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Autor Thema: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim  (Gelesen 237 mal)

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Offline Carlos Benemann

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ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« am: 23 November 2021, 07:35:03 »
Klinckmüller, Joachim 2. Division. Graf Spee Btsmt. Cédula 99. Geb: 18/7/1915, Wittmannsdorf Brandenburg. Von dem Hafengelände in Darsena Norte auf Anordnung Kommando Panzerschiff Admiral GS geflüchtet. Kam bis Resistencia, kurz vor der Grenze mit Paraguay, wurde verhaftet und auf der Insel Martín Garcia interniert. 1944 kam er in das Internierten Lager Sierra de la Ventana. 16 Feb 1946 mit der H. Monarch repatriiert. Kehrte nach Argentinien zurück, lebte in Villa Ballester, Vorort von Buenos Aires. (Quelle: Carlos Benemann)

Hubertus: Just for fun, here a short true story I just wrote about his escape. It just gives a hint of the flavor of what these escapes were like. Actually I know the area in detail.  What do you think? Y're welcome to erase it from here.
Just a hint. In Argentina in the 1940's NOT sporting a moustache was a giveaway...

MEET SCAREFACE JR., (ALIAS) MATE COSIDO CHICO.

Noncommisioned naval officer (Bootsmannsmaat) Joachim Klinkmüller Internment Number 99 and his companion received their orders to escape directly through naval attaché Niebuhr.  Their specific instruction was to proceed to Northern Argentina, cross over to Paraguay make their way through Brazil and get back to naval service in Germany. (Jawohl !!, click the heels, salute…)

A german undercover agent handed them both new argentine cédulas (ID cards), civilian clothing, money and tickets and took them to the Retiro main train Station in Buenos Aires. Platform 8 the longdistance trains. They would now travel alone with first class tickets to the city of Resistencia, in the northernmost  province of El Chaco, 1000 Km distant to the north. Further instructions to be given by a contact on arrival.
Recognition password: “Vierundvierzigstreichölzer”. (Forty four matches). Piece of cake!.
 
The train had a very comfortable and clean dining room. The fare was a bit repetitive for both lunch and a late dinner but tasty; Bife de Chorizo (steak) with hard tack bread, salad (The perenial lechuga, apio, tomate y cebolla), a potato and a half liter of red wine (With a soda syphon on the side) all included. The trainride view also a bit repetitive; straight north, cornfield after cornfield then cattle herds to the horizon.
It took two days.

In 1940, the Chaco region to the border with Paraguay was a wild and wooly place. To compare it with the American wild west back in it’s heydays would perhaps not be too far fetched. There were three privately owned companies that practically ran most Chaco business; “La Forestal”, was owned by the British and busy stripp-logging 3 million acres to produce rail ties and Tanin; Bunge y Born, another foreign Co, that controlled enormous cotton fields and cattle ranches. Finally the French owned Louis Dreyfus Fréres y Co. which had posession of practically everything else worth owning. Between them they also owned most communication, railroads, river ports, supply stores and such. Company scrip was a common currency. Two of these monopolies considered any German an enemy. Aside from impressive assets, these monopolies controlled the entire workforce. Of course the workers were destitute poor underpaid peons consisting mostly of the remaining Tobá, Chané or Chiriguano Indian tribes. Besides Spanish, the lingua franca in the whole area was either Guaraní or Quechua.
Understandably the natives were restless and unhappy, not just because of their extreme poverty, but because the monopolies included the political power through open and notorious bribery and their very own police force which brutally supressed any labor union activity. Hundreds of workers were murdered.

The total territory these foreign corporations owned  besides the entire Chaco region included the then Territory of Formosa, on the Paraguayan borderlands and most of  northern Santa Fé province. The total size was about equivalent to California. The numerous German colonists (estimated at 11,000) that  had set up the original tanin/lumber factories and cotton fields (Hans Schmidt “Vom Rio de la Plata zum Rio Alto Paraguay” pgs 224-236, July 1938, imprenta Mercur, Buenos Aires ) had been quickly dispossesed and resettled well before the start of the war.
 
During the 1930’s until the sudden arrival of Klinckmüller and his companion in early 1940, banditry, train and bank robberies with kidnappings were daily events throughout the Chaco. Of course the only people that had money sufficiently worth taking were foreign administrators and upper echelon employees of the monopolies. They were often targeted, especially when travelling to meet payrolls.

Enter Scarface, aka  Mate Cosido. Mate is Argentine slang not just for the ubiquitous mate tea infusion, but the hollowed calabash or gourd from which one drinks it. That gourd may look a bit like a shrunken human head. (Athos Espindola: Diccionario del lunfardo, 1st ed. 2002  pg 316) Now, mate cocido is just boiled mate. But the small spelling difference of “Mate Cosido” refered to a long scar stiched up across his forehead from a prior event resulting from a disagreement involving the usual (facón) a long all purpose Argentine Gaucho knife carried in the belt by just about every provincial male in public.
 
