Dr Georg Kraemer - Patriot, Prosecutor and Father of the German-American Geostrategist Dr Fritz Kraemer
I am deeply impressed with your commitment to remember and honour several former Jewish lawyers from Koblenz. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the initiator Joachim Henning, judge at the Higher Administrative Court in Koblenz, Germany, for his outstanding and praiseworthy commitment. This is soothing ointment for the open wounds of the Nazi time.
I would also like to thank Dr Lars Brocker, President of the Constitutional Court and Higher Administrative Court of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, Erich Jung, Chief Public Prosecutor, as well as First Prosecutor, Harald Kruse, for this important event entitled "Dr Georg Kraemer (1872 – 1942) and other Jewish Lawyers".
They all remind us of the roots of law and justice.
Madeleine Kraemer-Bryant, granddaughter of the lawyer Dr Georg Kraemer from Koblenz, extends her family's gratitude to you and writes:
"My thoughts are very much with all of you there in Koblenz as you honour those who were murdered, including my grandfather, Georg Kraemer. Naturally, I was always horrified and disgusted by the Holocaust. However, it was only after my father's death that I learned it was also a personal family tragedy. It remains a deep shock to me that his father, an honourable elderly gentleman who had served his country well, could be among those who died in this obscene way. I am deeply grateful to those who keep alive the memory of these heroes and remember the hatred and incredible misuse of power which causes genocide. It is vital not only that people never forget but that they truly learn from the past."
I am a lawyer myself – I studied in Bonn under Fritz Ossenbühl and took the state examination under Hans Hugo Klein, and a PhD with the political scientist Karl Dietrich Bracher who wrote important books about the Third Reich – and feel deeply humiliated at how Jewish lawyers were maltreated from 1933 onwards.
When I read original documents in preparation for a lecture about the "Legal Awareness of National Socialism", I felt literally sick. Led by sheer arrogance and indifference, what was just became unjust and what was unjust became just. A perversion of legal thinking. Remorseless execution of barbarity in the name of formal justice. Nihilism instead of justice.
It should be a warning to all of us today, not just here in Koblenz but all around the world:
Lawyers are not so bound to the formal but rather to the substantive, overarching basic rights and inalienable human rights of the UN Charter. One can also find them in the constitution of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1947.
The horrid past of the Nazi lawyers and their mundane and brutal aides in the judiciary system should remind us German lawyers to always embrace justice with our hearts and basic rights with our reason for 'Justitia Omnibus'. Here in Germany, Europe and the world.
We also owe this to the Jewish lawyer Dr Georg Kraemer and other victims.
The high degree of injustice in the name of Germany demands an extraordinary engagement for human rights.
The son of the Koblenz lawyer Dr Georg Kraemer, also a lawyer, became a great fighter for democracy and freedom.
Fritz Kraemer was born in 1908 in Essen in the German Empire. He suffered from Germany's defeat in the First World War and the collapse of the old Empire, the incapacity of the democrats, the soft and naive bourgeoisie of the Weimar Republic and the stellar rise of the demon Adolf Hitler.
In 1914 his parents split and he moved together with his mother to the little village of Diethardt in the township of Nastätten im Taunus where he lived until the end of his studies.
He received a PhD at the Faculty of Law in Frankfurt in 1931 on "The Relation of the French post-war treaties with the League of Nations Pact and the Locarno Treaties."
Afterwards he worked as a legal advisor at the League of Nations institute for international law in Rome.
He was and remained – like his parents – a faithful Lutheran – but it was irrelevant under the race laws of the Nazis. In 1939 he fled to the USA. This saved his life. His brother emigrated to the United Kingdom. Until October 1941, 360,000 Jews emigrated from Germany.
His mother Anna Johanna survived in Diethardt as one of only 10 - 12,000 out of 131,800 German Jews hidden within the Reich after the deportations and the Holocaust started after the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1941. More than 90 percent were killed or died in concentration camps (see "Hubertus at Hubertus-Haus").
Dr. Georg Kraemer was one of so many. On July 27, 1942, the fourth transportation order crammed him into a livestock wagon with 77 other Jews from Koblenz and deported him to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. 34,000 people died in this ghetto of 60.000. In the fall of 1942 more than 100 died each day. The mainly elderly Jews from Germany were no longer able to tolerate the defamation as well the catastrophic conditions of illness, scarce food, unheated and crowded accommodation, too few sanitation facilities, and daily humiliation. This was part of the perverse Wannsee plan to kill by inhumanity first and later by gas. On November 1,1942, Dr. Georg Kraemer, Major of the Landwehr and First Procecutor from Koblenz, died at the age of 70 in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Nobody knows the cause of his death, but it was almost certainly a broken Prussian heart and the despair about the shabby betrayal of his honor and his fatherland.
As an intellectual with two doctorates and still a Prussian by heart with a monocle his son Fritz eked out a poor living as a farm worker and wood cutter for five years in his new home, the United States of America.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and thus became a U.S. citizen.
Kraemer became the discoverer and iron mentor of two U.S. Secretaries of State:
Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig.
In a U.S. Army training camp he met 19 year-old soldier Henry Kissinger, who had also emigrated from Germany.
