Ferdinand von Bredow murdered by the Nazis

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Ferdinand von Bredow, born on 16 May 1884, murdered on the night of 30 June 1934, headed the Minister’s Office in the Reich Ministry of the Armed Forces from June 1932 to 30 January 1933 and thus held the position of State Secretary.

Ferdinand von Bredow plague
This plaque commemorates the former General-Major Ferdinand von Bredow, who lived here from 1930 until his murder.  Spichernstraße 15, Berlin-Wilmersdorf

Bredow divided the National Socialist movement into two camps: a few “good” National Socialists with “honest endeavors” stood against the “Radikalinskis” who had to be tamed. Bredow urgently hoped for the latter from Hitler but remained skeptical about Hitler’s ability to do so. Even though Bredow placed his hopes in Hitler’s person, he was not sparing in the criticism of his actions against the Jews and his foreign policy.

Bredow wished to be able to contribute to the new state with his skills, his knowledge, and his far-reaching connections. But this was his downfall: Hitler and Göring considered Bredow so dangerous that they had him murdered.

Although the SS conducted a thorough house search after Bredow’s murder, the diaries that Bredow had written from 20.2.1933 to 28.6.1934 did not fall into their hands. They also missed notes that shed light on the last days before 30.1.1933, especially on Kurt von Hammerstein’s wavering attitude.

This is his service passport from 1930, a most significant document for German (passport) history.

Ferdinand von Bredow passport

Ferdinand von Bredow was born on May 16, 1884, in Neuruppin. He enlisted in the German army and made close friends with General Kurt von Schleicher. Schleicher served as Paul von Hindenburg’s political counsel after he was elected president in 1925. “Kurt von Schleicher was an unscrupulous master of political intrigue, vain and ambitious; he sought to boost his own influence and that of the Army,” according to Louis L. Snyder.

Schleicher played a key role in Heinrich Brüning’s election as Germany’s chancellor in March 1930. Later on, he shifted his allegiance to Franz von Papen. Schleicher, who favored a centrist partnership, was angered by Papen’s reactionary actions. In December 1932, Schleicher persuaded numerous cabinet ministers to turn against Papen, and he was forced to resign. Schleicher was promoted to chancellor. He made Bedow the Abwehr’s commander.

Schleicher attempted to regulate the National Socialist German Workers Party’s activities to gain support from the center parties (NSDAP). Adolf Hitler retaliated by teaming up with Franz von Papen to depose Schleicher. Papen persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to nominate Hitler as chancellor with the help of industrial elites such as Hjalmar Schacht, Gustav Krupp, Alfried Krupp, Fritz Thyssen, Albert Voegler, and Emile Kirdorf. Papen, who went on to become vice-chancellor, persuaded Hindenburg that he could prevent Hitler from implementing his most extreme objectives.

Ferdinand von Bredow went to dine with Kurt von Schleicher and his new bride, Elizabeth, on July 22, 1934, with journalist Bella Fromm, one of Berlin’s most informed and well-known journalists. She cautioned the two gentlemen to be wary of Hitler. Schleicher responded, ” “They’re not going to touch me… Bella is the same old Bella. As usual, alarmist. I’ve been out of politics for a long time and am relieved to be free of the filth. So why should I be concerned?”

Adolf Hitler was resolved to exact vengeance on Ferdinand von Bredow, and the Schutz Staffel (SS) was dispatched to assassinate him during the Night of the Long Knives. On the 30th of June 1934, according to Paul R. Maracin, author of The Night of the Long Knives: Forty-Eight Hours that Changed the History of the World (2004): “General von Bredow sat at a table in the Hotel Adlon in Berlin a few hours after von Schleicher and his wife were murdered. When he left, the waiter – a Gestapo informant – took his tip and immediately dialed a phone number. Von Bredow was killed murdered on his doorway when he arrived home.”



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The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

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"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

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Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

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A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

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During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

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Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

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Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

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A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

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