List of living Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients

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Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Awarded by Nazi Germany
Type Neck order
Eligibility Military personnel
Awarded for Awarded to holders of the Iron Cross to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership
Campaign World War II
Status Obsolete
Statistics
Established 1 September 1939
First awarded 30 September 1939
Last awarded 11 May 1945 / 17 June 1945
Precedence
Next (higher) Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Next (lower) Iron Cross 1st Class

The following is a list of living Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients.

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades were based on four separate enactments. The first enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573 [1] of September 1, 1939 instituted the Iron Cross and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

As the war progressed some of the recipients distinguished themselves further and a higher grade, the Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was instituted. The Oak Leaves, as they were commonly referred to, were based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 [2] of June 3, 1940.

In 1941 two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 [3] of September 28, 1941 introduced the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

At the end of 1944 the last and final grade, the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11 [4] of December 29, 1944 concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.

The total number of recipients of the Knight's Cross is 7,366. Of these 890 individuals received Oak Leaves; 160 received Oak Leaves and Swords. Only 27 men were awarded the Diamonds grade of the Knight's Cross; Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the only recipient of the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.

Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds[edit]

Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds[edit]

Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (1 of 160)[edit]

Image Current residence Name Birth date and age Nationality Force served Notes
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2007-1218-501, Erich Rudorffer.jpg Germany Rudorffer, ErichErich Rudorffer 1 November 1917 (age 97) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Highest scoring living fighter ace in the world. 222 victories including 78 Il2 Sturmovik in more than 1000 missions. He claimed 12 victories with the Me 262.

Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves (6 of 890)[edit]

Image Current residence Name Birth date and age Nationality Force served Notes
Germany Dahlmann, KurtKurt Dahlmann 4 March 1918 (age 97) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Bomber and jabo pilot. He flew the Ju 88 and FW 190 in more than 350 combat missions.
Germany Hardegen, ReinhardReinhard Hardegen 18 March 1913 (age 102) German War Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg Kriegsmarine CO, U-123 Attacked New York City harbour with U-123 in December 1941. Highest scoring U-Boat ace still living.
Germany Rökker, HeinzHeinz Rökker 20 October 1920 (age 94) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Last living night-fighter ace since Hermann Greiner's death.
Germany Ruhl, HeinrichHeinrich Ruhl 31 August 1915 (age 99) German Nazi Germany 122nd Infantry Division Awarded for actions at the Courland Pocket.
Germany Schwerdfeger, JohannJohann Schwerdfeger 24 November 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany 101st Jäger Division Only remaining NCO oakleaves recipient. Probably served as role model for the film Cross of Iron.
Germany Simons, GerhardGerhard Simons 5 February 1921 (age 94) German Nazi Germany 170th Infantry Division Son of American professor and officer Hans Simons, grandson of temporary German president Walter Simons.

Knight's Cross (65 of 7384)[edit]

This list is not complete. People listed are alive or survived the war but their fate is unknown.