Don Mate Cosido proceeded to organize an armed gang of  about 15 main members, which pretty much operated unimpeded for 10 years throughout the wast Chaco region with regular heists, kidnappings for ransom and spectacular shootouts. One of the gang members was a german called “Fitz” aka ”El Alemancito”, a sureshot and organizer. Additionally Don Mate Cosido had hundreds of supporters in the general population that fed, hid and housed his gang and provided him with information including money transfers, cash transportation or large sales and of course police movements.

The reason for all those wellwishers and his popularity was that Mate Cosido was a quasi Robin Hood figure, allegedly never taking advantage of people and workers but actually distributing among the poor and disposessed cash money he took from robberies and kidnappings. His efforts have been rewarded (at least in history) by several books, “milongas” (music patterned not unlike the narco corridos in Mexico these days) and even a movie. This pattern is so well known from other romantic “social” banditry taking the side of an empoverished native or peasant society, that eventually a renowed historian Eric Hobsbawn decided to travel from England to Argentina and check it out. (Hugo Chumbita, Alias Mate Cosido in “Todo es  Historia” No 293, November 1991).

Then, something changed. Just before Christmas eve 1939, about the same time the Graf Spee remaining wreck was ever so slowly sinking into the mud of the Rio de la Plata and it’s crew was settling down in Buenos Aires, Don Mate Cosido kidnapped a well connected administrator, this time demanding a veritable fortune in ransom.

The provincial powers to be had had it. They demanded that the Federal Government in Buenos Aires do something efective and do so forthwith. The response by the Minister of Interior was the formation and immediate dispatch of a new Federal Police Force.

The brand new Gendarmería Nacional Argentina  was essentially conceived as a professionally trained border guard including functions to maintain domestic security. Within days, threehundred and fifty newly trained police officers and undercover agents dispatched by train showed up in the Chaco capital of Resistencia. By January 1940 the new Gendarmería had managed to set two traps for Mate Cosido, including a heavy (malfunctioning) machine gun mounted on a train at the ransom payoff location.  Mate Cosido smelled a rat and barely escaped. Allegedly wounded, he disappeared and was never caught.

However,  most of the band was systematically tracked down, shot, arrested, tortured, jailed and survivors tried in Resistencia. Among those awaiting trial in Resistencia was Fitz aka “El Alemancito” and Marcelino, aka Mate Cosido Chico, the younger brother of Don Mate Cosido. Hundreds of supporters were arrested, tortured to force them in giving up others, some shot (always in the back “while fleeing”) or jailed. By April 1940 the Gendarmería had just about put a stop to most organized banditry in the Chaco and established an effective surveillance system to include Hotels, railroad stations, river ports and all public areas.

Into this mess, on a humid, hot day two well dressed (in brand new stylish local peasant garb without the ubiquitous “facón” long knife in their belts), clean shaven profusely sweating strapping young men of obvious foreign appearance got of a train in Resistencia. To say the posted undercover Gendarmeria agent loitering around the railroad station was not immediately interested is an understatement. 

To get an inkling of the scenario, Graham Greene describers it quite well even decades later in “The Honorary Counsel” which describes the city of Corrientes, just across the Rio Paraná from Resistencia.

Keeping these two strangers under discrete distant surveillance, the undercover Gendarme noticed that they met up with another fellow in the station. That man was quickly identified as a known local Argentine citizen of german extraction.
 
Of course one could not hear the conversation as the three took a stroll and went shopping, but the instructions in german were brief and clear: “Move to the nearby port of Barranqueras then follow up to the confluence of the Rio Negro and Tragadero on the Paraná river. Your pickup boat will take you just north across the river to Paraguay and move upriver. On this little map is the  point where you will meet another small group. You then follow up with them through Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. Transport to Germany will be arranged there.

“Fünfundfünfzigstreichhölzer” (Fiftyfive matches) is your next password.”
Jawohl!!
Nothing to it.

Shortly thereafter Klinckmüller and his companion arrived on the edge of the Rio Paraná near the confluence of another muddy river. The Gendarmería was already waiting for them. They very politely asked for their documents and immediately arrested both. The local chief of police, a bit maliciously, later told them through an interpreter that if they had just walked a bit further upriver, there was the boat all set to take them across to Paraguay. Obviously, the authorities already knew the plan. The police had already picked up their local contact and … well .. the beans were spilled with the usual gentle “prodding”. (The famous police picana)

Taken to the main jail back in Resistencia Klinckmüller and his companion were locked up to share a filthy nasty crowded cell with Marcelino, (Also known as Mate Cosido Chico) the little brother of “Mate Cosido”.
“Say, that’s a nice hat; mind if I look at it” interpreted “El alemancito” Fitz.
As could be expected, they were quickly stripped down of any- and everything usefull down to their brand new sytlish gaucho boots  by the gang of bandits.

 Meantime the Police chief of Resistencia sent a telegram to Buenos Aires asking for instructions and then quickly put Klinckmüller and his companion on a train for a lengthy return trip under heavy guard.  Once in Buenos Aires they ended up in the notorious jail in Villa Devoto before being transfered back to Martin Garcia island. That notorious nasty jail was paradise compared to the “black hole of Calcutta” equivalent in the jail of Resistencia in the Chaco.

