Heinz Jürgens (SS officer)
21 March 1917|
|Died||7 August 2008(aged 91)|
|Years of service||1937–1945|
|Unit||4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Heinz Jürgens (21 March 1917 – 7 July 2008) was a Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II.
He was an active member of the Hitler Youth being awarded the Golden Hitler Youth Badge. After completing his one year labour service he volunteered to join the SS and in April 1937, and was posted to the I.Battalion, SS Germania Standarte in Hamburg (SS service number 272.502) and in May 1937 he joined the NSDAP (party number 5.180.069).
He was selected to become an officer and posted to the SS-Junkerschule at Braunschweig upon graduation in April 1939, being promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) and given command in the Berlin Schutzpolizei.
World War II
During World War II the Polizei Division was formed for active service, Heinz Jürgens served in the Battle of France where he was wounded at Les Islettes and awarded the Wound Badge, the Iron Cross 2nd class and was promoted to Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) and Oberleutnant of the Schutzpolizei.
In 1941 Jürgens participated in Operation Barbarossa the invasion of the Soviet Union. The 4th SS Polizei Division was attached to Army Group North which advanced through the Baltic States towards Leningrad. In January 1942, Jürgens was awarded the Iron cross 1st class and in November 1942, promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) and Hauptmann of Schutzpolizei. After carrying out anti-partisan duties in the Soviet Union the Division was sent to Greece and reformed as a Panzer Grenadier Division, Heinz Jürgens was given command of the 4th SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion. From September 1944 to January 1945 they were forced to withdraw into Hungary and Slovakia.
In February 1945 the Division was moved north to Pomerania where Jürgens Battalion acted as a Fire Brigade being sent where they were needed most at short notice. They defended a bridge across the Oder river until the German forces were evacuated across the river in March 1945, for which Jürgens was commended by the commanding General Friedrich August Schack and was promoted to Major of Schutzpolizei in April 1945. Jürgens was awarded the Knight's Cross in May 1945 for his previous actions, but due to the situation in Germany at the time the order was not signed.[Note 1] Jürgens survived the war and was interned as a prisoner of war until August 1946.
- Heinz Jürgens' nomination by the troop was received by the Heerespersonalamt (HPA—Army Staff Office) sometime between 23 and 27 April 1945 and prepared for signature with a presentation date of 28 April 1945. However it was never signed. According to the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR) the award was present in accordance with the Dönitz-decree. This is illegal according to the Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) and lacks legal justification. Jürgens was a member of the AKCR.
- 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.
- Williamson Gordon, German Military Police Units 1939-45, Osprey Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0-85045-902-8
- Huseman, Friedrich. In Good Faith: The History of 4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division: Volume 1, 1939-1943. J.J. Fedorowicz, 2003 ISBN 0-921991-74-6
- Mitcham, Jr.Samuel, Retreat to the Reich, Stackpole books 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3384-X
- Henschler Henri & Fay Will, Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45 Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
- 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.