Helmut Lent

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Helmut Lent in March 1943 with the Knight's Cross, Nazi propaganda photo by Walter Doelfs ( Luftwaffe propaganda company )

Helmut Lent (born June 13, 1918 in Pyrehne , Landsberg / Warthe district ; † October 7, 1944 in Paderborn ), most recently Commodore of Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 , was a night fighter pilot in the Air Force in World War II .


According to a report by the Military History Research Office, there is no reliable scientific literature on Lent . The following information about life comes from more or less dubious sources.

Helmut Lent was the fifth child of Johannes Lent, a Protestant pastor and Marie Elisabeth Lent, born Braune. Lent had two older brothers, Werner and Joachim and two older sisters, Käthe and Ursula. His family was very religious, both brothers and his grandfathers were pastors.

From Easter 1924 to Easter 1928 Helmut Lent attended the local elementary school in Pyrehne. His father and older brothers gave him tutoring in preparation for the entrance examination for the grammar school in Landsberg.

Lent joined the Jungvolk , the children and youth organization of the Hitler Youth . Even after reaching the age limit, he remained in this organization and rose in the hierarchy. From March 1933 to April 1935 he was a youth train leader (30–45 children and young people). From April to November 1935 he was a Fähnleinführer (leader of 120 to 180 children and young people) until he left the young people.

Lent joined the Air Force in 1936. On March 1, 1938, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Destroyer Squadron 76 shortly before the attack on Poland . He flew a Messerschmitt Bf 110 destroyer and scored his first aerial victory on September 2nd . In an aerial battle over the German Bight on December 18, 1939, he succeeded in shooting down two British Vickers Wellington bombers . In the Norwegian campaign in 1940, Lent shot down four more machines and increased his kill record to a total of eight daily kills. Even after he was shot down over the German Bight, Lent was stylized as a war hero in Nazi propaganda. His successes were presented in the newsreel .

Helmut Lent, 1942 (3rd v. Left), Nazi propaganda photo of Walter Doelfs ( propaganda unit of the Air Force)

At the beginning of September 1940 Lent began to retrain in night hunting and developed into an expert here.

On August 30, 1941, after eight day and 13 night kills , Lent was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross , and on June 8, 1942, after 41 kills, he was awarded the Knight's Cross. On August 4, 1943 Lent , who had meanwhile been promoted to major , received the swords for the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. After his 100th night kill, he was the first Luftwaffe night fighter to receive the Knight's Cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds on July 31, 1944.

Lent started in Stade on October 5, 1944 . Also on board were the radio operator Walter Kubisch, the war correspondent Werner Kark in the role of gunner and Hermann Klöss as the second radio operator. The destination was Paderborn Airport, where Lent wanted to visit Air Force officer Hans-Joachim Jabs for a meeting. Shortly before landing in Paderborn, the plane crashed into a high-voltage line. Kubisch and Klöss died the same day, Kark the next morning and Lent two days after the accident.

Grave in the garrison cemetery in Stade

At the state funeral in the Reich Chancellery on October 11, 1944, Hermann Göring gave the funeral speech. Lent and his crew were buried on October 12, 1944 at the garrison cemetery in Stade, with great sympathy from the people of Stade. Lent was promoted posthumously to colonel .


  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds
    • Knight's Cross on August 30, 1941
    • Oak leaves on June 6, 1942 (98th award)
    • Swords on August 2, 1943 (32nd award)
    • Diamonds on July 31, 1944 (15th award)
  • German cross in gold on April 9, 1942
  • Wound badge (1939) in silver
  • Pilot badge
  • Front flight clasp for night fighter with trailer 250
  • Narvik shield

Helmut Lent as the namesake

A Bundeswehr barracks was named after Lent in Rotenburg (Wümme) in 1964 . Josef Kammhuber , former superior and now inspector of the Air Force , is said to have been the driving force behind the naming.

