Robert Oelbermann

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Robert Oelbermann (born April 24, 1896 in Bonn ; † March 29, 1941 in the Dachau concentration camp ) was the founder of the Nerother Wandervogel .



Robert Oelbermann was born in Bonn in 1896 - together with his twin brother Karl . They grew up with four other brothers in a middle-class family . In 1908 they lost their father. They attended the preschool of the city high school together and later the secondary school. In their free time, they were active in a Bible study group and took part in some holiday camps . When the mother became seriously ill in 1910, both boys came to the Protestant alumni in Lennep in the Bergisches Land . In 1911 the twin brothers Robert and Karl joined the Wandervogel . The nature-loving life in the Wandervogel and on her journeys made her decide to work as an agricultural student in Schleswig-Holstein.

The First World War

At the outbreak of war in 1914, they volunteered with the Bonn Hussar Regiment and, after completing their military training, went into the field with the 29th Infantry Regiment. In 1917 Robert was injured in the leg and had to retire from military service. Robert was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class , together with his brother, who also left the service to look after his brother .

Foundation of a new migratory bird movement

Fascinated by the ideas of reform pedagogue Gustav Wyneken, Robert and Karl dreamed of the idea of ​​a youth castle after the war . Im Wandervogel e. V. fought Robert against resignation and for a new departure. In 1918 Robert published a battle cry to the “decisive youth”, which among other things said: “You stir up, but you cannot inspire your false leaders. You can only gossip in the form of leaflets and revolutionary speeches. True leaders keep silent and act. The only king is Wyneken, but the real ones have already recognized it and so you will no longer desecrate and use the Wandervogel. "

On New Year's Eve 1919/20, Robert Oelbermann founded the Mühlsteinhöhle at Nerother Kopf , not far from the village of Neroth in the Vulkaneifel , with seven selected friends - his twin brother Karl, L. Heller, L. Barbens, K. Kohl, H. Speicher, H Frank and A. Sahne, the so-called Ur-Nerommen - the “secret society of Nerommen”. The red velvet beret was an outward sign of the Nerommen. That evening Robert spoke about the fact that they had responsibility for the youth and the Wandervogel and that it had to be their task to regain the old thrust of the Wandervogel, like Karl Fischer and his pachants once again . After that, the wisdoms are drafted as a basic law by the Nerommen. In the next few months, several new recordings will follow in the Liedberger Höhle and at Märchensee , an old quarry near Bonn.

In 1920 a handful of Nerommen set off from Koblenz on a castle tour under the leadership of Robert Oelbermann. First they came to the ruins of Schöneck , then the next day to the Rauschenburg and, although they thought they had found the youth castle here, they went even further to examine the nearby castle ruins of Waldeck . There was no longer any doubt: this was to be the Rheinische Jugendburg. At a Gautag in the Wandervogelgau Rhineland at the beginning of 1920 in Mausaue, the Nerommen's plans were put into practice. The separation from the girls was carried out and the whole district stepped out of the Wandervogel e. V. from and the Alt-Wandervogel under Ernst Buske . In addition, twelve Gauadelige were elected, including nine Nerommen, so nothing stood in the way of the election of Robert Oelbermann as Gauführer.

Easter 1920 took place a knight ride to the Bundestag of the Wandervogel e. V. instead. On this trip the Nerommen met Karl Fischer. At the Bundestag, girls were separated from all over the Bund. The first crusade that led to the Waldeck castle ruins on Gautag took place at Whitsun 1920. Even Karl Buschhüter was present and made the first plans of Jugendburg on. The "Federation for the Establishment of the Rhenish Youth Castle" was founded and a statute was immediately drawn up. The castle was to become a memorial for the fallen bird mongers of the World War. In August 1920, the Bundestag of the Alt-Wandervogel took place on the Waldeck. The federal leadership did not agree with the Nerommen knighthood. Robert, Karl and two other companies took a trip across the Alps from August to December 1920 and entered Italy without permission, which resulted in a lengthy stay in prison.

For the Christmas party in 1920, some Nerommen met in the Trier migratory bird nest. Then they set off for Waldeck, from where the first so-called Hatschi trip to Neroth took place after the Hajj . There were a total of 13 boys. Not far from Pyrmont Castle, they saw a flag on the Swan Church with a fighting swan - later a federal symbol - on it. In the Nerother cave the Nerommen idea became a federal idea.

In January 1921 Robert and some Nerommen met with Ernst Buske in the Essen Wandervogelheim. After a long conversation, the knighthood of the Nerommen was released from their oath of loyalty and released from the Altwandervogel in friendship. On January 16, 1921, Robert Oelbermann wrote a circular to the Rhineland migratory birds to found the Nerother Wandervogel. In February and March 1921, all groups of migrant birds from the Rhineland district expressed their will to found the new migrant bird association. On March 27th, the "Nerother Wandervogel - German Knight Association" was founded at Drachenfels Castle in Wasgau . Three orders , under whose umbrella the individual groups gathered, were formed and vowed loyalty to the covenant. These were the Orders of the Raven Claw, the Goat Riders, and the Werewolves. The blue cloth with the silver, fighting wild swan on it was declared a covenant symbol. The color of love and friendship and the color of loyalty, red and blue, became the federal colors of the Neroth Wandering Bird, which was evident in the Nerother velvet berets.

