Monday, 2 March 2015

Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun

Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun


Branch: Civilian
Born: 10 May 1919 in Greifswald, Germany.
Died: 21 June 2003 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.



Personal Information:

Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun was born on 10 May 1919 and was a German chemical engineer, Luftwaffe aviator, and rocket scientist at Peenemünde, the Mittelwerk, and after emigrating to the United States via Operation Paperclip, at Fort Bliss. He was the brother of Wernher von Braun.

Magnus von Braun was born in Greifswald, Pomerania, to Magnus Freiherr von Braun and Emmy von Quistrop. After completing boarding school at Hermann Lietz-Schule in Spiekeroog, he began his studies in 1937 at Technische Universität München. There he remained after receiving his Masters degree in organic chemistry, and became an assistant to Nobel laureate Hans Fischer.

Magnus von Braun arrived at Peenemünde in July 1943 at the request of Wernher von Braun. In March 1944 he was arrested with fellow rocket specialists Wernher von Braun, Klaus Riedel, Helmut Gröttrup, and Hannes Lüersen, but was later released. In late summer 1944 he transferred to the Mittelwerk where he engineered V-2 rocket gyroscopes, servomotors, and turbopumps:

After evacuating from Nordhausen, Magnus von Braun was at the Behelfsheim in Weilheim when Wernher von Braun arrived there from Oberammergau on April 14, 1945. The next day, Magnus von Braun had arrived at the Haus Ingeborg in Oberjoch by the end of the day. When Huzel became von Braun's assistant, Dr. Kurt Debus became Engineer in Charge of Test Stand VII -- Huzel had served since May 1944 after replacing his old friend Hartmut Kuechen. The Mittelwerk was designated for production after the August 17, 1944 Operation Hydra bombing of Peenemunde, and production started well afterward, so Magnus von Braun's claim that he was selected to transfer in October 1943 is inaccurate. After hearing the radio report of Adolf Hitler's death, Wernher von Braun announced to his group early in the morning of May 3, 1945 that Magnus von Braun, who speaks English, has just left by bicycle to establish contact with the American forces at Reutte. We cannot wait here forever. It was quite courageous for Magnus von Braun to come down on his bicycle and find the American troops, said Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, member of the V-2 team. He had a white handkerchief tied to the handlebars of the bicycle and that was all he had to protect him.

On 14-15 March 1944 Magnus von Braun, Wernher von Braun, Walter Riedel, and Helmut Gröttrup were arrested and held at the Gestapo prison (Polizei Präsidium) in Stettin however they were later released.

About two in the afternoon, Magnus von Braun returned, I think it went well, I have safe conduct passes and they want us for further interrogation. The Mission Accomplished: The Battle History of the 44th Infantry Division claim that there was a hectic night of interrogation, plans and counter-proposals after Magnus von Braun rode his bike downhill in the morning and met members of the Anti-tank Company, 324th Infantry before he went out and in a short time returned with his brother is inaccurate: Huzel, McGovern, & Ordway, in their researched works, distinctly state Magnus returned about 2 in the afternoon the same day.

Dieter Huzel described the surrender of the group: Thus, in the dull, rainy, late afternoon of Wednesday, May 2, 1945, seven men Magnus & Wernher, Walter Dornberger, Axster, Huzel, Lindenberg, & Tessman... began their lonely descent from Adolf Hitler Pass toward ... Schattwald. ... Suddenly, around a curve, an American soldier ... waved us to a stop. Magnus von Braun got out and showed a piece of paper to the guard ... After about a half an hour, ... we were flanked by two ... jeeps, ... We reached Reutte after dark. ... The next morning ... we emerged from the mess hall ... several Army photographers were on hand and spent some time taking pictures. During a photo shoot the next day, Magnus von Braun commented We're celebrating now, but I'll bet they will throw telephone books at us if we ever reach New York. By noon, Magnus von Braun (along with Axster, Huzel, Lindenberg, & Tessman) arrived in Peiting where forty other Peenemünde personnel already had arrived, and the Germans departed for Garmisch-Partenkirchen on May 8. At that location, Magnus von Braun adapted The Importance of Being Earnest to a musical show and played the leading male role.

Von Braun arrived in New York on 16 November 1945 aboard the SS Argentina and was soon at work at Fort Bliss, Texas and later at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. He became a US citizen and produced a version of A Christmas Carol, but with the future in the year 2000 and 88-year-old Wernher von Braun seeing man's first flight into space.Von Braun was interrogated as a witness for the Andrae war crimes trial in which Mittelwerk general manager Georg Rickhey was acquitted. Fort Bliss Army CIC agents believed Magnus von Braun was a dangerous German Nazi, with one agent remarking, his type is a worse threat to security than a half a dozen discredited SS Generals.

In 1955, he began a career with Chrysler first in the missile division and then in the automotive division. After living in Michigan, he relocated to Coventry to serve as Chrysler UK export director. Magnus von Braun also resided in Huntsville, Alabama, for a while. He retired to Arizona in 1975, where he resided until his death.


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