Walter Kuntze

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Walter Kuntze
Wilhelm List and Kuntze (right) walking in a prison courtyard during the Hostages Trial
Born (1883-02-23)23 February 1883
Died 1 April 1960(1960-04-01) (aged 77)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Army (Wehrmacht)
Rank General der Pioniere
Commands held 6. Infanterie-Division
XXIV. Armeekorps
XXXXII. Armeekorps
12. Armee
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Walter Kuntze (23 February 1883 – 1 April 1960) was a German general and war criminal during World War II who commanded the 12th Army. He was the commanding officer responsible for the execution of men and teenage boys in the Kragujevac massacre, when Serbian civilians were murdered in reprisal for an attack on German troops, at the ratio of one hundred Serbs for every German soldier killed. Kuntze was assigned Deputy Wehrmacht Commander Southeast and Commander-in-Chief of the 12th Army on October 29. This was a temporary appointment, until Wilhelm List could return to duty. On October 31, Franz Böhme submitted a report to Kuntze in which he detailed the shootings in Serbia:

“Shooting: 405 hostages in Belgrade (total up to now in Belgrade, 4,750). 90 Communists in Camp Sebac. 2,300 hostages in Kragujevac. 1,700 hostages in Kraljevo.”

Executions of Serbian civilians continued well into the following year. Kuntze stated the following in a directive of March 19, 1942:

"The more unequivocal and the harder reprisal measures are applied from the beginning the less it will become necessary to apply them at a later date. No false sentimentalities! It is preferable that 50 suspects are liquidated than one German soldier lose his life…If it is not possible to produce the people who have participated in any way in the insurrection or to seize them, reprisal measures of a general kind may be deemed advisable, for instance, the shooting to death of all male inhabitants from the nearest villages, according to a definite ratio (for instance, one German dead: 100 Serbs, one German wounded: 50 Serbs).”

Kuntze surrendered to the Allied troops in 1945 and was tried at the Hostages Trial in 1947. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1953. He died on 1 April 1960.

Awards and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 229.


  • 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. 
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 6. Infanterie-Division
15 May 1935 – 1 March 1938
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Arnold Freiherr von Biegeleben
Preceded by
Commander of XXIV. Armeekorps
1 October 1938 – 14 February 1940
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppe Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg
Preceded by
Commander of XXXXII. Armeekorps
15 February 1940 – 10 October 1941
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Hans Graf von Sponeck
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List
Commander of 12th Army
29 October 1941 – 2 July 1942
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Alexander Löhr