Walter Nowotny

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Nowotny at the award of the oak leaves with swords and diamonds to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by Hitler on October 19, 1943 on the occasion of his 250th victory in the air

Walter Nowotny (born December 7, 1920 in Gmünd , Lower Austria; † November 8, 1944 in Epe ) was an Austrian- born fighter pilot who served in the German Air Force during World War II . He is one of the most successful fighter pilots of this war.


After his father was transferred, the family moved to Mistelbach , where Nowotny spent his youth. He attended secondary school in Laa an der Thaya , where he passed his final exam in 1938. In the same year he joined the NSDAP (May 1, 1938 was entered as the date of admission). From 1936 he was a member of the pennalen fraternity of Vandalia Laa , later of the round table of German students in Wartburg zu Mistelbach , two striking school and student associations . After their forced dissolution he was a member of the local Hitler Youth .

Walter Nowotny signed up as an officer candidate for the Air Force. During his training in the Fighter Pilot School C (FFS C, later FFS C8), which was stationed at the Wiener Neustadt / West airfield , he was under the command of ex-kuk flying ace Captain Julius Arigi . On October 1, 1939, he was called up to Breslau- Schöngarten. First he flew hunting protection for the Leunawerke , then he was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 54 under Major Johannes Trautloft .

He was promoted to lieutenant on April 1, 1941. On July 19 of the same year he shot down his first two enemy aircraft ( Polikarpov I-153 ) on the Eastern Front . Back then he was flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7. Two days later he received cannon hits from a Soviet fighter pilot in a dogfight over the island of Ösel . Still, he managed to shoot down those enemy before he suffered engine failure in the Baltic ditch had. Nowotny floated at sea in a rubber dinghy for three days and was finally rescued by Latvians . In August, after he had successfully shot down the tenth, he received the Iron Cross First Class, and a year later, on September 14, 1942, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for the 54th shot . In January 1943, his squadron switched to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 . On September 3rd, after his 191st kill, he received the Knight's Cross Oak Leaves and on September 22nd for his 220th victory in the air, the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves Swords. After his 225th kill, he was promoted to captain . He was the first fighter pilot to achieve 250 victories in the air (in 421 missions) and was awarded the diamonds for the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. As his brother writes in Walter Nowotny's biography, the aviators of the Soviet Army gave him the nickname "Tiger from Volkhovstroi".

In February 1944 he was appointed commodore of JG 101 (former Fighter Pilot School 1) in Pau . In Achmer, Nowotny set up the Nowotny Test Command or Command Nowotny named after him in mid-1944 . This first jet fighter squadron worldwide tested the flight and air combat properties of the Me 262 and flew interceptions against allied bomber formations. On November 8th, Nowotny was intercepted and shot down by a squadron of Mustangs while approaching the Achmer airfield . Although he still managed to open his parachute, it caught on the tail unit of his machine and tore him to his death. Nowotny's funeral was staged in Vienna as a pompous Nazi propaganda event. The newsreel of November 23, 1944 opened the newsreel about his death .

Memorial in Epe until 2017

At the crash site in Malgarten there was a memorial stone with remains of the crash machine and the following text until August 2017:

"Here, on November 8, 1944, after 258 aerial victories, the bearer of the Knight's Cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds, Major Walter Nowotny for [Führer (later removed)] people and fatherland."

Today's memorial

In 2017, after a lengthy discussion, the memorial plaque was removed from the city of Bramsche and replaced by a text that addresses the issue of commemorating alleged war heroes and commemorates the victims of war and resistance .

Nowotny was buried in the Vienna Central Cemetery (group 14 C, number 12) in an honorary grave of the City of Vienna . In 2003 the grave was revoked its status as an honorary grave and it was converted into a soldiers' grave. There is a plaque of honor at the cemetery of the town of Mistelbach.

In total, Nowotny shot down 258 aircraft in its 443 enemy flights, the fifth largest number among the Luftwaffe fighter pilots. This is why he is still called a flying ace today.



Walter Nowotny's grave in Vienna's central cemetery

In recent years, among others, the right-wing extremist Federation of Free Youth (BfJ) called for commemorations at Nowotny's grave in order to “on behalf of all those who died in the heroic struggle for the honor and freedom of the fatherland, to commemorate Major Walter Nowotnys and the honor due to him to prove " . The FPÖ youth organization Ring Freiheitlicher Jugend Austria and the Ring Freiheitlicher Studenten also organized wreath- laying ceremonies.