The thirties - construction works and big trips

Robert took students around the world from Africa to the Canary Islands, Egypt, Palestine, Anatolia, Lebanon, Japan and from North America to Chile. On a trip in India he met the poet and sage Rabindranath Tagore , who made a return visit to Waldeck Castle in 1930. Also in 1930 the Nerother visited Karl Fischer at Waldeck Castle together with Gustav Wyneken for the inauguration of the new pillared house. The Neroths made numerous films on their trips, and Robert also wrote several books. With the income from this work, they financed the further expansion of the youth castle. When Robert was not on the move, he lived with his Nerother Wandering Birds on the Waldeck, where they worked as a construction hut on the construction of the youth castle.

Nazi seizure of power and the end

After the " seizure of power " by the National Socialists in 1933, the Nerother Wandervogel was forced to dissolve itself. On June 18, 1933, Waldeck Castle was occupied by HJ , SA and SS . Thereupon Karl Oelbermann, who represented Robert, who had been on a world tour since 1931, as federal leader, declared on June 22, 1933 the federal government in the German Reich to be dissolved. Robert Oelbermann revoked the dissolution a little later, but had to realize after his return to Germany that the Nerother Wandervogel could not go into resistance against the Nazi regime out of responsibility for the young members. At the turn of the year 1933/34 he finally dissolved the Nerother Wandervogel.

In December 1934 Robert tried again to organize money through the travel films. He became a member of the Reichsfilmkammer and distributed films there. However, the Hitler Youth criticized the India film as dangerous. It would tempt young people to go on unprepared trips abroad. The re-examination of the censorship had a positive result.

Since many Neroth migrant birds, like other groups from the youth movement , continued their group life, the Reich Youth Leadership became active against it. In 1936 she started the campaign “to destroy the remains of the Bund”. In the course of this extensive action against all groups that were not absorbed into the state youth (HJ and Jungvolk ), Robert Oelbermann was also taken into custody. The allegation of homosexuality and a violation of Section 175 also played a role. The National Socialists considered homosexuality to be a "state danger". Oelbermann, however, defended same-sex love as "solely establishing a state": It could not only be established as an "impeccable fact that all real leaders have same-sex inclinations", but also "all really great deeds and works" arise "out of this drive". For this reason, too, it is "the greatest human and state-damaging injustice to portray same-sex love as abnormal, pathological and punishable".

In July 1936 Oelbermann was sentenced to 21 months in prison. After serving his sentence, he was taken into “ protective custody ” and transferred to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1937 . Later he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp , where he died on March 29, 1941 as a result of the effects of the imprisonment that caused sepsis in his old war wound.

Robert Oelbermann's urn was picked up by Lotte Elste from Dorweiler near Waldeck Castle, who also visited him regularly during his imprisonment. On April 19, 1941, she brought the urn to the cemetery in the presence of the assembled village population of Dorweiler, who were very fond of Robert and his wandering birds. Robert is buried there today with his twin brother Karl, who died on October 9, 1974 at Waldeck Castle.

After the end of the war, the Düsseldorf Regional Court imposed a three-year prison sentence on the former chief secretary in September 1948 for crimes against humanity. This was one of several proceedings in which the mistreatment was punished, to which the witnesses and accused in the proceedings against Robert Oelbermann had been exposed at the time.

Contemporary witnesses and opinions

Hermann Schäfer - fellow prisoner in Sachsenhausen

“The wandering bird thought was the germ of the revolt against a fragile age. What age could be more fragile than this? It was in Sachsenhausen that the protest of the Waldeck Castle wandering bird entered its real, dramatic phase. Robert only felt obliged to fulfillment and to the mission statement. 'If I surrender here,' he said, 'then the covenant will lose face and have no future'. He held out for the Bund. In the face of the mortal threat, the thought of Neroth subsequently found its incarnation in his captured federal leader. "

An unknown fellow prisoner in Sachsenhausen

A fellow prisoner from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp wrote: “Personal courage and sacrifice for a cause have become rare in Germany. Both of these no longer pay off in the world we live in. The highly decorated front-line soldier and youth leader Robert Oelbermann was cut from a different cloth. No doubt he would have had the opportunity to return to freedom during the first years of the concentration camp. The price for this, however, appeared to him as a betrayal of his work, of his brother and of the youth to whom he had conveyed established concepts of the moral coexistence of people and peoples. "

FM - Federal Guide of the Nerother Wandervogel

Fritz Martin Schulz , known as FM, (current federal leader of the Nerother Wandering Bird) writes in his book “The Last Wandering Birds”: “There were no shortage of attempts to save Robert Oelbermann from his fate. He also went his way to death through his belief in human dignity, in the eventual fermentation of the revolutionary process in favor of the rule of law, in the need for cooperation in the sense of loyalty to the state. His political ideas were shaped by Oswald Spengler'sPrussianism and Socialism ”. He had not recognized that the downfall of the Prussian attitude inevitably had to follow within a mass movement and a one-party state. "


