Passport of Hitler’s personal aide – Max Wuensche
max Wünsche passport
You see a document of a significant figure of WWII – the passport of MAX WUENSCHE, SS commander awarded with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and personal aide to Adolf Hitler.
Max Wuensche was born on April 20, 1914, in Kittlitz. In July 1933, Wünsche joined the SS. In 1935, he graduated from SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz and was promoted to Untersturmführer. Wünsche was then posted to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) as a platoon leader. In October 1938, Wünsche was assigned as an orderly officer for Hitler. In that role, Wünsche joined the Führerbegleitkommando (the SS bodyguard unit), which provided personal security for Hitler.
In January 1940, he was again posted to the LSSAH, as a platoon commander in a motorcycle company under the command of Kurt Meyer, for the invasion of the Netherlands and the Battle of France. In December 1940, he became an adjutant to Sepp Dietrich, where he stayed during the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). In February 1942, Wünsche was given the command of the LSSAH Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) battalion.
In 1942 Wuensche completed the General Staff training course at the Staff College in Germany and was promoted to Sturmbannführer. In September 1942, he was posted to the LSSAH and resumed command of the Sturmgeschütz battalion; in October, he assumed command of a brigade in a panzer regiment of LSSAH. His battalion’s first action was at Kharkiv in 1943. On February 25, 1943, Wünsche led his tankers into battle against a defensive position staffed by the Soviet 350th Rifle Division. Supported by artillery and a company of SS grenadiers, Wünsche’s battalion launched its attack and overran the Soviet front lines, destroying some anti-tank guns. Wünsche’s assault would lead to the destruction of 47 artillery pieces and anti-tank weapons. During the attack, 800 Soviet troops were killed. For his actions during the battles for Kharkiv, Wünsche was awarded the German Cross in Gold and later the Knight’s Cross in February 1943. max wünsche passport
In June 1943, Wünsche was transferred to a new division forming in France, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, to take command of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment. On June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy (Operation Overlord), and the division was committed to action on June 7. The division was later trapped in the Falaise pocket, where on the night of August 20, Wünsche escaped out of the pocket on foot. He was wounded and captured by British soldiers.
In 1944, Wuensche was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in camp 165 at Caithness, Scotland, a special camp for high-ranking German officers. In 1948 Wünsche was released and returned to Germany. He died in 1995.
A passport of such a significant figure of the Third Reich is very rare!
I was contacted via my website by the owner of the document, who told me that the document was owned by his grandfather for ages, together with other documents such as military documents and WWII pictures. His grandfather worked as a driver and was in charge of vehicle fleets.
According to the owner… “There’s also a letter from him after the war when he’s applying for a job – it mentions there that he was in charge of the cars for cabinet ministers and the prime minister at some point. His name was William Vincent Tetlow, and there’s a placard in his stuff that reads “NCO IC Unit Transport.”
There are also a lot of photos, including pictures of Hitler’s palace right after it was bombed, including inside (e.g., the dining room with a massive chandelier on the floor within the ruin). I’m not sure if he possibly took the passport then or if he somehow came into contact with Wünsche after he was captured and taken to Scotland.
Looking deeper into the details of the passport, I found the following…
What is at least very unusual, is that the passport was issued at the 8th police department in Berlin, including a handwritten entry, “The leader of the 8th police department”. I have dozens of NS Berlin issues, and none is issued from this unit. Usually, police department II in Berlin is in charge for issuing passports. However, the 8th police department did exist.
Secondly, the passport fixing looks quite worn with the rusty metal eyelets. Someone could think it was eventually manipulated as the metal eyelets do not look that sleek. Again, if I look at my documents, almost all still look sleek after 75-80 years. It depends on how the documents were stored all the years, which can affect the metal eyelets.
The stamping on the passport picture shows a rather unusual gap (at least from this picture angle). The handwritten passport number is 8R/3/39, which means only three passports might have been issued till April 6, 1939, when Wünsche’s document was made. Wünsche was from Oct 1938 to the beginning of 1940 Ordinance officer with AH. The UdSSR visa was issued on August 22, 1939, in Berlin at the embassy of the USSR (consular department) to enter the UdSSR till September 7, 1939, via the border Welikie Luki; exit must be made via the same border within 15 days after entry. The signature of Wünsche seems to fit compared to a document offered at a past auction.
Very interesting! I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Max Wunsche in 1976 at his home in Wuppertal. The meeting was arranged with some of my German veteran friends. He and his wife Ingeborg were very cordial to me and we talked for hours about his wartime experiences. I was warned not to bring up the subject of why he was dismissed as Hitler’s Adjutant in 1940.
David, I am astonished that you had the chance to met him in person. What was your reason for wanting to meet him?
The interesting thing for me is that Wunsche is pictured in civilian clothes and that his occupation is listed at ‘landworker’ which was obviously not the case at the time. This would appear to suggest he was attempting to go to the USSR in a covert capacity. There is no known record of him every visiting there – certainly nothing in his SS file. It is commonly believed that Wunsche served his time in captivity in Scotland – this was not the case, he was only there for a very short time in 1947 before his release. The passport was most likely found in Berlin where he had a pied a terre at Hitler’s behest after he had left the FHQ and gone back to active service with the Leibstandarte. This apartment was in the Reich’s Chancellery. After 1940 he would not have been in need of a passport as entry to Greece, France, Holland and the Soviet Union was not done through passport control !
Thank you for your input, Carol. I agree with your statement for a covered purpose, and that might be perhaps also the reason why no entries can be found on a Russian trip in his files. It seems you are a specialist on this topic. I appreciate your thoughts. Cheers, Tom
Max Wuensche was captured in France in August 1944 and POW Camp 165 at Watten, Caithness was not used as a POW camp until the end of WW2. Therefore he must have been held elsewhere in the UK (or North America) following capture.
Thanks, James for your input.