On February 2, 2006, the senior officer of Fürstenfeldbruck , Major General Thomas Gericke, announced that the streets at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base had been renamed with the uniform name “Straße der Luftwaffe”. This also changed the name of the previous "Lentstrasse".

An expert opinion by the MGFA showed that the designation was in line with the traditional decree of 1965, but no longer corresponds to the currently valid decree from 1982. As a result, an order was sent to the site administration to check whether the previous name was meaningful, and otherwise to rename it.

A more recent and more extensive report from the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr states that Lent behaved appropriately and did not offer any active resistance to the Nazi regime, but that it was very likely that he was not a supporter of the National Socialist ideology either, but rather that he was aware of evidence result in a certain distance. The appraiser attributes this distance to the strong influence of his Christian-Protestant parents. In 1941, for example, he married a native Russian, who, however, was a staunch supporter of the Nazi regime and had previously received an "Aryan certificate". His two brothers were pastors in the Confessing Church and were harassed by the Gestapo , whereupon Lent used his popularity in favor of his brothers. In addition, he is said to have dispensed with an obituary notice written by him in advance, using the usual phrase “fallen for Führer, Volk and Vaterland” and merely allowed a commitment to Christianity and fatherland, while he seems to have forbidden his relatives from any reference to National Socialism.

The Council of the City of Rotenburg accepted a proposal from Mayor Andreas Weber to ask the barracks to keep the name. The local discussion about the Lent barracks was taken up nationwide.

In May 2017 there was a discussion between soldiers and civilian employees. The result of the vote was the desire to keep the name. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wanted to rename barracks, which were named after officers of the Wehrmacht.

On April 2, 2018, the barracks senior Lieutenant Colonel York Buchholtz announced that the barracks would be renamed. Since June 8, 2020 it has been called Von-Düring-Kaserne .

See also

Web links

Commons : Helmut Lent  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Peter Hinchcliffe: The Lent Papers . Cerberus Publishing Ltd, 2005, ISBN 978-1-84145-105-3 .
  2. a b c Expert opinion available via the information system of the district: https://sessionnet.lk-rotenburg.de/sessionnet/bi/getfile.php?id=42998&type=do ; see. the new findings with relevant certificates at https://www.helmut-lent.de
  3. tenghuamoye: Helmut Lent. November 4, 2006, accessed December 6, 2016 .
  4. Hans-Peter Hagen: Hussars of Heaven: famous German fighter pilots and the history of their weapon. Moewig, Rastatt 1998, ISBN 978-3-8118-1456-1 .
  5. a b Veit Scherzer : Knight's Cross bearer 1939–1945. The holders of the Iron Cross of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and armed forces allied with Germany according to the documents of the Federal Archives. 2nd Edition. Scherzers Militaer-Verlag, Ranis / Jena 2007, ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2 , p. 502.
  6. https://www.kreiszeitung.de/lokales/rotenburg/rotenburg-ort120515/kaserne-verliert-namen-3578926.html
  7. https://www.merkur.de/lokales/regionen/fursty-poliert-geschichte-234397.html (April 25, 2009)
  8. www.kreiszeitung.de May 23, 2014: Kaserne loses name
  9. The name should stay . In: http://www.kreiszeitung.de . September 22, 2016 ( Kreiszeitung.de [accessed December 6, 2016]).
  10. Comment: Heroes of yesterday. In: www.weser-kurier.de. Archived from the original on December 6, 2016 ; accessed on December 6, 2016 .
  11. Rotenburg argues about renaming the Lent barracks. In: www.weser-kurier.de. Archived from the original on December 6, 2016 ; accessed on December 6, 2016 .
  12. National Socialist or. In: www.radiobremen.de. Archived from the original on December 6, 2016 ; accessed on December 6, 2016 .
  13. Soldiers want to keep barracks names. Retrieved May 17, 2017 .
  14. mdr.de: Bundeswehr barracks should lose Wehrmacht names | MDR.DE . ( mdr.de [accessed on May 17, 2017]). Bundeswehr barracks should lose Wehrmacht names | MDR.DE ( Memento from May 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive )