Hellmut von Leipzig
|Hellmut von Leipzig|
18 July 1921 |
Keetmanshoop, South-West Africa
|Years of service||1939–45|
|Rank||Leutnant of the Reserves|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Hellmut von Leipzig (born 18 July 1921) was a Leutnant of the Reserves of the Brandenburgers in the Wehrmacht during World War II and later became involved in leadership roles in the German-speaking community in Namibia. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
He was born in German South-West Africa, son of a naval officer. In 1941, repelled by Hitler's rise to power, he wanted to return to Africa and thus volunteer for the Afrika Korps. He became driver to Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, whom Leipzig describes as "the craziest passenger ever", because he always said "Faster!" and when encountering an enemy's minefield, would insist on going and personally guide Leipzig around the mines. Leipzig fought in the "Battle of Berlin", became a POW in 1945 and spent 10 years in Soviet captivity.
As of 2016 he lives in Namibia, where he has founded the German Cultural Council (the largest organization of the German-speaking community in Namibia) which he chaired from 1986 to 1997. He also sat on the board of The Association of German School Societies in Namibia (AGDS).
Awards and decorations
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 April 1945 as Leutnant of the Reserves and Zugführer (platoon leader) in the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung "Brandenburg"
- Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)
- Vogelsang, Lucas (5 Aug 2016). "Hellmut von Leipzig". FOCUS. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- Opielok, Yasmin (2001-02-25). "Rommels Fahrer in Afrika entdeckt". WELT. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
- "Hellmut von Leipzig wird 90 Jahre alt". Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 500.
- 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.