Thank you Jason.
Today I received the following tribute written by Dr. Adalbert Lallier, a wartime comrade of Robert Rohr's from their time together in the "Prinz Eugen". Dr. Lallier, who I met thru Robert Rohr, wrote these thoughtful words after learning of Rohr's death and gave me permission to post them here.
"During the war, in Hitler's armed forces, the slogan die Besten gehen alle zuerst (“the best one always die first”), was officially used as a doctrinaire means to induce the youngest soldiers – those drafted as well as the volunteers – to consider “sterben für den Führer (to die for their Führer) as the ultimate way to join the German heroes already rejoicing in the Walhalla. Dying young was made out to be their ultimate, preferred, destiny. As the direct result, hundreds of thousands of eighteen to twenty year olds died willingly for a cause in which most of them had been made to believe (e.g. fighting to save Western civilization from the onslaught of godless Bolshevism), but which most of them did not understand. I, a survivor, witnessed too many of them die, usually calling for their mothers, or for God, but very rarely for Adolf Hitler. Robert Rohr, a Banater, had not volunteered to join the Waffen-SS. He, with about 20,000 other Volksdeutsche was drafted en masse, most against their will, early in 1942, to form the 7th Waffen-SS division, die Frewillige Waffen-SS Division “Prinz Eugen”. Primarily citizens of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia – and contrary to then existing international agreements concerning the induction of foreigners into national armies – this forced recruitment was the result of an agreement between the SS-Führungshauptamt’s Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger (Chief od the SS Head Office) and Volksgruppenführer Dr. Sepp Janko (the uncompromising Nazi-leader of the German-speakers of the Banat and of the Bacska, then occupied by Admiral Horthy’s Hungary). Commanded by Reichsdeutsche-officers of the Waffen-SS, the division was engaged for the duration of the war in fighting against Tito and his partisans, a war that resulted in many atrocities, almost two million casualties, both Yugoslav and German, and the annihilation or expulsion of more than one half of the German-speaking prewar population of those two regions. Upon his recruitment, Robert Rohr did not receive (was not deemed worthy of?) receiving a Waffen-SS number, a distinction that was accorded only exclusively to the citizens of the Third Reich, with the exception of a few foreign-born German speakers who had been “true volunteers”. This blatant discrimination of the Volksdeutsche by their Reichsdeutsche superiors in the Waffen-SS continued until the end of 1943, when, faced with enormous causalties amongst the ranks of Waffen-SS officers on the Ostfront, Himmler finally permitted the training as reserve-officers of the Waffen-SS, of a select group of Volksdeutsche-Gymnasium graduates. Robert Rohr being selected as one of the first test cases. Strongly religious and encouraged by the local Catholic and Protestant hierarchies, and faced with the historical task of his forefathers, of defending Western Europe against repeated onslaughts by the “hordes from the East”, Robert Rohr, convinced that the “cause” was just, was first doing his duty as a soldier, then continued to excel as officer-cadet, and was eventually promoted to Untersturmführer, even taking part in the defense of Berlin. Taken prisoner by the Americans, he was eventually released and denazified. Having no choice but to remain in West Germany, he eventually obtained German citizenship, went to university, and qualified as a secondary-school teacher. Free, for the first time in his life, to choose his own political priorities, he enthusiastically embraced the, new, democratic, ideals of Adenauer’s West Germany, underwriting the Articles of the Basic Law, and devoting his entire lifetime, both as teacher and as citizen, to the dissemination of those ideals, with special emphasis on the need to forge a new, united, Europe. Yet, he also found time to reflect upon his roots as a Banater, to maintain linkages with the various groups of Volksdeutsche refugees (by that time, renamed Donauschwaben), as well as to extend his helping hands to the more unfortunate (wounded or haunted) surviving veterans of the Waffen-SS. In his transition from a Nazi-ideology tainted refugee Volksdeutscher, to a fully-fledged citizen of the Bundesrepublik, Robert Rohr continued to leave his personal contribution to the creation of a Germany that would become fully capable of coping with the remaining demons of Nazism, while also seeking – and obtaining – full access as equal partner, to West European and Atlantic systems of alliances, requisites for keeping the expansion of bolshevism contained within eastern Europe; political, economic, and military pre-conditions for the eventual demise of worldwide communism.
Unlike Hitler’s war-time slogan about the “heroes destiny being to die young”, Robert Rohr was doing his “best”, both during the war as well as after the end of the war. He was one of the “best” who, in surviving the war, was destined to leave his personal imprint as his legacy for future generations: honesty, integrity, comradeship, belief in Western values and Reasoning, transnational Europeanism, and incessant quest for peace amongst all nations. Originally, only a naïve recruit for the Waffen-SS, Robert’s “best” was brought to full bloom after the end of the war – with many thousands of other veterans, his example clearly reveals the falsehood, the dishonesty of that war-time slogan. In this sense, I am happy and proud to know that Robert did survive the war and did, with his lifestyle and spirit, enrich all of us. In this sense, Robert deserves my profound admiration. I am privileged to be able to bow with utmost respect before his spirit, of a sincere and honest man who, even though losing his Heimat, and being disparaged for years for having been member of the Waffen-SS, was destined to reveal himself a true humanitarian and tireless contributor to the improvement of the lot of humankind. "