Colditz (TV Series) - Characters - German


  • Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) - The Kommandant, known only by his forename Karl, is a moderate and honourable Oberst (Colonel) of the Wehrmacht. He holds to the old Army ways of respecting enemy officers, and adheres to the Geneva Convention to the best of his ability. He has difficulty believing that any authority but the OKW is legitimate, and often finds himself in dilemmas over orders he gets from the Waffen-SS or Reich Security. Fortunately, he has an ally in General Schaetzel, a respected figure in the OKW. With the help of Schaetzel, and Colonel Preston's cooperation, he constantly works to prevent the SS from taking control of the camp. He finds it boring in the camp and can't stand incompetence. When important visitors come round he is usually embarrassed by one prisoner or another. He is aware the British Officers get very restless and hot-headed, but, he relies on Colonel Preston to keep them in check. When they do try something he tries to have a shout at Preston, only to find that Preston is made of stern stuff, hardly flinching when he is shouted at and always keeping a straight face, this annoys the Kommandant even more, but, he knows there is nothing he can do. He has a young son, Erich, in the Luftwaffe and a wife named Lise. He worries about Erich, he himself has seen war and fears for his son's safety and that he won't become blood thirsty. He just wishes that everything runs smoothly and that he can get on with his life and that his son will return home.
  • Hauptmann Franz Ulmann (Hans Meyer) - Hauptmann Ulmann is the Security Officer at Colditz. A calculating and rather robotic individual most of the time, he takes his job of preventing escapes seriously and is sometimes ill at ease with the Kommandant's lax attitude. He took over early from Oberleutnant Lehr, a young and easygoing officer who was drafted to the front lines, and was appalled at the lack of discipline among the security forces. Because of his careful planning and sharp eyes and mind, he is able to avert many escape attempts as well as many attempts of the SS to take over the camp. He seems to have been sent by the OKW specifically to help the Kommandant in these matters. While occasionally he comes up with a brilliant scheme, most of his captures are a result of thoroughness. He develops a warm relationship with Carrington over the course of the series. He believes there is no such thing as un-escapable, but he plans to make it such so the prisoners will struggle anyway. Like the Kommandant, he is a Wehrmacht man who has no love of the SS. Ulmann is largely based on real life Reinhold Eggers who later wrote a book presenting the German side of the story. Eggers book contains a foreword by a former Dutch POW who commented, "This man was our opponent, but nevertheless he earned our respect by his correct attitude, self-control and total lack of rancour despite all the harassment we gave him."
  • Major Horst Mohn (Anthony Valentine) - Mohn is an entirely fictional character. Joining at the start of the second series as a paratrooper hero with the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Major Mohn was wounded severely at Stalingrad by a Russian bayonet, and served on Hitler's personal staff before coming to Colditz. He is a Nazi Party member in good standing, and very highly connected (although the series does not mention to whom). He constantly finds himself in conflict with the Kommandant, for he holds the philosophy that war is still going on at Colditz and is frustrated by what he perceives as the treating of prisoners with "kid gloves". The prisoners loathe him, and do whatever they can to foil him or antagonise him at every turn. Unfortunately for them, he is ruthlessly intelligent and occasionally pulls off a devastating capture. Major Mohn is a paratrooper officer and his relationship with the SS appears to be fairly chilly. He is visibly upset with the SD orders given at the end of the episode "The Guests" and seems nervous around the Obergruppenführer and Hauptsturmführer in "Very Important Person." It appears that the reason why Major Mohn would prefer to take SS orders unquestioningly than risk SS reprisals is that he appreciates, apparently better than the Kommandant, what the SS is capable of. In contrast to the honourable Kommandant and Ulmann, Mohn is a sinister and villainous character.
  • Lieutenant Anton Lehr (Grahame Mallard) - Lieutenant Lehr is the first Security Officer of Colditz, but in the fourth episode is posted to the front. He is easygoing and cheerful most of the time, although he gets the job done with apparent competence. He is not upset at the posting, and looks forward to fighting for his country. In reality Paul Priem was the first Security Officer. Pat Reid described Priem as, "the only German with a sense of humour".
  • Graf Paul Von Eissinger (John Quentin) - Graf Eissinger is a contact of Player's father, who was a diplomat in Germany before the war. He is apparently wealthy and well-connected. He broke his back years ago when his horse fell on him. He had it shot dead. He regretted this later, because due to his broken back (which would not mend) he did not have to go to war. Although he is willing to help identify Player, he has an ulterior motive of using Player in a conspiracy to overthrow Hitler. Player turns this down and sends Player to the PoW camp.
  • Dr. Starb (Kenneth Griffith) - A very stuffy Major who serves briefly on the camp medical staff. He is irritated at the relaxed discipline of the British, and decides to enforce saluting. He is a small, short-tempered man who likes to feel superior. He finds many things irritating and the smallest thing can make him angry. He feels that the prisoners and staff at Colditz are lazy and thick. When he gets Carter court-martialled for failing to salute, the Kommandant has him removed for fear of prisoner reprisals. Dr. Starb was apparently based on a real doctor who served in Colditz and had a prisoner court-martialled for failing to salute.
  • Gerda (Sarah Craze) - Gerda is the young German organist at the Colditz town church. She falls for the dashing Capitaine Vaillant and helps him to escape, feeling for him as she does for her brother who is a POW in Russia.
  • Erich (Martin Howells) - Erich, the son of the Kommandant, is a Luftwaffe officer in his early twenties. He is anxious to fly for the German squadrons, despite the deep concern of his father and mother. Much of the angst of the series centres on the Kommandant's worry he will not return home.
  • Brauner (Peter Barkworth) - A chief plain-clothes Gestapo officer of unknown rank, Brauner is the stereotype of the sinister police organisation. He is intentionally intimidating with his precision and cold curiosity. He is not afraid to torture uncooperative subjects of his interrogations, as Phil Carrington discovers the hard way.
  • Sturmbannführer (Nigel Stock) and Hauptsturmführer (Terrence Hardiman) - NKVD special camp Nr. 7, the "Good Cop, Bad Cop" Gestapo team who attempt to determine Player's identity when one of their agents captures him. They seem complete opposites, an angry, loud-mouthed pompous grumpy old man and a calm, helpful, kind vegetarian. But in private, it is revealed, they are just as bad as each other: sly, sneaky and cruel.
  • Baumann (Ralph Michael) - The civilian lawyer, sympathetic to prisoners and intent on imposing the letter of German law, who agrees to take Carter's case against Dr. Starb.
  • Obergruppenführer Berger and Hauptsturmführer Schankel - Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger was the real-life SS commander who took over the Leipzig/Colditz area late in the war, and was in charge of the removal of the Prominente from Colditz. He is portrayed in the series as a boisterous but unyielding individual for whom everyone holds a measure of fear, even Major Mohn. His aide, Schankel, is a yes-man who puts up with the patronising attitude of his superior officer with a smile.

Read more about this topic:  Colditz (TV Series), Characters

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