  • Last living Kriegsmarine recipient: Alfred Eick 1916–2015
Image Current residence Name Birth date and age Nationality Force served Notes
Germany Axthammer, ErichErich Axthammer 3 December 1920 (age 94) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Schlachtgeschwader 10
Germany Barths, Karl-LudwigKarl-Ludwig Barths 13 May 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany Heeres-Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 393
Germany Bauer, LudwigLudwig Bauer 16 February 1923 (age 92) German Nazi Germany I./Panzer-Rgt 33
Germany Becker, Karl-HeinzKarl-Heinz Becker 2 October 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany 2nd Jäger Regiment 228
Germany Becker-Neetz, ArturArtur Becker-Neetz 31 December 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany 3rd Panzer Division
Germany Biehl, JohannJohann Biehl 29 January 1917 (age 98) German Nazi Germany 2./InfRgt 124
Germany Bierbauer, GüntherGünther Bierbauer 20 May 1922 (age 92) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe KG 27 "Boelcke"
Germany Boosfeld, JoachimJoachim Boosfeld 1 June 1922 (age 92) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer Awarded for actions at the Siege of Budapest
Germany Braake, GünterGünter Braake 10 April 1921 (age 94) German Nazi Germany Führer I. / Grenadier-Regiment 422 / 126. Infanterie-Division
Germany Brinckmann, FriedrichFriedrich Brinckmann 28 July 1920 (age 94) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe 6.(F)/AufklGrp 122
Germany Broch, HugoHugo Broch 6 January 1922 (age 93) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Jagdgeschwader 54
Germany Buck, FriedrichFriedrich Buck 30 January 1922 (age 93) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer Also awarded the rare Close Combat Clasp in Gold
Germany Damerius, DieterDieter Damerius 17 April 1924 (age 91) German Nazi Germany 93. Infanterie-Division
Germany Drescher, Georg WilhelmGeorg Wilhelm Drescher 15 February 1920 (age 95) German Nazi Germany 12. Luftwaffe Feld Division
Germany Gapp, FranzFranz Gapp 8 July 1919 (age 95) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Kampfgeschwader 6
Franz Gapp completed 400 missions in the Ju-88 fighter-bomber in IV./LG-1, III./KG (J)-6 and ended up flying the Me-262, scoring several aerial victories over B-24s and downed one P-38 Lightning.
Germany Gläsche, DieterDieter Gläsche 1 September 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany PzGrenRgt 11
Guenter Halm.jpg Germany Halm, GünterGünter Halm 27 August 1922 (age 92) German Nazi Germany 21st Panzer Division Awarded for actions at El Alamein
Karl-Günther von Hase thumb.jpg Germany Hase, Karl-Günther vonKarl-Günther von Hase 15 December 1917 (age 97) German Nazi Germany Ia Panzer-Div "Holstein" German ambassador in London 1970–1977
Germany Heder, EberhardEberhard Heder 30 June 1918 (age 96) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking Former officer of the Estonian Legion.
Germany Heinemann, AntonAnton Heinemann 21 January 1921 (age 94) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Nachtjagdgeschwader 2
Germany Hönig, JustinJustin Hönig 9 July 1917 (age 97) German Nazi Germany 3./Panzer-Grenadier Rgt 41
Germany Jeserer, HelmutHelmut Jeserer 30 November 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany II./SturmRgt 215
Germany ter Jung, DietrichDietrich ter Jung 19 February 1916 (age 99) Germany Nazi Germany Panzer Grenadier Regiment 79
Germany Keppel, WilhelmWilhelm Keppel 29 September 1921 (age 93) German Nazi Germany Hilfs VB 7./Artillery Rgt 227
Germany Klaus, Johann-AlfredJohann-Alfred Klaus 4 September 1918 (age 96) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Schlachtgeschwader 1
Germany Kleffel, Paul-GeorgPaul-Georg Kleffel 7 September 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany 3rd Panzer Division General in the Bundeswehr
Germany Krems, GerhardGerhard Krems 4 May 1920 (age 94) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Kampfgeschwader 27
Germany Kreßmann, ErwinErwin Kreßmann 2 June 1918 (age 96) German Nazi Germany Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 519
Germany Krink, HeinzHeinz Krink 25 March 1919 (age 96) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger Regiment 3
Germany Laage, Karl-ErnstKarl-Ernst Laage 9 June 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany I. / Artillerie-Regiment 66
Germany Lange, GüntherGünther Lange 17 April 1923 (age 92) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich
Namibia Leipzig, Hellmut vonHellmut von Leipzig 18 July 1921 (age 93) German Nazi Germany Panzer Aufkl-Abt "Brandenburg" Field Marshal Rommel's driver
Germany Mangels, HermannHermann Mangels 18 March 1921 (age 94) German Nazi Germany Pioneer Battalion 189
Germany Mertens, EwaldEwald Mertens 14 August 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany Infanterie Regiment 204
