Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Another one bites the dust: Ex-Nazi dead in Huntsville, AL

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 11, 2010

I have nothing good to say about Nazis, ex-Nazis, or dead Nazis.

Remember Operation Paperclip – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip

It was because of the mercy of God, and good American people that he lived, while millions of others died in ovens, or in dark, cold, wet subterranean chambers making the V2 – Vergeltungswaffe 2, e.g. “Vengeance” weapon.

The V2 rocket was Hitler’s Nazi terror weapon of mass destruction.

Rocket pioneer, von Braun team member Walter Haeussermann dead at 96

Published: Saturday, December 11, 2010, 6:00 AM

HUNTSVILLE, AL – Dr. Walter Haeussermann, a key member of Dr. Wernher von Braun‘s German rocket team and pioneer of the American space program, died Wednesday in Huntsville.

Haeussermann, 96, died at Huntsville Hospital of complications from a fall. He is survived by his wife, Ruth.

Haeussermann’s death leaves five surviving members in Huntsville of the team that took man to the moon and put Huntsville on the international map. A sixth survives on the West Coast.

Haeussermann was with von Braun at Peenemunde, Germany in World War II and helped develop the V-2 rockets that were launched against London and later formed the basis of the American rocket program.

Haeussermann was born in Kuenzelsau, Germany, in 1914 and was always drawn to astronomy and science, he told The Times in a 2008 interview. His interests led him to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Institute of Technology in Darmstadt in 1938.

While working on his doctoral dissertation there a year later, Germany invaded Poland, World War II began and he was drafted into the army.

Pvt. Haeussermann was on his way to Poland but was taken from the train at Darmstadt and sent to a secret location.

“That was Peenemunde,” he said in 2008. “I was flabbergasted, because on the first day I was shown a rocket test … I was astonished that something like this was already existing.”

Haeussermann spent the next few years working with gyroscopes and accelerometers and developing simulators and analog computers to test and design rocket guidance and control systems – the same fields in which he would later help American soldiers and astronauts.


NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) center director Wernher von Braun, center, and a group of his key associates in 1961. From left, Wernher Kuers, Walter Haeussermann, W.A. Mrazek, von Braun, Dieter Grau, Oswald Lange and E.W. Neubert.

When the war ended, Haeussermann’s wife was ill and they were unable to join his Peenemunde colleagues who accepted the U.S. Army‘s invitation to work on rockets at Fort Bliss, Texas. He stayed in contact with the group and came with his wife to America in 1947 and became a citizen in 1954.

In Huntsville, Haeussermann was in charge of the guidance and control systems for the Redstone rocket, the Army’s first ballistic missile; the Jupiter rocket, America’s first intercontinental ballistic missile; and Explorer I, the country’s first satellite.

He was a charter member of the Marshall Space Flight Center when NASA was formed in 1960 and was in charge of guidance, navigation, electrical and computer systems for the Saturn rockets including the Saturn V that launched Americans to the moon in 1969.

Haeussermann was in the blockhouse during all the lunar-bound Saturn launches at Cape Canaveral, including the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that first landed men on the moon.

“I refused any congratulation before they were safely back,” he said. “Of course, we were very proud.”

The five remaining von Braun team members in Huntsville are Hans Fichtner, Dieter Grau, Rudolph Schlitt, Georg von Tiesenhausen and Oscar Holderer.

(Times staff writer Kenneth Kesner contributed to this report.)


7 Responses to “Another one bites the dust: Ex-Nazi dead in Huntsville, AL”

  1. Conrad Derrick said

    You obviously didn’t know the man Walter Haeussermann. I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing him when my father was pastor of the Lutheran Church that he and his wife attended back during the days of America’s Apollo Program. I was a young teenager and a space enthusiast. Dr. Haeussermann, or Uncle Walter as he insisted that I call him, took me under his wing and shared with me many wonderful experiences for which I will be eternally grateful. He often took me out to Saturn V static tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center, as well as numerous other open houses and educational programs. He arranged for my father and me to accompany him to Cape Kennedy for the launches of Apollos 11, 13, and 15, where we were able to sit in the VIP viewing stands next to the Vehicle Assembly Building a short three miles form the luanch pad to get the full visual and auditory effect of the launch of the most powerful rocket ever made. Over the years even after my family left Huntsville, he continued to send me books and other materials about the space program. many of which he had autographed personally to me by the authors. Uncle Walter was a kind and generous man. He was certainly not a Nazi. Shame on you for impugning his memory with your uninformed comments.


