Every war knows his heroes who rise above good and evil. The morality of heroes is universally dictated by courage and bright policy. For that reason, each party has its heroes who are granted with respect by friend and enemy.

The valuation of heroes is in many cases with an award and for Germany in the Second World War there was the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The special feature of this award, at least compared to the First World War, was that also the ordinary soldier could earn it. By doing so it expressed the meaning that a hero could be hidden in all grades.

Most officers and soldiers who received the Knight's Cross are forgotten, but in the period 1940-1945 they spoke to the imagination. Far from the front lines some of them were photographed in the studio of Tita Binz.

Tita (Juanita) Binz (1903-1970) came from an intellectual family where the love of art was obvious. Although very little is known about Binz, she seems to have chosen early for photography. That choice will be facilitated by the fact that her uncle in the fashionable Paris of those days had a successful photo studio where she went to learn the job. Afterwards she visited various studios in Berlin, to open her own studio in 1939. One of her first clients was the publisher Film-Foto-Verlag (till 1941 Ross-Verlag). This publisher is to this day, most famous for her postcards of movie stars who figured in the German cinema.

Binz is later on asked to portray soldiers with the Knight's Cross. Of course that is uncommon for a typical entertainment company, but apparently they were also under the control of the new rulers who needed as much means for propaganda. It is at this point that two differend worlds seems to run together at least in pictures. The actor, the hero of the silver screen and the soldier, the hero of the theater of war were both raised in the same way.

Who initially sees the picture Günter Goebel (1917-1993) will not immediately think of someone who fought in 1940 by the invasion of France, was present during the invasion of Russia, survived the Battle of Stalingrad and was to be found at the largest tank battle in history in 1943 at Kursk. Heinrich Schüler (1903-1945) fought in France and Russia, was present at the Battle of Kiev and the Caucasus. Finaly he was killed in action in Poland. And that is as true for almost all the pictures Binz made.

But it was not only the image itself but also the design of the postcard that ensured that these two worlds together began to look like one another. It was decided that the lay out for actors also had to be used for the knight cross bearers.

Examples how the Film-Foto-Verlag made use off her format for actors. The pictures both the actor and the soldier are by Binz. There was just one thing that good not be copied and that's the looks. Actors are most of the time handsome man while for soldiers nature does not feel the necessity to combine these two.

To illustrate these two worlds which overlap each other is the actor Hannes Stelzer (1910-1944). In 1941 he will star as a war pilot in the movie

*Stukas*. He is photographed on that occasion for Ross-Verlag/Film-Foto-Verlag as an actor in a uniform of the Luftwaffe. Two years later, he is obliged to report for active duty and gets a pilot training. In 1944 he was killed in Russia as his fighter is knocked down.
Binz strips the war hero of the raw reality and focuses only on his character. And thus, these propaganda cards even in those days gave the feeling as 'not really', but they were no less popular. It is known that young women swoon acted at the pictures of Walter Scheunemann (1909-1949) and Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz (1893-1968).

Remarkably Binz photographed no soldiers of the Waffen-SS. This might be due to the fact that she was friends with Hans Oster (1887-1945), a convinced opponent of the Nazi regime. She knew by that friendship also the 'conspirators' Erwin von Witzleben (1881-1944) and Erich Hoepner (1886-1944) which she portrayed all three. These pictures where not made for Film-Foto-Verlag.

Tita Binz survived the war and died at the age of 67 at Mannheim (Germany).

Below a small survey of the pictures of Ritterkreuzträger by Binz for Film-Foto-Verlag.

