296: HANS-ULRICH RUDEL
(1916-1982). Nazi combat pilot that repeatedly risked his aircraft and his life to save his comrades, going to any extreme to never miss a mission. Before the end of the war he was awarded a medal made especially for him by the Führer, the only soldier in German history to receive the Golden Oak Leaves with Swords and Diamonds to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. Ordered by Hitler to take medical leave, he twice disobeyed and returned to the front. He felt his duty was to defend the Fatherland to the death. He settled in South America after his release from prison following the war and then moved to West Germany. TLS in German, 1p, 7½"x8¼", Kufstein/Tirol, Austria Dec 31, 1968. On his personal letterhead to Wilfried Ott. Translated in full: "In the complex picture, the Publisher Pabel in Rastatt should have addresses of the surviving carriers, because a certain Fraschka wrote the book ‘With Swords, and Diamonds!’ This publisher should have documents there. A happy new year..." Boldly signed in blue ink. Untranslated Madrid address penned in his holograph beneath signature. Normal mailing folds; else Fine. Nicely matted beneath color print captioned "Eagle of the Eastern Front," 18¾"x16" winter scene of Rudel's Stuka diving on Soviet tanks. Signed by artist Ray Wadday at bottom border. Overall 23"x29".