A copy of Jager Blatt magazine, depicting
fighters from the 325th Checkertail Clan
attacking a flight of ME-110's. The cover of
this magazine is autographed by 7 aces from
the 325th Checkertail Clan.
Alex Vraciu ended WWII as the U.S. Navy's fourth-ranking ace
with 19 enemy aircraft shot down plus 21 more destroyed on the
ground. He spent the last few months of the war as a test pilot at
the Navy's Patuxent River facility. After the war, he commanded
My rare, first edition copy of "Five Down and Glory",
written Gene Gurney with a forward by Capt. Eddie
Rickenbacker, published in 1958. This is one of the first
definitive books written about "aces" and is very hard to
find in the first edition. There are 51 aces autographs in
this book. There are four Medal of Honor winners'
autographs along with four Flying Tiger aces autographs.
The remaining autographs are all WWII aces. All of these
autographs were obtained during a reunion of the
American Fighter Aces Association in Mesa, Arizona
several years ago.
Friedrich Lang, winner of the Knights Cross with Swords, flew approximately 1008 missions, including
missions during the Battle of Britain. The majority of his missions were flown in the slow and outdated
JU-87 Stuka dive bomber. Shown is an autographed photo of Lang as well as a Lonnie Ortega drawing
autographed by Lang.
Other Branches of German Service:
Leni Riefenstahl, (August 22, 1902 - September 8, 2003)
was a 1920's and 1930's "mountain" actress, and Nazi-era
German filmmaker renowned for her aesthetics. Her most
famous works are documentary propaganda films for the
German Nazi Party, with the most famous being "Triumph
of the Will" in 1935. Shut out of the film industry after the
war, she later became an accomplished photographer. She
lived to be 100 years old and was only weeks shy of her
101st birthday at the time of her passing.
In 1996, I wrote to former Heavy weight boxing champion, Max Schmeling. Mr.
Schmeling was a terrific gentleman and not only returned the photo I had sent him
autographed, but also included an autographed photo of himself in his boxing attire. Mr.
Schmeling also took the time to sit down and write me a letter thanking me for taking the
time to write to him. For those who don't know, Hitler was furious that not only did
Schmeling lose to Joe Louis, but Schmeling also refused to join the Nazi party. As a result
of this, Hitler forced Schmeling into military service, putting him in the Fallschirmjager
(paratroopers) and sent Schmeling on countless missions involving mortal danger.
Schmeling survived the war and recently passed away at the age of 99 in February of 2005.
(Above is the letter, envelope and two autographed photos Schmeling sent to me, a photo
of the program from the famous fight and a close up of the two autographed photos.)
Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have been able
to add the autographs of Knights Cross winners and Aces to
my collection. All of my autographs were obtained either in
person, or through the mail having written directly to the
person to obtain their autograph. On most occasions, I
obtained several autographs from the person, most of which I
have kept to this day as part of my collection.
This page was put together to display a small portion of the
autographs within my personal collection, which consists of
hundreds of autographed photos and letters. In this way I
hope to help newer collectors to see what authentic
autographs from various Knights Cross winners and aces
look like, given the high number of fake autographs that have
been introduced into the hobby over the years.
To save on space, only the names of the personalities may
be listed, with some occasions where additional information
is included regarding that persons career or notoriety. None
of the autographed items shown on this page are for sale.
Lt. Col. "Hub" Zemke
Knights Cross with Oakleaves winner Otto Carius.
Carius served with Schwere Panzer-Abteilung
502, and destroyed more than 150 tanks during
his WWII career. Together with Johannes Bölter,
Kurt Knispel and Michael Wittmann he is
considered to be one of the greatest tank
commanders in history.
Above is my personalized photograph from Herr
Oberleutnant Rudolf Witzig (first row, far left) standing with Adolf Hitler and other
members of the Koch Storm Detachment, following the attack on Fort Eben-Emael,
which at the time of it's capture, was reputed to be the strongest military stronghold in
the world. Major Witzig ultimately earned the Knights Cross with Oakleaves during
his career as a Fallschirmjager.
(Above, both photos) SS-Oberscharfuhrer Will Fey
Dietrich Hrabak Hans Ekkehard Bob Walter Wolfrum Adolf Glunz
Gunther Rall Alfred Grislawski Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert Frank Neubert
Hermann Buchner Wilhelm Batz Herbert Ihlefeld Kurt Plenzat
Werner Schroer Hajo Hermann
Gunther Seeger Richard Leppla and Hartmann Grasser
Walter Grabmann Gunther Bahr
Erich Topp. Topp was the 3rd most successful German U-Boot (submarine)
commander of World War II. He joined the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in 1934,
serving his first stint after being commissioned as Leutnant zur See (Ensign) on the
light cruiser Karlsruhe in 1937, before transferring to the U-Bootwaffe (submarine
fleet) in the same year. He was given his first command,
U-57, on 5 June 1940, leading her on two missions during which the boat managed
to sink six ships. She was sunk after a collision with a Norwegian vessel on 3
Topp survived to take command of U-552, with which he mainly operated against
convoys in the North Atlantic, sinking 30 ships and crippling several others on ten
patrols. One of his victims during this period was the destroyer USS Reuben
James, the first US warship to be sunk in WWII on 31 October 1941.