Hermann Graf1912-1988 |

Hermann Graf1912 - 1988 |

Kurt Gehrke1903 - 1944 |

Hugo Primozic1914 - 1996 |

Walter Paulus1911 - 1987 |

Johannes Morawietz1911 - alive 2013 |

Karl Hausmann1912 - 1997 |

Otto Schulze1914 - 1945 |

Klaus Wagner1917 - 1966 |

Gerhard Hein1916 - 2008 |

Bruno Kohnz1914 - 1945 |

Friedrich Schneider1899 - unkown |

Hans Christern1900 - 1966 |

Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz1893 - 1968 |

Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz1893 - 1968 |

Bernd von Doering1903 - 1944 |

Heinz Guderian1888 - 1954 |

Heinz Guderian1888 - 1954 |

Harald von Hirschfeld1912 - 1945 |

Hermann Graf1912 - 1988 |

Johann Mickl1893 - 1945 |

Oskar Dinort1901 - 1965 |

Werner Rausch1916 - 1998 |

Josef Bremm1914 - 1998 |

Heinrich Schüler1903 - 1945 |

Richard Henze1895 - 1985 |

Eberhard Zahn1910 - 2010 |

Peter Frantz1917 - 2001 |

Werner Lau1908 - 1980 |

Gerhard Boldt1918 - 1981 |

Kurt Dix1908 - 1994 |

Rudolf Schlee1913 - 1979 |

Alfred Müller1916 - 1944 |

Herbert Ruhnke1914 - 1945 |

Wilhelm Okrent1916 - 1945 |

Walter Scheunemann1909 - 1949 |

Fritz Arndt1910 - 2003 |

Werner Baumgarten-Crusius1919 - 1995 |

Bruno Kohnz1914 - 1945 |

Ernst Nobis1901 - 1963 |

Karl Torley1913 - 1943 |

Ekkehard Kylling-Schmidt1918 - 2000 |

Werner Ziegler1916 - 2001 |

Hans Erwin Schröder1916 - 1943 |

Albert Dressel1914 - 1944 |

Günter Vollmer1917 - 2004 |

Harro Brenner1911 - 1998 |

Heinrich Mahnken1889 - 1944 |

Wolf Hagemann1898 - 1983 |

Karl Allmendinger1891 - 1965 |

Johann Hlauska1914 - 1965 |

Fritz Fessmann1913 - 1944 |

Hans Mikosch1898 - 1993 |

Alfred Hemmann1895 - 1957 |

Gerhard Graf von Schwerin1899 - 1980 |

Robert Meissner1888 - 1953 |

Harald von Hirschfeld1912 - 1945 |

Ernst Kruse1915 - 1944 |

Heinrich Boigk1912 - 2003 |

Gerhard Lemke1919 - 2004 |

Otto Starosta1916 - 1985 |

Walter Kalkhoff1913 - 1960 |

Johann Schmölzer1911 - 1997 |

Kurt Kirchner1911 - 1944 |

Erich Bärenfänger1915 - 1945 |

Erich Bärenfänger1915 - 1945 |

Günter Goebel1917 - 1993 |

Georg Rietscher1918 - 1991 |

Hugo Primozic1914 - 1996 |

Georg Michael1917 - 1944 |

Karl Löwrick1894 - 1945 |

Erich von Manstein1887 - 1973 |

Erwin Rommel1891 - 1944 |

Josef Harpe1887 - 1968 |

Erich Jaschke1890 - 1961 |

Karl Wilhelm Specht1894 - 1953 |

Karl Wilhelm Specht1894 - 1953 |

Erich Löffler1908 - 1945 |

Wilhelm von Malachowski1914 - 1980 |

Hermann Ammer1914 - 2000 |

Wolfgang Darius1911 - 2000 |

Karl-Heinz Noak1916 - 1978 |

Heinz-Georg Haase1914 - 1943 |

Robert Vogel1918 - 1975 |

Otto Riehs1921 - 2008 |

Robert Rahlenbeck1923 - 2008 |

Hans-Joachim von Stolzmann1898 - 1971 |

Franz Bäke1898 - 1978 |

Waldemar von Gaza1917 - alive 2013 |

Bodo Spranz 1920 - 2007 |

Hans-Georg Romeike1920 - 1944 |

Paul Baumann1914 - 1944 |

Rudolf Fuchs1919 - 1998 |

Josef Schreiber1919 - 1945 |

Rolf Rocholl1918 - 1943 |

Adelbert Schulz1903 - 1944 |

Adelbert Schulz1903 - 1944 |

Richard Metzger1912 - 1982 |

Walter Eggemann1911 - 1957 |

Berhard Walterbach1918 - 1997 |

Hans-Ulrich Rudel1916 - 1982 |

Hans-Valentin Hube1890 - 1944 |

Walter Nowotny1920 - 1944 |

Otto Ernst Remer1912 - 1997 |

Some pictures of the Knight Cross holders 'serie' where not taken bij Binz;

