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Gerhardt, Bernhard


Gerhardt, Bernhard (1893-) German engineer, member of Rocket Team in the Soviet Union after WW2. Kept there until 1957, the longest of any of the team members.

Bernhard Gerhardt originally worked with IG Farben in the Chemical & Gas division, before he joined the program to develop the German rocket systems. He first became involved in the program in the late 20's, likely in Dresden or Berlin. He was transferred to Peenemuende shortly after it opened, and was nicknamed the 'Beschwerde Fuehrer' (Complaints Chief). His role was more likely Logistics Chief. Gerhardt was involved in the design of the navigational systems in the V1 and V2 rockets. He held the highest security clearance, and traveled monthly to Hitler's office to update them on the progress at Peenemuende.

Bernhard Gerhardt's best friend, Dr. Thiel, and his family were killed in the bombing of Karlshagen on August 13, 1943. Following the bombing of Karlshagen, Wernher Von Braun invited Bernhard to move his family in to live with him at his cousin Bauer's castle, 'Schloss Buggenhagen'. They lived there from 1943 to April 1945. Gerhardt and Von Braun traveled together to Peenemuende on days when the rockets were being tested. They would return late in the evening when there were problems during the test launches. Gerhardt often worked late into the night at a design table in the residence at Buggenhagen.

Gerhardt remained in Peenemuende following the war, and was working for the Russians in the plant. He was eventually removed from Peenemuende, after being notified by military police to say farewell to his family. This probably occurred on the fateful night of October 22/23 1946. Gerhardt was then transferred to Khimki, approximately 30 km from Moscow, to work at Glushko's OKB-456. He was listed as an Engineer, working Construction Division 61. Despite the claims that all German engineers were released by 1953, it was not until 1957 that he was returned to Germany for health reasons.

Meanwhile Gerhardt's wife had taken their surviving family members to Berlin, and eventually to Itzehoe, West Germany. Somehow Gerhardt he was released to West Germany and given the address of his family despite being isolated from them since his removal from Peenemuende nine years earlier.

Birth Place: German.
Born: 1893.12.17.

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