• a strong friendship – Sulzbach and von Seebach

    'He is as fine a comrade as he is a vigorous, hard-working officer.'

    This was how Herbert Sulzbach appreciated 2/Lt Freiherr (Baron) von Seebach, who was his staff officer as they prepared for the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918. The German army's offensive proved to be its last and afterwards the two friends were involved in organising a disciplined retreat.

    They led their men back to Germany, with the gunners marching and singing through the crowded streets of Bonn, and their guns decked out with flags and garlands.

    Saying goodbye to von Seebach was difficult, but they remained friends throughout the 1920s, when both men and their young families lived in or near Berlin. Hans-Ado von Seebach was invited to the Sulzbach hunting lodge in the Taunus mountains, and was the last person to sign the guest book in July 1920. As Herbert Sulzbach rather ruefully remarked,

    'He saw the last glory of Germany, and even the last glory of the Sulzbachs.'

    Von Seebach was not Jewish and became increasingly concerned for the Sulzbachs during the 1930s. As Herbert reminded his wife some years later,

    'We must not forget that it was von Seebach who, in 1935 in the Behrenstrasse in Berlin, urgently advised us to “Go to England when you can.”'

    During the Second World War, Sulzbach fought for Britain and von Seebach served in the German army. Afterwards they re-established contact and met in Bonn in February 1950.

    'I stood on the Rhine bridge with my very best friend who had been a Colonel in the German army in the last war, whilst I a German-born British subject was fighting him. Nearly thirty-two years ago we marched together over this very bridge.'

    At that time Sulzbach was looking for work, and von Seebach introduced him to the head of the new German Consulate in London, Herr Schlange-Schöningen, who later employed him.

    In 1973 Herbert Sulzbach's diaries of the First World War were published in English. The book launch was held at the German Embassy and Hans-Ado Freiherr von Seebach was a very special guest of honour.

    (picture: Hans-Ado Freiherr von Seebach's entry in the Sulzbach guest book 12 – 18 July 1920.)


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On my blog I write about biography, Anglo-German reconciliation, and the life of Herbert Sulzbach.


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