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Archives at The Museum of Flight

German Aces Photograph

 Collection — Box: Small Collections oversize materials 2019-, oversize: folder
Identifier: 2019-07-18
The German Aces Photograph is one photographic print featuring two images. The larger image shows top fighter ace Erich Hartmann examining a chart with fellow fighter ace Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn. The two are wearing official Nazi Luftwaffe uniforms. The smaller, insert photograph is a formal portrait of General Adolf Galland in dress uniform. The print is signed by Erich Hartmann and Adolf Galland.


  • circa 1940

Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


.02 Cubic Feet (1 16x20" oversize folder)

Biographical Note: Erich Hartmann

Erich Hartmann was a German fighter pilot during World War II and the most successfully flying ace of all time.

Erich Alfred Hartmann was born on April 19, 1922 in Weissach, Württemberg, Germany. While Hartmann was still a child the family moved to China to escape the economic depression in Germany, but returned when the Chinese Civil War began. His mother was one of Germany’s first female glider pilots, and she encouraged her son learn to fly. In 1941 at the age of 19 he enlisted in the Luftwaffe, where he became the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. He flew 1,404 combat missions and was credited with shooting down 345 Soviet aircraft and 7 American, earning him the nickname “the Black Devil” by the Soviets. He was also known as “Bubi” (The Kid). Although he was and still is the fighter ace with the highest number of downed aircraft and was highly decorated by the Third Reich, Hartmann said his greatest achievement was never losing a wingman.

He was married to Ursula Paetsch and they had two children, Erich-Peter (1945-1948) and Ursula Isabel (born 1957).

At the end of the war he was captured by American forces. He was sentenced to 25 years hard labor in a Soviet prison before being returned to Germany in 1955 after serving 10 years.

Erich Hartmann died on September 20, 1993 in Weil im Schönbuch, Germany.

Biographical note derived from online sources.
Biographical Note: Gerhard Barkhorn Gerhard Barkhorn was a Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and the second-most successfull flying ace.

Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn was born on March 20, 1919 in Königsberg, Weimar Republic (now Kaliningrad, Russia). After completing secondary school he completed his compulsory Reich Labor Service before enlisting in the Luftwaffe in 1937. At the beginning of World War II, Barkhorn was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to specialized fighter pilot training.

During the Battle of Britain in 1940 Barkhorn flew a Messerschmitt Bf 109E during combat missions. In 1941 his unit was transferred to the Eastern Front. On July 19, 1942 Barkhorn achieved the status of ace when he shot down six aircraft in one day. In total during the war Barkhorn flew 1,100 combat missions and claimed 301 victories, making him the second most successful fighter ace of all time. On April 21, 1945 was attacked by American troops and forced to land. Upon landing he was captured and taken as a prisoner of war. He was released in September of 1945.

Following the war, Barkhorn worked in the automotive industry in Germany before enlisting in the West German Air Force in 1956. He retired on September 30, 1975.

Barkhorn and his wife Cristl were involved in a car crash near Cologne. On January 8, 1983, three days after the crash, Barkhorn passed away due to his injuries.

Biographical note derived from online sources.
Biographical Note: Adolf Galland Adolf Galland was a flying ace and General for the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

Adolf Joseph Ferdinand Galland was born on March 19, 1912 in Westerholt (now Herten), Germany. After witnessing a demonstration from an aviation club Galland decided he wanted to become a pilot. He became a licensed glider pilot in 1932. After graduating high school (also in 1932), Galland was admitted into aviation school for national airline Luft Hansa. In 1933 Galland went to Italy to train with the Italian Air Force. Following his training he was recruited into the Luftwaffe and gave up his commercial flying career.

After two serious accidents, Galland was grounded. It was only after passing an eye test that he was allowed to fly again. He went on to fly combat missions in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Prior to the beginning of World War II Galland was promoted to Captain. Galland flew combat missions during the Invasion of Poland and the Battle of Britain. In November of 1941 Galland was removed from combat missions and sent to serve as a staff position commanding Germany’s fighter force.

Galland is known for testing new aircraft and working to develop new bomb types. His strategic thinking helped him rise in the ranks and earn decorations, but also lead to clashes with Hermann Goring and other top Nazi officials. In 1944 was placed under unofficial house arrest in the Harz Mountains, but did not face any other disciplinary actions. In 1945 Galland returned to active duty and was given a command of ME 262s. On May 1, 1945 Galland negotiated his units surrender to American forces. Following surrender he was taken to England for interrogation. In 1947, following his final release from interrogations, Galland moved to Argentina with Baroness Gisela von Donner and accepted a position in the Argentinian Air Force. During his entire military career Galland flew 705 combat missions, and is credited with 104 aerial victories.

In 1955 Galland returned to Germany, and in 1957 he moved to Bonn and started an aircraft consultancy.

Galland was married three times. His first wife was Sylvinia von Dönhoff and the marriage lasted from 1954-1963. On the same day as his divorce to von Dönhoff was finalized Galland married Hannelies Ladwein. The couple had two children, Andreas (born 1966) and Alexandra-Isabelle (born 1969). Galland and Ladwein divorced, and in 1984 Galland married Heidi Horn. Galland passed away on February 9, 1996.

Biographical note derived from online sources.

Custodial History

Dale Huhmann purchased this photograph at an antique shop in Graham, Washington and later donated it to the Museum of Flight.


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.
Guide to the German Aces Photograph
Completed - Level 2
H. Kolesar
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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