R 305 Eckehard Kylling-Schmidt*

R 306 Werner Ziegler*

R 335 Erwin Rommel*

R 358 Rolf Rocholl*

**List of numbers en pictures of the knight cross holders by Tita Binz (Film-Foto-Verlag)**

R 262 | Hermann Graf (1) | R 270 | Otto Schulze |

R 263 | Hermann Graf (2) | R 271 | Klaus Wagner |

R 264 | Harald von Hirschfeld (1) | R 272 | Gerhard Hein |

R 265 | Kurt Gehrke | R 273 | Bruno Kohnz (1) |

R 266 | Hugo Primozic (1) | R 274 | Unkown |

R 267 | Walter Paulus | R 275 | Friedrich Schneider |

R 268 | Johannes Morawietz | R 276 | Hans Christern |

R 269 | Karl Hausmann | R 277 | Hyacint Strachwitz (1) |

R 278 | Hyacint Strachwitz (2) | ||

R 279 | Bernd von Doering | ||

R 280 | Heinz Guderian (1) | R 290 | Eberhard Zahn |

R 281 | Heinz Guderian (2) | R 291 | Peter Frantz |

R 282 | Harald von Hirschfeld (2) | R 292 | Werner Lau |

R 283 | Hermann Graf (3) | R 293 | Gerhard Boldt |

R 284 | Johann Mickl | R 294 | Kurt Dix |

R 285 | Oskar Dinort | R 295 | Rudolf Schlee |

R 286 | Werner Rausch | R 296 | Alfred Müller |

R 287 | Josef Bremm | R 297 | Herbert Ruhnke |

R 288 | Heinrich Schüler | R 298 | Wilhelm Okrent |

R 289 | Richard Henze | R 299 | Walter Scheunemann |

R 300 | Fritz Arndt | R 310 | Harro Brenner |

R 301 | Werner Baumgarten-Crusius | R 311 | Heinrich Mahnken |

R 302 | Bruno Kohnz (2) | R 312 | Wolf Hagemann |

R 303 | Ernst Nobis | R 313 | Karl Allmendinger |

R 304 | Karl Torley | R 314 | Johann Hlauschka |

R 305 | Eckehard Kylling-Schmidt* | R 315 | Fritz Fessmann |

R 306 | Werner Ziegler* | R 316 | Hans Mikosch |

R 307 | Hans Erwin Schröder | R 317 | Alfred Hemmann |

R 308 | Albert Dressel | R 318 | Gerhard graf Schwerin |

R 309 | Günter Vollmer | R 319 | Robert Meissner |

R 320 | Harald von Hirschfeld (3) | R 330 | Georg Rietscher |

R 321 | Ernst Kruse | R 331 | Hugo Primozic (2) |

R 322 | Heinrich Boigk | R 332 | Georg Michael |

R 323 | Gerhard Lemke | R 333 | Karl Löwrick |

R 324 | Otto Starosta | R 334 | Erich von Manstein |

R 325 | Walter Kalkhoff | R 335 | Erwin Rommel* |

R 326 | Johann Schmölzer | R 336 | Josef Harpe |

R 327 | Kurt Kirchner | R 337 | Erich Jaschke |

R 328 | Erich Bärenfänger | R 338 | Karl Wilhelm Specht (1,2) |

R 329 | Günter Goebel | R 339 | Erich Löffler |

R 340 | Wilhelm von Malachowski | R 350 | Waldemar von Gaza |

R 341 | Hermann Ammer | R 351 | Bodo Spranz |

R 342 | Wolfgang Darius | R 352 | Gerhard Konopka |

R 343 | Karl-Heinz Noak | R 353 | Hans-Georg Romeike |

R 344 | Heinz-Georg Haase | R 354 | Paul Baumann |

R 345 | Robert Vogel | R 355 | Rudolf Fuchs |

R 346 | Otto Riehs | R 356 | Josef Schreiber |

R 347 | Robert Rahlenbeck | R 357 | Johannes Kümmel |

R 348 | Hans-Joachim von Stolzmann | R 358 | Rolf Rocholl* |

R 349 | Franz Bäke | R 359 | Adelbert Schulz (1) |

R 360 | Adelbert Schulz (2) | ||

R 361 | Richard Metzger | ||

R 362 | Hans Gidion | ||

R 363 | Walter Eggemann | ||

R 364 | Bernhard Walterbach | ||

R 365 R 366 |
Hans-Ulrich Rudel Hans-Valetin Hube |
||

R 367 | Walter Nowotny |

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