Thursday, May 23, 2019

SS-Brigadeführer Sylvester Stadler

 An Austrian, like many of the brave soldiers of the Waffen-SS, Sylvester Stadler (30 December 1910 – 23 August 1995) was born in the Steiermark region. He entered the SS in 1933 before his homeland was annexed into the Reich. In August 1940, SS-Hauptsturmführer Stadler assumed command of SS-Regiment Der Führer. In the summer of 1941, SS-Division Reich was attacking in full force at Jelnja, Minsk, Orscha, Kiev and Smolensk, where Stadler and his company proved themselves. Stadler then participated in the difficult and bloody fighting outside of Moscow, before he was part of the famous defensive action of the regiment at Cholm and Welikje Luki. Together with some of the best divisions on the Eastern Front, SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Das Reich participated in fighting to retake Kharkov in early 1943. For repeated demonstrations of bravery at the head of his battalion and for his outstanding leadership during the Kharkov battles, Stadler was awarded the Ritterkreuz on April 6 1943. A few weeks later SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser informed him that he was being designated the regimental commander of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Der Führer. Stadler could only stammer: Aren´t I too young for that? Hausser replied with a smile: Nonsense, Stadler! Think of the great Napoleon. He wasn´t much older than you… Stadler, of course, proved to be more than up to the job. Promoted SS-Obersturmbannführer on 20 April 1943, Stadler excelled in all of the engagements and battles through his initiative, bravery and loyalty to his men. During the next few months, Stadler led his battalions west of Kharkov and during the offensive against Kursk itself. He received the Eichenlaub for his Ritterkreuz only five months after having been awarded the Ritterkreuz! He was the 17th member of the Waffen-SS to be so honored. The award of at least one, possible two, Tank Destruction Strips also demonstrated the impressive personal commitment to duty far beyond the duty description of a battalion or regimental commander. On 12 December 1943, SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler became the 35th soldier of the German armed forces to receive the Nahkampfspange in Gold when he hit the threshold of 50 days of close combat.
On 30 January 1944 he was promoted SS-Standartenführer and on 10 July 1944 he was made commander of the elite 9.SS-Panzer-Division Hohenstaufen. At the age of 33, he was one of the youngest officers in the Waffen-SS to hold this rank! At the end of 1944, Stadler´s panzers participated in the Ardennes Offensive. During the offensive, the SS-Oberführer Sylvester Stadler once again demonstrated his sense of military fairness, in which he exchanged wounded U.S. soldiers for captured soldiers of his division. A short while later, Hohenstaufen was dispatched to the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee west of Budapest. When he received order to pull back to the west in the face of the sheer hopelessness of the situation he did not carry out the order. Instead, he launched a risky relief attack on Stuhlweißenburg, which allowed the withdrawal of the German forces encircled there. The first-class frontline SS-officer Sylvester Stadler received the Schwerter to the Ritterkreuz, as the 23rd officer of the Waffen-SS. Shortly afterwards he was promoted SS-Brigadeführer. On 4 May 1945 he negotiated a ceasefire with American forces and received assurances that 9.SS-Panzerdivision Hohenstaufen would go into U.S. captivity. He was released from captivity in 1948 and started a life as a businessman. The family man with two sons died on 23 August 1995 in Augsburg.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Eberhard Kinzel and German Delegation at Lüneburg Heath

The first arrival of the German delegation to the headquarters of the British 21st Army Group in the Lüneburger Heide (Luneburg Heath), east of Hamburg, to discuss a ceasefire on May 3, 1945. The Germans offer to surrender the Heeresgruppe Vistula - who was surrounded by Soviet troops - to the Allies, was rejected by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (Commander of the 21st Army Group), because he wanted the unconditional surrender of German troops in the north-west Germany, as well as in the Netherlands and Denmark. The German delegation replied that they were not given the power to determine this, and had to negotiate it first with their leader, Großadmiral Karl Dönitz (the successor to Hitler who committed suicide a few days earlier). Finally Montgomery allowed them to return home, and gave 24 hours for the answers to be given. This photo was taken by Captain E.G. Malindine (British No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit) and shows Marshal Montgomery standing second from the left, while the German delegation starts with their leader Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine) who holding the document in the middle, followed to the right as follow: General der Infanterie Eberhard Kinzel (Chef des Generalstabes Operationsstab Nord), Konteradmiral Gerhard Wagner (Admiral z.b.V. Beim Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine), and Major i.G. Hans Jochen Friedel (half visible, Stabsoffizier Operationsstab Nord).

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Feldwebel Alois Lehrkinder in a Hoffmann Postcard

Feldwebel Alois Lehrkinder (11 April 1916 - 11 January 1990) in a Hoffmann postcard R 121. He received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 3 April 1943 as Feldwebel and Zugführer in 7.Kompanie / II.Bataillon / Grenadier-Regiment 447 / 137.Infanterie-Division.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Bio of SS-Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke

SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Theodor Eicke participated in World War I as a paymaster. He later joined the "Zollgrenzschutz":, which were engaged in the defense of Germany’s eastern borders against Polish attacks following the Great War. Subsequent to this service with the latter formations, Eicke joined the "Schützpolizei" and later a "Detective Bureau".

Eicke had joined the "Polizei" in 1927 and soon thereafter came into contact with the Allgemeine-SS. He became a member and, compared to his fellow officers, was promoted quickly. Together with his comrades in the Allgemeine-SS, as well as with the police, NCOs and enlisted men discharged from the Reichswehr, he set up "Hilfspolizei" squads (auxiliary police units formed in early 1933). These were organized to combat Hitler’s opponents and also to guard them after they had been arrested. Once the new government had obtained power, Eicke formed so-called "SS-Hundertschaften", from which the later "Totenkopfverbände" ("T.-Sturmbanne" and "T.-Standarten") evolved. These men guarded the Oranienburg Concentration Camp near Berlin, as well as the camp at Dachau, north of München. The prisoners in these camps … communists, social-democrats, members of the "Reichsbanner", as well as other opponents of Hitler … were often subjected to brutal treatment.

It should be noted that when Eicke took over the command of all concentration camp personnel, as well as all SS-Totenkopfverbände, he attempted to train these men along army lines, or at least in a manner similar to the training received by the SS-Verfügungstruppe units. When the Reichswehr refused to issue Eicke’s men with light infantry weapons, in contrast to the SS-Verfügungstruppe, Eicke procured such weapons on his own, drawing upon the caches of arms hidden by SA-troopers. Eicke also played a role in the crushing of the "Röhm Putsch", and, as a result of laws passed after 30 June 1934, his units officially became part of the SS under the supreme command of Himmler. Up until that time, they had been directly subordinated to the supreme command of the SA.

At any rate, by 1938/39, Eicke’s troops had all received some basic military training and had been issued with light infantry weapons such as rifles, carbines, pistols, WWI machine-guns, and some mortars. When the Second World War broke out, Eicke formed a division from the Totenkopf units, reinforced by reserves from the Allgemeine-SS, Army reservists and the police. The Division was partially motorized, had been constituted at Dachau (the Waffen-SS training base), and had undergone full military training at Obermünsingen, Württemberg, during the winter of 1939/40.

On 6th February 1943, Eicke was on an inspection flight in a Fiessler-Storch when his plane was shot down by the Soviets and crashed behind their lines. Several attempts were made by reinforced assault squads to recover the remains of their commander. They finally succeeded, after losing several men. Eicke was given an elaborate funeral at one of the cemeteries of the Division near Orelka, Russia. In a manner reminiscent of the funeral rites performed by the ancient Germans upon the death of their tribesmen or kings, Theodor Eicke, or "Papa Eicke", as his troops called him, was laid to rest.

Later, when German forces had withdraw, officers from the divisional staff, together with a few selected men, exhumed Eicke’s corpse and brought it back by truck to Kiev. His remains were not to fall into enemy hands! Officials from the legal section of the military authorities investigated this incident and the officers responsible are said to have been reprimanded.

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Wilhelm Keitel and Walter Warlimont at Berghof

 From left to right: General der Artillerie Walter Warlimont (Stellvertreter von Generaloberst Alfred Jodl im Wehrmachtführungsstab) and Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) at the terrace of the Berghof, Obersalzberg, 1944. Warlimont became renowned, with Keitel and Jodl, as one of the German officers most loyal to Hitler and was accordingly sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment in 1949 as a minor war criminal. The picture was taken by Walter Frentz

"Fuhrerhauptquartier Wolfschanze 1940-1945" by Walter Frentz

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bio of SS-Standartenführer Herbert Golz

SS-Standartenführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei Herbert Golz was born on 9 April 1897 in Berlin to a family with a long military tradition. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Golz, who had just graduated from the Andreas Gymnasium (High School), immediately volunteered for military duty. After a brief basic training period, he participated in the battle of Ypern in October 1914 as a member of the 201st Reserve Regiment. In the course of the war he would serve 4 tours of duty on the Western Front and 2 on the Eastern Front. He would also be decorated with both classes of the Iron Cross, the Austrian Medal for Bravery and receive a field promotion to Leutnant (2nd Lt.) of the Reserves in August 1917.

Following the war, Golz served with the para-military Freikorps “Reinhold” from January 1919 until May 1919, fighting against the communist “Sparticist” terrorists in Berlin. He would then join the Schutzpolizei (Protective Police), serving as a Police Captain in Cologne and Düsseldorf before being reassigned to Berlin with the rank of Major der Schutzpolizei.

When World War II started, Herbert Golz immediately sought a way to get back into military service. He promptly signed on with the new SS Polizei Division which began forming in the fall of 1939 and he was placed in command of I.Bataillon / Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 3. He would lead this unit with the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer und Major der Schutzpolizei throughout the French Campaign of 1940 and through the early part of the Russian Campaign.

In February 1942, Golz was assigned to the General Staff of the Schutzpolizei with the job of supervising police units that had been mobilized for military duties in the field. He would receive a promotion to SS-Obersturmbannführer in April 1943 but it was not until February 1944 that he was called back to combat service. He was placed in charge of a “defensive sector” of the besieged city of Kowell in Ukraine. Although the town was totally surrounded by strong Soviet forces he had been flown in along with SS-Gruppenführer Herbert Otto Gille, the commander of the 5th SS Panzer Division “Wiking”, who had been assigned to direct the overall defense and relief of Kowell.

The “Wiking” Division, led by its SS Panzer Regiment 5 and its II.Battalion which had not been trapped in the Cherkassy Pocket, spearheaded the attempt to break through to Kowell from the outside. When the relief of the town was finally secured on 5 April 1944, the numbers of defenders had dwindled down to between 4,000 and 4,500, almost half of whom were wounded. With no anti-tank weapons and limited supplies and ammunition their defensive effort had been one of the more notable of the entire war. For his determined leadership during the siege of Kowell, Herbert Golz was decorated with the German Cross in Gold. He would be promoted to SS-Standartenführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei in June 1944 and later on in October, the Hungarian government would award him the Knight’s Cross of Hungary.

Late in 1944, SS-Staf. Golz became the chief-of-staff of the XIV. SS Army Corps which was serving against the Americans on the Upper Rhine Front, where he would help organize one of the last German offensive operations in the west across the Strum River. In January 1945, Golz was given the job of chief-of-staff of X.SS Army Corps in southern Pomerania. While the Corps had only limited Waffen-SS personnel, it directed the 163rd Army Infantry Division, the 8th Jäger Division and the 314th Army Infantry Division.

On 1 and 2 March 1945, a Soviet armored breakthrough succeeded in cutting-off and encircling the X.SS Army Corps. In the subsequent combat action the Corps commander, Lt.Gen. Krappe was killed and heavy losses were sustained. On his own initiative, SS-Staf. Golz formed a battle-group out of the most cohesive units left in control of the Corps, and for three weeks straight personally led this command in action behind the Soviet lines, before finally breaking through to the safety of the German lines on the Oder River Front.

For his incredible leadership and personal bravery during this time, Herbert Golz was awarded the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross on 3 May 1945. Following the war he went into British captivity which lasted for three years. After his release he became a successful businessman and remained active in Waffen-SS veteran’s affairs. He was a true heroic figure of World War II!

Source :
'Siegrunen 80' by Richard Landwehr

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bio of Oberstleutnant Wilhelm Braun

Oberstleutnant Wilhelm "Willi" Braun (6 February 1902 – 22 January 1943) is an avid sportsman who excelled at swimming, skiing, marksmanship and horseriding, the latter bringing him to grief in May 1939 when a fall during a tournament put him out of action for two months. He was also a keen motor enthusiast and was one of the first in his home town of Hasenweiler to own a private car. He began his career as a police officer and it lasted for 13 years, until he was transferred over to the army in October 1935. Various postings followed until he was transferred in late November 1940 into the newly-forming 305. Infanterie-Division as commander of II.Bataillon / Infanterie-Regiment 576. And he had commanded that battalion ever since. The entire summer campaign of 1942 had been difficult but it all paled into insignificance compared to the weeks in Stalingrad. When the regiment commander, Oberstleutnant Karl-Heinz Krüder, went on leave in October, and the substitute commander Oberstleutnant Werner Gunkel was transferred in late October, Braun took temporary control of the Infanterie-Regiment 576. He received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 20 January 1943 as Major and commander of II./IR 576. Braun died on 22 January 1943 at Stalingrad and was posthumously promoted to Oberstleutnant.

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"Island Of Fire: The Battle For the Barrikady Gun Factory In Stalingrad November 1942 - February 1943" by Jason D. Mark

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Bio of Panzer Ace Karl Brommann

Karl Brommann was born on 20 July 1920 in Neumiinster, Holstein. Before he was 17, Brommann volunteered for duty with 2.SS-Totenkopfverbände-Standarte “Brandenburg” in Oranienburg on 15 June 1937. Apparently his exact date of birth was “overlooked” by all parties concerned. He would later transfer to the 3.SS-T’V Standarte “Thüringia” in Weimar before joining the SS Totenkopf Artillery Regiment when it began forming at the Münich-Freimann Barracks in 1939.