    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      Hi Conrad, and thanks for your readership, and for sharing your remarks! You are quite correct in stating that I “obviously didn’t know the man Walter Haeussermann,” for I did not. And like you, I too was “a space enthusiast.” Yet, as an adult, I simply cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that “the man Walter Haeussermann” was a member of the Nazi V-2 rocket terror team headed by Werner von Braun, and was imported to this nation in direct violation of presidential order and law in Operation Paperclip. From what you wrote, you were very obviously befriended by him, and thus – good, bad or indifferent – have a biased perspective. Perhaps if you were imprisoned as a slave laborer in one of the Mittlebau-Dora underground tunnels of Germany’s Harz Mountains and forced to make those V-2 rockets you would have a different perspective. The few remaining survivors do. Highly renown researchers and historians have all acknowledged his and other Nazis involvement. I stand by my remarks. May God have mercy on his soul.

      Willkommen to Mittlewerk… you filthy subhuman Jewish swine.”

      Willkommen to Mittlewerk... you filthy subhuman Jewish swine. - hF2110 - 868

      Here, deep in the 50°F slave-dug tunnels of Germany’s Harz Mountains, in the Dora labor camp, in the final days of the war, you will eat, sleep and work… if you live long enough.

      You will watch your kindred and neighbors swing by their necks, while others are beaten, starved and die of hypothermia. All the while, you will be forced to labor making Herr Direktor Verner Von Braun of der Waffen-SS Shutzstaffel Deutchlanders Rocketmenchen V-2 rocket… the Vengeance Weapon.

      Direktor Herr von Braun even hand picked some of you for his special project.

      Heil Hitler, you filthy Jewish Swine! Long live der fatherland!

      Editorial Note: I am keenly aware that this subject is not pretty, not “nice,” and by some accounts, controversial, though incontrovertible.

      Nazi Germany made WMDs, Werner von Braun was a major in the SS, hand picked many slave laborers to build his terror weapons of mass destruction & war, and then, despite presidential orders, and enormous public opposition, was imported into the USA.

      It was called the V-2 rocket. And face it, the USA wanted those weapons for their own, not for space exploration. Werner von Braun and over 100+ Nazis were imported in to the United States under the then-Top-Secret “Operation Paperclip,” despite their well-documented dossiers of involvement in the Nazi party. Arthur Rudolph was the only one deported, after years of silence, when the FBI and the Department of Justice further investigated their backgrounds.

      Slowly but surely, the Nazis that built NASA are dying off.

      Though it’s a difficult pill to swallow, America’s Space program was built using Nazis, and upon the backs of slave labor.

      Though there’s never a right time to do the wrong thing, It’s never too late to to do the right thing – which in my opinion is to acknowledge the wrong acts of history, and apologize.


  2. Russell Stein said

    I was born in America in 1946. My Jewish father (also born here) was a medical doctor who joined the Army and fought the Germans across North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He died in 1983, having steadfastly refused to buy a German car or a German anything else.

    Yet it was he, who around midnight on January 31, 1958, woke me up and carried me downstairs in my pajamas to watch on black and white TV as scientists William Pickering (New Zealand), James Van Allen (Iowa) — and yes, Wehrner von Braun (Alabama) — held aloft at a Washington, DC press conference a full-sized model of Explorer I, America’s first satellite, that had been
    successfully orbited from Cape Canaveral on a modified Army Redstone rocket less than two hours earlier. My father’s excitement was palpable, and I was thrilled too.

    Were he alive today, my Dad would agree with me that your comments on this site concerning Walter Haeussermann and Wehrner von Braun are unjustified, ill-informed, inflammatory, crude and sophomoric.

    The simple fact is that German rocket scientists and engineers did nothing more than their counterparts (and tens of millions of other civilians) across the globe during World War II. They grudgingly lent their skills to their country’s war machine because (1) it was their country; (2) they were coerced by or conscripted into the military;(3) any refusal to do so would have meant imprisonment or death for themselves and/or their families.

    Remember that America’s legendary space pioneer, Dr.Robert Goddard, worked for the U.S. Army between the World Wars, developing anti-tank rockets.

    Von Braun grew up in a family which feared Hitler and opposed the Nazi’s rise to power. He was made an SS member (on paper anyway) because the SS did not trust him out of their sight, and thought they could control him better if he were a member. They ended up jailing him anyway because he and his colleagues kept referring to the machines they were working on as spacecraft, rather than weapons. When the first A-4 (dubbed the V-2 for propaganda purposes by Goebbels) hit London, von Braun told his team, “The rocket worked great… except that it
    landed on the wrong planet.” Himmler was jealous of von Braun and probably would have had him shot except for the intervention of General Dornberger.

