Ernst von Leyser

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Ernst von Leyser
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-019-33, Ernst v. Leyser.jpg
Ernst von Leyser in 1941
Born (1889-11-18)18 November 1889
Died 23 September 1962(1962-09-23) (aged 72)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Army (Wehrmacht)
Rank General of the Infantry
Commands held 269th Infantry Division
XXVI Army Corps
XV Mountain Army Corps
XXI Mountain Army Corps (Germany)
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Ernst von Leyser (German pronunciation: [ˈeʁnst ˈuːlʁiːx ˈxans fon ˈlaɪsa]) (18 November 1889 – 23 September 1962) was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded several army corps.

After the war, in 1947, Leyser was tried for war crimes committed in the Balkans and sentenced to ten years of imprisonment during the Hostages Trial; his sentence was commuted to time served and he was released in 1951.

World War II[edit]

During the invasion of France, Leyser commanded a regiment. In April 1941 he appointed commander of the 269th Infantry Division. As part of the Army Group North, the division fought in northern Soviet Union after the launching of Operation Barbarossa. On 18 September 1941 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and command of the XXVI Army Corps during the siege of Leningrad.

On 1 December 1942 Leyser assumed command of the XXVI Army Corps. Almost a year later, he was assigned to lead the XV Mountain Army Corps, which was fighting against Yugoslav partisans in Croatia. On 20 July 1944 (coincidentally, the day of the failed assassination of Adolf Hitler) he switched command with General Gustav Fehn, commander of the XXI Mountain Army Corps (Germany) in the Balkans.

On 29 April 1945, he was relieved of command. Leyser was arrested by the United States forces on 8 May.

Trial and conviction[edit]

Ernst von Leyser (fourth from right) during the Hostages Trial

Leyser was tried, as subordinate to General Lothar Rendulic, along with 12 other high-ranking German officers in the Hostages Trial, from 13 May 1947 to 19 February 1948. He found guilty on two charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes: murder and mistreatment of POWs and murder and mistreatment of civilians. Leyser was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in December 1947.[1] On 31 January 1951, John J. McCloy, the US High Commissioner in Germany, revised his sentence to time served.[2]

Leyser died in Garstedt on 23 September 1962, at the age of 73.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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. 
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 77
1 April 1936 – 14 July 1936
Succeeded by
Oberst Helge Auleb
Preceded by
none
Commander of Infanterie-Regiment 169
25 October 1939 – 31 March 1941
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Wolfgang
Edler Herr und Freiherr von Plotho
Commander of 269. Infanterie-Division
1 April 1941 – 31 August 1942
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Curt Badinski
Preceded by
General der Artillerie Albert Wodrig
Commander of XXVI. Armeekorps
1 October 1942 – 1 July 1943
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppe Gustav Fehn
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppe Gustav Fehn
Commander of XXVI. Armeekorps
19 August 1943 – 31 October 1943
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Carl Hilpert
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Rudolf Lüters
Commander of XV. Gebirgs.-Armeekorps
1 November 1943 – 31 July 1944
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppe Gustav Fehn
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppe Gustav Fehn
Commander of XXI. Gebirgs.-Armeekorps
20 July 1944 – 11 October 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Albrecht Baier
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Albrecht Baier
Commander of XXI. Gebirgs.-Armeekorps
25 October 1944 – 29 April 1945
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Hartwig von Ludwiger