He next served as a trainer with the SS Recruiting Regiment in Klagenfürt, Austria, before being made a platoon leader (although still an NCO) in the 7th Company of the independent SS Infantry Regiment 6. In 1941 the regiment was sent to Finland and along with SS IR 7 and some other odds and ends, much of it from the SS-TV, was assembled into SS-Kampfgruppe “Nord”, which would eventually become the 6. SS Mountain Division “Nord”.

In heavy fighting on the Finnish/Russian border, Karl Brommann was severely wounded on two separate occasions. The first time he received shell fragments to both legs and his hands. This was not enough to keep him out of action and after a short recovery he was back at the front. On the second time he was wounded he was shot through the lungs and the liver; now the situation was more serious, even life threatening. He would spend almost an entire year in the hospital recuperating from these injuries! Eventually, in late 1942 or early 1943, he was deemed “recovered” and was dispatched to “Nord” Division’s Training and Replacement Battalion 6 located in Trautenau and Hallein.

On 5 May 1943 Brommann was assigned to the newly established SS Panzer Abteilung 11 “Hermann von Salza”of the 11.SS-Frw.Pz.Gr.Div. “Nordland”. Later in October 1943, with the rank of SS-Oberscharführer, he was posted to SS Panzer Abteilung 103 (later renumbered 503), the independent tank battalion of the III. Germanic SS Panzer Korps. He would then serve with this formation until 27 March 1945 when he would be incapacitated by multiple battle wounds.

In early 1945, Brommann would command perhaps the most effective King Tiger Tank and crew of the detachment in the fighting around Arneswalde and Gotenhafen in Pomerania. In fact on 10 April
1945, the official Wehrmacht Communique contained the following announcement: “In the battle area around Gotenhafen, SS-Untersturmführer Karl Brommann, company commander in the Heavy SS Panzer Detachment 503, prominently distinguished himself. He has, with his tank crew, in the time period from 2 February 1945 until 18 March 1945, despite being wounded 3 times, destroyed 66 enemy tanks, 44 artillery pieces and 15 trucks.”

By the time SS-Pz.Abt.503 was in action around Danzig in March/April 1945, it had been reduced to 21 operational “King Tiger” tanks in four deployment groups that were utilized in the support of infantry divisions threatened by Soviet forces. Karl Brommann received his final group of battle wounds that took him out of the war on 27 March 1945. After having suffered burn wounds to his hands and head shortly before, (he chose to stay in action with bandaged head and hands), he now absorbed shell fragments to his skull, right ear and right eye and that did it for him.

After receiving the German Army Wound Badge in Gold, Brommann was evacuated by the German Navy to Hela and thence over the Baltic Sea to Swindemünde. On 29 April 1945, he learned that he had been awarded the Knight’s Cross for his deeds in the previous months. He was on his way to Flensburg, Holstein. when the German capitulation took place on 8 May 1945; after getting that piece of news, Karl Brommann changed course and simply went directly to his home in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein. However he was arrested by the British Army on 21 May 1945 and sent to a POW camp, but he would be among the earliest to be released in November 1945, probably due to the effects of his bad war wounds. In the desperate fight to stave off the Red onslaught against the German homeland in 1945 in particular, Karl Brommann proved to be one of the most effective soldiers in the Waffen-SS. His entire wartime career was one of continuing perseverance and achievement!

Source :
'Siegrunen 80' by Richard Landwehr

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bio of Vinzenz Kaiser

By: Rich Deveau-Maxwell

I present my biography of SS-Obersturmbannführer Vinzenz “Zenz” Kaiser - (28.2.1904 - 20.4.1945)

Vinzenz Kaiser was born on 28.2.1904 in Judenburg as the son of Johann and Maria Kaiser, owners of an inn, and after 8 years of schooling he learned the trade of the iron industry. He trained as an apprentice, and was employed for 9 years by the ironmongery firm Rothdeutsch and Heinrich Leitner. From 1925-1927 he was a member of the Hitlerjunge and joined the party and Austrian SA in 1927. After setting up several SA troops in Styria, Kaiser was transferred to the Austrian SS as SA troop leader on 10.10.31 and commissioned to set up and lead an SS Sturm.

After he had recruited groups in Judenburg, Knittelfeld, Weißkrichen and Unzmarkt, his Sturm on 3.11.32 had risen to the level of 145 SS men. In 1933 Kaiser was arrested and detained by the Austrian government for three months for his party membership, and received a prison sentence of six weeks for his political activity.

Following his release Kaiser was ordered by SS-Abschnitt VIII to leave Austria for the Reich, and transferred by SS-Oberführer Biegler, arriving in the Lechfeld and Dachau camps on 21.8.33 as a political refugee, where he received three months basic military training as a member of the Austrian SS Legion at Lechfeld. Kaiser was promoted to SS-Obertruppführer by Gruppenführer Rodenbücher on 24.12.33 and given the task of leading Sturm 8/III. From 1.5.34 to 15.6.34 Kaiser attended a leaders course at the Polizeischule “Eiche” at Potsdam, which would later be absorbed into the SS-VT. From the formation of II./SS1 (later II./SS-Standarte “Deutschland”) Kaiser was active for six months as the leader of the 5th and 7th Sturms.

Two incidents would briefly derail Kaiser’s career development.

Kaiser was transferred to the SS-Hilfswerk Dachau, Deutsche Werke 222, and promoted to SS-Sturmführer on 14.6.34. The SS-Hilfswerk, or SS Relief Station provided welfare to refugees under the supervision of future Dachau commandant Loritz. Following the failed July Putsch against the Dolfuss regime the premises were taken over by the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz.

On 17.7.34, the following report was sent to the command of the SS-Hilfswerk Dachau, from the main gendarmerie in Dachau; “On 30.3.34 (Good Friday), SS-Obertruppführer Kaiser, SS-Truppführer Franz Holenia and SS-Truppführer Edmand Baumgartner, all members of the SS Hilfswerk Dachau, were present in the Meier restaurant in Deutenhofen. As well as the SS men, several SA men in civilian clothes from the neighbouring villages Herbertshausen and Ampermoching were also present. At about 9 p.m. a dispute arose between the SS men present and the SA men, which eventually degenerated into a brawl. According to the findings, the following incident had given rise to the brawl: after a recent quarrel between SS-Obertruppführer Kaiser and the SA man Martin Rabl, Kaiser is said to have said to his comrade; “Now we’ll sing!". Thereupon, sitting at a next table, driver Josef Geidl from Ampermoching remarked: "Today is Good Friday, today you don't sing". Kaiser asked Geidl whether he was a Christian. Geidl replied: "Yes, why?". Kaiser is then said to have shouted in an excited tone: "I don't give a shit about your religion, what does your religion concern me? We don't give a shit about you! I order that we sing!". Geidl replied that no one could order him to sing and on these words, a real brawl arose, in which Kaiser participated extensively. On behalf of the public prosecutor's office at the Munich II Regional Court, criminal charges are to be brought against Kaiser for offending a religion. The following witness testimony describes the actions of Kaiser who insulted the Catholic religion: Josef Geidl, motor vehicle driver, lives in Ampermoching, Geidl states: "I was in the restaurant in Deutenhofen on Good Friday evening and sat at a table right next to the SS men. When the SS wanted to sing, I said that it was Good Friday, and they could not sing, so SS-Obertruppführer Kaiser asked me if I was a Christian. I answered this question in the affirmative and at the same time asked why. To my question Kaiser answered excitedly: "I don't give a shit about your religion, what does your religion concern me? We don't give a shit about you!” Then Kaiser ordered me to sing. I made the remark that nobody could order me to sing. In response to this remark on my part, Kaiser became more excited, leapt up and hit me several times on the chin and face. The SS man, who made the remark about my religion, had worn 2 stars and a silver strand as his rank badge, which nobody else than Obertruppführer Kaiser can question. I was by no means mistaken and would state this under oath. The other two SS men said nothing at all and did not take part in the brawl. Other witnesses were Ludwig Schönwetter, a mechanic in Ampermoching, and Martin Rabl, who had been questioned, gave the same information as Geidl. The charges against Kaiser for religious misconduct were filed there today at the Munich II District Court on behalf of the public prosecutor's office.”

