Kurt Mälzer

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Generalleutnant Kurt Mälzer inspecting Italian troops of the X MAS in Piazza Bainsizza, Rome, around the time this unit was deployed to counter the Allied beachhead at Anzio. (February–March 1944.)

Kurt Mälzer (2 August 1894, Altenburg – 24 March 1952, Werl) was a Generalleutnant of the German Luftwaffe during World War II. In 1943, Mälzer was appointed the military commander of the city of Rome, subordinated to General Eberhard von Mackensen under the overall command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. Under his authority, Mälzer commanded not only the garrison Wehrmacht troops in Rome itself, but also indirectly the SS security forces assigned to maintain order in the city (although these troops were nominally under the authority of the SS and Police Leader of the region, Wilhelm Harster).

Early career[edit]

Upon the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Mälzer joined the Prussian Army as a Cadet. He served on the Western Front for the duration of the war, receiving both classes of the Iron Cross. In 1918, he completed pilot training; however the war ended before Mälzer could be assigned to an active squadron. As a Leutnant, Mälzer remained in the peacetime Reichswehr and was assigned as a Platoon Officer in the 4th Automotive Department. Between 1923 and 1924, he trained as an artillery officer, was promoted to Oberleutnant in 1925, and assigned as a battery commander in the 4th Artillery Regiment. In 1928, he was assigned to extended educational duties and studied at the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg. In 1933, Mälzer received a certificate as graduate engineer (today's equivalent to a Master's degree) and was thereafter assigned to the German Ministry of Defense. By 1935, he had risen to the rank of Major.

With the founding of the Luftwaffe, Mälzer transferred into the German Air Force, first assigned to a Flight Technical School, later becoming a flight instructor at the Air Technical Academy in Berlin-Gatow. In 1937, he was promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) and assigned to command the 255th Combat Wing stationed at Landsberg am Lech.

World War II[edit]

Promoted to Oberst (Colonel) in 1939, upon the outbreak of World War II Mälzer was assigned as a staff officer of Luftflotte 2. After serving in Poland and France, he was posted as the Air District Commander of Brussels on 28 May 1940. Promoted to Generalmajor in 1941, he became a Department Head in the German Ministry of Aviation until September 1943 when he transferred to command Flugbereitschaft 17 in Vienna. On 1 October 1943 he was promoted to Generalleutnant and ordered to become garrison commander and commandant of the occupied city of Rome.

Military Commander of Rome[edit]

In 1944 Mälzer became the highest ranking individual directly associated with the Ardeatine massacre. Mälzer, under orders from Adolf Hitler, ordered the massacre which was then planned and carried out by the SS, under Herbert Kappler.

After the war, Mälzer was put on trial by the Allies and sentenced to death. His death sentence was later commuted to a prison term. He died in prison in 1952.

Kurt Mälzer is a main character in the film Massacre in Rome, and is portrayed by actor Leo McKern.

Summary of Service (Pre-Nazi period)[edit]

Year Rank Assignment Awards
1914 Cadet General Infantry Service
1915 Lieutenant Iron Cross 2nd Class[1]
1916 Iron Cross First Class
1917 Flight Training Prussian Pilot's Badge
1918 Knight's Cross (2nd class) of the Albert Order with swords
1919 Various Duties
1920 Platoon Officer, 4th Automotive Department
1923 Artillery Officer School
1925 First Lieutenant Battery Commander, 4th Artillery Regiment
1928 Educational Studies, Technical Academy Charlottenburg
1930 Captain

Other Awards

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Miller, Michael D. "Generalleutnant Dipl.Ing. Kurt Mälzer". Axis Biographical Research. Retrieved 25 April 2014.