Günter Kießling

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Günter Kießling
Guenter Kiessling.jpg
Kießling in 2007
Born (1925-10-20)October 20, 1925
Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
Died August 28, 2009(2009-08-28) (aged 83)
Rendsburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Buried Berlin, Germany
Years of service
  • 1939–1945
  • 1956–1983
  • 1984
Battles/wars World War II

Günter Kießling (20 October 1925 – 28 August 2009) was a German general in the Bundeswehr, who became famous as the subject of what became known as the Kießling (or Kiessling) Affair.

Kießling was born in Frankfurt (Oder) in the Province of Brandenburg. In the Second World War, he was a lieutenant in the infantry and served on the Eastern Front. Some time after the war, he joined the Bundesgrenzschutz and later transferred to the Bundeswehr.[1] Before his early retirement he was Commander of NATO land forces and deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

In 1983 Kießling was secretly accused of homosexuality, which, in his position, was regarded as a security risk and led to his premature retirement. The allegations were later found to be without foundation and he was rehabilitated, being briefly reinstated before retiring with full honours[2].

Kießling again achieved public prominence in 1997 when he spoke at the funeral of Josef Rettemeier, a highly decorated World War II soldier and one of the few soldiers to be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.[3]

Günter Kießling died in Rendsburg, in Schleswig-Holstein, on 28 August 2009.[2]


  1. ^ Bacia, Horst (28 August 2009). "Nachruf: Günter Kießling gestorben" [Obituary: Günter Kießling died]. Frankfurter Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved 15 August 2014. Danach trat er in den Bundesgrenzschutz ein und wechselte 1956 zur Bundeswehr [After that he joined the Bundesgrenzschutz and in 1956 transferred to the Bundeswehr]. 
  2. ^ a b Jacobi, Claus (29 September 2009). "Der General, der an Selbstmord dachte und siegte" [The General who thought of suicide and overcame]. Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Gimson, Andrew (1998-01-15). "Bundeswehr signals end for the citizen's army". Weekly Telegraph (Electronic Telegraph, Issue 965). Telegraph Group Limited. Retrieved 2007-01-06. Gen Günter Kiessling, 72, gave full vent to the anger felt by many German soldiers when he delivered the address last week at a Bundeswehr ceremony in honour of Col Josef Rettemeier. The colonel was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves for gallantry during the Second World War and later served in the Bundeswehr. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Günter Kießling: Versäumter Widerspruch. Hase & Koehler, Mainz 1993, ISBN 3-7758-1294-6. Autobiography. (in German)
Military offices
Preceded by
Günter Luther
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
With Sir Peter Terry

1982 – 1984
Succeeded by
Hans-Joachim Mack
Preceded by
Generalmajor Jürgen Brandt
Commander of 10th Panzer Division (Bundeswehr)
13 January 1976 – 29 September 1977
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Eberhard Hackensellner