A document dated 29.3.35 brought more ill news, stating “SS-Untersturmführer Kaiser is with effect from 1.4.35 removed from his post as SS-Fuhrer in II/SS1 and appointed to the SS-Sammelstelle as SS-Führer”.

On 1.4.35 Kaiser wrote to the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler; “Reichsführer-SS, I ask for my rights. At present, on 1.4.35 I am at the SS-Sammeltstelle Munich, for the following reason: on 31.12.34 some of my comrades and I celebrated the new year in Rheit im Winkel. During the course of the celebrations we were suddenly verbally abused and called Austrian cowards and deserters. As a matter of course we defended ourselves, which caused a gendarme named Hengl (who is stationed in Rheit im Winkel and was celebrating in civilian clothes), to get involved in the quarrel. Suddenly he told us that we were under arrest and we naturally complied. Gendarme Hengl took our SS identity cards from us. He said: “I will deal with this in lightly, as your SS leader is also called von Hengl". When we picked up our SS IDs from the Gendarrmerie early in the morning of January 1, 1935, Gendarme Hengl remarked: "It is not really worth me reporting this case as, my boss is a confirmed joker and he remains one to this day!" As a result of this incident SS-Hauptsturmführer Quirsfeld and I were transferred out of the SS-VT. A comrade who was also at this celebration was allowed to remain with II/SS1. Since I am and want to be a soldier and an SS-man with all my strength, I ask to be allowed to serve in the SS-VT again.”

That Kaiser complained so bitterly about his postings, coupled with his inability to control his impetuous nature, is understandable given his evident enthusiasm and desire to carve out a career as a soldier. In this, Kaiser would certainly succeed in time.

Kaiser’s star began to ascend again when he came to the attention of then-SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Krüger, so described Kaiser in an evaluation as “of strong character, militarily well-disposed, diligent and interested.” Krüger noted that Kaiser “would become a competent Zugführer, and later leader of a Standarte”. SS-Oberführer Schmitt noted Kaiser’s particular “desire to return to the troop,” with the remark “can be used immediately”. Kaiser was transferred back to the SS-VT.

In September 1935 Kaiser was assigned to the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz as an instructor. Herbert Otto Gille confirmed that from 1.6.35 to 1.9.35 Kaiser attended a leadership course with II/SS "Germania" in Arolsen/Waldeck. SS-Hauptsturmführer Max Köpischke, leader of the Sportsabteilung at Bad Tölz confirmed that in the summer of 1937, standing at 5ft7.5” Kaiser qualified for the Reichssportabzeichen with the following achievements:

Long Jump: 4.78m.
100 metre sprint: 13 seconds.
Shot put: 8.25m.
Stone throw (the Swiss variant of shot put): 10.02m.
Pack march: 25km in 3:27 hours.

Whilst possessing an excellent sportsman's constitution and energy, Kaiser was undergoing specialist medical treatment from January 1937 to August 1937 for chronic sinusitis. He was strongly advised by a specialist to avoid bathing until the end of 1937. Following treatment of the maxillary sinuses, Kaiser underwent associated dental treatment until February 1938. During this period Kaiser had been forbidden from swimming until 5.3.38 by the Junkerschule’s military doctor. Later that year, after his promotion to SS-Hauptsturmführer, on 31.8.38 Kaiser received confirmation of permission to marry his fiancee, Maria (Mia) Hinterbrandner.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Bertling, then commander of I./SS “Deutschland” noted of Kaiser on 26.9.1938, “During his 8-week command Kaiser mainly served in the 1st Company during the first 2 weeks when the regiment was at the training area Döberitz. This time gave him the opportunity to deepen his practical knowledge in the handling of the training of the units within the company and the battalion. During this time he was also used as a troop training referee during unit exercises. During the training he was familiarized with the nature of company leadership in small groups, and in particular about the handling of leadership selection, the training of the unterführerkorps in tactical aspects, and the handling of disciplinary measures, as well as money management within the company. In addition, he attended the practical exercises on a daily basis, so that he was given a comprehensive picture of the nature of the company leadership. Finally, he had the opportunity to experience the versatility of the company's preparation for mobilisation. With zeal and interest he tried to absorb all the information that was offered to him and to process it logically. Due to the way he understood how to fit in with his peers and subordinates, as well as his personal attitude and knowledge, I consider him suitable to lead a company. In comradely regard he was received pleasantly as a result of his humble and reserved approach.”

SS-Oberführer Werner Freiherr von Scheele’s 29.4.40 evaluation of Hauptsturmführer Kaiser at the JS Tölz stated that from1.10.35. Kaiser had led his training company with great diligence. Later, he gave Kaiser the command of the NCO training company, since he was not necessarily suitable for the position of training young officers due to lacking the necessary foundations for the upbringing of young officers. On the other hand, he was enormously suitable for the training and advancement of NCO’s and attracted attention due to the great zeal he displayed in the leadership of the training company. In a short time and in the most difficult circumstances he was able to weld this company together into something whole and to turn the young men into capable soldiers in a very short time. But also the NCO candidates proved themselves much more capable under his leadership than it had been previously under his predecessors. Von Scheele also said of Kaiser, “He deserves full recognition in this respect that as a companion and man, Kaiser is very popular and always ready to help.” These assessments of Kaiser are telling, in that his desire to achieve success in his chosen career appears to have motivated and accelerated his maturity, and developed his personal skills and temperament. Kaiser would not be caught brawling in bars again, but would develop into a hardened, battle proven professional soldier and commander.

