Sepp Dietrich: Wikis

  
  

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Josef Dietrich
28 May 1892(1892-05-28) – 21 April 1966 (aged 73)
Sepp.jpg
Nickname Sepp, Ujac
Place of birth Hawangen, Bavaria
Place of death Ludwigsburg, Germany
Allegiance Germany
Years of service 1911 – 1919; 1928 – 1945
Rank Oberstgruppenführer
Generaloberst of the Waffen-SS
Commands held 5th Panzer Army
6th Panzer Army
Awards Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuz mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern, und Brillanten

Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (May 28, 1892 – April 21, 1966) was a German SS General. He was one of Nazi Germany's most decorated soldiers and commanded formations up to Army level during World War II. He was initially Adolf Hitler's chauffeur but received rapid promotion after his participation in the murder of Hitler's political opponents during the Night of the Long Knives. After the war, he was imprisoned by the United States for war crimes and later by Germany for murder.

Contents

Early life and career

Sepp Dietrich was born in Hawangen, near Memmingen in Bavaria, Germany on May 28, 1892, son of Pelagius Dietrich and his wife Kreszentia. He worked as a butcher and hotel servant. In 1911 he joined the Bavarian Army for a short time. Volunteering at the beginning of the First World War, he served with the artillery, as a paymaster sergeant and later in the first German tank troops.

After the war, Dietrich served briefly in a Freikorps Oberland against the Bavarian Soviet Republic, May, 1919. Thereafter, he migrated from one job to another, including waiter, policeman, foreman, farm labourer, petrol station attendant and customs officer. He joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1928 and became commander of Hitler's Schutzstaffel (SS) bodyguard. He accompanied Hitler on his tours around Germany and received the nickname "Chauffeureska" from Hitler. Later Hitler arranged other jobs for him, including various SS posts, and let him live in the chancellery.

1930s and World War II

Dietrich at the front with his soldiers, 1945.
SS-Obergruppenführer Dietrich in full dress uniform on the terrace of Hitler's Berghof.
Joseph Dietrich, Defendant No. 11 at the Malmedy massacre trial
Mug shot of Sepp Dietrich for war crimes trial.

In 1930, Dietrich was elected to the Reichstag as a delegate for Lower Bavaria. By 1931, he had become SS-Gruppenführer. When the NSDAP took over in 1933, Dietrich rose swiftly through the Nazi hierarchy. He rose to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer, commander of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, General of the Waffen-SS and member of the Prussian state council.

In 1934, Dietrich played an active role in the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler told him to take six men and go to the Ministry of Justice to kill a number of Sturmabteilung (SA) leaders. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to SS Obergruppenführer. Dietrich's role earned him a nineteen month sentence from a postwar court.

When World War II began, Dietrich led the Leibstandarte in attacks on Paris and Dunkirk. Dietrich remained in command of the Leibstandarte throughout the campaigns in Greece and Yugoslavia before being promoted to command of the 1.SS-Panzerkorps, attached to Army Group Center, on the Eastern Front. In 1943, he was sent to Italy to recover Benito Mussolini's mistress Clara Petacci. He received numerous German military medals but also became notorious for his mistreatment of prisoners of war.

Dietrich commanded the I.SS-Panzerkorps in the Battle of Normandy. Because of his success, Hitler promoted him to command of the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee as well. Dietrich commanded the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. He had been assigned to that task because, due to the July 20 Plot, Hitler distrusted Wehrmacht officers.On December 17, SS units under his command killed between 77 and 82 U.S. prisoners of war near Malmedy, Belgium, in what is known as the Malmedy massacre.

At this point, Dietrich began to protest Hitler's unwillingness to let officers act upon their own initiative. In April 1945, after the failure of Hitler's planned Spring Awakening Offensive at Lake Balaton, spearheaded by Dietrich's troops, a frustrated Hitler ordered Dietrich that the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler should give up their cuff titles, but Dietrich did not pass on the order.

Dietrich commanded tank troops in Vienna but failed to prevent Soviet troops from taking the city. Accompanied by his wife, Dietrich surrendered on May 9, 1945 to Master-Sergeant Herbert Kraus of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division at Krems an der Donau north of St. Pölten in Austria.

Post war

Dietrich was tried as Defendant No. 11 by U.S. Military Tribunal at Dachau ("United States of America vs. Valentin Bersin et al.", Case No. 6-24), from May 16, 1946 until July 16, 1946. On July 16, 1946, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Malmedy massacre trial for ordering the execution of U.S. prisoners of war in Malmedy. Due to testimony in his defence by other German officers, his sentence was shortened to 25 years. He was imprisoned at U.S. War Criminals Prison No. 1 at Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria. Dietrich served only ten years and was released on parole on October 22, 1955. However, he was rearrested in Ludwigsburg in August 1956. He was charged by the Landesgericht München I and tried from May 6, 1957 until May 14, 1957 for his role in the killing of SA leaders in 1934. On May 14, 1957, he was sentenced to nineteen months for his part in the Night of the Long Knives and imprisoned at Landsberg. He was released due to a heart condition and circulation problems in his legs on February 2, 1958. By then he had already served almost his entire 19-month sentence. He then settled in Ludwigsburg where he devoted himself to HIAG activities and hunting. Dietrich was sentenced to death in absentia by a Soviet court in connection with war crimes committed by Leibstandarte in Kharkov in 1943.

In 1966 Dietrich died of a heart attack in Ludwigsburg at age 73. Seven thousand of his wartime comrades came to his funeral. He was eulogized by former SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Wilhelm Bittrich.

