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Wehrpass Martin Lindauer


Well-known member
Hello ,

greetings to the forum. I wanted to share this wehrpass that belonged to a man called Martin Lindauer. Born in 1918, he was from Bavaria in south Germany, from
a little village called Bad Kohlgrub, south from München, near the Alps and the austrian border. He was first required for the Arbeitdienst (work service ) early in 1939, then transfered
to the Wehrmacht in september-october 1939.

Lindauer-at-the-time-of-achieving-his-Abitur-March-1939.png s-l1600.jpg
Bad Kohlgrub circa 1930´s

His unit was the “Inf.Pz.Abw.Ers.Kp.157. That is Infanterie Panzer Abwehr Ersatz Kompanie 157” In english: “157 Anti-Tank Infantry Reserve Company”.
This unit was part of the 57 Infanterie-Division der Wehrmacht, based in Landshut (Münich). Here is a link to the details of this division in
german wikipedia:

95499_1-1.jpg 1200px-57th_Infanterie_Division_Logo.svg.png 57 Inf.Div. Emblem

A PAK36 anti tank-gun and crew.

So, with his Division, Martin did the campaigns in Poland, France, and then Barbarossa. The 57 Division became part of the Wehrmacht 6. Armee in preparation for Russia campaign.
He was transferred beetween January 1940 and July 1941 from the anti-tank reserve unit, to Infanterie Regiment 217 and Infanterie Regiment 523. All within 57 Inf. Div.

Now, I will use a biography of Martin to complete the wehrpass info. Martin Lindauer became, after the war, well known in academic circles for his work about the bees and their social behavior.
He wrote several books and was a professor in Münich University. He was student and assistant with nobel Prize Karl von Frisch.

I copy at the end the small biography of M.Lindauer written by american university biologists with many details about him and his life. It is unusual to know so many information about someone
in a Wehrpass. (I copy here just the text until Germany surrenders, if anyone is interested, the whole text with his entire life is online).

The biography describes how he was injured in the arm by a mortar grenade on 11th July 1942 in Terespol (Brest fortress), Poland, although the date is not correct because:

This action was the famous battle for the fortress of Brest-Litovsk, Terespol is the west Access to Brest fortress. There are several books about the siege of Brest.

It took place beetween the beginning of Barbarossa and 2/08/41. So this surely happened on the 11th July 1941. The biography also says he was a Kradmelder (Dispatch rider) for his unit at that time.

A German 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun-crew at Brest-Litovsk, June 1941..jpg
A German 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun-crew at Brest-Litovsk, June 1941.

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German soldiers after the siege of Brest Fortress.

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Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and high ranking german and italian officers visiting the Brest fortress after the battle.

So, in July ´41 after being wounded, we see he was officially transfered back to Anti-Tank reserve unit. Actually he was in several military hospitals recovering from his injury.

In page 34 on the Wehrpass we see he is in Lazarett on 27/07/41 in Krakow. Next entry he is in another Lazarett and the injury is described as “Dürchschüss li (links) Oberarm” meaning “shot through left upperarm”, that matches the injury descrption in the biography.

We see in the wehrpass, that later, in 1942, he was sent to Germany at Heeresentlassungsstelle XVII in Wien (this were offices for Army registry , service discharge, etc…) and later in Heeresentlassungsstelle VII in Münich. There´s no other unit inscription after that). Finally he was considered “unfit for the service” due to his injury and discharged for army service.

In the biography they say “of the 156 men in his company that went into Stalingrad, only 3 returned alive”. I haven´t been able to track his unit movements, but as far as I know, his division, the 57 Inf.Div. was not directly involved in the battle for Stalingrad, as they were in the Don river area, about 200kms. west of Stalingrad. It is true however, that the 57 Inf. Div. was later involved in heavy fighting against the russian counterattack in 1943 after Stalingrad battle. (Anyway, Martin was by then already in Germany).

Red army T-34s advancing.