14.6.1940 saw Kaiser recommended for transfer to the SS-Verfügungsdivision. Kaiser was sent to the replacement battalion of the Leibstandarte SS “Adolf Hitler” as a company commander, and shortly afterwards on 26.6.40 Kaiser was transferred to the I./SS “Der Führer”, the regiment Kaiser would call his home, and forge his reputation with, for the next few years. SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Kümm, then commander of III./ SS “Der Führer” stated of the new member of his regiment, “Kaiser is of medium size, stocky and strong. With a very reserved, modest and polite disposition. Mentally he appears well-disposed. Kaiser led the 9th company since 10.9.40. He shows understanding in practical leadership, but as a result of lack of experience his suitability and tactical skills are still uncertain, and due to this a final assessment of his performance cannot yet be made. Kaiser is the bearer of the Golden Party Badge and has an impeccable ideological orientation.” Regimental commander SS-Oberführer Georg Keppler concurred with Kümm’s assessment, “Kaiser is a reliable SS officer with the best will to achieve the best. However, he lacks any practical combat experience. It is to be assumed with his diligence that he will acquire these in the course of time. Since he has only been employed as company commander since 10.9.40, he cannot yet be conclusively judged.” Paul Hausser undersigned and confirmed his agreement with Kümm and Keppler.

Kaiser experienced his first active deployment in the occupation of the Netherlands. Following the success of the Western campaign Kaiser and his unit participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia, and the advance into Russia. After serving on the regimental staff from 15.2.41 until 10.7.41, Kaiser returned to his company and was awarded the Iron Cross second class in July and first class in August. Kaiser was thrown into continuous action with the division in the central sector of the front around Moscow, and wounded twice more in the combat around Kiev in late 1941 to early 1942 commanding the first battalion of the “Der Führer” regiment, when the regiment ground down and nearly destroyed. Kaiser was wounded and transferred to the military hospital at the spa town and resort at Krummhübel (now Karpacz in South-west Poland). Following his recovery Kaiser was ordered to report to the infantry replacement battalion “Der Führer” at Stralsund, returning to his unit on 1.4.42. Receiving the German Cross in Gold on 27.10.42, Kaiser was recommended for promotion due to his “outstanding bravery and enthusiasm before the enemy as a proven front-fighter” and dedication and leadership as battalion commander during the winter campaign of 1941/42. His promotion to SS-Sturmbannführer was requested on 19.2.43, along with his intended proposal for the Knight’s Cross.

During the raging fighting of the Third Battle of Kharkov, on 12.3.43 the 16./SS Rgt "Deutschland" of I./SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment "Deutschland" had penetrated the first suburbs of the Zalyutino district after overcoming the deep anti-tank ditch defended by Russian troops and anti-tank guns and had formed a bridgehead there. Against this bridgehead In the early morning hours the enemy lauched violent counterattacks, which threatened to destroy the bridgehead, and were repulsed after bloody fighting. A detachment of the division fought its way to the southern approaches of the city, cutting off the road to Merefa. The regiment sent the III./(SPW) SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment "Der Führer" in to reinforce and hold the bridgehead. At around 15:00, Hermann Hoth ordered Hausser to immediately disengage with the Das Reich, and instead redeploy to cut off escaping Soviet troops. Instead, Hausser sent a detachment from the Totenkopf division for this task and informed Hoth that the risk of disengaging with the Das Reich was far too great. It was intended to wait to penetrate the city with tanks and the SPW battalion after the arrival of a panzer battalion. Kaiser, who had preceded his battalion, decided not to reinforce the defensive front of the I./SS Panzergrenadier Regiment "D" by deploying his men, but to attack the enemy from the bridgehead in order to relieve the 1st Battalion and, if possible, to expand the bridgehead. The attack, led and planned by Kaiser, was a complete success. Not only was it possible to expand the bridgehead considerably, but it was also possible to force the enemy to retreat further. Kaiser had made this daring but risky decision without waiting for the tanks to arrive. It was thanks to his quick and courageous grasp that he managed to penetrate with the mass of the battalion as far as the station, and from there with a reconnaissance troop linked up with a reconnaissance troop from the SS Panzergrenadier Division "Adolf Hitler" who had advanced to "Red Square". By his decision to attack without waiting for the absent tanks, Kaiser and his unit ensured that on the morning of 12.3.43 the entire western part of the city was able to be taken. A Kampfgruppe with SPW’s pursued the retreating enemy, and inflicted heavy losses on the Russians in the woods south-west of Kharkov. The attack succeeded in cutting off the opponent with the capture of 40 artillery pieces. Kaiser’s Knight’s Cross proposal by acting divisional commander SS-Standartenführer Kurt Brasack stated that “Kaiser is an officer who has proven his worth in all his previous actions and whose most outstanding characteristic is his tremendous personal bravery.”

During the fighting in Kharkov, Kaiser personally destroyed four enemy tanks with hand held weapons, earning him four silver Tank Destruction Badges. Kaiser was awarded his Knight’s Cross on 6.4.43.

Continously in action, Das Reich fought at Kursk, Bjelgorod, Stepanowka, and Fastov, and on 31.8.43 Kaiser was wounded again and in the Mius area and admitted to the SS hospital in Krakow on 19.9.43 as a result of wounds sustained in the fighting East of Kharkov, with grenade shrapnel in the upper arm and a fracture from a gunshot wound. SS-Sturmbannführer Helmut Kampfe, holder of the Knight’s Cross and Close Combat Clasp in Gold took over command of Kaiser’s battalion.

Following his convalescence, as part of the SS officer reserve, Kaiser was posted to the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Schule at Prosetschnitz/Kienschlag on 8.1.44 as an instructor, and the commander of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment, the initial incarnation of the regiment was an elite, well trained and motivated demonstration unit. At Kienschlag, the Lehr Regiment helped test new weapons, such as the Sturmgewehr, and develop tactics to meet the changing conditions of the war. However, by the time Kaiser assumed command, the unit was composed of ethnic German recruits, whom Kaiser would have to attempt to weld into a combat-worthy, cohesive unit. On 4.2.44 Kaiser’s third son born during the war, Werner Kaiser was born. Shortly after the birth of his son, Kaiser’s promotion request to SS-Obersturmbannführer was submitted by Hans-Wilhelm Kempin, commander of the Panzer-Grenadier-Schule. Kempin cited Kaiser’s peacetime and extensive war experience as favourable prerequisites, enabling him in a special way to fulfill the difficult position of regimental commander. Kempin further noted, “With energy and enthusiasm Kaiser is working successfully on the further development of the Lehr regiment. His service, his personal qualities and his war awards justify his promotion.”

The regiment was sent to Hungary in March 1944, and its men were integrated into the forming 16th SS-Panzergrenadierdivision “Reichsführer-SS” where it took part in Operation “Margarethe”, the occupation of Budapest. After the regiment had been incorporated into the division, Kaiser returned to the Panzer-Grenadier-Schule and was tasked with forming the second incarnation of the Lehr regiment.

On his return to the Panzer-Grenadier Schule, on 13.10.44, Hans-Wilhelm Kempin remarked upon Ostubaf Kaiser’s upright soldierly disposition, calm temperament and perfect character. “However, due to his modest good nature, he is sometimes not hard enough on his men. He is reliable and conscientious with a tactically sufficient disposition. The good training facilities at the Panzer-Grenadier-Schule are favourable prerequisites for his leadership of his regiment. His care for his troops makes him popular with his subordinates and superiors alike, and he as respected by his comrades. He is ideologically sound.”

