riding the range in northern Colorado

Ride the Battlefield2016-01-13T17:54:31-06:00

The Battle of the Bulge Southern Route Map

The Battle of the Bulge Southern Route Map

This map shows the advance of the 5th Panzer Army, commanded by Hasso von Manteuffel.  The museum at Bastogne is huge; plan on spending some time there.

The Battle of the Bulge Southern Route Map2013-01-13T17:14:21-06:00
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