Josef Jennewein

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Josef Jennewein
Nickname(s) "Pepi"
Born (1919-11-21)21 November 1919
Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Died 26 July 1943(1943-07-26) (aged 23)
missing in action near Orel, Soviet Union
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Rank Leutnant
Unit JG 26, JG 51

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Josef Jennewein
Medal record
Competitor for  Germany
Men’s Alpine skiing
World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1939 Zakopane Combined
Silver medal – second place 1939 Zakopane Slalom
Silver medal – second place 1939 Zakopane Downhill

Josef Jennewein (21 November 1919 – 26 July 1943) was a German alpine skier and world champion. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Josef "Pepi" Jennewein was born on 21 November 1919 at St Anton in the Tyrolean Alps, Austria. He served in the Luftwaffe during World War II and became a flying ace. He remains missing in action following combat east of Orel on 26 July 1943.[1]

Jennewein became a world champion in the combined event in Zakopane in 1939, and received silver medals in slalom and in downhill.[2] In 1941 Jennewein participated at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1941 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy and won Gold Medals in downhill and the combined event. In 1946, the results were cancelled by the FIS because of the limited number of participants from only German-friendly countries during World War II.[1]

Jennewein began flight training in 1940 and on completion transferred to 4.(Eins)/JFS 5 based on the Channel Front in summer 1941. On 20 September 1941 he claimed his first victories over three Spitfires. After claiming two further Spitfires on 15 October Jennewein was transferred to 2./JG 51 on the Eastern Front. By July 1942 when he was posted to serve as a flight instructor, and had claimed another 12 Soviet aircraft. He returned to 2./JG 51 before the in late 1942. In an impressive series of multiple victories, Jennewein downed four Soviet aircraft on 18 January, five on 23 February and seven on 24 February. He claimed his 45th victory on 10 March and received the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold in April 1943. On 6 May he recorded five Il-2 Sturmovik aircraft shot down. He claimed 23 victories in July 1943, including five on 21 July. On 27 July, after aerial combat east of Orel, Oberfeldwebel Jennewein force-landed his Fw 190 A-6 behind Soviet lines, never being seen again and posted missing. He was promoted in absentia to Leutnant and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross posthumously on 5 December 1943.

Josef Jennewein flew 271 missions in claiming 86 victories, with five on the Western Front and 81 on the Eastern Front, including 29 Il-2 Sturmoviks.




  1. ^ a b c Obermaier 1989, p. 140.
  2. ^ Official results for the FIS Alpine World Ski - (Retrieved on 15 November 2008)
  3. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 210.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 243.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). 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. 
  • Obermaier, Ernst (1989). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe Jagdflieger 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Luftwaffe Fighter Force 1939 – 1945] (in German). Mainz, Germany: Verlag Dieter Hoffmann. ISBN 978-3-87341-065-7. 
  • 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 Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

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