Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller

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Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller
Müller in 1944
Nickname(s)The Butcher of Crete
Born(1897-08-29)29 August 1897
Barmen, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died20 May 1947(1947-05-20) (aged 49)
Athens, Greece
Cause of deathExecution by firing squad
Allegiance German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Imperial German Army
 German Army
Years of service1915–45
RankGeneral of the Infantry
Commands held22nd Air Landing Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller (29 August 1897 – 20 May 1947) was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He led an infantry regiment in the early stages of the war and by 1943 was commander of the 22nd Air Landing Division. Under his orders, troops of the division committed atrocities against Greek civilians. He was later commander of occupied Crete and his harsh methods of controlling the island saw him nicknamed "The Butcher of Crete." After the war he was convicted and executed by a Greek court for war crimes.


Müller was born in Barmen, Prussia. When World War I began, Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller served as an infantryman with the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In 1915, he was promoted to second lieutenant and transferred to the 266th Regiment. After the war, Müller remained in the army and continued to rise through the ranks, attaining the rank of major in 1936. Shortly after World War II commenced, Müller was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

As the commanding officer of 105th Infantry Regiment, he saw action against the Soviet Army, for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in 1941 and Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross in 1942. In August 1942, Müller was appointed commanding officer of 22nd Air Landing Infantry Division. Müller became notorious as a brutal commander responsible for several atrocities against Greek civilians.

The attacks on civilians included the massacres at Viannos, Anogeia, Amari, Damasta, Skourvoula and Malathyros. During the autumn of 1943, Müller led the German forces in their victory over the Italian-British forces in the Dodecanese Campaign. On 6 October 1943, on the island of Kos, under his orders, German forces killed and buried in mass graves over one hundred Italian army officers captured at the end of the battle for the island, who would not side with their former allies.[1] On 1 July 1944, he replaced Bruno Bräuer as commander of occupied Crete. His infamy earned him the nickname of "The Butcher of Crete."

Müller was also responsible for the Holocaust of Kedros on 22 August 1944. Under his orders, German infantry killed 164 Greek civilians which was followed in the coming days by the razing of most villages, looting, and the destruction of livestock and harvests.[2] By 1945, Müller commanded the German 4th Army on the Eastern Front. Müller ended the war in East Prussia where he surrendered to the Red Army.

After the war, he was tried by a Greek military court for war crimes. In 1946, Müller was convicted by a Greek court in Athens for the massacres of hostages for reprisals. He was sentenced to death on 9 December 1946 and executed by firing squad on 20 May 1947,[3] along with former General Bruno Bräuer, on the anniversary of the Axis invasion of Crete.


  • Iron Cross (1914) 1st Class (25 May 1916) & 2nd Class (29 August 1916)[4]
  • Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 1st Class (22 December 1939) & 2nd Class (12 June 1940)[4]
  • German Cross in Gold on 18 June 1943 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 22. Infanterie-Division[5]
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
    • Knight's Cross on 22 September 1941 as Oberstleutnant and commander of Infanterie-Regiment 105[6]
    • 86th Oak Leaves on 8 April 1942 as Oberst and commander of Infanterie-Regiment 105[6]
    • 128th Swords on 27 January 1945 as General der Infanterie and commanding general of the LXVIII. Armeekorps[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Isabella Insolvibile, Kos 1943-1948. La strage, la storia, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane (31 December 2012)
  2. ^ Keefe, Thomas. (2016). This Day in Genocide. San Bernardino, CA: Kincora Press., p. 262.
  3. ^ "Noteworthy War Criminals. Second World War Europe. Generals and Senior Officers. UNWCC". Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 104.
  5. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 318.
  6. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 555.


  • Beevor, Antony (1991). Crete: The Battle and the Resistance.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
Military offices
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Ludwig Wolff
Commander of 22. Infanterie-Division
1 August 1942 – 15 February 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Heinrich Kreipe
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Hermann Böhme
Commander of V. Armeekorps
4 May 1944 – 2 June 1944
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Dr. Franz Beyer
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Edgar Röhricht
Commander of LIX. Armeekorps
2 June 1944 – 8 June 1944
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Edgar Röhricht
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Bruno Bräuer
Commander of Fortress Crete
1 July 1944 – 18 September 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Ernst Klepp
Preceded by
Commander of XXXIV. Armeekorps
13 November 1944 – 8 December 1944
Succeeded by
General der Flieger Hellmuth Felmy
Preceded by
General der Flieger Hellmuth Felmy
Commander of LXVIII. Armeekorps
8 december 1944 - 27 january 1945
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Arthur Schwarzenecker
Preceded by
General der Infantrie Friedrich Hoßbach
Commander of 4. Armee
29 January 1945 – 27 April 1945
Succeeded by