Otto Bergen was born on November 9, 1896 at München.  He was the son of painter and illustrator Fritz Bergen (*November 2, 1857 – † January 9, 1941).  His brother Claus Bergen (* April 18, 1885 – † October 4, 1964) was also a painter and illustrator.  Otto Bergen and Ernst Udet were childhood friends and were members of the “Aero-Club München”.  As members of this club, they built model airplanes and held contests flying them.

The photograph shown below is of Otto Bergen and is mounted with a ribbon for the Bavarian Military Merit Medal (later officially named the Bravery Medal) and a ribbon for a Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class.  There is no listing for Otto Bergen in the Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch.  Unteroffizier Otto Bergen was a pilot assigned to b. Flieger-Abteilung 46 (Bavarian Aviation-Detachment 46) on the Westfront in France.  Per Neil O’Connor’s work Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany in World War I, Volume I – The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Bavaria,  Bergen is mentioned, but the reason for his award of the Silver Bavarian Military Merit Medal was unknown.  Per research performed by Andreas Jäger, Unteroffizier Otto Bergen was involved in action on July 27, 1917.  He was then officially approved for award of the Silver Bavarian Military Merit Medal (Silver Bavarian Bravery Medal) with his award date retroactive to December 24, 1917, per Page 65 of the Verordnungsblatt des Königlich Bayerischen Kriegsministeriums of 1918.

However, Otto Bergen never received his award, as he had fatally crashed on September 26, 1917 at Heudicourt (Somme) France.  He was then interred at the Thiaucourt-Regnieville cemetary in France.

 

 

Figure 1-Photograph of Unteroffizier Otto Bergen.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

In Mein Fliegerleben, Ernst Udet describes visiting the residence of Otto Bergen in München after Otto had fallen.  He greeted Otto’s father, and was then invited to visit Otto’s room.  He describes in great detail reviewing the various personal effects of Otto, which brought back memories of their time together in their younger years.  Udet then describes a tearful departure upon saying farewell to Otto’s father.  Per Ernst Udet: “Ich war einundzwanzig Jahre alt damals, und Otto Bergen war mein bester Freund” (“I was twenty-one years old, and Otto Bergen was my best friend”).

 

Thank you for your interest. Comments are welcome.

-Lorin

 

References:

1. Bearbeitet vom Bayerischen Kriegsarchiv. Bayerns Goldenes Ehrenbuch. Verlag Joseph Hyronimus, München, 1928.

2. “Claus Bergen.”  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 November 2023, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claus_Bergen

3. “Fritz Bergen.”  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 October 2022, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Bergen

4. Jäger, Andreas. (2023). Verleihungsliste der Träger der bayerischen Militärverdienstmedaillen im Ersten Weltkrieg. Orders and Medals Society of America. https://www.omsa.org/verleihungsliste-der-trager-der-bayerischen-militarverdienstmedaillen-im-ersten-weltkrieg/

5. O’Connor, Neal W., Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany in World War I, Volume I – The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Foundation for Aviation World War I, Princeton, New Jersey, USA, 1988.

6. Pietsch, Thorsten. (2023).  Frontflieger.de – Die Soldaten der Deutschen Fliegertruppe 1914 – 1918.  http://frontflieger.de/3-b-f.html#bergenotto

7. Udet, Ernst, Mein Fliegerleben, Im Deutschen Verlag, Berlin, 1935.

 

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4 Comments
  1. Servus Lorin,

    an interesting article about Otto Bergen, who is unfortunately not mentioned in the golden book of honor. It’s nice that you gave him an honorable memory with this post.

    Many greetings from Bavaria to the USA
    Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for your interest in this article. Your continued support is much appreciated.

      With friendly greetings from the USA to Bavaria,

      Lorin

  2. Hello, another small piece of the puzzle about the recipients of the Military Service Medal solved. The burial place of Bergen is mentioned on this page.
    http://www.frontflieger.de/3-b-f.html

    Greetings from Lower Franconia 😉

    • Hello Andreas,

      Thank you very much for your interest in this article and thank you for the link mentioning the burial place of Bergen. The Frontflieger website is a great resource regarding Fliegertruppe 1914-1918.

      With friendly greetings from the USA to Lower Franconia,

      Lorin

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