During his time at the training school, Kaiser was awarded the Close Combat Clasp in Gold for his fiftieth confirmed day of close combat; at age 42 he was one of the oldest recipients of that prestigious award. That Kaiser destroyed four tanks with hand held weapons at age 41, and by age 42 had accumulated fifty days of close combat is a clear indication of the man’s astonishing motivation, dedication to his chosen profession, skill at arms and personal bravery.

Whilst holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold were generally transferred from the front to serve as instructors, the deteriorating state of the war dictated that qualified combat veterans would be needed to replace the heavy losses among the officer cadres in the combat units. Therefore Kaiser was transferred with his men from the Lehr Regiment to reform the SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 38 of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen late in November 1944. This division had experienced its first combat on the invasion front in Normandy, and due to its relative inexperience and heavy losses, Kaiser’s experience and nature would prove a valuable steadying hand in the bitter fighting withdrawals as the Germans were pushed Eastwards. The division defended the “West Wall” until 18.3.45 when the Americans shattered the defence and pushed through. Ordered to the defence of Nuremberg, Kaiser took command of the fortifications in the central area of the division’s sector.

Senior party members recommended Kaiser for the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross for his defence actions around the city, and the divisional command post received a radio message on 19.4.45 confirming the award of the Oak Leaves. By 20.4.45, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 38 was virtually destroyed, and Kaiser set out for a reconnaissance in the area of the defensive fighting to determine the enemy’s movement with his adjutant. SS-Obersturmbannführer Vinzenz Kaiser and SS-Hauptsturmführer Franz Kukula, commander of the 1st battalion did not return from their reconnaissance.

The fate of Vinzenz Kaiser and Franz Kukula remained shrouded in mystery until 1976 when around 200 bodies were found in a mass grave near Nuremberg were autopsied. Franz Kukula’s body was positively identifed, with the cause of death confirmed as a shot to the back of the head at close rang. Vinzenz Kaiser’s body was never found.

Regarding Kaiser’s Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross, despite the radio message of 19.4.45, in 1999 the OdR declared the unnumbered award invalid due to the fact that the proposal had not been submitted through the proper chain of command.

Source :

Bio of Paul-Albert Kausch

SS-Obersturmbannführer Paul-Albert Kausch (March 3rd, 1911-October 27th, 2001)

By: Rich Deveau-Maxwell

Paul-Albert Kausch was born on the 3rd of March 1911 in Jagersdorf, Pomerania, the son of a protestant estate owner. Kausch attended the Potsdam Realgymnasium from 1927-1929 and the State German High School in Jüterborg and achieved his matriculation on 8th March 1933 with the following grades:

1. Religion: good
2. German: sufficient
3. History (civics): good
4. Geography: sufficient
5. Mathematics: good
6. Physics: sufficient
7. Chemistry: sufficient
8. Biology: good
9. English: good
10. French: --
11. Latin: good
12. Art: sufficient
13. Music: insufficient
14. Physical Exercise: very good

Whilst generally a good student, Kausch was a particularly passionate sportsman; music and the arts clearly did not interest him.

Paul-Albert Kausch joined the SS, and the Lebensborn, on 1st February 1933. An early assessment of Kausch dated 27.10.34 stated, “Rottenführer Kausch has been on duty in the LAH since 8.7.33. Since 1.10.33 he is a member of the 4th Sturm. Kausch is a good soldier and comrade. His behaviour during his time on and off duty is always good. During training Kausch was very special.”

On 6.1.35. Joachim Peiper reported for duty at the Juterborg camp for the Officer Cadet course. As SS-Rottenführer, Paul-Albert Kausch recalled of Peiper, “Jochen Peiper, Rüdinger von Bodungen, Max Kühn etc, were in my group. I took a lot of trouble with them and I believe it paid off, for they all graduated as suitable. I had personal contact with Jochen because he was a born soldier and had all the necessary qualifications. You would have thought that he already knew everything. I knew at the time he already belonged to the best and he showed this during the school.”

On 23.2.35. at the SS-Führeranwarterlehrgang, SS-Officer Candidate Kausch was described as “a very calm man, easily inclined to criticism, with very good comprehension and a versatile knowledge.” Kausch was deemed excellent as an instructor, with the ability to make himself understood by superiors and subordinates alike, and assessed as a convinced soldier with excellent performance, particularly in sports. His relations with comrades and his performance of administrative duties were described as exemplary.

As part of his Officer Candidate assessment, Kausch underwent a Psychological testing on 8/9 April 1935. The expert opinion of the examination school presented its psychological findings in the follwing report: “This is a sober, cool-headed, self-confident personality with a confident, purposeful appearance. The examinee has fully sufficient intellectual abilities, which he endeavours to apply to a wide range of areas. The stream of thoughts is lively and guided by higher aspects. Technical things only interest him less, although his thinking is quite factually determined, whereby he can seem impersonal and cold at times. The emotional life steps something into the background at all, for the sake of quick understanding and real judgement. His strong, persistent inner tension, which is intensified by ambition, corresponds to his serious mood, which at times makes him seem irritable and intolerable. All in all, a predominantly volitional, agile, but also quite self-confident personality with a strong interest in the soldier's profession.
Findings of the psychiatrist: a well qualified, honourable man, predominantly guided by will and understanding, in whom personal feelings remain strongly veiled, without character deficiencies becoming visible.
Special remarks of the military co-investigators: A man who is willing to work, physically and mentally agile, of a secure appearance, who can assert himself effortlessly. Suitable as a superior.
Suitability judgement of the examination school: Mentally and physically quite well qualified, tense and ambitiously striving personality, which tends sometimes towards arrogance. He has a strong urge to follow his chosen profession, but must still gain warmth of feeling to always acquire the heart of his subordinates.”

On 7.4.35, Kausch’s final evaluation at Jüterborg deemed that he met the requirements necessary, and was transferred to the SS-Führerschule Braunschweig.

A short while later at the Führerschule Braunschweig, then SS-Standartenjunker Kausch’s forceful personality would manifest itself in an incident on Wednesday, December 18, 1935, at 6.45 p.m., in an altercation with a member of the training staff, resulting in Kausch walking out of the session. As a result, the course leader SS-Haupsturmführer Rolf Lochmüller, sentenced Kausch to three days mild arrest. This minor clash with authority would reinforce the findings of the psychological examination, although it would be the only instance where Kausch allowed his true feelings to manifest themselves physically, although the incident would be remarked upon in time to come.

