Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte bigraphy, stories - German general

Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte : biography

30 March 1907 - 7 July 1994

Dr. jur. Dr. rer. pol. Friedrich August Freiherr von der HeydteIn German a Doctor of Law is abbreviated as Dr. iur. (Doctor iuris) or Dr. jur. (Doctor juris) and a Doctorate of Economics is abbreviated as Dr. rer. pol. (Doctor rerum politicarum). (30 March 1907 – 7 July 1994) was a German Luftwaffe officer who served with the Fallschirmjäger during World War II, reaching the rank of Oberstleutnant. After the war, he served in the Bundeswehr, reaching the rank of Brigadegeneral der Reserve.

The Flick Affair

In 1958 Von der Heydte Heydte became one of the central figures in the Flick Affair. This was serious party-funding scandal where Von der Heydte allegedly had, as the director for many years of the Würzburg Institute of Political Science and Policy Association, helped with laundering money for political donations to the CDU / CSU and FDP. He had to appear before the Federal Constitutional Court on the issue of party funding through tax-deferred contributions.Daniel Herbe: Hermann Weinkauff (1894–1981). Der erste Präsident des Bundesgerichtshofs. Mohr Siebeck Verlag, München 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-149461-1, S. 97. Die drehen heute genüßlich die Daumen, in: Der Spiegel vom 26. Juni 1989 Affären. Absturz nach dem Melken, Spiegel Nr.54/1984.


  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (27 September 1939)MacLean 2007, p. 170.
    • 1st Class (26 September 1940)
  • Fallschirmschützenabzeichen (Luftwaffe)
  • Kreta Cuff band
  • Eastern Front Medal
  • Afrika Cuff band
  • German Cross in Gold (9 March 1942)
  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th class
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross on 9 July 1941 as Hauptmann and commander of the I./Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 3
    • 617th Oak Leaves on 18 October 1944 as Oberstleutnant and commander of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 11 June 1944
  • Bayerischer Verdienstorden (21 May 1974)

The "Spiegel" Affair

Both as head of the Institute for Military Law at University of Würzburg and as a Colonel in the Reserve, von der Heydte challenged in 1962 the weekly magazine Der Spiegel when it wrote an article about the scandalous state of affairs within the Bundeswehr. He accused the editors of high treason because they had revealed the military weaknesses of the newly formed Bundeswehr to the public (and thereby to the Soviets). Because of this accusation and von der Heydte's position as an expert in Military Law, the issue was brought to a federal court, triggering what was to be known as the Spiegel-Affäre with numerous arrests of journalists and others connected to that publication. The police raid on Der Spiegel was forcefully led by Theo Saevecke, the Kriminalrat at Sicherungsgruppe Bonn. It soon emerged that Saevecke was a not only a former SS-Hauptsturmführer with the SS-Sicherheitsdienst in Libya and Tunisia 1942-43 but also a member of SS-Einsatzgruppe IV in Poland 1939-40 and the head of the Gestapo and the Italian fascist police in Milano between 1943–45 and as such a potential war criminal. Von der Heydte's and Saevecke's conduct in the Spiegel-Affäre caused a public outcry followed by demonstrations and public debates. The Spiegel Affair can be said to be the first sign of a change in the popular beliefs in West Germany - and the progenitor of all the protest later in that decade against all former Nazi German officials still in office. Von der Heydte was heavily criticised for his actions by several prominent West-German politicians and in 1965 a court cleared the editors of Der Spiegel on all charges.

Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte died in Aham, Landshut, in 1994 after a long illness.


  • Daedalus Returned (Hutchinson, 1958) - An account of the Battle of Crete.
  • Der moderne Kleinkrieg als wehrpolitisches und militärisches Phänomen (Modern Irregular Warfare.) Executive Intelligence Review, Nachrichtenagentur GmbH, Wiesbaden, Neuausgabe 1986 ISBN 3-925725-03-2 (Erstausgabe: Holzner-Verlag, Würzburg 1972)
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