Carl Friedrich von Pückler-Burghauss

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Carl Friedrich von Pückler-Burghauss
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Born (1886-10-07)7 October 1886
Friedland, German Empire
Died 12 May 1945(1945-05-12) (aged 58)
near Čimelice, Czechoslovakia
Allegiance  German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Rank SS-Gruppenführe and Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS
Commands held 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

Carl Friedrich von Pückler-Burghauss (October 7, 1886 – 13 May 1945) was a German politician and a SS functionary during the Nazi era. He served as a member of the German parliament during the Weimar Republic. During World War II, Pückler-Burghauss was chief of Waffen-SS units in Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and also temporarily commanded the Latvian Division of the Waffen-SS.

Life[edit]

Born in Upper Silesia (today Poland) as the son of the countess Ella von Köppen and the retired major of Prussian Army count Friedrich von Pückler-Burghaus, then district governor in Friedland. Carl Friedrich visited the high school in Breslau and later studied the law in Bonn. On 20 May 1913 he married Olga-Elisabeth Princess von Sachsen Altenburg. They had two daughters and one son (who however died shortly after his birth). [1]

Career[edit]

Pückler-Burghauss began his military career in 1908 entering the Cuirassier Regiment in Breslau. In 1909 was promoted to second lieutenant.[1]

He served in the infantry branch during World War I and won the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Classes. He left the army in 1919 as captain and served with Freikorps units until 1931 when he joined the Nazi Party and the SA.

Pückler-Burghauss was member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party since December 1931. From the election in March 1933 until November 1933 he was a member of German Parliament where he represented NSDAP from District 9 (Oppeln). After other political parties were banned by NSDAP in July 1933, new elections were held in November 1933, but Pückler-Burghauss was no more nominated.[2]

He joined SS in 1940 and after finishing the police course he became adjutant to the SS and police leader Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski in the rear of Army Group Centre. In 1942 he was appointed chief of Waffen-SS units in Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS Böhmen-Mähren).[3] From 1943 to 1944 he also commanded the newly created 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian), but was replaced before the division was involved in the fights on Eastern front.[1]

During the Prague uprising in May 1945, Pückler-Burghauss represented the hardline of the SS. During the negotiations with the Czech insurgents, he often threatened the complete destruction of Prague, unless the insurgents put off their weapons. [1]

Last days[edit]

After Nazi Germany capitulated on May 7, 1945 Pückler-Burghauss refused to surrender to the Soviet forces and, contravening the terms of Germany's capitulation, he left Prague and attempted to move the troops under his command into the American occupation zone, resulting in the Battle of Slivice. During the batlle, Pückler-Burghauss was accommodated in the summer villa near village Čimelice (but on the cadastral territory of village Rakovice). The American forces refused to accept his surrender. Following the attack on his positions by the Soviet and American forces, he was compelled to sign a capitulation, which he did on the night of May 11/12 in the nearby Rakovice mill. Shortly afterwards he returned to the villa and committed suicide. Next day, together with other members of his staff who also committed suicide, Pückler-Burghauss was buried in the mass-grave in the Čimelice cemetery. In 1995 the bodies were exhumed and reburied in the German military cemetery in Brno.[1]

Near to the villa (across the road) in Čimelice, where Pückler-Burghauss shot himself, is memorial with the inscription: "In this place on 9 May 1945 the American Army stopped the retreat of German Army. At the presence of American, Soviet a German military representants the last military surrender of Second World War in Europe was signed here on 12 May 1945."[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Čvančara, Jaroslav; Hazdra, Zdeněk; Vajskebr, Jan (2010). "Naší ctí je věrnost. Konec druhé světové války v Evropě aneb Anabáze tří šlechticů v květnu 1945" [Our Honour is Loyalty. The end of World War II in Europe, or the Anabasis of three nobles in May 1945] (PDF). Paměť a dějiny (in Czech). 02. ISSN 1802-8241. 
  2. ^ "Graf von Pückler-Burghauss, Carl Friedrich, geb. am 07 . 10 . 1886 in Breslau 9 (Oppeln)". Datenbank der deutschen Parlamentsabgeordneten (in German). Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS Böhmen-Mähren". Axis History.com. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  4. ^ "Čimelice. Pomník konce 2. světové války". Spolek pro vojenská pietní místa (in Czech). Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Brigadeführer Peter Hansen
Commander of 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian)
1 May 1943 – 17 February 1944
Succeeded by
SS-Oberführer Nikolaus Heilmann