Personal life

Dietrich was married twice. His first wife was Barbra Betti Seidl (b. April 24, 1896). They were married on February 17, 1921 and were divorced in April 1937. On January 19, 1942, Dietrich married Ursula Moninger-Brenner (born March 26, 1915 and died in 1983), a former spouse of SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei Karl-Heinrich Brenner (they had married in 1935). Dietrich and Mrs. Moninger-Brenner had a son, Wolf-Dieter Dietrich, who was born out of wedlock in Karlsruhe in 1939, before Brenner’s divorce was finalized. The two SS generals nonetheless remained friends. A second son, Lutz, was born in Karlsruhe on March 20, 1943. (Heinrich Himmler was his godfather.) Dietrich's third son, Götz-Hubertus, was born in Karlsruhe on November 23, 1944. (Himmler was again a godfather.)

Summary of his SS career

Dates of rank

Notable decorations

Recommendations

Outstanding in the defence, especially on the return path to Riga. Refer to the Georgian Staff Corps.

References

Notes

  1. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 161.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 56.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 40.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 37.

Bibliography

There are two biographies about Sepp Dietrich: one by Charles Messenger (of which there are two versions [see below]) and another by the French historian, Jean Mabire. Additional information about Dietrich has to be pieced together from many separate sources, which are mostly in English and in German. The following are among the more relevant and accessible sources. They are obtainable through larger research libraries (and their Interlibrary Loan), or through online vendors.

In English:

  • Charles Messenger, Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich (London, 2005), ISBN 1844860221 & ISBN 978-1844860227 .
  • Charles Messenger, Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Times of Oberstgruppenfuhrer and Panzergeneral-Oberst Der Waffen-SS Sepp Dietrich (London, 1988), ASIN: B000OFQ62W .
  • Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich: Memories by Albert Speer. New York: Macmillan, 1

In German:

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 - 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham - Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-20-3.
  • 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of 6.SS-Panzerarmee
October 26, 1944 - May 08, 1945
Succeeded by
dissolved on May 08, 1945
tags

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

All Asiatics are cruel dogs. All they captured of my soldiers, they beat to death. The Russian soldiers are very brave, stable, tough.

Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (May 28, 1892April 22, 1966) was a German Waffen-SS general, an SS-Oberstgruppenführer, and one of the closest men to Adolf Hitler. For his wartime services, he was one of only 27 men to be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. Dietrich was tried as Defendant No. 11 by U.S. Military Tribunal at Dachau, from May 16, 1946 until July 16, 1946. On July 16, 1946, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Malmedy massacre trial for ordering the execution of U.S. prisoners of war in Malmedy. In 1966 Dietrich died of a heart attack in Ludwigsburg at age 73. Seven thousand of his wartime comrades came to his funeral.

Contents

Sourced

  • I'm iron. I lasted through ten years of war, and now I can last through this. It's true, it's not good for the nerves.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004 - Page 280
  • I never actively engaged in politics, never made speeches. Politics is a whore. It's too high for me. Just as I don't understand American politics, so I don't understand German politics. The only interest in politics is to get to know how to lead a life under the most favorable circumstances.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
I'm iron. I lasted through ten years of war, and now I can last through this. It's true, it's not good for the nerves.
  • All Asiatics are cruel dogs. All they captured of my soldiers, they beat to death. The Russian soldiers are very brave, stable, tough.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • We fought against an enemy six times as large as us.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • There was no Geneva Convention. But we didn't shoot Russians either. Where would we get three million prisoners if we shot all the Russians? Propaganda! You can't open your mouth, even in the biggest democracy. Do you think it's so nice to sit in prison after ten years of war for the Fatherland? If I would be God, I would do it differently!
    • To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
We fought against an enemy six times as large as us.
  • All I had to do was to cross the river, capture Brussels, and then go on to take the port of Antwerp. The snow was waist-deep and there wasn’t room to deploy four tanks abreast, let alone six armored divisions. It didn’t get light until eight and was dark again at four, and my tanks can’t fight at night. And all this at Christmas time!
    • About the Ardennes Offensive, quoted in "SS: Hell on the Western Front" - Page 166 - by Chris Bishop, Michael Williams - History - 2003
  • He (Hitler) knew even less than the rest. He allowed himself to be taken for a sucker by everyone.
    • To David Irving, from "Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich" - by Charles Messenger - Biography & Autobiography - 2005 - Page 174

Unsourced

  • That's your reward for all that you have done in these past five years!? I'd rather be shot than obey that order!
    • Sepp Dietrich's response after Hitler told his party troops to remove their distinctive cuff titles since they had failed him.

About Dietrich

  • It was the Hitler Offensive. It was brilliantly planned by Hitler but poorly executed by the generals. It was not Rundstedt who was at fault so much as Dietrich and his Sixth Army, which was not capable. Dietrich was no army commander and should never have been made one. This Sixth Army was an all-motorized panzer force.
  • Dietrich quite openly criticised measures taken by the Führer. He complains that the Führer does not give his military staff a sufficiently free hand and that this tendency has now become so pronounced that the Führer even lays down the employment of individual companies. But Dietrich is in no position to judge. The Führer cannot rely on his military advisers. They have so often deceived him and thrown dust in his eyes that he now has to attend to every detail. Thank God he does attend to them, for if he did not, matters would be even worse than they are anyway.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J28625, Sepp
Sepp Dietrich, on the left, with some of his soldiers

Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (May 28, 1892 - April 21, 1966) was a German Waffen-SS officer, and one of the closest men to Adolf Hitler. For his wartime services, he was one of only 27 men to be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Dietrich and other members of the Waffen-SS were tried for war crimes after WW2.








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