Wald honors its Freedom Hero Devaranne

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Wald honored its Freedom Hero Devaranne , translated by Wikisource
The original article appeared under the title "Wald ehrte seinen Friedensheld Devaranne" in the June 24, 1933 edition of the Bergische Zeitung (volume 65, no. 170). The image of the article is from a copy given to me by Hans Hundenborn. The original is from the Stadt Archiv in Solingen, Germany.


Wald honored its Freedom Hero Devaranne[1]
A big day in the spirit of national rebirth -- Gigantic turnout at all events


F.H. Truly, Wald had its big day yesterday. While the citizenry honored its forefather Devaranne, who had to pay for his freedom fight 120 years ago with death by French bullets, by unveiling a memorial plaque on his former residence, the spirit of our Fatherland’s national rebirth was revealed in an overwhelming way to all of us who were permitted to be present. United by the swastika, the sacred symbol of our Third Reich, the SA[2] and Steelhelmets, Hitler and Steelhelmet Youth, and countless men and women came together in the new German spirit to honor a man, who was a hero equal to Schlageter, Horst Wessel and the 400 brown fighters for German honor and freedom. What Wald experienced yesterday was truly the spirit of the Third Reich, in which the life of the individual, though it appear to be ever so precious, counts for nothing against the collective of the Nation. And this recognition, which hardly anyone went home without, was the greatest and most splendid prize of the day.

Life came into Wald‘s richly flagged streets shortly after noon. SA men, Steelhelmets, members of the military societies, Hitler Youth, and Steelhelmets hurried to their staging areas. More spectators collected on the sidewalks of the center city, especially at the crossing points. Toward 2 PM, the advance began from all sides. The Youth with flapping pennants and fresh, cheerful songs, the brown columns with melodious Glockenspiel[3] and the victorious standard[4] of the Third Reich, the field gray companies of the “Steelhelmets” amid the sounds of old army marches, the tiem-honored war flag out frount, the military societies in their colorful soldiers’ caps, the old flags partly decorated with the swastika banners[5], the echelon[6] climbed the stairs to the cenotaph to lay a wreath at its foot.

An image of the original article

It was a serious, uncommonly festive moment. Then followed

The Commemorative Address
of Chief Editor Herbert Caspers

The long-time Steelhelmet spoke somewhat as follows:

Honoring of fallen directs the gaze back into the history of the German people to that reconstruction of the nation in the liberation wars, which, as a people’s movement, resembles in so many ways the national and national socialistic revolution of the year 1933. The bergische homeland must be proud of the fact that, lying then at the center of the enemy’s lordship, it ignited the flaming symbol of freedom second to none and that the spiritual father of this freedom fight in the Bergischen Land was a fellow Wald citizen, Johann Christian Claudius Devaranne. The speaker depicted the integration of the French immigrant Devaranne family into the German people, as anyway German history exhibits a multiplicity of French-sounding names, which came to Germany as religious fighters in the 17th century, competent diplomats, commanders and soldiers. His walking stick led Christian Devaranne into the lovely valleys of the Bergischen Land at the beginning of the previous century where he settled among the bussiness-minded population of Wald soon to make his fortune as an innkeeper and merchant. Together with his wife from an ancient middle-class Rhenish house, he lived a Christian German family life, where children were a blessing from God. Just one bitter feeling overshadowed this as it overshadowed the entire bergisch homeland: The Corsican’s[7] brutal hand lay upon the land, foreign masters ruled over the free mind of a liberal people, which was being fettered and exploited and which was at last pressed into foreign military service. Swear to emulate Devaranne, Schlageter[8] and Horst Wessel[9].

Among the sounds of the presentation march, the flag delegations reintegrated, following which the columns reformed themselves for the exit march.

The Unveiling of the Memorial Plaque

In front of the Busch Inn on Church Square, one honor guard each from the SA and the Steelhelmets marched with ringing music up to the house, from which French myrmidons[10] once lead Devaranne away from the circle of his loved ones, while hosts of brown and field gray columns took their places on Church Square. Herbert Caspers heartily welcomed the members of the Devaranne Commemoration Committee assembled on the top floor, but especially the descendents of the freedom hero who appeared, Lord Mayer Dr. Otto, the police chief, and the top leadership of the SA and Steelhelmets. Hearty thanks and greetings were accorded to the creater of the memorial plaque, sculptor Otto Hoppe. He emphasized that authorities had declared that a memorial plaque of such artistic merit had no equal in western Germany[11]. The speaker found special words of recognition for the selfless work of the artist. He also found cordial words of thanks for head schoolmaster Pohl, the spiritual father of the Devaranne Memorial. Finally he also thanked the committee members, the SA, the Steelhelmets and the local chapter of the Wald War Societies. To the multi-thousand member crowd standing outside, the speaker continued that the Devaranne Memorial should further signify, that in the Third Reich the population of Wald was concious of its duty with respect to its freedom hero from 1813. He thereupon unveiled the memorial plaque with the words: Thanks to him, honor to us and an eternal warning to Germany's youth! The music intoned the German National Anthem, whereupon Herbert Caspers committed the plaque into the stalwart hands of

Lord Mayer Dr. Otto

who received the gift with the following words:

As Lord Mayer of Solingen, I place this highly artistic memorial plaque into the care of the city. I promise, that it will be held in perpetual honor. My thanks go out to the committee, then to the men and women of Walder, who prepared this celebration. Solingen is not blessed with many artistic memorials, so I welcome the fact, that this plaque and its artistry serve to increase the number of such memorials in Solingen.

