Reitsch, Hanna

PILOT (GERMANY)
BORN 29 Mar 1912, Hirschberg im Riesengebirge, Schlesien (now: Jelenia Góra, Poland) - DIED 24 Aug 1979, Frankfurt am Main
GRAVE LOCATION Salzburg: Kommunalfriedhof, Gneiser Strasse 8 (Gruppe 60, Reihe 20, Nummer 3 (Familiengrab))

Daughter of the physician Willy Reitsch. As a child she already dreamed of flying. From 1932 onwards she studied medicine in Berlin and Kiel. During the same year she made her first flights. In 1934 she became a test pilot. She broke several flying records for women and in 1937 she was employed by the Luftwaffe. In 1938 she made the first helicopter flight ever inside a closed room in the Deutschlandhalle in Berlin.

During the Second World War she tested the Messerschmitt Me-163 and she was seriously wounded several times. In 1945 she flew to Berlin with Ritter von Greim in an attempt to convince Hitler, whom she admired, to leave Berlin. He refused to join them and they returned to Bavaria, where they were arrested by the Americans.

She was imprisoned for 18 months, but since she had never joined a nazi organisation she was released and resumed her work as a test pilot. She also worked as the private pilot of Kwame Nkrumah, the president of Ghana. She resided there from 1962 to 1966 and ran a gliding school.

She published books in which she mentioned her many meetings with Hitler, Göring, Himmler and other nazi's, but she never spoke out against them and was critizised for that. In 1974 she left Germany and became an Austrian citizen.

Sources
Wikipedia (German)

Images

The grave of Hanna Reitsch at the Kommunalfriedhof, Salzburg.
Picture by Androom (29 Aug 2009)

 

The grave of Hanna Reitsch at the Kommunalfriedhof, Salzburg.
Picture by Androom (29 Aug 2009)

 


Réjane

Published: 26 Sep 2009
Last update: 4 Aug 2013