Salomon, Ernst von

(1902-1972)
   Freikorps* member and writer; linked to the conspiracy to kill Walther Rathenau.* He was born in Kiel; his forebears came from Venice in the early 1800s. Quickly absorbing Prussian tradition, the Salomons were well known for their military officers when Ernst was born. Too young to participate in World War I, he attended cadet school and joined the Freikorps in the war's violent aftermath. He participated in the Baltic provinces* and later joined Hermann Ehrhardt's* Organisation Consul* (OC), which engaged in the May 1921 action in Upper Silesia* and helped plan the Rathenau assassination.* In 1922 he was sentenced to five years in a cor-rectional facility for his part in the murder; the 1927 disclosure of further Femegericht* activities brought a six-month extension. Lacking firm political beliefs, Salomon was drawn to any group that opposed the Republic. After his release he worked for the reactionary Landvolk movement (see Farmers) while voicing admiration for Russia's renewal under Marxism.
   In the solitude of his cell Salomon began writing. He gained instant fame with the 1930 appearance of his autobiographical novel Die Geachteten (The outlaws). A piece of contemporary history, the work was largely a justification for his crimes. In addition to credible coverage of the Baltic campaign, Geach-teten provides succinct logic for OC's murders: We "have got to kill Scheide-mann,* Rathenau, Zeigner,* Lipinski, Cohn,* Ebert,* and all the rest of the men of November, one after another.... [Every] act profoundly [shakes] the foundations of the structure." Despising the Republic and deeming its leading figures "November Criminals," he maintained that the murder of enough republicans would bring the KPD to power; in the ensuing chaos the Freikorps would take over. The Nazis proclaimed Geachteten a "document of the struggle and rebirth of the nation."
   Salomon was ambivalent about anti-Semitism* and never joined the NSDAP. During the Nazi era he chiefly wrote scripts for educational films.* Needlessly maltreated by the Americans after World War II, he was so angered by the episode that he satirized denazification in his polemic Die Fragebogen (The questionnaire, 1951). Critics agree that despite his sensationalism, he was the most reliable chronicler of the Freikorps movement.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Salomon, Geachteten; Waite, Vanguard ofNazism.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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