Erich Alfons Justus Freiherr von Brandt is the father of the Von Brandt siblings, and the wife of Gretel von Brandt.
Erich comes from a long line of noble war heroes and veterans, with ancestors that have served in the Prussian and Imperial Russian military. Erich himself is a veteran, particularly of World War I.
He commanded the Bomberstaffel (bomber squadron) for the Luftstreitkräfte, proving himself to be not only a brilliant bomber Captain, but a tactician as well. His skills rival that of the infamous Red Baron's. Yet despite Erich's bravery, he broke his chord after witnessing his close pilot friends die in battle, and after his own plane crash landed.
Erich survived the crash, but not without injuries and losing his wing-man. He also wrestled with the guilt of killing civilians in bomb raids over enemy lands, including one instance where he destroyed the wrong city by mistake.
The blow to his reputation as a talented tactician, as well as witnessing the horrors of war, marked the beginning of PTSD that would eventually be passed onto Vinzenz...
He treated his family poorly due to his shell-shock, and refused to seek help out of pride, and fear of being viewed as a coward. Vinzenz began holding disdain for his father due to this, and it wasn't until Ilona's insisting that Erich receive electro-shock therapy. Although it alleviated the symptoms, it erased part of Erich's memory. He lost the first 10 years of his children's lives due to this.
Although the whole family was devastated, Ilona was hit the most, as Erich barely remembered even fathering her.
After WWI, Erich found work as a politician in Latvia. Shortly after, he found himself as a conscript in the Luftwaffe during WWII. Although he never joined the Nazi party, he held some of their views with fervor, and as a desperate attempt to grasp at straws for the cause of his war neurosis. He blamed the Jews and Bolsheviks for his mental state, and hoped that obliterating the Red Army would make his problems go away.
He was later taken as a prisoner of war by the Red Army when they bombed his hangar. Fearing that being captured alive was a "fate worse than death", Erich tried to escape. Instead, he was made to carry out hard labor, often in extreme weather conditions. His accommodation was basic at best, and eventually he died from disease and lack of food.