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Archive Report: Axis Forces
1914-1918   1935-1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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Standartenführer Fritz Bollenrath

*SA-Standartenführer Fritz Bollenrath

* ‘SA’ being an abbreviation for Sturmabteilung – a paramilitary organisation of the Nazi party.

He was born April 21st, 1892 in Cologne, Germany, into a family which originally stemmed from (Bad) Münstereifel in the Eifel mountain range. The name can be traced back in that region for several centuries and features an 18th century painter, a priest, a teacher, and civil engineers: an educated middle class family with Roman Catholic background.

[Photos and signature taken from his SA personnel file (ZB II 3069 A.09, Federal Archive Berlin)]

He was educated at a Gymnasium (grammar school) and afterwards worked some time in a machine factory, then graduated in Mechanical Engineering after three years of study.

When war broke out in 1914, he volunteered and served in the German Imperial Army, mostly in cavalry units, till July 1919. He was wounded seven times and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class plus the Wound Badge in gold. He left army service with the rank of Oberleutnant (1st lieutenant).

He immediately joined right-wing organisations (among which notably the Organisation Consul (O.C.) which was an ultra-nationalist, antisemitic and anticommunist terrorist organisation active in Germany from 1920 to 1922), was a member of the infamous “Freikorps Lichtschlag“ and took part in the so-called Ruhr campaign opposing the French/Belgian occupation of the Ruhr (January 1923 ff).

In an “Addendum to Curriculum Vitae Bollenrath“, written for his SA personnel file, he himself writes: “In March 1923 I fought again against the communists until April brought the climax in Mülheim-Ruhr. During the fights in and around the Mülheim town hall I shot dead 5 communists and knocked down a 6th with a hammer while making a sortie out of the town hall.“

In about 1925 he married Elisabeth “Lilli“ Kiesler (13 Oct 1900 in Charlottenhof, Schivelbein county [today Kluczkowo, Poland]). Between 1926 and 1931, two sons and two daughters were born of whom the youngest boy died as an infant. Bollenrath's wife was Protestant, while he himself came from a Catholic family. Some time between 1934 and 1941 the entry on his registration card was changed to “gottgläubig“ which means “deistic“ i.e. he left the Church.

In 1926, he moved to Münster in Westphalia and took residence in no. 19, Heerdestraße. One year later, the family (now including the eldest daughter) moved to no. 27, Habichtshöhe, a nice semi-detached house near the Aasee, a lake within the town.

On 7th November, 1932 he became a member of the NSDAP (=Nazi party; membership no. 1404392) and of the SA on the same date. He was promoted to Obersturmführer (1st lieutenant) within two years and was employed as a riding instructor within the Reiter-SA, the cavalry part of the SA.

From January 1934, he was the leader of the Reiter-SA at Münster (standard 66) and until 1938 rose to the rank of Standartenführer (colonel). It is in this capacity that he is mentioned as having taken part in the November Pogrom (“Kristallnacht“) at Münster.

According to data kept at the residents' registration office, he joined the Wehrmacht in May 1940 but returned in September of that year.

One year later he moved to Rheine where, according to statements made by witnesses in the Rheine Airfield Trial, he was Standartenführer of the Rheine SA and leader of the Rheine outpost of the SD (=Sicherheitdienst, Security Service – the intelligence department of the SS). One witness said he was residing in the neighbouring town of Neuenkirchen in 1943. When the Volkssturm (national militia, German “Home Guard“) was founded in October 1944, Bollenrath became its local Staff Leader, and allegedly he was also responsible for the “Heimatflak“ (auxiliary anti-aircraft batteries manned by youths).

According to statements made during the trial on 7th March and 1st April, 1947, he killed himself on 5th December 1945 at Konstein, shortly after being arrested.

TV - 11.08.2019

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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