Generalfeldmarschall von Blomberg Describes Wilhelm Canaris (Hilariously)

The following (below) is a quote attributed to von Blomberg about Abwehr Chief Wilhelm Canaris. I often think Canaris is unfairly maligned by the cruel judgement of history; he’s frequently described as incompetent and treacherous, but I think this is a misreading of a Bohemian personality and patriotism beyond mere loyalty to the reigning sovereign. In any event, von Blomberg gave a rather amusing assessment of the Admiral, relayed by SS adjutant Karl Wolff:

Oh, keep that Levantine weirdo out of it. I’d never have any use for him unless we had to bump somebody off!

Commander-in-Chief von Blomberg

Hilarity aside, von Blomberg endured difficulties during the Nazi period. Initially head of the Wehrmacht High Command and Reichsminister for War, he was retired into obscurity after rival ministers nosed through police files held on his wife attempting to besmirch his reputation. He spent his honeymoon being followed around by an irritant pressuring him to commit suicide, and was later held in Nuremburg by the allies (for no discernible reason) where he died of colorectal cancer in 1946.

Canaris is an intriguing character. Contemporaries viewed him as cultured, if a little scatter-brained as we might say in the modern parlance, and later as traitor to Germany after Gestapo voyeurs browsed his diaries. He was executed for treason in Flossenb├╝rg KZ in 1945, days before the war’s end.

Karl Wolff, for his part, is portrayed as Himmler’s lapdog, but he had qualities of his own that perhaps weren’t eminently suited for the Schutzstaffel. He was repeatedly upbraided by the post-war German government, twice being tried on spurious charges. His daughter, Fatima Grimm, had converted to Islam in the 1960s and worked as a translator and Islamic educator in Munich, and Karl followed suit professing the Shahadah a few weeks before his death.

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