In January 1936 Kausch passed the final examination at the SS-Führerschule Braunschweig ranked 70 out of 147 candidates with the following grades and remarks:

1. Ideological Education: Quite Good
2. Tactical Instruction: Sufficient
3. Military Affairs: Sufficient
4. Topography and Cartography: Almost Sufficient
5. Military Service: Quite Good
6. Physical Education: Quite Good
7. Combat Weapons and Personal Weapons: Sufficient
8. Engineers Training: Quite Good
9. General Practical Army Doctrine: Quite Good
10. Horse Riding: Sufficient
11. Signals Classes: Sufficient
12. Vehicle Maintenance: Sufficient
13. Aviation: Sufficient
14. Drawing: Sufficient

“Knowledge proven and sufficient achievements shown on the whole. Very good in front and in the auditorium. Ambitious and striving with a tendency to be over-bright; slightly effervescent. Very good judgement, as well as mental and physical abilities. Very diligent. With a strong will he connects great love to soldiering. His performances are above the average. Comradely feeling is present. With the application of his arrogance and the containment of his fiery nature, Kausch promises to become a good leader. Because of this mistake Kausch had to be punished on 21.12.35 with three days mild arrest. His current leadership is very good. Suitable as a leader.” Ironically the examination was signed by the aforementioned SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Lochmüller.

Following his completion of the Führerschule Braunschweig, Kausch was transferred in April 1936 to the SS Totenkopfsturmbann “Sachsen”.

On the 17th April SS-Obersturmbannführer Jürgen Wagner commented succinctly of Kausch “Very good, a little reckless.”

Later that year, whilst with III./ Totenkopfsturmbann "Saschsen" at Konzentration-Lager Sachsenburg on 4.8.36. SS-Untersturmführer Kausch is described as of good military appearance with good military characteristics; “He is an impeccable trainer, has good military knowledge and is able to use this knowledge in practice. His duties as Zugführer are therefore completely fulfilled. It took Kausch a long time before he had settled into the III./SS-TV "Sachsen" in a more comradely way. Even now he still faces most of his comrades somewhat strangely. The blame for this lies first and foremost with an unapproachable air that at times borders on arrogance. He was also only slowly able to gain the trust of his subordinates. Kausch, however, always behaves quite correctly and now fits in in his new unit. Kausch promises to become a perfect SS leader in every respect.”

Between April 1936 and June 1937 Kausch remained with III./SS-TV “Sachsen”, and from June 1937 until May 1938 with SS-Totenkopfstandarte “Thüringen” as SS-Untersturmführer in 23 (MG) SS-Totenkopfhundertschaft. Frankenberg. On 12th May 1937 was written “since 19.4.36 Paul Kausch is a member of the 23rd (MG) Hundertschaft as Zugfuhrer. His theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabled him to become the leader of a “Hundert”. He has developed his lack of experience with great enthusiasm. His behaviour towards the men is correct. As a deficiency I feel that SS-Ustuf Kausch does not worry enough about the small concerns of his men, but I believe with certainty that SS-Ustuf Kausch, who is a very good soldier, will also become a fully developed SS-man. His performance is very good.”

Paul-Albert Kausch acknowledged receipt of the SS Honour sword and award document on 13.9.36.

From May 1938 to October 1939 Kausch served with SS-Totenkopfstandarte “Oberbayern”.

On 24 February 1939 approval was granted for the engagement and marriage of Paul-Albert Kausch, residing in SS accommodation at Dachau, to Fraulein Erika Holzschuher.
On 25.5.39 SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Eduard Deisenhofer, Kommandeur II./1.SS Standarte observed of Paul-Albert Kausch in an evaluation:

“A) Character:
1. Good qualities: open, straight, honest, sincere, reliable, responsible, dutiful, willing to serve, hardworking, economical, orderly, self-confessed, works on himself, striving for further development.
2.Bad qualities: makes personal demands.
3. Willpower: very good.
4. Decisiveness: good.
5. Hardness against oneself: good.
6. Mental freshness and disposition: very good.
7. Perceptive faculty: very good.
8. Judgment: good, slightly impulsive.
9. Outlook on life: affirmative.

B) Outer posture:
1. Cleanliness: very good.
2. Appearance and attitude: very good.
3. Behaviour towards superiors: correct.
4. Behaviour towards comrades: good.
5. Behaviour towards subordinates: good, somewhat cold.
6. Leadership aptitude: very good.
7. Takes care of his subordinates: yes.
8. Behaviour in company: very agile.
9. Physical preparedness: very good.

C) Formation:
1. Education: secondary school.
2. Served in the Army, SS-VT, Police, duration, last rank, special training: 1.6.33 to 1.4.35 LAH. Junker school, Braunschweig 35/36. Sept 38 to January 39 Heer 8./IR11.
3. Foreign languages mastered: none.
4. German language mastered in word and writing: yes!

D) Performance:
1. Masters service regulations: yes.
2. Command language: good.
3. What he teaches, he stands above the subject matter, he teaches confidently and convincingly, or is able to be superficial: impeccable.
4. Can he exercise his troop properly: yes.
5. Is he a capable trainer: yes.
6. How far his tactical knowledge reaches: Company leader.
7. What he does in field service: a) as teacher, b) as leader of his unit: a) good, b) good.
8. Which weapons does he master; he can teach about them: The weapons of the infantry battalion, - yes.
9. Does he master the doctrine for these weapons: yes.
10. How he handles internal service: strict, impeccable.
11. How does he handle the disciplinary power to which he is entitled: well, tends to sharpness.
12. Can be a role model for his men in ideological matters: yes.
13. Are the weapons, equipment and devices entrusted to him in order and complete: yes.
14. How does he do in sport; is he in possession of the sports badges: very good; yes.
15. Aptitude as an adjutant or leader in the staff: well suited.

E) Suitability Suitable as company commander, a schützen company, an MG company. Suitable as adjutant of a regiment, leader of a staff, leader of a concentration camp.

F) Overall assessment: A very capable, self-confident company commander, who will probably later also be suitable for use in higher positions. He is easily arrogant, because he knows what he can do, but with good supervision he is easy to keep in order.”

On Kausch’s brief service in the Heer as mentioned in Deisenhofer’s evaluation, Kausch was part of an exchange of Heer and SS officers for furthering the training of the SS officers. Kausch would claim that the commander of IR11 tried to persuade him to transfer permanently, with an offer of preferential promotion. Kausch returned to the Waffen-SS.

From the 1st of April to the 30th of April 1940 Kausch attended the SS Artillery School at Jüterborg. Following the completion of the course, Kausch was transferred to the 5th company of the SS-Totenkopf Artillery Regiment as a battery commander, where he would see action for the first time, during the campaign in France, as SS-Haupsturmführer.

On 1.12.1940 Theodor Eicke as Kommandeur II./SS TAR endorsed the following commentary on Kausch.
“Battery commander. Age: 29 years.

A) Character: open, honest, straight, responsible, committed, striving.

B) Value: Kausch is mentally very flexible, fresh and self-confident. His appearance testifies to trained personality values. In the service he is hard and unyielding according to necessity. His overall appearance corresponds to that of an SS officer.

C) National Socialist: Kausch is ideologically consolidated. He lives, acts and educates his subordinates by word and example according to the principles of the National Socialist ideology.

D) Soldier: Kausch is a soldierly educator from inner urge and disposition. He possesses quick decisiveness, energy, hardness and good soldier’s ability.

