Harald von Hirschfeld

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Harald von Hirschfeld
Born11 July 1912
Weimar, German Empire
Died18 January 1945(1945-01-18) (aged 32)
Dukla Pass, Germany (modern-day Prešov, Slovakia)
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchArmy (Wehrmacht)
Years of service1935–45
RankGeneralleutnant (posthumously)
Commands held78. Volksgrenadier-Division
Battles/warsAnnexation of Austria
Annexation of the Sudetenland
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Harald von Hirschfeld (10 July 1912 – 18 January 1945) was a war criminal and general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany who commanded the 78. Volksgrenadier-Division during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Hirschfeld, the son of a Mecklenburg merchant, was largely educated and trained abroad, in South America, Spain, London, and Paris and was fluent in Italian and Spanish. He joined the Wehrmacht in 1935 and served most of his career in the 1st Mountain Division (1. Gebirgs-Division): in 1938 he was the Adjutant of the 2nd battalion; in August 1940, he took command of the 7th company; in August 1942 he led the 2nd company and in October 1943 he served as the commander of the 98th Mountain Regiment.[1]

In September 1943, as a colonel in the 1st Mountain Division, he played a major role in the massacre of the Acqui Division,[2] the murder of 5,155 Italian prisoners of war of the 33 Mountain Infantry Division Acqui in Cephalonia.[3]

On 15 January 1945, he was promoted to Generalmajor. On that day he was officially put in command of the 78th Sturm Division, which he had unofficially led since 26 September 1944. He was the Wehrmacht's youngest general officer. He was severely wounded during the Battle of Dukla Pass and died en route to the field hospital on 18 January 1945. He was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general on 10 February 1945.[4] Hirschfeld was married to Sylvinia von Dönhoff, who later married the former fighter pilot Adolf Galland.[5]

Awards and decorations[edit]



  1. ^ Lenfeld, Erwin (1983). Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945. 3-900-100-07-1: Weilburg Verlag. p. 185.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ Vernichtungskrieg : Verbrechen der Wehrmacht 1941-1944. Heer, Hannes., Naumann, Klaus, 1949-. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition. 1995. ISBN 3-930908-04-2. OCLC 32652552.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Härter als üblich". Der Spiegel (in German). 1969. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Thomas & Wegmann 1993, p. 318.
  5. ^ "Adolf Galland". Der Spiegel (in German). 1954. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  6. ^ Thomas 1997, p. 283.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 228.
  8. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 64.


  • 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.
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1993). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 1: A–K [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part VI: The Mountain Troops Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3.
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalmajor Alois Weber
Commander of 78. Volksgrenadier-Division
1 December 1944 – 18 January 1945
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Wilhelm Nagel