Erich Kästner (World War I veteran)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Erich Kästner
Erich Kästner (World War I veteran).jpg
Born(1900-03-10)10 March 1900
Leipzig-Schönefeld, German Empire
Died(2008-01-01)1 January 2008
(aged 107 years, 297 days)
Cologne, Germany
Allegiance German Empire (to 1918)
 Nazi Germany (to 1945)
Service/branchKöniglich-Sächsische Armee
Years of serviceJuly 1918 – November 1918
RankPrivate (WWI)
Major (WWII)
UnitSonder-Bataillon Hauck (WWI)
Luftwaffe (WWII)
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsLower Saxony Order of Merit
Other workJudge

Erich Kästner (10 March 1900 – 1 January 2008) was the last documented World War I veteran who fought for the German Empire (including all nationalities and ethnic groups) and the last who was born in Germany. Consequently he was the last Central Powers combatant of the Western Front. He was also the second oldest man in Germany. However, he was not the last veteran living in Germany. Franz Künstler was an ethnic German who was born in and fought for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, migrating to Germany in 1946 and subsequently becoming a German citizen.

Born in Leipzig-Schönefeld in 1900, Kästner joined the German Army in July 1918, in the "Sonder-Bataillon Hauck" (unsure information[1][2]), and served on the Western Front in Flanders. He rejoined the military in 1939 and during the Second World War was a Major serving as ground support for the Luftwaffe, mostly in France. He died on New Year's Day 2008.[3]

Kästner earned a doctorate in law from the University of Jena in 1924 with a dissertation on Das landwirtschaftliche Pachtwesen und die Pachtschutzordnung unter besonderer Beleuchtung der Verhältnisse des früheren Großherzogtums Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach[4] (The agricultural leasehold system and the Leasehold Protection Act with special regard to the situation in the former Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach). He subsequently worked as a judge at the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht), for which work he was awarded the Lower Saxony Merit Cross, 1st Class.[3] Kästner was also honored by Germany's president for his 75-year marriage to his wife Maria, shortly before her death in 2003 at the age of 102.[3] Both had lived in Hannover since 1945. Some months before his death, he moved to a retirement home in Pulheim near Cologne.[1] Kästner died on 1 January 2008 in the home.[5]

Death notice in Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 January 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kloth, Hans Michael (24 January 2008). "Der leise Tod des letzten Veteranen" [The quiet death of the last veteran]. Der Spiegel online.
  2. ^ "Sonder-Bataillon Hauck". Axis History Forum. 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Rising, David (25 January 2008). "Last German World War I veteran dies". Yahoo News. AP. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008.
  4. ^ Kästner, Erich (1924). "Das landwirtschaftliche Pachtwesen und die Pachtschutzordnung unter besonderer Beleuchtung der Verhältnisse des früheren Großherzogtums Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach". University of Jena, Faculty of Law and Economy – via German National Library.
  5. ^ "Last German WWI veteran dies at 107". 25 January 2008.

External links[edit]