E) Attitude: his outer attitude is firm and soldierly. He treats his subordinates with much understanding, fair and caring. In the fighting in France, Kausch has distinguished himself through successful and responsible management of his battery, as well as through personal bravery.

F) Performance: Kausch is a good and responsible battery chief; his infantry and artillery knowledge, his organizational talent, as well as his abilities in leading a unit, Kausch has proved under most difficult conditions with the establishment of the SS TK A.R., in particular in the fighting in France. Kausch is well versed in the exercise of disciplinary and penal powers. He possesses good knowledge of human nature and clear and just judgement. To his subordinates he is a strict superior, good educator and equally good comrade. During his assignment in France, Kausch proved himself not only through his flawless management of his battery, but also through his personal bravery, and was awarded the EKII and EKI for this.

G) Overall verdict: Kausch is an impeccable, good battery commander, and his service is characterised by a lot of enthusiam for his job and an equally great sense of responsibility. Kausch has successfully attended a leadership course at the artillery school in Jüterborg.

H) aptitude: as company leader of a battery, as leader of a battalion.”

Following the successful conclusion of the French campaign, SS-Haupsturmführer Kausch received notice on 1.1.1941. of his transfer to the SS-Division “Wiking” with the position of divisional adjutant. From August 1941 until January 1942, Kausch was the commander of the 1st Battalion of “Wiking’s” Artillery Regiment.

On 30.1.1942 Kausch received his promotion to SS-Sturmbannführer, still in his capacity of divisional adjutant. He was described by Herbert Gille as “an honest, straight character who is popular with both superiors and subordinates. His services as abteilung commander meet the requirements. Well proven before the enemy.” Felix Steiner endorsed Gille’s opinion, commenting “Reliable, energetic and proven. As Battalion commander fully suitable for promotion.”

On 23.1.43 Kausch was sent to the Abteilungsfuhrerschule fur Schnelle Truppen and described as a “gifted SS leader with good tactical ability. He is inclined to criticism, but is interested in working with the new equipment and will quickly familiarise himself with the new doctrine” agreed by the Oberst and kommandeur of the schule. Shortly afterwards, from 16.3.43 - 24.3.43. The SS-FHA of SS-Pz.Gren.Div "Wiking" sent Kausch again to the Schnelle Truppenschule for a training course with the Panzer V (Panther) and Panzer VI (Tiger).

After commanding an Artillery battalion in SS-Division “Wiking” Kausch was transferred to the 11th SS-Panzergrenadier Division “Nordland”, tasked with the creation of 11th SS Panzer Battalion “Hermann von Salza” as its commander.

SS-Gruppenführer Fritz von Scholz wrote the following of SS-Sturmbannführer Kausch, “since May 1943 Kausch has commanded SS-Panzer Battalion “Hermann von Salza”; he is a solid, somewhat idiosyncratic, lively personality. He is energetic, and knows how to motivate and lead his subordinates. Mental and physical performance is fully delivered. Official knowledge and performance of official languages. Unfamiliarity in the use of tanks is balanced by personal operational readiness. Able to develop. off duty at times a little overexcitable, nevertheless popular among comrades. Worldview consolidated and clear, convincing lecturer. Proven before the enemy in all situations. Fills his position fully. Will be after further promotion a good, reliable Panzer Battalion commander.”

After “Hermann von Salza” arrived at Narva, Kausch led the mass of the unit in infantry combat to the south of Narva town, while Artur Grathwol led the one armoured company at the Narva Bridgehead. “Hermann von Salza” then took over the armour left behind by the KG Fuehrer Begleit-Bataillon, and Kausch finally led armoured attacks in the defence of the Tannenberg Line.

Wounded from 21.7-1.8.44, Kausch was recommended for (paperwork submitted 30th July 1944), and awarded the Knight’s Cross (#3437) on 23rd August 1944 for “On the 29.7.1944 the impending breakthrough of the 120. Russian Rifle Division was thwarted. That Kausch, whose command post was already surrounded, being protected by machine-pistol troops, gathered together a few men and led a counter-attack. By skilful exploitation of our own armoured attack in the neighbouring section, the gap in the front was closed again. Success: Close down the dangerous (fighting-critical) threat against the deep southern flank of the defence of the Narva-bend. On the 28.7.44 Kausch led, in lightning-fast grasp of the situation, by ruthless audacity, gathering together assault guns and panzergrenadiers, attacking the enemy on a broad front against the gap in the line. He closed the gap and prevented a breakthrough on the Reval by the enemy formations. Kausch was wounded in the conduct of an attack on the 29.7.44.

Following his convalescence, Kausch was subsequently sent on the 17th Regimental commanders training course at the Panzer Troop School Bergen from 20.11-16.12.44.

Of Kausch SS-Standartenjunker Will Fey wrote “During the final battle for Berlin, the 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division “Nordland”, with the King Tigers of SS-Panzer Abteilung 503 became the central point of the last resistance against the Red Army. On April 26th SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Krukenberg reported six King Tigers and assault guns ready for action on the routes leading to the government quarter (the “Citadel”). The King Tigers received their battle orders from Kausch’s command posts of SS-Panzer Regiment “Nordland” on the Tiergartenstrasse. On 2nd May during the breakout from the Citadel, the armoured personnel carrier with the critically wounded Paul-Albert Kausch on board was buried by a collapsing wall, injuring the commander further. The accompanying medical officer Dr. Bartak transported him to the emergency hospital at the Adlon Hotel and operated on Kausch as best possible. Around 10am the Russians came and his captivity began. After the hospital was moved to Frankfurt am Oder and after two unsuccessful escape attempts, Kausch’s long trek through many many Russian camps during eleven years of captivity began. He returned home on 16 January 1956.”

Some other camps Kausch was interred in were Minsk, Stalingrad and Sverdlovsk.

SS-Untersturmführer Karl Heinz Bögel of the LAH recalled of Kausch’s time in captivity in Prison camp 437 in Cherepovice, 400 kilometers north of Moscow. “In a camp corner there was a special barbed wire prison, about 5x5 meters in size. Paul Albert Kausch was held here. 1945: Everything was broken. Deep despair. Chaff of doom. Without hope. But there was this man, this soldier. Unbroken! Taut and disciplined, he did daily gymnastics exercises in his cage. Alone. Always! The torturers of the NKVD brutally terrorized him. His fate moved us all. He became a legend in the camp. In the first winter 2,000 prisoners died. Every day we marched past the wire cage: generals, staff officers, young lieutenants. Me too. The generals set the example: Older gentlemen, straightened up, greeted the man in the cage with great military respect. It was a ritual. I also survived. Not least because Kausch was there. I have to thank you!”

After his return to Germany, Kausch rebuilt his life; from 1st July 1956 to 30th June 1976 he worked as an executive purchaser in a worldwide pharmaceutical firm.

Sources used:
Paul-Albert Kausch Personalakte: NARA.
“Officer Training in the Waffen-SS” Richard Schulze-Kossens, 1987 by Munin Verlag.
“Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS”: Will Fey, 1990 by JJ Fedorowicz Publishing.
“Der Freiwillige”, Volume 48, Issue 4, April 2002.