Stumbling block for Robert Oelbermann at Waldeck Castle

In memory of Robert Oelbermann, a so-called “ stumbling stone ” was laid on January 19, 2009 in front of the pillared house at Waldeck Castle by the artist Gunter Demnig . The stone has a brass plaque on the top, on which the heading “Here lived” and the date of death are inscribed with a hammer and punch letters. The text says:


Films by Robert Oelbermann

  • 1927 - Nerother Bundestag 1927. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: W. Heinrichsdorf.
  • 1928 - The Neroth migrating birds travel to India. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Otto Rösner.
  • 1929 - Flanders - Scandinavia. (A crusade of the Neroths to Flanders, Sweden and Norway). Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1930 - boys. A film by the Nerother people in Greece. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1930 - Bundestag Ehrenbreitstein. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1930 - German boys wander through Greece. First Nerother sound film by UFA. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1930 - Hagion Oros, a monastic state on the holy Mount Athos. UFA film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1930 - Pohjola-Nordland. Finland film. Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, hoe.
  • 1931 - Bundestag on Mosenberger Maar. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1931 - The Viking ship. Rhine trip from Oberlahnstein to the sea. Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Theo Slickers.
  • 1931 - Nerother Orient Crusade. Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Theo Slickers.
  • 1932 - Among the Indians of South America. (World travel). Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1932 - trip to the Iguassu. (Nerother film America. 1. Iguassu, the great water) UFA sound film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1932 - Among the Gauchos and Incas. (Nerother film America. 2. Among Gauchos and Indians) UFA sound film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1932 - German emigrants in Brazil, UFA sound film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1932 - Among the Majas, Incas and Aztecs. UFA sound film. Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1932 - Wonderful buildings from China's imperial era. UFA sound film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1934 - In the gorges of the Balkans. Direction: Robert and Karl Oelbermann. Camera: Karl Mohri.
  • 1934 - Comradeship moves around the world. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.
  • 1934 - Boys tip over to India. Director: Robert Oelbermann.
  • 1934 - Dai Nihon, the origin of the sun. Silent movie. Director: Robert Oelbermann.
  • 1935 - Chinese cities. Sound film. Director: Robert Oelbermann.
  • 1935 - trip to Spain. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Rudi Siebert. Dubbing: Karl Oelbermann, H. Poppelreuther.
  • 1935 - Japanese film. Kifo cultural film. Director: Robert Oelbermann. Camera: Mohri, Hartmann.


  • Among toreros and foreign legionaries. With German boys through Spain and Morocco. Safari Verlag, Berlin 1928.
  • Comrade sings. Songs of the Bauhütte. (Reprint of the 1st edition 1935) Dipa-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 978-3-7638-0239-5 .


  • Robert Oelbermann and his world drivers. Shellac record, location of the photo: Tokyo 1933.
  • Werner Helwig : The blue flower of the wandering bird . Revised new edition. Deutscher Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 1998, ISBN 3-88778-208-9 .
  • Werner Kindt : Documentation of the youth movement. Volume 3: The German youth movement 1920 to 1933. The Bündische Zeit. Diederichs, Düsseldorf 1974, ISBN 3-424-00527-4 .
  • Stefan Krolle: Bündische Umtriebe: History of the Nerother Wandering Bird before and under the Nazi state; a youth association between conformity and resistance. 2nd Edition. Lit, Münster 1986, ISBN 3-88660-051-3 .
  • Stefan Krolle: Musical -cultural stages of the German youth movement from 1919-1964 . Lit, Münster 2004. ISBN 3-8258-7642-X .
  • Winfried Mogge:  Oelbermann, Robert Eugen Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-00200-8 , p. 436 ( digitized version ).
  • Hotte Schneider (Ed.): The Waldeck. Songs, rides, adventures. The history of Waldeck Castle from 1911 to the present day. Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2005. ISBN 3-935035-71-3
  • Nerohm (Fritz-Martin Schulz): The last migratory birds . 2nd Edition. Deutscher Spurbuchverlag, Baunach 2002, ISBN 3-88778-197-X .
  • Hans Queling : Six boys tip over to India Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1931.
  • Hans Queling: Six boys go to the Himalaja Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1933.
  • Norbert Schwarte, Stefan Krolle (eds.): "Anyone who was Nerother was outlawed :" Documents on the occupation of Waldeck Castle and the dissolution of the Nerother Wandering Bird in June 1933. Pulse 20, 2nd revised and expanded edition. Publishing house of the youth movement, Stuttgart 2002. ISSN  0342-3328
  • Gerhard Ziemer: The Wandering Bird and the Political Location of the Historical Youth Movement. Self-published by Nerother Wandervogel, Dorweiler 1984.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Source: Martin Götze / tape recording - prehistory of the Nerother Wandervogel
  2. Source: Martin Götze / tape recording - prehistory of the Nerother Wandervogel
  3. Oelbermann's biography at , accessed on April 5, 2017
  4. Source: “50 Years of Nerother Bund 1920 - 1970” self-published
  5. Nerohm: The last wandering birds