Leo Schlageter was from the South of Germany, a small town
named Schoenau, 13 miles South East of Freiburg, set amidst
the vast Black Forest landscape. At the outbreak of the First
World War he enlisted in the army at age 19, and was soon
to become an officer in the Artillery.
twice, he was fortunate to survive the campaign. At the ceasing
of hostilities he led his battery back to the Rhine River,
where he dismissed his men. Within a short time he joined
the Freikorps, a group of paramilitary units, and assisted
in the expulsion of the Bolsheviks from Riga in 1919. After
further actions - against the Poles, he returned to the Rhineland
to disrupt the French occupation. The French had occupied
the area as part of the Versailles treaty, and were busying
themselves draining the German economy by their administration
of reparation payments. These payments included much of the
local Ruhr coal production and other industrial output, and
were largely responsible for the high inflation which crippled
the country in the early 20's.
was captured after blowing up a section of the Duisburg
to Düsseldorf rail track. He received a sentence of
death by firing squad, and was executed on 26th May 1923.
His burial plot became a nationalist shrine and, when the
French withdrew, a tall stainless-steel cross was erected
on the site, and ceremonies were held on the anniversary
of his execution each year. He had become a local Rhineland
coming years were to see the restoration of the Rhineland
back under German control and military occupation. In 1938
the Geschwader, then JG 132, were based at Cologne and Düsseldorf
airports. The local people felt a great pride in them and
adopted them as their own with Invitations to civil ceremonies
and parades became frequent occurrences. The Geschwader responded
by holding air shows, which were very popular with the local
people who attended in large numbers.
pride and honor restored, it was suggested that the Geschwader
take the name of a local hero. The name "Schlageter"
was accepted by the Luftwaffe High Command, and the honor
title, Jagdgeschwader 132 "Schlageter", awarded
at a ceremony on 11th December 1938. A suitable emblem was
adopted, a gothic S in a shield, and was displayed on all
the units aircraft from 1939-1941.