A beautiful young woman captivates Joachim Peiper
All image (and Text sources) are taken from Historian, Danny S Parker
Interview via telephone call with Judith Mutke 6 – 8 October 2003 Reference Joachim Peiper
“My husband, at the time, was a Ph.D. student at Skidmore College. Dashed off letter to the Times after reading of his [Peiper’s] death. Ended up getting hate mail from Jewish readers.
I was in my mid twenties in the mid-1960s. Stanford graduate. Married to Peter H. C. Mutke, M.D. whom I met in California. We lived in Carmel at the time. Peter was born near Breslau in ’27 and served in the Wehrmacht in’44 and ’45. He was not in the Hitler Youth due to a serious kidney infection and had very strong anti-Nazi leanings a veteran of WWII.
My husband, Peter, was a prisoner of the Russians. I was young and impressionable at the time I went to Stuttgart. My German was pretty good. Peter was drafted into the US Army, although not a citizen, and sent to Stuttgart bought a Porsche and did some amateur racing. This was mid Fifties before I knew him. He connected with Uli then. Cars and racing was the connection with Peiper through Uli Wieselmann. We went to Europe often and visited in Stuttgart.
Usually after that it was skiing in Austria. He was a GP and became heavily involved in hypnosis.
Racing legend Huschke von Hanstein also came to stay with us in Carmel at one point. I don’t recall many details. There was a huge expensive ranch in Carmel Valley where he visited, Laguna Seca…We had big steak cookouts on a hill-top ranch there.
We were there in Stuttgart in the summer of 1964. Peter drove a red Porsche Carrera. I had a Mercedes 230SE.We were also there another year. Not sure when. We would pick up the cars in Stuttgart. Every year we picked up a new Porsche. There in winter of 1965. Peter was really into the racing scene We would go ski in Kitsfield, but Wieselmann did not go along.
When we first met Jochen it was during the winter when we went to stay with Uli Wieselmann. Before I met him, Wieselmann had explained to me that the former SS colonel had been one of Germany’s “brightest young heros.” Peiper was advertised to me as the big, highly decorated German hero. [From the N.Y. Times letter: ‘I envisioned an arrogant, pompous and boisterous Prussian.’]
I met Peiper in the kitchen at the home where he was sitting at a table. He was not particularly friendly. He didn’t seem outgoing or accessible. He barely said hello. My German was okay. But I was surprised by him. He seemed very soft-spoken, and unpretentious. After a while he opened up. I found him well read and articulate. He seemed to be staying there. We were there for several days. He was very handsome and attractive, he was truly charismatic. That’s for certain. I was young, twenty, attractive and impressionable.
Peter having been in the horse cavalry. When we got married, we decided to raise horses. I learned dressage. We horses in Carmel Valley; we had a lot of money. We bought Arabians. He had a good amount of money. Spanish riding school in Vienna. I had learned to ride in Indiana.
We [Peiper and Judith] soon learned we had a mutual interest in horses. I knew quite a bit about dressage– the proper way to ride horse. And for Germans there is only the proper way. Peter had been with a horse cavalry unit on the Russian front. Peiper was very interested in horses and we began talking about that. Cars and racing were big topics of the men.
After a while, Peiper started really probing me. After he learned I was from California, he wanted to know about why we had incarcerated the Japanese during World War II. For all his understanding of America, he missed the mark on that. He really didn’t understand Americans.
Being from Carmel in California, I knew Japanese people and he didn’t really understand the situation. He was very interested in how the Japanese were interned and claimed this was a big negative thing for America. My main impression as a rational as he was– and knowledgeable as he was– he seemed very bitter.
At another juncture, he asked me point blank: “Why didn’t you join us in fighting the Russians?” Peiper really went on about the Russia. He didn’t use inflammatory language, but the Russians, he really hated. He was really bitter on that.
He mentioned that as a former SS man, he was not allowed to go to the United States. He was bitter at that. He felt persecuted– singled out. But I couldn’t understand why he was surprised. There was a lot of bitterness about his lost job at Porsche.
Peiper was extremely well read. He was a voracious reader. I was an English major and was surprised to find all that he had read. He knew a lot.
Peiper was always careful in what he did or said. Peiper gave you the feeling that he was interested in what you were saying. He loved listening. He liked penetrating questions. He very anxious to go to the U.S. Felt he was being unduly punished. He was pretty serious.
Uli Wieselmann, on the other hand, was kind of slouching journalist. He wore a wrinkled shirt and sports jacket. He always seemed to have a. cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I was allergic to cigarettes, so it was difficult for me. Wieselmann, hard-drinking acerbic, and chain smoked. He let out a lot of the old pro-Nazi lines where the booze started flowing. Uli was not an American loving. Very superior acting. Very male dominated. It was like a big boys club. It was a loud. Renate’s wife was mousy. He was the head of the family. Uli reminded me of a hard boiled journalist.
Peiper, on the other hand, was a very controlled person. He drank much more moderately. We were vetted in a sense. Peter was very opposed to the old Nazi ideas; the war ended badly to him. He was beaten up by the Hitler youth. But he said nothing when Wieselmann came out with the old propaganda. I was taken aback.
Peter was connected to the cars. He had done amateur racing in Germany in the 1950s before I met him. Uli got him a press pass. We stayed with them for two or three days that first time. Never saw Peiper’s wife nor did he mention he was even married.
While I was there, there was a connection. He was very attractive to me. He made very strong eye contact. And there was definitely a sexual allure. I was quite attractive then– I looked good. But my husband was there. I think I blushed– blushing now telling of it. He let you know that he found you interesting and attractive.
The lasting impression was his eyes. He was really handsome. He looked right at you. He looked as if he was trying to look inside you. Our connection was unspoken, unacted upon and I did not encourage it.
Peiper talked a lot of about Hitler and his charisma. In one story Peiper recalled standing in a room with others when Hitler entered. Then Hitler said things about people in the room before they told him. Peiper said he was clairvoyant. You could tell he really admired Hitler by the way he told the story. A 20 something woman from Stanford, I was shocked at that.
We played a lot of cards while I stayed with them: Skat. Peiper talked about played cards with Afried Krupp at Landsberg.
I had no idea he spoke English, but Peiper’s was impeccable. He was asking me in English about Nuremberg and the war crimes trials. It was a very important topic to him. No interest in me the first day. But then over time, it became more obvious.
Saw Peiper again in Stuttgart at a restaurant. He was the vanishing man but in conversation he was very anti-West Germany. We went out with Uli to a restaurant and to drink. I think he drank Schnapps. Terrible stuff. I drank wine or beer. Wieselmann was always coming out with lots of anti-Russian stuff. Uli would say. “Too bad Hitler didn’t win the war….He did so much for the country.” Peiper was around when these things were said. But he was silent. Joachim Peiper was way too canny to make pro-Nazi remarks.
Uli seemed to be well connected; he knew people at the restaurants or bars when we went out. He was very cynical and very sarcastic and smoked too much. Renate liked Peter and I think they had some contact.
I had no rapport with Uli. Peter was there because he liked the racing scene and the car. Peter really liked to drive Porsches– he was somewhat rootless outside Germany. I saw Peiper at least two more times– but I can’t remember dates.
Peter and I were later divorced in 1968 and he began dating Kim Novak. Peter died several years ago. There are no photos or letters of our relationship to Peiper.”