The 57 Inf. Div. Was part of the 6. army ( Defeated in Stalingrad) at the beginning of Barbarossa, but by the time of Stalingrad battle, it had been changed to 2. Army. In 1944 the Division was destroyed in Bagration offensive.

As a side note, the Div. Commander beetween sept. ´41 and April ´42, Anton Dostler, faced trial in italy after the war, for war crimes. He was sentenced to death and executed. I even found his execution footage on youtube searching
for information.

Generalmajor Anton Dostler – 26. September 1941 bis 9. April 1942.jpg
Anton Dostler in his trial in Italy.

After the war Martin Lindauer continued his activity in Munich University as a profesor and investigator.

I didn´t know anything about Martin Lindauer when I got the wehrpass, I found out later about his interesting story and life during and after the war. Martin Lindauer passed away in Munich in 2.008, age 89.


img1830.jpg images.jpg 22714401031.jpg 9783437302169-es-300.jpg

2.jpg Lindauer-holding-a-Kollegium-mit-den-Bienen-1996.png lindesch.jpg
Journal of Comparative Physiology A
DOI 10.1007/s00359-002-0318-6
An early chapter in behavioral physiology and
sociobiology: the science of Martin Lindauer
T. D. Seeley( ) · S. Kühnholz · R. H. Seeley
T.D. Seeley
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Mudd Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
S. Kühnholz
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
R.H. Seeley
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Corson Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853,
Fax: +1-607-2544308
Accepted: 7 April 2002 / Published online:
Abstract. The fields of behavioral physiology and sociobiology enjoyed spectacular success in post
World War II Germany. One of the major contributors to this blossoming in behavioral science was
Martin Lindauer, who furthered the research approach of his mentor (Karl von Frisch), made
numerous seminal discoveries, and nurtured a strong next generation in the area of neurobiology and
behavior. We review the scientific development of Martin Lindauer within the German academic
system in the years surrounding World War II, examine his research approach and achievements, and
discuss his unusually successful methods of scientific pedagogy.
For over 50 years, the name Martin Lindauer has appeared atop scientific papers on the behavior of
honey bees. Through his studies of these small creatures, mankind has gained a deeper understanding
of how animals communicate and learn, sense the world, find their way, and live in societies. Besides
being a creator of science through his own investigations, Lindauer has guided and inspired numerous
outstanding doctoral and post-doctoral students. Without people such as Hölldobler, Linsenmaier,
Markl, Maschwitz, Menzel, and Wehner, the distinguished history of behavioral physiology and
sociobiology in post World War II Germany is unthinkable.
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Professor Lindauer’s accomplishments in his research and teaching, and his relations with his own
famous mentor, Karl von Frisch, are among the themes we develop in this paper. It is not a
full-fledged biography. Rather, it is a compact report which traces the history of Lindauer’s scientific
work, and emphasizes the varied contributions he made to the study of behavioral physiology and
sociobiology. 1
Family and early memories
Martin Lindauer was born on 19 December 1918 in the tiny village of Wäldle, located in the foothills
of the Bavarian Alps, near Oberammergau, some 90 km south of Munich. He was the next to youngest
child of Matthias Lindauer and Katharina née Erhard. The Lindauers had 15 children - 8 daughters and
7 sons - which was not unusual for that place and time. The Lindauers were farmers who gained their
livelihood through hand labor. The hard work in the stony meadows in summer, and the even harder
work in the snowy forests in winter, demanded many hands. Martin Lindauer’s parents had little
education, but they were intelligent people who placed a high value on education for their children. In
1910, they moved to the farm in Wäldle, partly because of the better opportunity there for schooling.
Only a half-hour by foot from the Lindauer farmhouse was the public school in the town of Bad
The Lindauer family led a frugal life. They farmed with ten cows to produce milk, four horses to pull
the hay wagon, and chickens to provide eggs. The farm’s meadows, at 900 m elevation, had poor soil
and the farm’s small dairy herd had none of the benefits of modern cattle breeding. Hay fields were
mowed by hand (Martin Lindauer still recalls the sound of scythes being stroked with whetstones at
4 a.m.), and the hay was gathered with difficulty from the sloping mountain meadows. Meals were
simple. Mornings, they had fried flour mixed with milk or water, noontimes they ate noodles, and
evenings they had potatoes and sauerkraut.
Despite his family’s poorness, Lindauer enjoyed a rich childhood, for he had a close relationship to
animals and nature. The daily rhythm of his family’s life was set by the cows, which needed to be
driven from barn to fields and then back each day, as well as milked mornings and evenings. When
school was out during the summer, it was his responsibility to watch the cows in the fields all day lest
they escape from the badly fenced meadows into the broad, mysterious forest that bordered them. On
meadow days, he would take with him just a single piece of dry bread, which sometimes he could
supplement with raspberries and blackberries. He had no books to help pass the time. There was,