Just the day before Klinkmüller arrived back in the Buenos Aires jail, three more Graf Spee sailors had also been captured by the Gendarmería as they tried to cross the border to Chile at Lago Espejo in Northern Patagonia. Their “police prontuario” pictures were flashed on the newsreels preceeding movie shows in local cinemas. That also was a topic of conversation by the Graf Spee sailors returning to Martin Garcia from leave after going to the movies. (Diego M. Lascano. Historias de los Marinos del Graf Spee, Librel editores. Uruguay 1998, pg 118).

Bootsmaat Klinkmüller of course ended up interned at Martin Garcia island for the duration of the war. His punishment was temporary suspension of leave. Just a few weeks later he was again granted normal leaves on his word of honor to return, although until July 1941 any extensions were denied for “having evaded from the Taller de Marina in Darsena Norte in 1940”. (Expediente 1-M-6263/941 Ministerio de Marina; Francisco R. Renta, jefe de la secretaría del Ministro).  Klinkmüller never tried another escape. Perhaps it was due to eventually finding a steady lady friend in Villa Ballester, Calle 33 No 40. Perhaps his brief “stripping” experience with Mate Cosido Chico and the bandits  in a humid, hot, buginfested and rotten hellhole jail in Resistencia was enough. (Copyright: Carlos Benemann)

edit: Umlaut in der Threadüberschrift korrigiert - Schorsch -
« Letzte Änderung: 27 November 2021, 04:44:32 von Carlos Benemann »

Offline Carlos Benemann

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #1 am: 24 November 2021, 06:37:31 »
Thank you Hubertus. I was hoping for that  that solution. I would like to include a couple of illustrations especially Klinckmüller documents. How do I do that? or shall I just forward them to you?
Cheers
Carlos


Offline Urs Heßling

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #2 am: 24 November 2021, 12:30:50 »
hi, Carlos,

tolle Geschichte / Great Story  :TU:)

aber/however
“Vierundvierzigstreichölzer”. (Forty four matches).
write "Vierundvierzig Streichhölzer"  :-D

Gruß, Urs
"History will tell lies, Sir, as usual" - General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne zu seiner Niederlage bei Saratoga 1777 im Amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg - nicht in Wirklichkeit, aber in George Bernard Shaw`s Bühnenstück "The Devil`s Disciple"

Offline Carlos Benemann

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #3 am: 25 November 2021, 20:45:59 »
Vielen Dank Urs für das Kompliment.
Tja, diese Flüchte waren alle ziemlich toll. Ich habe grade noch ein paar geschrieben, aber die sind auch  ziemlich lang. Außerdem schreibe ich meistens auf Englisch also weiss ich nicht ob das und wo das hier in dem Deutschen HMA reinpaßt.
Mal sehen was Thorsten u. Hubertus meinen
Freue mich auf alle Komentare.
Happy Thanksgiving Day from sunny California!
Carlos

Offline t-geronimo

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #4 am: 25 November 2021, 22:29:55 »
Die Länge des Textes ist eigentlich kein Problem. Und genau genommen ist das Projekt ja eh mehrsprachig.
Und die Internet-Übersetzer werden auch immer besser.

 :O/Y
Gruß, Thorsten

"There is every possibility that things are going to change completely."
(Captain Tennant, HMS Repulse, 09.12.1941)

Forum MarineArchiv / Historisches MarineArchiv

Offline Hubertus

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #5 am: 26 November 2021, 03:25:12 »
This is what i done so far.

"ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE". 2. Division. Graf Spee Btsmt. Cédula 99. Geb: 18/7/1915, Wittmannsdorf Brandenburg. Von dem Hafengelände in Darsena Norte auf Anordnung Kommando Panzerschiff Admiral GS geflüchtet. Kam bis Resistencia, kurz vor der Grenze mit Paraguay, wurde verhaftet und auf der Insel Martín Garcia interniert. 1944 kam er in das Internierten Lager Sierra de la Ventana. 16 Feb 1946 mit der H. Monarch repatriiert. Kehrte nach Argentinien zurück, lebte in Villa Ballester, Vorort von Buenos Aires. (Quelle: Carlos Benemann) also see story here https://www.forum-marinearchiv.de/smf/index.php/topic,35884.0.html
There are no roses on a sailor's grave
No lilies on an ocean wave
The only tribute is the seagull's sweeps
And the teardrops that a sweetheart weeps


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Offline t-geronimo

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #6 am: 26 November 2021, 12:45:41 »
Herb, please mark that one red in your next update, so that I can check if the link will work.  :TU:)
Gruß, Thorsten

"There is every possibility that things are going to change completely."
(Captain Tennant, HMS Repulse, 09.12.1941)

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Offline Hubertus

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Re: ID=28261 Name: Klinckmüller, Joachim
« Antwort #7 am: 27 November 2021, 03:39:16 »
Will do Thorsten,

If it works can you remove the posts under the story.

Cheers Herb.
There are no roses on a sailor's grave
No lilies on an ocean wave
The only tribute is the seagull's sweeps
And the teardrops that a sweetheart weeps


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