Heinrich Prinz Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein - Personality

Personality

Night fighter pilot Wilhelm Johnen commented on the arrival of Sayn-Wittgenstein at his unit: "... A madman, I thought, as I took my leave. Once outside I got into conversation with the Prince's crew. Among other things they told me that their princely coachman had recently made his radio operator stand to attention in the plane and confined him to his quarters for three days because he (the radio operator) had lost his screen during a mission."

Herbert Kümmeritz recalled that Sayn-Wittgenstein often used his seniority and rank to ensure that he would get the best initial contact with the incoming bombers. He would often wait on the ground until the best contact was established. If another fighter had already engaged the enemy before Wittgentein arrived, the prince would announce on the radio "Hier Wittgenstein—geh weg!" (Wittgenstein here, clear off!)

Wolfgang Falck felt that Sayn-Wittgenstein was not officer-material. Falck described him as: "...not the type to be a leader of a unit. He was not a teacher, educator or instructor. But he was an outstanding personality, magnificent fighter and great operational pilot. He had an astonishing sixth sense—an intuition that permitted him to see and even feel where other aircraft were. It was like a personal radar system. He was an excellent air-to-air shot."

His mother, Princess Walburga, commented that: "... he was boundlessly disillusioned and boundlessly disappointed. In 1943 he contemplated the thought of shooting Hitler. It was only out of sense of honour and duty that Heinrich went on fighting, carried along by the ambition to overtake Major Lent in his score of enemy aircraft shot down". In her memoirs, Tatiana von Metternich reported that Wittgenstein planned to kill Hitler after the ceremony at which he received his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in 1943. He said, "I am not married, I have no children—I am expendable. He will receive me personally. Who else among us can ever get as near to him?"

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