Dietrich Hugo Hermann von Choltitz (9 November 1894 – 4 November 1966) was a German General who served in the Royal Saxon Army during World War I and the German Army during World War II. He is chiefly remembered for his role as the last commander of Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, when he disobeyed Adolf Hitler's orders to level the city, but instead surrendered it to Free French forces.
== Quotes ==
Even today, I can not say with certainty whether he himself believed in his words or whether he was knowingly deceiving those around him to urge him to keep to the end.
About Adolf Hitler.Ever since our enemies have refused to listen to and obey our Führer, the whole war has gone badly.
The Loveliest Story of Our Time, erenow.netGentlemen, you are the leaders of the best soldiers in the world. I will give you five or six of my own men; we will cover your back with sustained barrage fire to protect you while you cross the rue de Rivoli. All you need to do is force open a door to fight your way to the tapestry.
To two SS-Manns about retrieving the Bayeux Tapestry, 21 August 1944
Edsel, Robert M. (2013-07-01). The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. Random House. ISBN 9781448183159Have you read Churchill's speech? Appalling beyond all words! A Jewish brigade to go to Germany! Then the French will take the west and the Poles the east. The hate in that speech! I am completely shattered.
To Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben about Winston Churchill's speech on September 28 1944
Hansen, Randall (2014). Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance After Valkyrie. Oxford University Press, p. 75He was trembling all over and the desk on which he was leaning shook. He was bathed in perspiration and became more agitated.
About Adolf Hitler.
Rupert Butler, Legions of Death: The Nazi Enslavement of EuropeI am a soldier. I get orders. I execute them.
To Raoul Nordling
The Race to Liberate Paris, warfarehistorynetwork.comI asked the Field Marshal von Manstein if he would take part in the actions against Hitler. Manstein was sitting in a chair and reading the Bible. Quick, almost embarrassed, he put it aside and covered it with some papers.
Ich habe den Feldmarschall von Manstein gefragt, ob er an der Aktion gegen Hitler teilnehmen würde. Manstein sitzt in einem Sessel und liest in der Bibel. Schnell, fast verlegen, legt er sie zur Seite und deckt sie mit Papieren zu.
About Erich von Manstein, "Der Spiegel", nr. 14, p. 12, 2 April 1952, spiegel.deI stood in front of him and I saw an old, stooped, bloated man with gray, slick hair, barely standing on his legs.
About Adolf Hitler. Quoted in one of the German newspapers from 1994.I was at Stalingrad, you know... And from that time onwards I have done nothing but manoeuvre to escape encirclement by the enemy: retreat on retreat, defeat upon defeat. And here I am in marvellous Paris. What do you think is going to happen now?
To Raoul Nordling
Dallas, Gregor (2006). 1945: The War That Never Ended p. 178. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300119886If for the first time I had disobeyed, it was because I knew that Hitler was insane.
About refusing to obey Hitler's orders. Quoted in a 1964 interview.No doubt: I was in front of a madman. The awareness that the existence of our people was in the hands of an insane person, unable to dominate the situation [...] weighed on me with all its strength.
About Adolf Hitler.Oh, Field Marshal, so far it would have been a funeral without military honors, maybe now it can become one with military honors.
In a conversation with Günther von Kluge, August 1944 (quoted in a book brennt paris? - adolf hitler)Paris is like a pretty woman; when she gives you a smack, you don't smack back.
To Raoul Nordling
Dallas, Gregor (2006). 1945: The War That Never Ended p. 178. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300119886French officer: Do you speak German?Choltitz: Probably better than you.
World War II: The Liberation of Paris, historynet.comSince Sevastopol, it has been my fate to cover the retreat of our armies and destroy the cities behind them.
Mitcham, Samuel W. (2009). Defenders of Fortress Europe: The Untold Story of the German Officers During the Allied Invasion. Potomac Books, Inc. p. 121They were just a gang of riffraff. Everybody talks all the time of the "Resistance" or the "Forces Françaises de l'intérieur" as if they were organized and disciplined troops, as if they had any real authority. But they are nothing but freeshooters firing on my men. If it continues I promise you I will take tough action. I will order that Paris be defended and will destry the city before evacuating it.
About French Forces of the Interior
Dallas, Gregor (2006). 1945: The War That Never Ended p. 178. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300119886We all share the guilt. We went along with everything, and we half-took the Nazis seriously instead of saying "to hell with you and your stupid nonsense". I misled my soldiers into believing this rubbish. I feel utterly ashamed of myself. Perhaps we bear even more guilt than these uneducated animals.
Quoted in History Channel 5-part series "The Wehrmacht" in the episode "The Crimes".
== Quotes about Dietrich von Choltitz ==
Translation: Is Paris burning?!
Adolf HitlerHis care and many endeavors for the well-being of the ordinary soldier at the front are to be emphasized as special characteristics of our regimental commander and he did not shy away from his warning voice when commanded by the commando.
Heinz Zwiebler, Die Geschichte der 22. Infanterie-Division, 1939-1945Just as consistently as Colonel von Choltitz forbade the execution of the commissar order (to liquidate the Soviet commissioners after captivity) in his regiment during the conquest of Sevastopol, he ordered a humane treatment of the wounded and captured Russian soldiers.
Heinz Zwiebler, Die Geschichte der 22. Infanterie-Division, 1939-1945Now you're going to Paris. The city must be utterly destroyed. On the departure of the Wehrmacht nothing must be left standing, no church, no artistic monument. Even the water supply must be cut off so that the ruined city may be prey to epidemics.
Rupert Butler, Legions of Death: The Nazi Enslavement of EuropeThe car stopped and a general in a magnificent uniform stepped out; he was wearing a monocle and his chest was covered with decorations. He was a most corpulent man, strong-looking with wide shoulders, extremely stiff in manner, imposing, and what seemed to me a terribly Prussian appearance. The expression on his face was hard, hislips tiht, his gestures frigid. I kept myself modestly to one side, watching this character and thinking to myself that it would not be easy to deal with him.
Dallas, Gregor (2006). 1945: The War That Never Ended p. 173-174. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300119886
== External links ==