With the votes of the SPÖ and the Greens , it was decided in 2003, after years of discussion in the Vienna City Council, to withdraw the honorary grave for Walter Nowotny. In October 2007, Vienna's mayor Michael Häupl reaffirmed the decision to withdraw it, as Nowotny was a clear supporter of the Nazi ideology.

In July of the same year, the Vienna City Councilor Johann Herzog (FPÖ), ORF editor-in-chief Walter Seledec and Hans-Jörg Jenewein (FPÖ) founded the "Association for the Care of the Grave of Walter Nowotny". Since then, the association has organized a wreath-laying ceremony at Nowotny's grave every year on the anniversary of Nowotny's death, in which fraternity members , representatives of the Austrian Comradeship Association , and right-wing extremist skinheads from Blood and Honor take part. Even Gottfried Küssel , in his "key figure in the Austrian and German neo-Nazi scene " was, in the past guest at Nowotny commemoration. After a speech on November 12, 2006, the chairman of the association, Gerhard Pendl , at the urging of the management of the Medical University of Vienna after initial hesitation, was dismissed as a university councilor by the responsible minister, Elisabeth Gehrer , because his uncritical attitude to National Socialism, which was reflected in the speech on Expression came to represent a "serious breach of duty". At the beginning of 2011 it became known that the Ministry of the Interior, responsible for the preservation of soldiers ' graves, was considering moving Nowotny to a military cemetery for cost reasons. The FPÖ protested against it, among other things with a full-page advertisement signed by Johann Gudenus and Johann Herzog in the Kronen Zeitung .

In 2003 and 2011 Nowotny's grave was desecrated .


See also

Individual evidence

  1. Note: Nowotny scored a total of 258 confirmed kills. He got 10 kills twice in a single day. This makes him the fifth most successful fighter pilot in history.
  2. Aces of the Luftwaffe - biography and complete hit list
  3. Die Deutsche Wochenschau No. 742 in the Internet Archive (0:23 to 1:43)
  4. On
  5. Heiner Beinke: advice almost unanimously for memorial instead of Nowotny-Stein in Epe. In: Bramscher Nachrichten, August 31, 2017, accessed April 20, 2020
  6. Björn Dieckmann: New text board attached to the Nowotny monument in Epe. In: Bramscher Nachrichten, December 21, 2017, accessed April 20, 2020
  7. Nazi grave without care. Der Standard , July 2, 2003, accessed January 1, 2012 .
  8. Nicholas Hobbes: Essential Militaria - Facts, Legends, and Curiosities About Warfare Through the Ages , p. 90 ( ISBN 978-0-8021-1772-4 ).
  9. 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. 573.
  10. Heribert Schiedel : The right edge. Extremist sentiments in our society. Edition Steinbauer, Vienna 2007, p. 92ff, ISBN 978-3-902494-25-2 .
  11. The Press: Annual Honor expressions of Nazi officer Nowotny , November 11 of 2007.
  12. ^ Der Standard : Parade at the Vienna Central Cemetery for Nazi officer Nowotny , November 12, 2006.
  13. Students' Union at the University of Vienna : Völkischeverbindungen. Contributions to the German national corporation disorder in Austria. Vienna 2009, p. 75 f.
  14. - Küssel: key figure in the Nazi scene
  15. ^ DÖW: News from the far right - September 2007
  16. Med-Uni-Rat Pendl is dismissed. Der Standard, December 29, 2006, accessed December 26, 2019.
  17. Ö1 : Strache: Left Left opinion of terror against University Council Dr. - Pendl Pendl: Nightly threatening phone calls and anonymous letters , November 22, 2006.
  18. Der Standard : FP politicians deny NSDAP membership of Jagdflieger - despite clear evidence , May 4, 2011.
  19. ^ Nowotny grave desecrated. , July 25, 2003, archived from the original on February 8, 2005 ; Retrieved January 1, 2012 .
  20. Grave of WWII fighter pilot Nowotny damaged. Der Standard , February 1, 2011, accessed January 1, 2012 .

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