The Greatest Pilot Who Ever Flew – Hans Ulrich Rudel

Special Film Project 186 - Hans-Ulrich Rudel.jpg

Hans-Ulrich Rudel (2 July 1916 – 18 December 1982)

Hans-Ulrich Rudel (2 July 1916 – 18 December 1982) was a German ground-attack pilot during World War II. Post-war, he was a prominent National Socialist activist in Latin America and West Germany.

During the war, Rudel was credited with the destruction of 519 tanks, as well as a number of ships. He claimed 9 aerial victories and the destruction of more than 800 vehicles of all types. He flew 2,530 ground-attack missions exclusively on the Eastern Front, usually flying the Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka” dive bomber, and 430 missions flying fighter aircraft. Rudel was the most decorated German serviceman of World War II receiving the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds in January 1945; the decoration was created specifically for him. Rudel surrendered to US forces on 8 May 1945.

Rudel fled to Argentina in 1948. A committed and unrepentant National Socialist, he founded the “Kameradenwerk“, a relief organization for Nazi criminals that helped fugitives escape to Latin America and the Middle East. Together with Willem Sassen, Rudel helped shelter Josef Mengele, the notorious former SS doctor at Auschwitz. He worked as an arms dealer and a military advisor to the regimes of Juan Perón in Argentina, of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and of Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay. Due to these activities, he was placed under observation by the US Central Intelligence Agency.

In the West German federal election of 1953, Rudel, who had returned to West Germany, was the top candidate for the far-right German Reich Party but was not elected to the Bundestag. Following the Revolución Libertadora in 1955, the uprising that ended the second presidential term of Perón, Rudel moved to Paraguay, where he acted as a foreign representative for several German companies. In 1977, he became a spokesman for the German People’s Union, a neo-Nazi political party founded by the extremist politician Gerhard Frey. Rudel died in West Germany in 1982.

Read more here

Short Interview with Hans-Ulrich Rudel – March 1945

Hans-Ulrich Rudel – The Surrender of Germany’s Most Decorated Ace 1945

Erich Hartmann

Erich Alfred Hartmann (19 April 1922 – 20 September 1993)

Ratlines (World War II aftermath)

14 comments

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  8. Tar Baby · May 25, 2019

    1. The correct way to describe the award given to Rudel is: He was awarded the Golden Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds TO the Knight’s Cross OF the Iron Cross.

    2. The award was NOT created for him. Hitler wanted to give out TEN of these awards, with Rudel being the first. He never got around to awarding any more. Hartmann should certainly have been given one.

    Liked by 1 person

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