18 January 2015

Eric Abetz And The 'Fascist Forester'


Historical research.
The author contacted Walter, Peter and Eric Abetz. Only Walter responded. After publishing this research Walter Abetz confirmed his grandfather was Karl Abetz. We have tried to respect 'sensitivities' for the Abetz family.

BACKGROUND. High profile Senator Eric Abetz publicly dismissed revelations great uncle Otto Abetz was a convicted Nazi war criminal saying 'I never met my grandfather's brother'. But Eric Abetz did not reveal who his grandfather was and nobody asked him.

Karl Abetz (1896-1964)
Karl Abetz
Karl Abetz was 7 years older than his brother Otto Abetz. The brothers grew-up on a large forest estate at Hanover in Germany. Karl fought in World War 1 and was injured. Karl and Otto's father did not return from World War 1, he was killed in action by the French. This loss obviously contributed to the brothers early attraction to Nazism. Many war veterans like Karl were bitter about reparation payments to France and felt Germany had been unfairly treated. Karl recovered from his injuries and obtained a degree in Forestry from Frieburg University in 1922. Another male Abetz was born in Frieburg in 1920. His name was Walter Abetz, Eric Abetz's father. Karl and Otto were the only males to carry-on the Abetz name because their father was dead. Karl Abetz is Eric Abetz's grandfather. (family tree below)
Karl Abetz was a member of Hitler Youth and joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1933. During the mid 1930's Karl Abetz carried-out covert operations in France under the command of Hitlers envoy von Ribbentrop (executed for war crimes). see Notes (1).
From 1942 to the end of the war Karl Abetz worked for the 'Reich Forestry Office'. Hermann Goering was Minister for Forests (Reichsforstmeister) during the war. Convicted war criminal Freidrich (Fritz) Alpers (comitted suicide in prison) also ran the Forestry Office, but he was a lawyer so Karl Abetz was probably the chief forester for the entire 3rd Reich. Fritz must have been a nice piece of work, being suspended twice from the SS (Schutzstaffel) for using excessive violence. Karl Abetz was 43 when Hitler invaded Poland and some would call the Nazi propagandist a 'fascist forester'. Karl Abetz was imprisoned for some months after the fall of the Nazi regime.

Otto Abetz (1903-1958)
Otto was more upwardly mobile than his older brother, starting as Hitlers personal interpreter and rising to the rank of SS-Brigadefuhre. Otto fell out of favor with Hitler at one point when his plan to incite the French to attack Britain failed. Otto was 36 when Hitler invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia. He joined Hitler youth in 1934 and had been a Nazi Party supporter since 1931. Reams of information are available on Otto Abetz. However, some facts concerning Otto are unknown in Australia. When Otto was arrested by Allied forces at a clinic in the Blackforest he was adamant Hitler was not dead but had escaped to Argentina.
Otto Abetz and SS insigia.
It's possible living members of the Abetz family have information on the demise of Adolf Hitler. Otto died in a car crash along with his French wife in May 1958 on the Cologne-Ruhr autobahn. The crash happened a few months after Eric Abetz was born. Otto had been given a VW by a Frenchman and investigators later found the brakes had been tampered with. Otto's wife was driving at the time of the crash.
Many surviving Nazi victims felt Otto Abetz had gotten off too lightly, serving just 5 years of a 20 year sentence for his war crimes. Revenge was suspected as the cause of death. 3 years later Walter Abetz decided to move his family of 6 children to Tasmania. Did he also fear for his life?

Walter Abetz (1920-1980)
Eric Abetz's father Walter was only 19 when Hitler invaded Poland. When the war ended he was 25. According to Eric, his father lost a leg fighting for Hitler on the Russian Front. Was it really the Russian front? This claim needs to be independently verified. I think Walter's father Karl would have been proud his son was injured in combat just like he was. Poor Walter arrived in Tasmania to work for the Hydro Electricity Commission with a wooden leg. There is not a single photo of Walter Abetz publicly available. For all the Abetz references to 'tradition' and 'family values' some may say they have airbrushed their own father from history. Eric was the youngest of the Abetz children but interestingly, all appear to share a similar set of values. These include an apparent intolerance of homosexuals, and what could be termed 'extreme fundamentalist' views. In Eric's case he is stridently 'anti-green' using the kind of vitriol against conservationists that reminds many of how the Nazis referred to minority groups. Eric's older brother Peter is a Liberal politician and clergyman, holding a seat in the WA parliament. Another brother Walter is a retired clergyman noted for losing a battle to stop the ordination of gay ministers.
Swastika in German forest from the Nazi era
So why does Eric Abetz hold views many Australians consider 'extreme'? Is everything a defeat or be defeated situation for him? With generations of foresters behind him why did Eric attack Tasmanian conservationists who share similar forestry ideals to his own grandfather? Why does he support the 'Asian Timber Mafia' from Sarawak instead? I suspect Eric is suffering from deep psychological damage inherited from a father with post traumatic stress disorder. I don't think any amount of 'belief' will hide these terrible scars. Nazism was a mass movement of manipulation and brainwashing and perhaps all politics contain these elements. I ask the question 'is fascism being repeated right now in Australia'? When the Otto Abetz story broke in Australia Eric Abetz is on record saying 'I ask all Australians to judge me on my public conduct rather than on the past of my father's uncle. I have dedicated myself to public service and furthering democratic freedoms'. Has Eric Abetz actually furthered democratic freedoms as he claims? The reality tells a different story. I see the steady erosion of our privacy, freedom of speech and even the ownership of our own country. I see a party of psychopathic liars demanding power for it's own sake. To us, Abetz appears to support every value except ours.

Some would call Eric Abetz an 'Aboriginal genocide denier'. In his words: ' The comparison of white settlement to the Holocaust, reportedly attributed to the head of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, is offensive and trivialises and makes light of the unmitigated evil of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was pursued as a result of a genocide ideology'.
Is Eric Abetz saying that only Germans can commit a Holocaust?
Nevertheless, I see history repeating itself with Eric Abetz rising to Minister for Forests in the Howard Government. At that time he accused environmentalists of being 'anti-Australian' and the campaign against woodchipping as being 'akin to treason'.

Notes. (1) Information on Karl Abetz covert activities in France is from the book 'The Brown Network'. p137 of PDF (p130 of manuscript)

Addendum: The Abetz brothers are also distantly related to Nazi general Erwin Rommel on their mother's side.

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