Erwin Franz Roestel
|Erwin Franz Rudolf Roestel|
|Born||4 May 1902
Görlitz, Province of Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire now Görlitz, Saxony
|Died||24 November 1974
Regensburg, Bavaria, West Germany
|Years of service||1939–1945|
|Rank||Obersturmbannführer (Lieutanant Colonel)|
|Unit||10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
German Cross in Gold
Eastern Front Medal
Erwin Franz Rudolf Roestel (4 May 1902 – 24 November 1974) was an Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Roestel was born in Görlitz, Silesia. Prior to joining the SS he was a Hauptmann (captain) in the Heer (German Army), being awarded the Iron Cross I & II class, the Eastern Front Medal for service on the Eastern Front during the first Russian winter of the war 1941/42, and the German Cross as the commander of a Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun StuG) Battalion.
He transferred to the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg in 1943, as the commander of the 10th Sturmgeschütz Battalion and was awarded the Knight's Cross on 28 March 1945.[Note 1] He remained with the Sturmgeschütz Battalion until taking over command of the 10th SS Panzerjäger Battalion in April 1945, and later the same month he took over command of the Division until they surrendered on 8 May 1945.
Roestel survived the war and died on 24 November 1974 in Regensburg.
- No evidence regarding the presentation of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to Erwin Franz Roestel can be found in the German Federal Archives. Walther-Peer Fellgiebel states about Roestel: "Presentation Heeresgruppe Mitte before 3 May 1945", thus making it unlawful. Fellgiebel certified, as head of the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR), in a letter dated 11 June 1974 to Roestel that the AKCR has accepted him as a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron, legitimized by the Dönitz-decree.
The files of the AKCR reveal the following facts: Roestel assumed that Ferdinand Schörner had nominated him for the Knight's Cross in April 1945 because Schörner had said he would do so: " ... Schörner and I were standing with the famous test pilot Hanna Reitsch ... at a street in Marklissa ... Schörner then asked me ... Why don't you have the Knight's Cross already?... I answered: Because I am an assault artillerist. ... But this time ... you will definitely get the Knight's Cross, because I will take care of it!", so Schörner. Roestel therefore strongly believes that Schörner had nominated him. To the question, why the presentation was not made before the war ended, Roestel answered: "I can only assume that his nomination for my Knight's Cross was lost." Roestel sent an affidavit 24 years later to Schörner asking him for confirmation. Schörner answered: "Even though I cannot remember every detail I can confirm the factual content ... in all relevant points. The presentation to Roestel, based on my nomination, was the last honor bestowed by the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg."
Veit Scherzer concluded: Schörner did not confirm that he made the presentation to Roestel. He claimed to have made a nomination. Therefore it cannot be a direct presentation by Schörner himself. This leaves two alternatives, a presentation via the command chain or a direct presentation by Hitler. A nomination by the troop via the Heerespersonalamt (HPA—Army Staff Office) is not verifiable. A presentation via the command chain must therefore be ruled out. Roestel's reference to Hanna Reitsch, who managed to evacuate Feldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim from Berlin on 28 April 1945, indicates that the meeting of Roestel, Reitsch and Schörner could only have taken place after 28 April. This however rules out a direct presentation by Hitler. All the radio connection to the Führerbunker were down since 5:00 on 28 April 1945. According to the AKCR the award was presented in accordance with the Dönitz-decree. This is illegal according to the Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) and lacks legal justification. The presentation date "3 May 1945" was assigned by Fellgiebel. Roestel was a member of the AKCR.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 24.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 167
- Scherzer 2007, pp.167–168
- Scherzer 2007, p. 168.
- 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.
- Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7.
- Fey, Will; Henschler, Henri (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2905-5.
- Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). The German Defeat in the East, 1944–45. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3371-7.
- 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.
Brigadeführer, Heinz Harmel
|Commander of 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
28 April 1945 - 8 May 1945
dissolved on 8 May 1945
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