Heinz Reinefarth: Wikis


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Heinz Reinefarth
December 26, 1903 – 8 May 7, 1979
SS-Gruppenführer Heinz Reinefarth
Place of birth Gnesen (Gniezno), Germany, today Poland
Place of death Schleswig-Holstein
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg, Waffen SS
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Gruppenführer
Unit Kampfgruppe Reinefarth
Battles/wars Warsaw Uprising
Awards Oak Leaves,Iron Cross
Other work politician

Heinrich Reinefarth (commonly known as Heinz Reinefarth, December 26, 1903-May 7, 1979) was a German military officer during and official after World War II. During the Warsaw Uprising his troops committed numerous war atrocities. After the war Reinefarth became the mayor of the town of Westerland and member of the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag. He was never held responsible for war crimes.


Early years

Reinefarth was born in Gnesen (Gniezno), Province of Posen. After finishing the gymnasium in 1922, he joined the law faculty of the university of Jena. He graduated in 1927 and passed the 1st degree state exams. Until 1930 he completed his application at the local court in Jena and was promoted to judge. On August 1, 1932, he joined the NSDAP and received a relatively low number of party id card (#1,268,933). In December of the same year he joined the SS.

World War II

Shortly before the outbreak of World War II Reinefarth was conscripted as a reserve feldwebel. For his actions during the Invasion of Poland he received the 2nd Class Iron Cross. He took part in the 1940 campaign against France, for which he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross) as the first member of the Waffen-SS to be so decorated. After the French campaign he was quickly promoted and on April 20, 1942, he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer, the equivalent of Brigadier General.

Police activity in eastern Europe

After promotion to brigadier, Reinefarth was assigned to the post of General Inspector of SS in the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia. In September 1943, he was transferred to Berlin where he served in the Ministry of Order Police (Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei). On January 29, 1944, Reinefarth was assigned to SS and Police Leader in Reichsgau Wartheland (Polish Great Poland Voivodship annexed by Germany in 1939). In this post he was responsible for organised repression against Poles and other nationalities deprived of all rights by Germany.

Actions in 1944 Warsaw uprising

After the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, Reinefarth was ordered to organise a military unit out various security units and head for Warsaw. Upon arrival, his forces (Kampfgruppe Reinefarth) were included in the Korpsgruppe von dem Bach of General Erich von dem Bach who was ordered by Heinrich Himmler to quell the rebellion. From August 5, 1944, Reinefarth's group took part in fighting in the Wola area.

Murders of civilians in Warsaw

In several days, the units of Reinefarth and of notorious war criminal Oskar Dirlewanger executed approximately 40,000 civilian inhabitants of Warsaw in what is now known as the Wola Massacre. In one of his reports to the commander of the German 9th Army he stated that "we have more prisoners than ammunition to kill them". After securing the Wola area, his troops took part in heavy fighting against the Armia Krajowa in the Old Town. In September, his forces were transferred to attack the boroughs of Powiśle and Czerniaków, where they deliberately committed further atrocities. In all 200,000 Polish civilians died. For his actions during the Warsaw Uprising Reinefarth was awarded on September 30, 1944, with the Oak Leaves to his Iron Cross.

Later war activity

In December 1944, Reinefarth was given command over the XVIII SS Corps in the central Oder river area. Between January and March 1945, he commanded the defense of Kostrzyn nad Odrą ("Festung Küstrin"). He declined to defend it to the last man and was sentenced to death by a military court. However, the sentence was not implemented and he continued to command those of his troops that managed to leave the fortress; they were renamed as the XIV SS Corps.

After the war

After World War II, the Polish authorities demanded his extradition. However, the British and American authorities of occupied Germany decided that Reinefarth could be useful as a witness at the Nuremberg Trial. After the trial, he was arrested for war crimes, but a local court in Hamburg released him shortly afterwards due to lack of evidence. In December 1951, he was elected Mayor of the town of Westerland, the main town on the island of Sylt. In 1962, he was elected to the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein. After his term ended in 1967, he started to work as a lawyer. Despite numerous demands, he was never extradited to Poland. Instead, the government of West Germany awarded him with a general's retirement pension. He died on May 7, 1979 in his manor on Sylt.

See also


  • Williamson, Gordon Williamson and Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients 1939-40 — Volume 114 of Elite Series. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-641-0.

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