however, the ever-changing weather. When dark clouds appeared over the mountain tops,
foreshadowing a thunderstorm, he knew he had only about half an hour to get the cows and himself
out of the high, open meadow and under cover, safe from the lightning.
In those days, the village of Wäldle consisted of just five farmhouses surrounded by unspoiled
countryside filled with nature’s beauty. His father kept a few hives of bees and in this way Lindauer
began his lifelong relationship with the bees. The hives were in the orchard beside the farmhouse, so
the bees were always close by. Lindauer recalls from an early age sitting by a hive and watching its
entrance hole to see how, as his father had told to him, a bee carries packets of pollen home on her
hindlegs. He also watched how a bee probes with her tongue for nectar in apple blossoms. Of course,
this watching and wondering about the bees was done purely out of curiosity, as a childhood
experience. It nurtured his fascination with these creatures, but he did not imagine that he would
become a scientific investigator of the bees.
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When Lindauer’s father donned the bee veil and lit the smoker - to get some honey, check the bees, or
capture a swarm - he became a kind of magician to the young Lindauer. He recalls an experience that
demonstrated his father’s magic with the bees. It occurred one May, at the start of the swarming
season. He and his father climbed to a high moor covered with pines where stiff winds kept the trees
from growing more than a meter or two tall. His father selected one that had a straight trunk, felled it,
trimmed off the lower branches, and carried it home. Here he set the pine upright about 10 m in front
of the hives, jamming the tree’s slender trunk into the ground. Thereafter, whenever a swarm emerged
from one of the hives (in those days, one could not prevent swarming) it would settle low in the dark
knot of branches of the short mountain pine, not high in the branches of one of the orchard’s apple
trees. To capture the swarm, his father needed only to pull the little pine out of the ground and shake
the bees into a hive. It is likely that this experience kindled his fascination with swarms, a fascination
that found expression many years later in his research for his Habilitationsschrift, titled
"Schwarmbienen auf Wohnungssuche" (Househunting by Swarm Bees) (Lindauer 1955a). 2
School years
Lindauer started school at age 6, attending the public school in Bad Kohlgrub. Getting to and from
school involved a half-hour walk each way, which was sometimes hard, such as when a thunderstorm
was raging or a snowstorm had obliterated the path to town. When the snow was deep, his father
would go out before the children and make a set of footprints that the children could step in, to make
their passage easier. Lindauer reflects that as a child he unconsciously learned from his parents the
knack of being self-reliant in difficult situations, a skill of extraordinary importance later in his life.
Ever since his childhood, getting by on one’s own and making do with what is at hand have seemed
natural to Lindauer.
All of the Lindauer children, but especially Martin, were diligent and talented students at the school in
Bad Kohlgrub. His teachers recognized Martin’s academic abilities and encouraged him to continue
his studies at the high school level. Fortunately, a priest from the Franciscan monastery in Landshut
visited the Bad Kohlgrub school one day and learned of its unusually promising student, Martin
Linduaer. The priest met him, was most impressed, and arranged a scholarship for Lindauer so that he
could study at the high school affiliated with the monastery in Landshut. This school was then a
Catholic boarding school and in Lindauer’s time it gave education to bright sons of poor farmers in
hope of attracting them to the priesthood.
The high school that Lindauer attended, now named the Hans-Carossa-Gymnasium Landshut, has long
been one of the most distinguished private high schools in all of Bavaria. Until recently, it was a
purely humanistic high school, hence one that emphasized the study of languages, history, and the arts.
It did not provide Lindauer with classes in biology. Also, because it was an extremely strict boarding
school in which essentially every minute of every day had an assigned activity, it offered Lindauer
little opportunity to watch animals. Despite not studying biology, Lindauer’s fascination with living
things did not fade and he hoped privately to someday study medicine.
Lindauer continued his studies at Landshut until March 1939. At this time he received his high school
diploma (Abitur) having passed the rigorous, week-long string of examinations that cap a German high
school education (Fig. 1). Six years earlier, however, the National Socialist (’Nazi’) Party had come to
power in Germany and in 1936 the Hitler Youth Law made membership in the Hitler Youth
organization compulsory for all boys over the age of 10 (except Jews). Lindauer and a few other boys
in his school refused to become members, and in this they were supported by three teachers. As a
result, whereas the boys in Hitler Youth had fun each Saturday, because for them this day was a
holiday devoted to military sports (tossing unloaded hand grenades, practicing marksmanship, and the
like), Lindauer and the others who refused to join the Hitler Youth passed their Saturdays in school,
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receiving "political tutoring".
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War years

