Otto Kumm

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Otto Kumm
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Zschaeckel-195-21, Otto Kumm.jpg
Kumm as a SS-Obersturmbannführer
Born (1909-11-01)1 November 1909
Hamburg
Died 23 March 2004(2004-03-23) (aged 94)
Offenburg
Buried at Weingarten cemetery, Offenburg
Field 10, Space A
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Rank SS-Brigadeführer Collar Rank.svg SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS
Commands held 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen
1. SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler.svg 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH)
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Other work Head of productions Hubert Burda Media printing, Offenburg

Otto Kumm, (1 October 1909 – 23 March 2004) was an SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS, and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. After the war, he became one of the founders and the first head of the veteran organization HIAG.

Childhood, education and early career[edit]

Kumm was born on 1 October 1909 in Hamburg, at the time a sovereign state of the German Empire. He was the fifth and youngest child of merchant Eduard Kumm and his wife Frieda, née Block. Following his graduation from the Oberrealschule (secondary school) in Hamburg-Hamm he received a vocational education as type setter from 1 April 1925 and 31 March 1929 at the Hamburger Abendblatt (Hamburg Evening Newspaper). He then worked in a printer factory. He joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS Dispositional Troops) on 1 April 1934 and came to the I./SS-Standarte Germania in Hamburg.

Division Commander[edit]

SS-Brigadeführer Otto Kumm was officially appointed the new Division Commander of the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) as of 15 February 1945.[1] This after the LSSAH had been transferred to Hungary to bolster the crumbling situation and the prior LSSAH Division Commander, SS-Brigadeführer Mohnke was injured in an air raid.[1]

Eastern Front 1945[edit]

As the division commander, Otto Kumm and the LSSAH took part in Operation Spring Awakening (Frühlingserwachen) (6 March 1945 – 16 March 1945). It was the last major German offensive launched during World War II on 6 March 1945. The Germans launched attacks in Hungary near the Lake Balaton area on the Eastern Front. This area included some of the last oil reserves still available to the Germans. Almost inevitably, Operation Spring Awakening was a failure. Despite early gains the offensive was far too ambitious in scope. After the failure of Operation Spring Awakening, Sepp Dietrich's 6th SS Panzer Army and the LSSAH retreated to the Vienna area.[2] The Germans desperately prepared defensive positions in an attempt to guard the city against the fast arriving Soviets, in what become known as the Vienna Offensive.

Final days[edit]

After Vienna fell, the bulk of the LSSAH division surrendered to U.S. forces in the Steyr area on 8 May 1945. The demarcation line between the Soviets and U.S. troops was Enns. Therefore, the roads to Enns were jammed with civilians and soldiers as they hurried to get to the west before 0100 hours on 9 May when the bridges over the river would be blocked. For the men of the LSSAH who made it west, they were marched off to different Prisoner of War camps. Most of the men went to the Ebensee camps for captivity.[3]

The rest of the LSSAH (made up of the Leibstandarte SS Guard Battalion assigned to guard the Führer) ended its fighting days in Berlin.[4]

Post-war[edit]

Otto Kumm survived the war and went on to become a successful businessman. Kumm was a founder and the first head of the Waffen SS veteran organization, HIAG. At the time of his death on 23 March 2004, Kumm was the last surviving SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS. He was also the last surviving Waffen-SS holder of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Works[edit]

  • Kumm, Otto (2007). Vorwärts, Prinz Eugen! : Geschichte der 7. SS-Freiwilligen-Division "Prinz Eugen" (in German). Dresden, Germany: Winkelried. ISBN 978-3-938392-13-3.
  • Kumm, Otto (1983). 7. [Siebte] SS-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen" im Bild (in German and English). Osnabrück, Germany: Munin . ISBN 3-921242-54-1.

Awards[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
6 June 1944 In Kroatien haben Truppen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS unter dem Oberbefehl des Generalobersten Rendulic, unterstützt durch starke Kampf- und Schlachtfliegerverbände, das Zentrum der Bandengruppen Titos überfallen und nach tagelangen schweren Kämpfen zerschlagen. Der Feind verlor nach vorläufigen Schätzungen 6240 Mann. Außerdem wurden zahlreiche Waffen aller Art und viele Versorgungseinrichtungen erbeutet.
In diesen Kämpfen haben sich die 7. SS-Gebirgsdivision "Prinz Eugen" unter Führung des SS-Oberführers Kumm und das SS-Fallschirmjägerbataillon 500 unter Führung des SS-Hauptsturmführers Rybka hervorragend bewährt.
[11]
In Croatia, troops of the Army and Waffen SS under the command of Colonel General Rendulic, supported by strong combat and ground support aircraft detachments, attacked the centers of the Tito's partisan groups and crushed these after days of heavy fighting. According to preliminary estimates, the enemy lost 6240 men. In addition, numerous weapons of all kinds, and many utilities were captured.
In this combat have the 7th SS Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen" under the leadership of SS-Oberführers Kumm and the SS Parachute Battalion 500 under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Rybka have exceptionally proven themselves.
10 October 1944 (Addendum) In den erbitterten Kämpfen in Ostserbien haben sich die 1. Gerbirgsdivision unter Führung des Ritterkreuzträgers Generalleutnant von Stettner und die 7. SS-Gebirgsdivision "Prinz Eugen" unter der Führung des Eichenlaubträgers Oberführer Kumm in schwierigstem Gelände durch vorbildliche Standhaftigkeit und schwungvollen Angriffsgeist besonders ausgezeichnet. Die Kämpf wurden wirksam unterstützt durch Luftwaffenverbände unter Führung des Eichenlaubträgers Generalmajor Hagen.[12] In the fierce fighting in eastern Serbia, the 1st Mountain Division under the leadership of the Knight's Cross holder Lieutenant General von Stettner and 7th SS Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen" under the leadership of the Oak Leaves holder Oberführer Kumm, have particularly distinguished themselves in difficult terrain by exemplary fortitude and spirited sweeping attacks. The combatants were effectively supported by air forces under the command of Oak Leaves holder Major General Hagen.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Scherzer as commander of SS-Regiment (motorized) "Der Führer".[8]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b Fischer 2008, p. 41.
  2. ^ Dollinger 1968, p. 199.
  3. ^ Tiemann 1998, pp. 351–361.
  4. ^ Fischer 2008, pp. 42–43.
  5. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 428.
  6. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 262.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 279.
  8. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 484.
  9. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 67.
  10. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 48.
  11. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 119.
  12. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 284.
Bibliography
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.  (German)
  • Dollinger, Hans. The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 67-27047
  • 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. 
  • Fischer, Thomas (2008). Soldiers Of the Leibstandarte. J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-921991-91-5.
  • Kaltenegger, Roland (2008). Totenkopf und Edelweiß: General Artur Phleps und die südosteuropäischen Gebirgstruppen der Waffen-SS 1942–1945 [Skull and Edelweiss: General Artur Phleps and Southeastern European Mountain Troops of the Waffen-SS 1942–1945]. Graz, Austria: Ares Verlag. ISBN 978-3-902475-57-2.
  • Krätschmer, Ernst-Günther (1999). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen-SS [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Waffen-SS]. Coburg, Germany: Nation Europa Verlag. ISBN 978-3-920677-43-9. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Tiemann, Ralf (1998). The Leibstandarte – IV/2. Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-40-1. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Brigadeführer Karl Reichsritter von Oberkamp
Commander of 7. SS-Freiw.GebirgsDiv "Prinz Eugen"
30 January 1944 – 20 January 1945
Succeeded by
SS-Brigadeführer August Schmidthuber
Preceded by
SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke
Commander of 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
15 February 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by
none