4 March 1918|
Königsberg, Prussia, German Empire. (now Russia)
Nazi Germany (to 1945)|
|Years of service||
I./SKG 10, 28 Oct 43 |
III./KG 51, 15 Aug 44
NSGr 20, 18 Nov 44
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Kurt Dahlmann (born 4 March 1918) is a retired German pilot, attorney, journalist, newspaper editor and political activist. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves were awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Upon completing his Abitur in 1936 he took up flight training at the Fliegerübungsstelle (flight training center) at Marienburg in Elbing. He began his flying career smuggling rationed gasoline from Germany to Poland in a light two seat aircraft, the second seat being used to hold a 60-litre (13 imp gal; 16 US gal) gasoline canister.
Following obligatory service in the Reichsarbeitsdienst he was inducted into the Luftwaffe in November 1937 and furthered his flight training at Luftkriegsschule Wildpark-Werder. In 1939 shortly before the start of the Second World War he received his commission as a Luftwaffe Lieutenant.
Second World War
He was further trained as a bomber and ground attack pilot, flying both Junkers Ju 88 and FW 190 in that role. He participated in the Polish Campaign, the Battle of Britain, and the campaign against France as well as the North African Campaign under Rommel at the controls of a Junkers Ju 88. He was never shot down although, according to him, he did have to leave his aircraft involuntarily on various occasions.
Dahlmann later specialized in solo night bombing attacks against specific high-value targets. These missions included weapons factories in Britain, British airfields, late war harassing bombing raids over London and attacking the Remagen bridge which was the first Allied open crossing over the Rhine river into Germany.
He was also personally assigned a specially stripped-down, high-speed FW 190 for target marking and pathfinding missions.
He flew over 350 combat missions throughout Europe between September 1940 and 5 May 1945 (VE Day), and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (No. 711) for flying 200 missions and subsequently the Oak Leaves for having successfully completed 300 combat missions, becoming the highest-decorated German Jabo (Schlachtflieger) pilot of the war.
He is one of fewer than twenty Iron Cross with Oak Leaves holders still alive today.
Following his release as an Allied POW, Dahlmann studied law at the university of Kiel in northern Germany, which he completed in 1949 and subsequently became a member of the bar in Schleswig-Holstein. Shortly thereafter he became a junior correspondent for the Kieler Nachrichten newspaper which was to be the start to his second career.
In 1958 he left Germany for Namibia, where he was hired by the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in Windhoek. He remained there until 1978 as editor in chief, then was fired, in part, for his liberal political views on apartheid.
From 1984 until 1985 he was editor of the German language Namibia Nachrichten thought to have been funded by the German government.
Writing under the pen name Stachus, symbolised as a potted cactus with an oblique dip pen, Dahlmann was adamant about the fleeting nature of apartheid. He wrote many editorials on this topic suggesting ways that Namibia and South Africa should address the issue of inevitable black rule in both countries.
His views so grated Dieter Lauenstein, who had recently purchased the paper, that he was fired from the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in 1978. Dahlmann alleges that Lauenstein fired him on 20 April 1978, the birthday of Adolf Hitler. Lauenstein was fiercely pro-apartheid and a staunch Namibian right-wing Nationalist at odds with Dahlmanns' own views, which were considerably more liberal and center left. Dahlmann would later state publicly that the acquisition of the paper by Lauenstein was at the behest of the South African government with the view of expanding its dominance over Namibia.
Dahlmanns' Namibian activism was based on three premises: the end of apartheid, continued independence vs integration with South Africa, and universal, race- and gender-independent, suffrage for all Namibians.
Awards and decorations
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (19 January 1942)
- Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold
- Iron Cross
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- German Cross in Gold on 15 February 1943 as Oberleutnant in the III./Kampfgeschwader 30
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knight's Cross on 11 June 1944 as Major and Gruppenkommandeur of the I./Schnellkampfgeschwader 10
- 711th Oak Leaves on 24 January 1945 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of Nachtschlachtgeschwader 20
- "Von 90 Jahren war Dahlmann zwei Jahrzehnte bei der AZ" [90-year-old Dahlmann was two decades at the AZ]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 27 March 2008.
- Goss, Chris (2009). Luftwaffe Hit-and-Run Raiders. Ian Allen Publishing. ISBN 978-1-903223-99-4.
- "Dahlmann, Kurt". Lexicon der Wehrmacht (in German).
- "Kurt Dahlmann". Schlachtflieger.de (in German).
- "Biographies of Namibian Personalities: L". Namibia Library of Dr. Klaus Dierks.
- "20 Jahre lang Stoff für den Glossentopf - Resümee eines Dieners". Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 4 August 2006.
- Reinsperger, Regina. "Diether Lauenstein und die Apartheid" (PDF). Ausführlicheres kritisches Porträt (in German). 503kB.
- "Spitze des Eisbergs" [Tip of the iceberg]. Der Spiegel (in German). 13 November 1978.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 77.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 264.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 156.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 95.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Stockert, Peter (2008). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 8 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 8] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- "Oblt Kurt Dahlmann III/KG 30" (forum thread). Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum.
- "Knights Cross Recipients Who Are Still Living" (forum thread). Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums.
- "Seid nett zu den armen Namibia-Deutschen" [Be nice to the poor Namibian-German]. Der Spiegel (in German). 28 August 1978.