Eight days after receiving his Abitur, on 1 April 1939, Lindauer started his required participation in the
Work Service, a program begun by Hitler. Lindauer was sent to the small town of Dachau, about
10 km northwest of Munich, where the Nazi SS3 was erecting the first of its many concentration
camps that would make use of forced labor. He did shovel work, digging ditches in the Dachauer
Moos, a wild bog then being drained for cultivation. Because Lindauer was well educated and had a
blemished political record, he was thrown in with a bunch of crude young men who had been taught in
Hitler Youth to be brutal to anyone who, like Lindauer, lacked enthusiasm for Hitler and Nazism.
These "toughs" bullied Lindauer. His time in the Work Service lasted until 31 August 1939 when he
was drafted into the German army.
When Lindauer transferred to the army, he expected things to be different than in the Work Service,
because SS officers visiting his high school had touted the camaraderie of the army. Indeed, Lindauer
hoped to enjoy this camaraderie, and at first he tried hard to have rapport with the less educated men
around him, but he was quickly disillusioned. Just as in the Work Service, he was ridiculed by his
comrades for being a useless intellectual.
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The army company in which Lindauer served was an antitank unit that manned a battery of 45-mm
cannons. It fought first in France, then occupied Poland, and finally in Russia. The end of Lindauer’s
combat experience came on 11 July 1942. At 11:30 p.m. on the day before, his unit had been sent into
the town of Tereschpol, now in Poland, which was part of a fortified defensive line ("Stalin Line") that
the Russians had erected to halt the Germans’ invasion of the Soviet Union. Supposedly the Russians
had abandoned this town, but actually they had set a trap. At daylight, the Russians started a
counterattack, firing bullets and heaving grenades at the Germans from the tops of buildings, and
blasting them with rolling artillery fire directed by spotters atop the buildings. Lindauer’s company
retreated to a field outside the town where they dug foxholes. Because Lindauer was a motorcycle
messenger, he did not carry a shovel and so could not dig in. He lay scarcely 10 min sprawled in the
open, trying vainly to dig with his elbows, before a grenade came at him. He pressed his face to the
ground, with his left arm curled around his helmet, and when the grenade exploded it shot shrapnel
deep into his arm, severing the medianus nerve and leaving his left arm and hand permanently numbed
and partly paralyzed. Ironically, this injury would prove lifesaving.
Lindauer was shipped by train to a military hospital in Schwabing, on the outskirts of Munich. After
the lacerations in Lindauer’s arm had closed, it was only through a piece of fantastic luck that he was
not sent back to Russia to rejoin his company. Had this happened, then almost certainly he would have
died during the battle of Stalingrad in the fall of 1943, for of the 156 men in his company that went
into Stalingrad, only 3 returned alive. Lindauer’s piece of great good fortune was that there was a deep
cold front on the day of April 1943 when he had to report for a medical check in Linz, Austria to see if
he was fit to fight again or only to work in a military post behind the front lines. Because of the
unusual cold, his partially paralyzed arm and hand had become completely useless and the staff doctor
referred Lindauer to a specialist who said "Gosh, what kind of nonsense have they done. This man
cannot be sent back to the war." This doctor listed Lindauer as fit only for messenger errands,
whereupon he was sent back to Munich. Here there was another understanding doctor who arranged
for Lindauer to be discharged with the classification "severely wounded soldier". Thus, in early May
1943, Lindauer left the army with his left arm supported in a sling, nearly useless, but looking forward
