Paul Hausser

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Paul Hausser
Hausser.jpg
Paul Hausser (here as SS-Gruppenfuehrer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS)
Nickname(s) Papa
Born (1880-10-07)7 October 1880
Brandenburg an der Havel
Died 21 December 1972(1972-12-21) (aged 92)
Ludwigsburg
Buried at Munich Waldfriedhof
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1892–1932
1934–45
Rank SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer collar.svg Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS
Commands held

2nd SS Division Das Reich
II SS Panzer Corps

Seventh Army
Awards Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern

Paul "Papa" Hausser (7 October 1880 – 21 December 1972) was an officer in the German Army, achieving the high rank of lieutenant-general in the inter-war Reichswehr. After retirement from the regular Army he became the "father" (thus the nickname “Papa”) of the Waffen-SS and one of its most eminent leaders. Battling in both the Eastern and Western Fronts of World War II, he was seriously wounded twice, losing an eye in the first incident. After the war he became a member of the HIAG which sought to rehabilitate the reputation and legal status of the Waffen-SS.

Early life and career[edit]

Hausser was born in Brandenburg an der Havel to a Prussian military family; his father Kurt Hausser was a major in the Imperial German Army. Paul entered the army in 1892 and from then until 1896 was at the cadet school in Köslin, and from 1896 he attended the cadet academy Berlin-Lichterfelde where he successfully graduated in 1899. On March 20, 1899 he was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to Infantry-Regiment 155 stationed at Ostrowo in Posen; on October 1, 1903 he became the adjutant of the regiment’s 2nd battalion and he served in this capacity for five years, until October 1, 1908. Noted for his military gifts, he attended the Prussian Military Academy in Berlin from October 1908 until his graduation on July 21, 1911. From 1912, onwards, including the First World War, Hausser served in a number of General Staff assignments, including the greatly reduced postwar German army (Reichswehr), in which by 1927 he had become a colonel.

1930s[edit]

He was promoted to Major General on February 1, 1931. He retired from the Reichswehr on January 31, 1932 with the rank of lieutenant-general. As a retiree, Hausser joined the right wing World War I veterans organization Stahlhelm, becoming the head of its Brandenburg-Berlin chapter in 1933. Soon, Stahlhelm was incorporated into the SA, and with the SA's eclipse, into the SS. In November 1934 he was transferred to the SS-Verfügungstruppe and assigned to SS-Führerschule Braunschweig. In 1935 he became Inspector of SS-Junkerschule and was promoted to Brigadeführer in 1936.

World War II[edit]

Paul Hausser (far right, in overcoat) walking up the Stairs of Death at Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, on tour with SS officers and Heinrich Himmler, June, 1941.

Hausser served in the Polish Campaign of 1939 as an observer with the mixed Wehrmacht/SS Panzer Division Kempf. In October 1939 SS-VT was formed as a motorized infantry division with Hausser in command. He led the division, later renamed 2nd SS Division Das Reich, through the French campaign of 1940 and in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa. For his services in Russia, Hausser was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in 1941 and the Oak Leaves in 1943 (he was to get the Swords for his services in Normandy) and was severely wounded, losing an eye. After recovering he commanded the newly formed SS-Panzer Corps (renamed II SS Panzer Corps in June 1943) and against Hitler's explicit orders withdrew his troops from Kharkov to avoid encirclement, only to recapture the city in March 1943. He led 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS divisions during the Battle of Kursk. After Kursk, his Corps was reformed (substituting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS Panzer Divisions with the 9th and 10th SS divisions) and sent to Italy, then to France where he commanded them in the early stages of the Normandy Campaign. After the death of Friedrich Dollmann (commander of the Seventh Army), Hausser was promoted to the command of Seventh Army. During the Falaise encirclement, Hausser remained with his troops until he was wounded (shot through the jaw). Paul Hausser was promoted to Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS in August 1944 and subsequently commanded Army Group G from 28 January to 3 April 1945. On the day he was relieved, Joseph Goebbels wrote, "He has definitely not stood the test." He ended the war on Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring's staff. At the Nuremberg Trials he vigorously defended the military role of the Waffen-SS and denied that it was involved in war-crime atrocities.

Personal life[edit]

Hausser married Elisabeth Gérard (born 1891) on 9 August 1908 and had one daughter named Frieda (born 1909), who migrated to Australia in 1954, after marrying Gustav Adolf Wiemann (born 1906).[1]

Grave of Paul Hausser.

Summary of his military career[edit]

Dates of rank[edit]

Notable decorations[edit]

Authorship[edit]

Hausser authored several books on the Waffen SS and German military.

  • Waffen-SS im Einsatz (Waffen SS in Action), Plesse Verlag, Göttingen (1953)
  • Soldaten wie andere auch (Soldiers Like Any Other), Munin Verlag, Osnabrück (1966)

References[edit]

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Yerger, Mark C. Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, Corps and Divisional Leaders of a Legend: Augsberger to Kreutz - Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing (October 1997). ISBN 0-7643-0356-2, ISBN 978-0-7643-0356-2.
  • Williamson, Gordon. The SS: Hitler's Instrument of Terror: The Full Story From Street Fighters to the Waffen-SS (Motorbooks International, (March 1994), ISBN 0-87938-905-2, ISBN 978-0-87938-905-5).
  • Williamson, Gordon. The Waffen-SS (2): 6. to 10. Divisions (Men-at-Arms) (Osprey Publishing (March 25, 2004), ISBN 1-84176-590-2, ISBN 978-1-84176-590-7).
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of 2. SS-Division Das Reich
October 19, 1939 - October 14, 1941[4]
Succeeded by
SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Bittrich
Preceded by
none
Commander of II. SS-Panzer Corps
September 14, 1942 - June 28, 1944[5]
Succeeded by
SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Bittrich
Preceded by
Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann
Commander of 7. Armee
June 28, 1944 - August 20, 1944
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Heinrich Eberbach
Preceded by
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
Commander of Heeresgruppe Oberrhein
January 23, 1945 - January 24, 1945
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz
Commander of Heeresgruppe G
January 29, 1945 - April 2, 1945
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Friedrich Schulz
  1. ^ Migration, citizenship & travel http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/migration/index.aspx.
  2. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 256.
  3. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 371.
  4. ^ LUCAS, James. Das Reich: The Military Role of the 2nd SS Division. 1991, Cassell.
  5. ^ ibid

External links[edit]