Summer Auction 2019 Sale 76
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/30/2019
HANS-ALBRECHT HERZNER (1907-1942) German Abwehr (intelligence) officer. One week before the official outbreak of war between Germany and Poland, Herzner led the first German attack on Poland, bringing a company of commandos across the border to seize a rail tunnel. Offered here is the first military telegram of World War II, written and signed for transmission by Herzner only thirty minutes after his men crossed the border into Poland and engaged in the first commando raid of the war. The hastily-scribbled pencil telegram was written on a generic telegram form, headed "No. 1", [n.p., n.d.], and sent to: "Ic AO/II". He writes in full: "2 Company crossed frontier about 0100 hours without incident. Herzner". Fine condition. According to Adolf Hitler's order, the invasion of Poland was planned to commence at 0425 on August 26, 1939. However, on August 25 the attack was postponed when Hitler learned that Britain had signed a new treaty with Poland promising military support if Poland was attacked. The original plan called for bands of commandos to cross the border to secure positions for larger formations following behind. Herzner failed to receive the recall order, and his men crossed the border half an hour before he penned this message. They attacked the rail station at Mosty seeking to prevent the explosive sealing of the rail tunnel at Jablonkow. Repelled by the Polish soldiers stationed there, the commandos retreated back across the border the next day. The Germans explained their error to the Poles, blaming the action on an "insane" individual acting on his own. Nevertheless, the attack was an act of war ordered by Hitler himself and thus this is the first military telegram of the monumental conflict of World War II. On Sep. 1, 1939, the day the Germans (re-)invaded Poland, the Poles blew up the tunnel at Jablonkow an hour after war was declared. Herzner was recommended for the Iron Cross by Canaris, but denied by Keitel as the "war had not yet started". He received one later, and led the "Nightingale" Battalion in Russia. Herzner died under rather suspicious circumstances. It is known that he had been loosely involved in plots against Hitler in 1938. A few years after the abortive raid, in 1942, Herzner is reported to have drowned while undertaking water therapy for his broken back. Whether Hitler had learned of his treachery is...unknown.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000
Auction closed on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
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