Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld

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Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld
Born 31 March 1885
Flensburg, Germany
Died 7 June 1946(1946-06-07) (aged 61)
Lahn, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1904–18
1939–45
Rank SS-Gruppenführer Collar Rank.svg Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant of Waffen-SS
Unit Pre war
4th Guard Field Artillery Regiment
1st Leib-Hussars Regiment
World War I
Leib-Hussars Brigade
232nd Infantry Division
World War II
2 SS Infantry Brigade
1 SS Infantry Brigade
10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
VI SS Army Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Pre war
Knight's Cross of the Albert Medal II class
World War I
Knight's Cross of the Albert Medal with Swords
Knight's Order of Hohenzollern with Swords
Iron Cross I Class (1914)
Iron Cross II Class (1914)
Wound Badge (1914)
Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
World War II
German Cross in Gold
Iron Cross I class (1939)
Iron Cross II class (1939)
Eastern Front Medal
Wound Badge (1939)

Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld (31 March 1885 – 7 June 1946) was a Gruppenführer (Major General) and Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS during World War II and the commander of the VI SS Army Corps. He also served with the General staff during World War I and between the wars was an early confidant of Adolf Hitler. He survived World War II then committed suicide in 1946.

Early life[edit]

Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld was born on 31 March 1885, in Flensburg on the Baltic Sea coast of Germany. He was the son of Kapitän zur See, Felix von Treuenfeld.

He attended the local high school and after graduation in Easter 1898, he was enrolled as an Army Cadet at the cadet institute in Plön. He served with the 4th Guard Field Artillery Regiment as a Fahnenjunker being commissioned as a Leutnant in August 1904. He served as an Artillery officer for two years, then transferred to the Cavalry in 1906, and served with the 1st Leib Hussars Regiment until 1910.

Von Treunfield was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Albert Medal II class in May 1912 and studied at the War Academy until 1914.

In July 1914, he was sent on a reconnaissance mission in northern Belgium in the area of Namur and Lüttich and when war was declared returned to the Leib Hussars Brigade as the Adjutant.

World War I[edit]

During World War I in 1914, he suffered severe head injuries when the vehicle he was travelling in crashed, near Hollebeke in Flanders. The injuries were declared connected with his war service and he was awarded the Iron Cross II class.

He was wounded again in June 1915 by Russian shrapnel while serving near Gumboki on the Eastern Front (World War I). After recovering from his second wound he was transferred to the General staff in December 1915 and later served on the staff of the field army with General Erich Ludendorff.

He was awarded the Iron Cross I class in March 1916, and after the capture of the Rumanian oil fields in December 1916, he was given the task of re starting oil production by Ludendorff.

In 1917, he wrote a book on the tactical employment of modern communications equipment and attended the Commanders and General Staff Officers course in Sedan from 1917 to 1918.

He was posted as a staff officer to the 232nd Infantry Division in January 1918, and was involved in the last German offensive on the Western Front.

In May 1918, he was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Albert Medal with Swords. In July, he received the Knight's Order of Hohenzollern with Swords and he then oversaw the organization of the border guard, to protect against Czechoslovakian incursions along the Silesian border.

Between wars[edit]

After the end of the war he was demobilized in East Prussia and worked in economics and imported goods to Germany. He was still associated with the army and was the commander of the militia units in the Hamburg area.

In 1922, he was introduced to Adolf Hitler by General Erich Ludendorff and organised the militia to assist Hitler during the Munich putsch. If the putsch had succeeded the Hamburg militia was to march on Berlin.

In 1929, Treuenfeld's business failed after his credit was frozen. He blamed the failure on the banks and quoted in his biography

"As a result, the hate of the Jews and free masons that caused the economic disaster... caused my business to collapse."

In March 1937 Ludendorf and Hitler became political allies and Treuenfeld was promoted to Major in December 1938, when he became involved in the secret rearmament programme.

In April 1939, he was asked to join the SS by Heinrich Himmler (SS number 323 792).

World War II[edit]

At the start of World War II Treuenfeld with the rank of Sturmbannführer (Major), was in command of the SS Panzer Signals Battalion 2. In January 1941, he was made the Befehlshaber of Waffen SS in the Northwest and West, until April 1941, when he was given command of the 2 SS Infantry Brigade, which started forming in May 1941 for service in the Soviet Union after the invasion (Operation Barbarossa). He remained as the commander of the 2 SS Infantry Brigade until July 1942, when he took over command of the 1 SS Infantry Brigade. Both these brigades conducted anti-partisan operations in the rear of the advancing German army and were involved in the Holocaust.

At the same time he held the position of Befehlshaber of Waffen SS North East between April 1941 to December 1941 and for Bohemia and Moravia, from December 1941 to September 1942, and was the deputy of Reinhard Heydrich. After the assassination of Heydrich on 27 May 1942, the men responsible, Jan Kubiš, Jozef Gabčík and others, were betrayed and trapped in the crypt of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Prague. Treuenfeld was in command of the troops that stormed the church on 18 June 1942, only to find that after holding out for hours they had committed suicide.

A difference in opinion between Treuenfeld and the Gestapo led to his replacement and transfer at the end of 1942. He then took up the post of commander of the Waffen SS in Southern Russia and the Ukraine from February to November 1943. In November 1943, now promoted to Gruppenführer (Major General), he took over command of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg, but was relieved of command after receiving another severe wound in the defence of Tarnopol on 22 April 1944.[1] After recovering he became the SS leader in the SS Main Office and the Befehlshaber of the Waffen SS in Italy.[2]

His final command of the war, was the VI SS Army Corps which he took over in July 1944, but only for 4 days.

Post war[edit]

Treuenfeld survived the war then committed suicide 7 June 1946, in the village of Lahn.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Samuel W. Mitchham, German Order of Battle, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8117-3438-7, S. 155 - Text online
  2. ^ Ricciotti G. Lazzero, Le SS italiane, 1982, S. 103
Military offices
Preceded by
Gruppenführer Lothar Debes
Commander of 10.SS-Panzer-Division Frundsberg
15 November 1943 - 27 April 1944
Succeeded by
Brigadeführer Heinz Harmel
Preceded by
Obergruppenführer Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch
Commander of VI SS Army Corps
21 July 1944 - 25 July 1944
Succeeded by
Obergruppenführer Walter Krüger