He formed – as "Kissinger's Kissinger" – his thinking and worldview and fought alongside him in the 84th U.S. Infantry Division for the liberation of Europe.
His master pupil Henry Kissinger explains in my book "True Keeper of the Holy Flame":
"Fritz Kraemer was the greatest single influence of my formative years. An extraordinary man who will be part of my life as long as I draw breath."
Kraemer placed young lieutenant colonel Alexander Haig next to the newly appointed National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in the White House in 1969. He had noticed Haig in the Pentagon as a Major, who would voice his opinion boldly, also vis-a-vis superiors.
Alexander Haig, who became Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, writes in the book:
"For me, Dr Kraemer's lifetime of service confirms the importance of the Nation's elites in pursuing and advancing the value of a free society. I can think of no individual whose patient tutelage made a more meaningful contribution to the shaping of my own worldview."
Fritz Kraemer always saw himself as a fervent missionary of freedom and as a mentor for young, unknown talents, who should assume responsibility for their country as the new elite.
For 25 years he was my mentor and teacher. In 2001 we founded the World Security Network for young people (www.worldsecuritynetwork.com).
He was cofounder of the American school of thought "Peace through Strength" ("No provocative weakness!" became often cited words of his) for the improvement of the world and the containment of totalitarianism – but always under the consideration of human psychology in international relations – with 'inner musicality' for a foreign policy with a soul.
Kraemer was a fierce critic of moral relativism and a fearful, soft bourgeoisie, who according to him do not comprehend the threat of totalitarian radicals and often retreats.
Throughout his life of 95 years he remained a true Prussian at heart and followed the ideals of a freedom fighter.
From the 1950s until 1978 he was the grey eminence and the true "Dr Strangelove" in the Pentagon.
Pulitzer Prize winner Norman Mailer speaks of the "genius of a man, who has influenced the thinking and planning in the Pentagon for several decades, probably more than anyone before".
The U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld writes: "What a special person Fritz Kraemer was. His courageous and brilliant career was an example for us all. I had the highest respect for him."
The futurologist and founder of the Hudson Institute Herman Kahn remembers: "If there is anyone in the Pentagon who has stood for the good and for the true, it is Fritz Kraemer. He knows what he stands for and he says what he stands for."
General Klaus Naumann, former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee notes:
"Fritz Kraemer is more up-to-date than ever. This book is a monument to a man for whom values – a moral-ethical system of coordinates and convictions – comprised the hallmark of his life, values that Fritz Kraemer would not surrender under any circumstances. People of this calibre are the exception in all ages, but today among our superficial, value-free, "me" generation they ought to be a protected species. I think it is high time to remember Fritz Kraemer and to take this book to heart."
Dr Fritz Kraemer passed away in 2003 and was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.
Ethic and Political Principals of Dr Fritz Kraemer
He repeatedly told his pupils:
We need a fresh responsible elite in our democracies. Its members must assume key positions in our society. What matters are not privileges and maximum affluence, but special responsibility.
This is why we should consistently seek out men and women of excellence, support them as mentors, guide and encourage them.
Too few people are committed to this task; they prefer to gather celebrities around them than to foster young, unknown talents.
We are too often prone to mediocrity in our egalitarian democracies, because hardly anyone loves the one who supersedes others. This carries the risk that our foreign and security policy will become mediocre and dull, too.
Thus, we must constantly enrich our politics with fresh talents, good ideas and ideals.
Many politicians 'start as a grape and end as a raisin'. During their long careers they leave part of their soul on every step of the ladder of success, compromising and sailing with the wind.
Great tasks await us in this world, but small interests govern.
We must actively change the world for the better instead of passively adapting to a bad reality.
Our bourgeoisie society is idle and cowardly at heart. It does not recognize the threat posed by the few determined radicals, or only does so when it is too late.
Our youth should not get lost in materialism but stay true to themselves.
A fulfilled life requires idealism, not materialism.
We need true individualism, striving against the stream, courage and self-discipline.
Be a person in your own right and do not mindlessly follow the masses as an opportunist.
Develop into a person with good character, iron will, courage and much energy.
Character counts, not position and title.
Think about everything over and over again.
Become an independent, strong personality like a tower of strength.
Do not only work for your career, but for a good cause.
Stand up for your convictions.
Speak what you think and feel.
Believe in absolute values and a Holy Flame.
Follow a code of honour.
Say what you think and not what is expected of you.
Be a little adventurous and courageous.
Always think about the souls of other people and be friendly.
Change reality instead of passively adapting to it.
Fight for good and against the harassment of human dignity and liberty.
Assume responsibility and do not ask first what you receive in return.
That was his dogma – this is the essence of his "Holy Flame".
Thank you Koblenz for the appraisal of Dr Georg Kraemer and his son Fritz!
Thank you for the stumbling block and memorial in Koblenz.
Speech at the Ceremony "Dr. Georg Kraemer (1872-1942) and other Jewish Lawyers and Prosecutors from Koblenz", on invitation of Dr. Lars Brocker, President of the Higher Administrative Court and Constitutional Court of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany , Erich Jung, Chief Public Prosecutor, as well as First Prosecutor, Harald Kruse, initiated by Joachim Henning, Judge at the Higher Administrative Court, Neues Justitzentrum Koblenz, April 16,2013.