Heinrich Sonne

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Heinrich Sonne
Born (1917-02-23)23 February 1917
Riga, Latvia
Died 3 December 2011(2011-12-03) (aged 94)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Heer (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1939–1945, 1956–1973
Rank Hauptsturmführer
Oberstleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Unit 1st SS Infantry Brigade (mot.)
Commands held Krad-Schützen-Kompanie / SS-Infanterie-Brigade 1(mot)

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Heinrich Sonne (23 February 1917 – 3 December 2011) was a highly decorated Hauptsturmführer in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Sonne was born in Riga, Latvia to German parents.

World War II[edit]

Sonne served in the 1st SS Infantry Brigade as commander of the Krad-Schützen (motorcycle company). The 1 SS Infantry Brigade (mot) was a unit of the German Waffen SS formed from former concentration camp guards for service in the Soviet Union behind the main front line during the Second World War. They conducted anti-partisan operations in the rear of the advancing German army, and also filled gaps in the front line when called upon in emergencies. Heinrich Sonne won his Knight's Cross for his actions on the front line in the fighting around Smolensk during September 1943. Later, when the 1st SS Infantry Brigade was disbanded in early January 1944, the remaining soldiers, including Heinrich Sonne, were used to form a cadre for the 18th SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Horst Wessel.

Post War[edit]

Sonne was one of the very few former Waffen-SS soldiers allowed to join the Bundeswehr. This can be attributed to an unblemished military service record. He served from 1956 to 1973 in the Bundeswehr, eventually reaching the rank of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel).

Awards and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 710.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Schneider J.W., Their Honor was Loyalty!, R. James Bender Publishing, 1977
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

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