    Were all of the German rocket scientists who came to America saints? Of course not. They were young men growing up in a hell we can hardly imagine. Like almost everyone, some probably did things of which they were not proud — or even ashamed. But very few were Nazis in more than name. And by any stretch of the imagination even fewer were war criminals. Once here all of them proved to be good neighbors and civic-minded model citizens, leading exemplary lives and contributing enthusiastically to their adopted country.

    Under such circumstances it is a vicious libel for you to cavalierly brand them all Nazis, applaud their deaths and dismiss their accomplishments.

    Finally, your comment that, “Nazis… built NASA” is particularly pernicious and would come as a big surprise to America’s number one Nazi fighter, President Dwight Eisenhower, who created the space agency — and to the tens of thousands of home-grown American scientists, engineers, technicians, civil servants, soldiers, executives and managers who quickly built NASA up from nothing, and who designed its dozen centers and matchless infrastructure — such as the late Rocco Petrone at Kennedy Space Center.

    You need to leave these old people in peace now. They are either innocent of your charges or have long ago paid off their debt to society. Consider channeling your self-righteous anger to something more pressing and current, like the lack of political will and vision that appears close to crushing NASA and stamping out U.S. manned spaceflight altogether.

    Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin now teaches aerospace engineering at UAH. Talk to him about what is happening, and you will see that there is much for a “space enthusiast” like yourself to do besides continually looking backwards and trying to rewrite ancient history.

    Russell Stein
    Cocoa, FL


    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      Thank you, Russell, for your thoughtful reply. I always enjoy hearing from my readers!

      If Hitler were alive today, do you think we should “leave these old people alone in peace now“? I stand my remarks… which, by the way, are merely a repeat of research done by scholars exceedingly more scholarly than I… and I stand by my remarks, sir. The only good Nazi, is a dead one.

      America built its Weapons of Mass Destruction Terror Weapon (V2) rocket program upon the backs of slave laborers using Nazi war criminals. No, it’s not nice to think about – but IT IS THE TRUTH.

      You mention an “adopted country.” Was Argentina – a popular destination for Nazis, Nazi sympathizers and Nazi collaborators – an “adopted country” for Ustasha Dinko Šakić, the former commandant of Jasenovac concentration camp?

      Rhetorically, if Charles Manson and his murderous gang were to have discovered a cure for all types and forms of cancer, do you think that it would be wrong to “applaud their deaths and dismiss their accomplishments”?

      You mention also Robert Goddard… Goddard’s research was STOLEN by WVB. America Abandoned Goddard and favored WVB & the Nazis. America imported Nazis contrary to public law and presidential order. I have NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT NAZIS. PERIOD.

      I encourage you and other interested parties to read the writings of:

      Andrés Sellier – a former Nazi POW whom slaved in the Mittlebau/Dora labor camps under Werner von Braun and others (A History of the Dora Camp, André Sellier, translated by Stephen Wright and Susan Taponier (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2003), 547 pp., cloth $35.00.)
      – as well as read the scholarly articles of internationally renown and respected aeronautic/space historian
      Dr. Michael J. Neufeld, Chair of the Space History Division, National Air and Space Museum. Neufeld authored “The Skilled Metalworkers of Nuremberg” (1989), “The Rocket and the Reich” (1995), which won two book prizes, and “Von Braun” (2007), which won three awards,
      – and
      Linda Hunt’s 1985 exposé, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990 St. Martin’s Press, 1991; 320 pages, $19.95, partially published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

      Popularly, may I suggest starting here? – http://origin-www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007322

      Personally, my friend – I call you “friend” because you are NOT my enemy – I do NOT “have a dog in this fight,” for neither I, nor my family work in the aerospace industry. However, I am an educational product of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and while in residency there, when I shared the conclusive research of others – as I have in this reply – not many at the university or town liked it then, either. Interestingly, in the interim, since my graduation, there has been a symposium with Dr. Neufeld and other respected historians which addressed this highly “sensitive” truth.

      Certainly, these are NOT merely opinions, neither are they widely popular (especially in aerospace industry) – but then, no damning truth ever is.


  3. Neil Agnus said

    Warm Southern Breeze

    Kudos…….I believe in Forgiveness with Justice. You atone for your wrong doing. The Almighty desires a contrite heart. When Pope John II apologized for the churches antisemitism, He said the church would need to make amends to the Jews for 1,000 years. They (former nazis) could have easily put up a holocaust monument in Huntsville.
    and ,make a public message of atonement.
    I not sure as a Lutheran minister I would let them just waltz back into the church. The Lutheran Church was the first victim of the Nazis, 350 Ministers in Prussia were done in by Bormann.

    They were atheists who suddenly became believers!!”” or just another flag of convenience? and there is nothing worse than atheist german especially when they have a bout of depression
    Uncle Walter indeed and what did the prisoners call him?


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