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Wilhelm Mohnke, 15 March 1911 – 6 August 2001, was one of the original members of the SS-Staff Guard (Stabswache) Berlin formed in March 1933. From those ranks, Mohnke rose to become one of Adolf Hitler’s last remaining generals. He joined the Nazi Party in September 1931.
With the SS Division Leibstandarte, Mohnke participated in the fighting in France, Poland, and the Balkans. He was appointed to command a regiment in the SS Division Hitlerjugend in 1943. He led the unit in the Battle for Caen, receiving the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 11 July 1944. Mohnke was given command of his original division, the Leibstandarte, during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.
During the Battle of Berlin, Mohnke commanded the Kampfgruppe Mohnke and was charged with defending the Berlin government district, including the Reich Chancellery and the Reichstag. He was investigated after the war for war crimes, including allegations that he was responsible for the murder of prisoners in France in 1940, Normandy in June 1944 and Belgium in December 1944. He was never charged and died in 2001, aged 90.
Artur Gustav Martin Phleps, 29 November 1881 – 21 September 1944, was an Austro-Hungarian, Romanian and German army officer who held the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS (lieutenant general) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. An Austro-Hungarian Army officer before and during World War I, he specialized in mountain warfare and logistics, and had been promoted to Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) by the end of the war. During the interwar period, he joined the Romanian Army, reaching the rank of Major General, and also became an adviser to King Carol. After he spoke out against the government, he was sidelined and asked to be dismissed from the army.
In 1941 he left Romania and joined the Waffen-SS as an SS-Standartenführer (colonel) under his mother’s maiden name of Stolz. Seeing action on the Eastern Front as a regimental commander with the SS Motorised Division Wiking, he later raised and commanded the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen, raised the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian), and commanded the V SS Mountain Corps. Units under his command committed many crimes against the civilian population of the Independent State of Croatia, the German-occupied territory of Serbia and Italian governorate of Montenegro. His final appointment was as a plenipotentiary general in south Siebenbürgen and the Banat, during which he organized the evacuation of the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) of Siebenbürgen to the Reich. In addition to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, Phleps was awarded the German Cross in Gold, and after he was killed in September 1944, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross.
Gerhard “Gerd” Pleiß, May 24, 1901 – February 2, 1985, was the commander of 3rd SS Division Totenkopf following the death of Theodor Eicke in February 1943. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
He was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS on April 20, 1944. On October 30, 1944, he became the commanding officer of the 1st SS-Panzerkorps Leibstandarte and led it during the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Hermann Prieß was convicted of war crimes because of his involvement in the Malmedy massacre and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He was released in 1954.
August Schmidhuber, 8 May 1901 – 19 February 1947was an SS-, Brigadeführer of the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen from 20 January 1944 to 8 May 1945, and the 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian) from May 1944 onwards.
During the anti-partisan warfare in Kosovo, Schmidhuber issued orders to kill prisoners and burn villages. Convicted of war crimes in Yugoslavia, he was executed on 27 February 1947 in Belgrade.
Max Simon, 6 January 1899 – 1 February 1961, was a German SS commander during World War II. Simon was one of the first members of the SS in the early 1930s. He rose through the ranks of the SS and became a corps commander during World War II. After the war, Simon was convicted for his role in the Marzabotto reprisal.
Felix Martin Julius Steiner, 23 May 1896 – 12 May 1966, was an Obergruppenführer in the Waffen-SS during World War II, who commanded several SS divisions and corps. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Together with Paul Hausser, he contributed significantly to the development and transformation of the Waffen-SS into a military force made up of volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and unoccupied lands.
Steiner was chosen by Heinrich Himmler to oversee the creation of and then command the elite SS Division Wiking. In 1943, he was promoted to the command of the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps. On 28 January 1945, Steiner was placed in command of the 11th SS Panzer Army, which formed part of a new ad-hoc formation to protect Berlin from the Soviet armies advancing from the Vistula River.
On 21 April, during the Battle for Berlin, Steiner was placed in command of Army Detachment Steiner, while Adolf Hitler ordered Steiner to envelop the 1st Belorussian Front through a pincer movement, advancing from the north of the city. However, as his exhausted unit was outnumbered by ten to one, Steiner made it clear that he did not have the capacity for a counter-attack on 22 April during the daily situation conference in the Führerbunker.
After the capitulation of Germany, Steiner was imprisoned and indicted as part of the Nuremberg Trials. He was cleared of war crimes charges and released in 1948. He was a founding member of HIAG, a lobby group of negationist apologists, founded by former high-ranking Waffen-SS personnel in 1951 to campaign for the legal, economic and historical rehabilitation of the Waffen-SS.
Jürgen Stroop (born Josef Stroop), 26 September 1895, Detmold, Germany – 6 March 1952, Warsaw, Poland, was an SS General during World War II. He is best known for being in command against the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and for writing the Stroop Report, a book-length account of the operation. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, Stroop was prosecuted during the Dachau Trials and convicted of murdering nine American POWs. After his extradition to the People’s Republic of Poland, Stroop was tried, convicted, and hanged for crimes against humanity.
Karl von Oberkamp
Karl von Oberkamp, 30 October 1893 – 4 May 1947, was a German Waffen-SS commander during World War II. During his SS career, he commanded the SS Division Prinz Eugen, the SS Division Nibelungen, and the V SS Mountain Corps.
Following World War II, Oberkamp was extradited to Yugoslavia, where he was tried for war crimes. He was sentenced to death and hanged in Belgrade on 4 May 1947.
Theodor Wisch, 13 December 1907 – 11 January 1995, was a high-ranking member of the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a commander of the SS Division Leibstandarte (LSSAH) and a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. He assumed command of the LSSAH in April 1943. He was seriously wounded in combat on the Western Front by a naval artillery barrage in the Falaise Pocket on 20 August 1944, and replaced as division commander by SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke.
Fritz Witt, 27 May 1908 – 14 June 1944, was a German Waffen-SS officer who served with the 1.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler before taking command of the 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend. Witt was killed by an allied naval barrage in 1944.
Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff, 13 May 1900 – 17 July 1984, was a high-ranking member of the Waffen-SS, ultimately holding the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS. He became Chief of Personal Staff to the Reichsführer (Heinrich Himmler) and SS Liaison Officer to Hitler until his replacement in 1943. He ended World War II as the Supreme Commander of all SS forces in Italy. After the war, Wolff was also a central witness as to the alleged plot to kidnap Pope Pius XII.
Joachim Ziegler, 2 October 1904 – 2 May 1945, was a high-ranking commander in the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a commander of the SS Division Nordland and was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.