The historical fact that would sadden most people if they found out

The historical fact that would sadden most people if they found out

You probably know about the Night of the Long Knives. All hell broke loose as Hitler ordered the SS to brutally murder hundreds of SA members. It was just another part of Hitler’s barbaric scheme to ensure that he was completely unparalleled in power.

But during this event, another, lesser known one took place, which involves the accidental murder of an innocent man who had nothing to do with the SA.

The Event

During the Night of the Long Knives, the renowned music critic Willi Schmid was playing the cello in his study at home.

There was nothing particularly eventful about the evening. It seemed, rather, like something that was taken out of a nice slice of family life. Whilst he was busy in his study, his wife was preparing dinner and his children were playing in the room next door.

The sharp knock on the door broke the tranquil family air. Nazi agents were waiting for them. They took Schmid away.

He was later executed by an SS squad.

Nothing for four days.

Then his wife received a casket with Schmid’s deceased body inside. The SS instructed her not to open it under any circumstances.

But the Nazis had made a grave mistake.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

It was not, in fact, Willi Schmid they had been meaning to kill, but Willi Schmidt, an SA leader. They had confused their names, turned up at the wrong address, and arrested the wrong person.

The innocent music critic protested, right until the end of his life, that the SS was mistaken, and that he had done nothing wrong—but to no avail.

After he was killed, they retrieved the ‘real’ Willi Schmidt, and shot him as well.

The Aftermath

Rudolf Hess (the man who accompanied Hitler whilst he was in jail after the Munich Putsch, and assisted in writing the infamous Mein Kampf) and Fritz Wiedemann later visited the widow and her family.

They had come to offer their condolences and apologise for their mistake. They offered the widow, Kate Eva Hoerlin, pension to make up for their error, which had cost her and her children a life.

As if offering a small amount of money would ever make up for the loss of an innocent man.

Betrayal was always just around the corner. It is truly saddening that the Nazis managed to inflict such harm on their friends as well as their opponents.

It was this atmosphere of distrust that dominated the Nazi regime and led to horrific accidents such as these.


[1] Willi Schmid - Wikipedia
[2] Wilhelm Eduard Schmid accidental victim of the Night of the Long Knives. - WW2 Gravestone
[3] Inside Europe
[4] Steps of Courage