It is well-known that many high-ranking Nazis tried to protect some Jews. The idea was that, yes, generally speaking, 'the Jews were a menace to Germany', but even for party comrades there often was 'this individual Jew who was quite an exceptionally good human being.'

This happened also with Hitler: he protected Eduard Bloch, the physician of his family. In fact, Hitler described him as a “noble Jew” and added that “if all Jews were like him, there would be no Jewish question”.

But there was another Jew who was important in Hitler's life: Hugo Gutmann, one of his superior officers in World War I, and the one who recommended Hitler for the award of the Iron Cross. In fact, Hitler was wearing that iron cross when he committed suicide.

My question is: did Hitler himself ever display any gratitude towards Gutmann? Or did he try to protect him? There's a footnote at the Wikipedia article on Gutmann which claims “According to the historian Werner Maser, Gutmann received, by Hitler's intervention, a pension from Nazi Germany until the end of the Second World War in Europe.” However, no reference is provided and furthermore the German version of the article doesn't mention that. On the other hand, my question is not about whether or not someone, in Nazi Germany, who knew about the relationship between Hitler and Gutmann, helped Gutmann because of that. It's about any help or sign of gratitude by Hitler himself.

  • 2
    Is this not enough: "In 1938, Gutmann was arrested by the Gestapo, but released as a result of the influence of SS personnel who knew his history"? A year after that event, he was outside of areas of Nazi control.
    – user15620
    Jan 6, 2021 at 20:19
  • 3
    You might need to rephrase this to something along the lines of "Was Hugo Gutmann light treatment by the Nazi related to his personal history with Hitler?" or something like that, unless you are asking about 'gratitude' of any kind (say, buying a beer after receiving the medal).
    – gktscrk
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:35
  • 1
    @gktscrk But I am not interested in how the Nazis in general treated Gutmann. Instead, what I would like to know is whether or not Hitler himself ever displayed any form of gratitude towards him. Jan 7, 2021 at 13:00
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace I think that I've done that. What do you think? Jan 7, 2021 at 19:05
  • 1
    Well, had Hitler not acknowledged him as his commander in WW1, I doubt that local SS would intervene on his behalf when he was arrested by Gestapo. Hitler may or may not intervened directly this time, but certainly did help him .
    – rs.29
    Jan 7, 2021 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


It seems that such stories do not have a solid foundation. Other members of that unit did so, but nothing from AH himself in that regard seems to be remotely true.

When in 1961 the former officer from Hitler’s regiment and his wife retired to San Diego in California, he could look back on a full and rich life, unlike so many of his Jewish peers from the List Regiment who were murdered in the Holocaust. […]

From Hugo Gutmann’s private papers, we also learn how close he came himself to becoming a victim of the Holocaust. […]

However, had Hugo Gutmannn, his son, and brother-in-law not managed to get out the camp, they would have been transferred to Gurs Internment Camp in the autumn in 1940 and from there to Auschwitz in 1942. […]

It should be added for the record that outlandish stories that populate the internet claiming that Niekisch and Gutmann met after the war, that Hitler and Gutmann secretly met in 1936, or that Gutmann continued to receive a pension from Hitler until 1945 are without foundation. […]

Gutmann’s papers also confirm how well integrated he was in Hitler’s regiment. In the letter Gutmann wrote after the war, in which he detailed how men from his regiment among the prison guards had helped him while he was incarcerated in 1937, he also singled out his old friend Franz Christ for having helped him ‘under great danger to his own safety’ when he was targeted by the Gestapo. A letter Christ wrote to Gutmann’s widow in early 1982 identifies Gutmann’s close friend as an officer from the List Regiment. […]
He also recalled how Gutmann had travelled to visit him briefly before fleeing Germany. As Gutmann’s letter from 1946 testifies, Franz Christ stood by him at a time when it was very dangerous for him to do so. As revealed by the behaviour of Gutmann’s fellow members of the List Regiment towards him both during and after the First World War, the highest-ranking Jew in Hitler’s regiment was respected and integrated among the men of RIR 16 in a way that Hitler never was.

— Thomas Weber: "Hitler’s First War. Adolf Hitler, The Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War", 'Hugo Gutmann’s Story', pp 348–353, Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, 2010.

This "without foundation" seems quite plausible, as the —admittedly unreliable— 'monologues' seem to indicate the if Hitler even spoke about Gutmann, it may have been just by expressing a very negative attitude. ("nothing but base lies", src gBooks)

From monologues, translated, evening 10./11. November 1941:

We had a Jew in the regiment, Gutmann, a coward beyond compare. He wore the EK I. It was outrageous and a disgrace. I only put on EK I when I saw at home how the Reds treated the troops, out of defiance.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.