to embracing an opportunity he had discovered at the university in Munich.
University student
In January 1943, 3 weeks after arriving in Munich from the Russian front, Lindauer received his first
permission to leave the military hospital and explore the city. He wanted to see the university. The
doctor who tended Lindauer recommended that he hear a lecture by Karl von Frisch. That is what he
did. The lecture Lindauer attended was part of von Frisch’s winter semester course, General Zoology.
Von Frisch lectured that day on cell division and described his subject with beautiful charts and even a
film. Lindauer came to this lecture from a war-torn world of material chaos and spiritual crisis. In the
lecture he caught a glimpse of a new world, one devoted to revealing the secrets of life. It was also a
world that offered Lindauer hope of again finding meaning in his existence. Lindauer recalls that while
watching a man standing there talking about cell division, two things were imprinted on him: first, a
new world of humanity, one in which humans create rather than destroy, and second, an encounter
with science, an endeavor where humans use truth rather than lies. During this lecture, Lindauer
resolved to study biology at the university.
Lindauer was able to act on his resolution shortly after his discharge from the army. As a severely
wounded soldier, he was permitted to register at the university with minimal tuition fees, and in this
way he began his university studies during the summer semester (May-July) of 1943. Looking back at
this time, he says "One can hardly describe in words this luck, to be far away from the horrible war
experiences in Russia and to be permitted to take lectures with Karl von Frisch." Lindauer’s luck was
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not limitless, however, for he had to abandon his cherished goal of studying medicine. With his left
arm damaged he knew he couldn’t perform all the manual tasks required of a physician. So he
redirected himself toward becoming a high school biology teacher. For this, he would have to take the
state exams in three subjects; Lindauer chose biology, physics, and geography. He started the
necessary coursework that summer. He also spent four hours each day that first semester serving in a
Construction Troop, using his good arm to clear rubble from the bombing. One semester of such
service was required of all students.
It was not until the following winter semester that Lindauer came to the attention of Karl von Frisch.
Lindauer, along with two other male and six female students, was enrolled in von Frisch’s General
Zoology course, which included intensive laboratory work every afternoon, all semester long.
Lindauer’s skillful dissections and precise drawings drew the attention of the assistant in charge of the
laboratory portion of the course. He recommended Lindauer to von Frisch. Also, Lindauer
demonstrated his mastery of the lecture material during the oral exam at the end of the course, when
von Frisch asked him to describe the structure and functioning of the honey bee’s compound eyes and
he delivered a beautifully detailed answer. Von Frisch then invited this star pupil, Lindauer, to switch
from the state examination track to the Ph.D. track, a change that would redirect Lindauer’s
professional trajectory from high school to university teaching. Lindauer recalls that "at that time I
never had the confidence that I could do a Ph.D. thesis. The assistants and doctoral students, with their
white coats, were for me then like kings, unreachable." Nevertheless, he accepted von Frisch’s
invitation. In the spring of 1945, as Germany was collapsing at the end of World War II, Lindauer
began his dissertation research.
Excellent write up. Very interesting on the research about him during his WW2 service and after the war. Thanks for sharing.

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