It is no accicent that precisely the Third Reich festively celebrates the memory of this freedom hero. The same spirit which animated Devaranne, animates our SA as well. Then as now, the revolution against the spirit of repression, then against the Corsican, today the SA’s revolution against the Marxist spirit of repression. We need the memory of our heros to redirect us to their spirit in dark hours.

A cheer for the Fatherland[12], for the Reichspresident and the Chancellor closed the speech, followed the singing of the Horst Wessel Song from many thousands of throats.

A procession of the SA and Steelhelmets before the Wald Town Hall ended the exceptionally successful celebration, that still included a German evening at the beach with the promise to keep it always in a worthy condition. He directed cordial words of thanks to the committee, and to the societies and the entire Wald citizenry, who had contributed to this beautiful work. Solingen is truly not rich in this kind of art work. So he accepts this enrichment with thanks and pride. Dr. Otto then continued: The spirit that created this work is the spirit of the Third Reich! It is no accident that this memorial has now come into existence. The same spirit that animated Devaranne, has animated our SA in it’s 14 year struggle. There is no difference between the freedom fight of 1813 and that of 1933. It went each time against the un-German spirit, against bondage and dishonor. It is all the same, the youth, who surged forward to craft a better future for itself. In conclusion, the Lord Mayer promised to take care that the name of Devaranne not be forgotten in the schools. He called then upon the sentiments, which animated all in this hour, to be expressed in a Sieg Heil to Reichspresident General Field Marshal von Hindenburg and to Führer and Chancellor Adolf Hitler. The crowd voiced it enthousiastic agreement, whereupon all hearts and spirits united in the Horst Wessel Song.

A Big Procession

which was approved by SA and Steelhelmet leadership in front of the Town Hall, confered an impressive conclusion to the memorable celebration.

The German Evening

Many thousand got together in the evening at Ittertal Beach. Not everyone in the crowd knew where to find a place. Party member[13] Schüttelhöfer held a greeting speech. He pointed out as aparticularly happy result of the day the fact, how the SA and Steelhelmets got through the the day of honor for the freedom hero shoulder to shoulder, in the same spirit and desire, and in seamless unity. That’s how it should be in the future too, in the final struggle for German freedom and honor. The speech was closed with the Horst Wessel Song sung in powerful unison. The evening’s program was extremely comprehensive. The standard band, under the firm guidance of band leader Pullem, let splendid measures ring forth. Party member Karl Peters obliged with solo songs. Gymnastists and swimmers showed their advanced abilities in the glow of the spot light. Bonfires glowed at the edges of the forest. In short, it was a wonderful evening, a conclusion of the memorial day, as one…


1^  See the Wikipedia article Devaranne, J. C. C.

2^  SA – The “Sturmabteilung” i.e. the 'Brown Shirts' or Storm Troopers, paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany (See SA, 10 Mar. 2008).

3^  Spiel – Presumably Glockenspiel, the musical instrument, is meant.

4^  Sturmfahne – A “standard” in the sense of "a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem" – Merriam-Webste's 11th Collegiate Dictionary, 2004.

5^  Hackenkreuzwimpel- The bottom half of the word is not available. Hackenkreuz translates to „swastika“. The last five letters appear to be "wimnel", but I can find no translation for this character string, I assume that the word is “Wimpel”. The “nen" at the top of the next column could be the last three letters of “Wimplnen” or “banners.”

6^  Staf. – Possibly an abbreviation for “Staffel” or eschelon.

7^  …des Korsens brutale Hand… – “The Corsican’s brutal hand“, the Corsican being almost certainly Napoléon Bonaparte.

8^  Schlageter – Probably Albert Leo Schlageter, a member of the German Freikorps and a martyr-figure for the National Socialists (See Albert Leo Schlageter , 10 Mar. 2008).

9^  Horst Wessel - A German Nazi activist who was made a posthumous hero of the Nazi movement following his violent death in 1930 (See Horst Wessel, 10 Mar. 2008).

10^  myrmidon – A loyal follower, especially a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously. (ibid. Meriam Webster’s)

11^  Westdeutschland – “western Germany” and not “West Germany“ for obvious reasons.

12^  Vaterland – Although it looks like „Baierland“ in the original.

13^  Pg. – Probably an abbreviation for „Parteigenosse” i.e. “party member”.

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