Vinzenz Kaiser

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Vinzenz Kaiser
Vinzenz kaiser.jpg
Nickname(s) Zenz
Born (1904-02-28)28 February 1904
Waltersdorf, Duchy of Styria, Austria-Hungary now Judenburg, Styria, Austria
Died 20 April 1945(1945-04-20) (aged 41)
near Nuremberg, Bavaria, Nazi Germany (executed)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1927–45
Rank Obersturmbannführer
Battles/wars World War II

Vinzenz Kaiser (28 February 1904 – 20 April 1945) was an Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) in the Waffen SS during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. It was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Early Iife[edit]

Vinzenz Kaiser was born on the 28 February 1904 in Waltersdorf near Judenburg. [1]

After Kaiser finished his education, he was employed in a hardware store. He was also active in the efforts to bring Austria into the greater German Reich, forming a SA (Storm Troop) unit in 1927 and four years later being made the commander with the rank of Sturmführer (Second Lieutenant) of Schutzstaffel (SS).[1]

After the attempted coup in Austria failed (July 1934) he fled the country to Bavaria, where he joined the Austrian Legion and later joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe, he attended the SS-Junkerschule and was given the rank of Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant). He was initially posted to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in Berlin.[1]

He took part in the Anschluss of Austria, in 1938 as a company commander in the SS-Standarte Der Führer.[1]

World War II[edit]

The SS-Standartes were later converted into infantry regiments, Der Führer became part of the new Das Reich Division, which participated in Polish Campaign, the Battle of France, the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita), and the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa).[1] [2]

It was during the campaigns in Russia that Kaiser started to make a name for himself at the Jelnja Bend in Kiev, and in the Borodino, Mozhaisk position in front of Moscow.[1]

He was in command of an independent Kampfgruppe during the defensive battles at Waluki, which held the Russians at bay until the rest of the Das Reich Division could gather its units to counterattack.[1] It was soon after this that he received command of the SdKfz 4 (Armoured) III. Battalion of the Der Führer Regiment, which he led in the counterattacks on the Donetz and Dnjepr sectors, capturing the vital areas of Losowaja, Novo Nowolago and in the conquest of Kharkov.[1] It was noted that during these attacks Kaiser destroyed 4 Russian tanks by hand, being the only regimental commader in the Waffen SS to do so at this time and was awarded 4 Tank Destruction Badges.[1] [2]

For these achievements he was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in April 1943.[1][2] [3]

In 1944 Kaiser was promoted to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) and posted to the SS Panzergrenadier-Lehr Regiment (Panzer-Lehr-Division), training regiment, which in March 1944 was sent to join the 16th SS Panzer Grenadier Division RFSS which was then used in the occupation of Hungary.[2]

In May 1944, Kaiser and his regiment was relocated to the Ligurian coast in Italy, in an attempt to counter the expected Allied landings at Piombino, Cecina and Livorno.

In June 1944 Kaiser was transferred to the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, for the battles in Normandy and the retreat across the Rhine and back to Nuremberg. Kaiser died on the night of April 19–20, 1945 when he was beaten and shot in American captivity.[2]

Kaiser was recommended for the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross before his death but this was not officially confirmed by the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH).[1]


According to Thomas, Kaiser received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 18 April 1945 as SS-Obersturmbannführer and commander of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 38. The 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen had received a radio message on 28 April 1945 which stated that Kaiser had received the award on 18 April. This is documented in the war diary of the division. This claim is not supported by Fellgiebel nor Scherzer.[4]


  1. ^ According to Scherzer as leader of the III.(gepanzerte)/SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Der Führer".[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "ritterkreuztrager". 
  2. ^ a b c d e "frontkjemper". [dead link]
  3. ^ Fellgiebel, p.205
  4. ^ a b c Thomas 1997, p. 342.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 249.
  6. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 429.


  • Berger, Florian (2004). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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. 
  • Mattson, Gregory (2002). SS-The realm. The History of the Second SS division, 1939–45. Staplehurst. ISBN 1-86227-144-5.
  • 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.