Helmut Witte. Witte began his naval career in April 1934. Later he served on the
light cruiser Köln, on the destroyer Z-22, and on several torpedo boats. In July
1940 Witte transferred to the U-boat force. After the usual training he became
IWO on the newly commissioned U-107 under Kptlt. Hessler. Before he left the
boat in July 1941, he had taken part in the most successful patrol of the war.
He commissioned U-159 in October 1941 and operated in the waters of Panama
on his second patrol. On his third patrol U-159 was a part of the wolfpack Eisbär,
which operated in the waters off Capetown in September 1942. He left the boat in
June 1943 and served from then until the end of the war in several staff positions.
Heinz Günther Guderian. Guderian was the son of the famous World War II
General Heinz Guderian.
Guderian entered the German Army as an officer cadet on April 1, 1933. He was
promoted to Second Lieutenant in 1935 and served as a platoon leader, battalion
and regimental adjutant and company commander in Panzer Regiments 1 and 35.
He saw combat during the invasion of Poland and was wounded twice during the
Battle of France in 1940. He graduated from the General Staff College in 1942 and
served as a staff officer in various armored units until being assigned as the
Operations Officer for the 116th Panzerdivision ("The Greyhounds") in May 1942, a
position he held until the end of the War.
Rolf Thomsen. Thomsen began his naval career in April 1936. After 6 months on
a minesweeper he transferred to the Luftwaffe in October 1938 and received
training as a naval aviator. For more than 3 years he served in several air
squadrons, including Kampfgeschwader 26, the only air group in the Luftwaffe
which was equipped with air torpedoes.
In April 1943 Thomsen left the Luftwaffe and undertook the usual training to
become a U-boat commander. On 27 January 1944 Thomsen commissioned
U-1202 and made 2 patrols in the North Atlantic. Thomsen attacked many ships
on these patrols, but most of his reported hits and sinkings could not be
confirmed after the war, and he is only credited with one ship sunk.
SS Haupsturmfuhrer Rudolph Von Ribbentrop Von Ribbentrop's was the son of
German Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop. Von Ribbentrop won the Iron
Cross 2nd class while serving in Kompanie 11, during the Western Campaign. He
then attended the SS Junkerschule and was commissioned in 1941. During the
invasion of Russian, Von Ribbentrop served with distinction with the SS
Kampfgruppe Nord, earning the Finnish Freedom Cross, fourth class.
Von Ribbentrop went on to serve with the Panzerregiment of the LSSAH
(Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler). He went on to serve with distinction and was
awarded the Knights Cross in 1943.
On August 1, 1943, he was transfered to the newly formed 12.SS Panzerdivision
"Hitlerjugend", and was charged with commanding two Junior officer training
courses. Four months later he was appointed commander of the 3 Kompanie,
I./Pnz.Regt 12. On June 3, 1944, heading back to Le Neubourg following a training
excersize, his car was attacked by a Spitfire, and Von Ribbentrop was wounded for
the fourth time; again a back/lung wound. He was taken to Bernay Hospital, and by
9 June, was back in command of his Kompanie. Towards the end of July, he was
sent back ot the hospital in Bernay to recieve treatment fo Jaundice. During the
defensive battles in Normandy, Ribbentrop was awarded the German Cross in
Gold, and the Panzer Assault Badge "25".
On 20 December he was wounded for the fifth time with a shell fragment in his
mouth. He was awarded the Wound Badge in Gold, and shortly there after given
command of I./Pnz.Regt 12. He commanded this Abeitlung until the Divisions
surrender to the American's on 8 May.
Iva Ikuko Toguri "Tokyo Rose" - Many, many years ago I began researching and reading about "Tokyo
Rose", Iva Ikuko Toguri. I located an address for a family business which the Toguri family was operating
in Illinois. I called the business and spoke with Iva's sister who said Iva was a very private person and that
she doubted Iva would make any response if I were to write to her. Taking a chance, I wrote to Iva and a
few weeks later, received a thank you card in the mail simply signed, "Iva T." I recall asking one autograph
dealer if he had ever seen an Iva Toguri autograph. His response was, "No one has an autograph from
Tokyo Rose!" Above right is a photo of Iva Toguri following her capture. Interestingly, in 1974,
investigative journalists found key witnesses had lied during testimony of Iva's trial and other serious
problems with the conduct of the trial. Toguri was pardoned by Gerald Ford in 1977, becoming the only
U.S. citizen convicted of treason to be pardoned.
Walker "Bud" Mahurin
Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa
Charles "Chuck" Yeager
Honorable Charles Older - Flying Tiger - Ace - and later
presiding judge for the Charles Manson trial.
John Strane, Alex Vraciu, Bill Hardy and Donald Gordon
Robert Scott - author of "God is My Co-Pilot"
- More to be added -
Francis "Gabby" Gabreski
Fred T. Christensen Jr.
Gerald W. Johnson
Charles "Sandy" McCorkle Michael Quirk Arthur T. Jeffrey
Major Donald Bryan
328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group
Roger Haberman, Charles Kunz, Herbert Long - USMC
Joseph Forster and Perry J. Dahl
Hans Ekkehard Bob
Karl Rammert Gerhard Krems Gunter Glasner Heinrich Sudel