Hellmuth Reymann

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Helmuth Reymann
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1995-081-13A, Berlin, MG-Stellung, Hellmuth Reymann.jpg
Hellmuth Reymann in 1945
Born 24 November 1892
Neustadt in Upper Silesia
Died 8 December 1988(1988-12-08) (aged 96)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1912–45
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 11. Infanterie-Division
Battles/wars

World War I


World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Helmuth Reymann (24 November 1892 – 8 December 1988) was an officer in the German Army (Heer) during World War II. Reymann was one of the last commanders of the Berlin Defense Area during the final assault by Soviet forces on the city of Berlin.

World War II[edit]

From 1 October 1942 to 1 October 1943, Reymann commanded the 212th Infantry Division as part of Army Group North. From 1 October 1943 to 1 April 1944, he commanded the 13th Air Force Field Division. Reymann's division suffered heavy losses in the retreat from Leningrad and was disbanded in April 1944. From 1 April 1944 to 18 November 1944, Reymann commanded the 11th Infantry Division. In October 1944, Reymann's division was encircled in the Courland Pocket and he was replaced by General Gerhard Feyerabend.[citation needed]

Berlin, 1945[edit]

In March 1945, Reymann was appointed commander of the Berlin Defense Area, replacing General Bruno Ritter von Hauenschild. When he entered Berlin, Reymann found that he had inherited almost nothing from his predecessor, von Hauenschild. Reymann realized that Hitler and Joseph Goebbels had ruled that any defeatist talk would lead to immediate execution. No plans were drawn up to evacuate the civilian population which remained in the city.[1]

By 21 April, Joseph Goebbels, as Reich Commissioner for Berlin, ordered that "no man capable of bearing arms may leave Berlin". Only Reymann, as commander of the Berlin Defense Area, could issue an exemption. Senior Nazi Party officials, who readily condemned members of the army for retreating, rushed to Reymann's headquarters for the necessary authorizations to leave. Reymann was happy to sign over 2,000 passes to get rid of the "armchair warriors". Reymann's Chief-of-Staff, Hans Refior, commented: "The rats are leaving the sinking ship".[2]

Both Wilhelm Burgdorf and Goebbels convinced Hitler that Reymann should be relieved of command. When Reymann chose not to locate his office next to Goebbels' office in the Zoo Tower, Goebbels held this act against him.[3] On 22 April, Hitler relieved Reymann of his command for his defeatism and replaced him with newly promoted Major-General Ernst Kaether. Kaether was the former Chief-of-Staff to the chief political commissar of the German Army (Heer). But, Kaether never took command and his orders were cancelled the next day. The result of all of this was that, when the first Soviet units entered the suburbs of Berlin, there was no German commander to coordinate the city's defenses.[3]

One day later, on 23 April, Hitler changed his mind again and made Artillery General (General der Artillerie) Helmuth Weidling the new commander of the Berlin Defense Area.[4] Weidling remained in command of Berlin's defenses to the end and ultimately surrendered the city on 2 May to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov.[5]

Army Group Spree[edit]

After his dismissal as the commander of the Berlin Defense Area, Reymann was given a weak division near Potsdam. The division received a dubious designation "Army Group Spree".[3] Reymann's unit was unable at that time to link-up with General Walther Wenck unit just south of Potsdam due to strong Soviet Red Army forces.[6] Thereafter on 28/29 April, Wenck's 12th Army was able to hold open the area around Beelitz long enough for about 20,000 of Reymann's men to escape through the narrow route to the Elbe. [7]

Awards[edit]

  • Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class [8]
  • Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (28 November 1939)[8]
    • 1st Class (18 June 1940)[8]
  • German Cross in Gold on 22 November 1941 as Oberst in Infaterie-Regiment 205[9]
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) with Oak Leaves (mit Eichenlaub)
    • Knight's Cross on 5 April 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 13. Feld-Division (L).[10]
    • 672nd Oak Leaves on 28 November 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 11. Infanterie-Division[10]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 177.
  2. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 261.
  3. ^ a b c Beevor 2002, p. 268.
  4. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 286.
  5. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 386.
  6. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 353.
  7. ^ Beevor 2002, p. 377.
  8. ^ a b c Thomas 1998, p. 203.
  9. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 376.
  10. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 626

Bibliography[edit]

  • Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin: The Downfall 1945. London; New York: Viking-Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5. 
  • 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). 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. 
  • 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 Artillerie Theodor Endres
Commander of 212. Infanterie-Division
1 October 1942 – 1 October 1943
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Dr. Karl Koske
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Karl Burdach
Commander of 11. Infanterie-Division
4 January 1944 – 18 November 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Gerhard Feyerabend
Preceded by
Bruno Ritter von Hauenschild
Commanders of the Berlin Defense Area
6 March – 22 April 1945
Succeeded by
Ernst Kaether