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Hugo Kraas, here with the rank SS-Sturmbannfuehrer
|Born||25 January 1911
|Died||20 February 1980 (aged 69)
|Years of service||1935–45|
|Commands held||12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend|
|Awards||Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub|
|Relations||Hauptsturmführer, Boris Kraas
SS-Brigadeführer Hugo Kraas (25 January 1911 – 20 February 1980) was a German Waffen-SS officer who served with the 1.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and was the last commander of the 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend. At the Enns River, Austria, Kraas surrendered to Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart's 261st Infantry Regiment.
Early Life - Pre-War SS Service
Hugo Kraas was born in Witten in the Province of Westphalia. He became a member of the Nazi Party in 1934 and the Sturmabteilung (SA) later the same year. In July 1935, Krass joined the Heer with the 6. Infantry Regiment (Ratzeburger Jäger). His stay in the army was not long and after only 3 months he was placed into the reserves. In October 1935, Kraas became a member of the Germania Standarte with the rank of SS-Rottenführer. In 1937, Kraas was selected to attend the SS Junkerschule in Braunschweig. He was commissioned on 12 March 1938 as an SS-Untersturmführer and assigned to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH), 14 Panzerjägerkompanie under the command of Kurt Meyer.
Early World War II Operations
With the LSSAH, Kraas took part in the invasion of Poland where he was awarded the Iron Cross second class. He also became the first officer in the entire division to be awarded the Iron Cross first class for repeated personal bravery during the invasion of Holland. As a Kompanie commander in the Meyer's LSSAH's Aufklärungsabteilung (Reconnaissance Detachment), Kraas fought in the Balkans and Russia. On Christmas Day in 1941, he was again decorated, this time with the German Cross in Gold for his exemplary leadership during the first battle of Rostov. In June 1942, Kraas was given command of the I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 2 (I. Battalion) leading it throughout the Third Battle of Kharkov. For his role in this operation he was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 28 March 1943. During the ensuing summer Kraas then succeeded Theodor Wisch as a commander of SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 2 and short time later was also promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer.
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Kraas, died from a heart attack in his home in Selk, Schleswig-Holstein, on February 20, 1980.
Summary of his SS career
Dates of rank
- SS-Rottenführer: 15 October 1935
- SS-Untersturmführer: 12 March 1938
- SS-Obersturmführer: 20 April 1939
- SS-Hauptsturmführer: 1 September 1940
- SS-Sturmbannführer: 20 April 1942
- SS-Obersturmbannführer: 21 June 1943
- SS-Standartenführer: 30 January 1944
- SS-Oberführer: 30 January 1945
- SS-Brigadeführer: 20 April 1945
- German Cross in Gold (26 December 1941)
- Eastern Front Medal (1942)
- Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze (1940)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Wound Badge in Black (1941)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knight's Cross on 28 March 1943 as SS-Sturmbannführer and commander of the I./2. SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment/Panzergrenadier-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"[Note 1]
- 375 Oak Leaves on 24 January 1944 as SS-Obersturmbannführer and commander of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2 "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"
- Close Combat Clasp in Silver (1943)
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 27 February 1943
- According to Scherzer as commander of the I./2. SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler".
- Thomas 1997, p. 398.
- Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 271, 495.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 468.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 77.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2004). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld - Primozic [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color II Ihlefeld - Primozic] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-21-8.
- 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.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Kraemer
|Commander of 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend
13 November 1944 – 8 May 1945
dissolved on 8 May 1945