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Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel (July 26, 1921July 18, 2007) was a Germanmarker journalist and politician.


Einsiedel, a great-grandson of Otto von Bismarck, was born in Potsdammarker, Province of Brandenburg, as the youngest child to Herbert von Einsiedel (1885-1945) and Irene von Bismarck-Schönhausen (1888-1982). His parents were divorced in 1931.

In World War II Einsiedel served as a German fighter pilot, initially with Jagdgeschwader 2 over the Western Front, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. He took part in escort ooperations over the cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen as they made their 'Channel dash' from Brest to Germany in February 1942. Von Einsiedel claimed two of the six Fairey Swordfish of No. 825 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, who made an unsuccessful low-level torpedo attack.On one occasion he was shot down and crash-landed near Rotterdam and was also shot down into the Channel and rescued. In June 1942 von Einsiedel was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 3 on the Russian Front for the forthcoming offensive against Stalingradmarker. Over the next six weeks, he claimed 33 Russian aircraft downed, including four Petlyakov Pe-2 bombers in the space of six minutes on 20 August. He was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold.

On 30 August 1942 during combat with Russian 'Ratas', he was forced to land and was captured by Russian ground forces, becoming a prisoner of war in the Soviet Unionmarker.The Soviet authorities soon realised the pilot was a well-connected member of the German nobility and thus a potentially valuble propaganda weapon. On capture von Einsiedel refused to divulge any military intelligence to his captors. He finally agreed however to send an open letter home stating he was being treated correctly and that Germany was going to lose the war, and that his great-grandfather Otto von Bismarck, would never have invaded Russia.

He became a founding member, Vice-president and commissary of propaganda of the National Committee for a Free Germany and leaded a propaganda unit which broadcast and distributed leaflets to German forces .

Released after the war, von Einsiedel initially worked for the East German newspaper Tägliche Rundschau, but became increasingly dissillusioned with the Soviet regime, experiencing at first hand the Russian corruption and inefficiency. He was given permission to visit West Berlin on behalf of the NKVD for intelligence gathering purposes. While meeting his mother he was arrested by US Forces and sentenced by an American court for spying and having forged documents. He was released on appeal.Despite a higly publicised press conference when back in the East, he was by now seen as a liability by the Soviet authorities.

He thus relocated to West Germanymarker in late 1948, where he worked as a translator, script-writer and journalist. The governing Socialist Unity Party acknowledged von Einsiedel as a bonafide anti-fascist but a petit bourgeois who, "as soon as the class war became acute", had wavered and switched political camps for his own self interests.

Von Einsiedel also wrote 'The Shadow of Stalingrad: Being the Diary of Temptation' in 1953, which attempted to tell his complex story. Eventually von Einsiedel joined the film industry, as a scriptwriter and a film soundtrack dubber. He also played the role of a pilot in the drama 'The Last Bridge' (1953) with his first wife, Barbara Rütting.He also wrote for the liberal Hamburg weekly, Die Zeit. He twice won the German bridge championship and played in the bridge World Cup.

Einsiedel was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1957 until 1992 and was elected as a member of the German Bundestagmarker as a candidate of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) from 1994 until 1998.

Einsiedel died in Munich.




  • Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel, Joachim Wieder: Stalingrad und die Verantwortung des Soldaten, ISBN 3776617780 (German)
  • Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel: Tagebuch der Versuchung. 1942 - 1950, 1950; als Ullstein TB (1985): ISBN 3548330460 (German)
  • Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel: Der Überfall, Hoffmann und Campe 1984, ISBN 3455086772 (German)


  1. Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit. Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 - 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, 2001. ISBN 3-931533-45-X
  2. Das Dilemma des Genossen Graf (German)

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