Germany Meyer, GünterGünter Meyer 13 July 1920 (age 94) German Nazi Germany 3rd Panzer Division
Germany Munser, RudolfRudolf Munser 19 September 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany 208th Infantry Division
Germany Neumayr, LorenzLorenz Neumayr 10 November 1926 (age 88) German Nazi Germany 334th Infantry Division Awarded as Private. Presumably youngest Knight's Cross winner alive.
Germany Oster, DieterDieter Oster 15 January 1918 (age 97) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe I. / Flak-Regiment 8
Austria Peter, RudolfRudolf Peter 21 December 1923 (age 91) Austrian Nazi Germany 2./Grenadier-Regiment 307
Germany Polz, HeinzHeinz Polz 6 November 1916 (age 98) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Flak-Sturm-Regiment 241
Germany Preiß, JosefJosef Preiß 24 June 1922 (age 92) German Nazi Germany 15./JägRgt 227
Germany Probst, HeinzHeinz Probst 19 April 1925 (age 90) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Falschirmjaeger PzGrenRgt 1 Hermann Göring Division
Germany Radermacher, KarlKarl Radermacher 12 December 1922 (age 92) German Nazi Germany 21st Infantry Division Awarded as Private
Germany Rafoth, HeinzHeinz Rafoth 6 January 1923 (age 92) German Nazi Germany Führer 2. / Grenadier-Regiment 48 served with the Bundeswehr from 4 May 1956 until 31 March 1982 and finally reached the rank of Oberst (Colonel) im Generalstab.
Germany Regeniter, Dr. AlfredDr. Alfred Regeniter 13 January 1922 (age 93) German Nazi Germany Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 276
Germany Rehbein, MaxMax Rehbein 9 December 1918 (age 96) German Nazi Germany 24th Panzer Division Successful documentary film director after the war
Germany Remmert, Heinz-HermannHeinz-Hermann Remmert 28 March 1922 (age 93) German Nazi Germany 6./Grenadier-Regiment 464
Germany Reschke, WilliWilli Reschke 3 February 1922 (age 93) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe Jagdgeschwader 301 and Jagdgeschwader 302. 28 aerial victories in 70 missions including 18 four-engine bombers. He claimed three victories were made flying the Ta 152.
Germany Ribbentrop, Rudolf vonRudolf von Ribbentrop 11 May 1921 (age 93) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Son of German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Awarded for actions at the Battle of Kursk.
Germany Rinkowski, LeoLeo Rinkowski 14 September 1924 (age 90) German Nazi Germany 5./GrenRgt 670 MG-Gunner
Germany Sachs, HansHans Sachs 3 September 1923 (age 91) German Nazi Germany 5./PzFüsRgt'GD', Großdeutschland Division
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Bueschel-164-13, Kurt Sametreiter.jpg Austria Sametreiter, KurtKurt Sametreiter 9 April 1922 (age 93) Austrian Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Awarded for actions at the Battle of Kursk
Germany Schmelzinger, BrunoBruno Schmelzinger 31 January 1922 (age 93) German Nazi Germany 4./Grenadier-Rgt 544
Austria Spadiut, HubertHubert Spadiut 29 March 1922 (age 93) Austrian Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe 5./Kampfgeschwader 76
Stollnberger, HansHans Stollnberger 10 April 1919 (age 96) Austrian Nazi Germany Luftwaffe II.(Schl)./LG 1
Germany Timpe, HeinzHeinz Timpe 23 December 1923 (age 91) German Nazi Germany 1./Sturm-Geschutz Brigade 300
Germany Trummer, JohannJohann Trummer 23 December 1923 (age 91) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe SG 5
Germany Vehse, FritzFritz Vehse 23 April 1924 (age 90) German Nazi Germany 342nd Infantry Division Awarded as Private
Germany Voss, ReimerReimer Voss 30 March 1920 (age 95) German Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe KG 26
Germany Wanhöfer, GünterGünter Wanhöfer 18 November 1916 (age 98) German Flag Schutzstaffel.svg 4th SS Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland
Germany Wehking, HermannHermann Wehking 9 September 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany Artillerie-Regiment 146 (mot.)
Germany Wieselhuber, HelmutHelmut Wieselhuber 28 November 1922 (age 92) German Nazi Germany I./s.WerferRgt 1 Reached the rank of Oberst (Colonel) in the Bundeswehr by the time he retired in 1982.
Germany Wilfling, GüntherGünther Wilfling 21 December 1922 (age 92) Germany Nazi Germany Grenadier Regiment 501
Germany Zinsser, LudwigLudwig Zinsser 21 December 1914 (age 100) German Nazi Germany 8. / Artillery-Regiment 148
Austria Zoppoth, GerhardGerhard Zoppoth 2 June 1923 (age 91) Austrian Nazi Germany 6./GrenRgt 732 General in the Austrian army after the war

References[edit]

  1. ^ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939
  2. ^ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 849; 3 June 1940
  3. ^ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941
  4. ^ @ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944