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Knight's Cross And Oak-Leaves Recipient Heinz Reinefarth

Discussion in 'German WWII Medals and Awards' started by Jim, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    SS-Gruppenfuhrer Heinz Reinefarth

    Heinz Reinefarth was born in Gnesen in the district of Posnan, West Prussia, on 26 December 1903. A lawyer by profession, he joined the Allgemeine-SS, serving in its legal department: he reached the rank of SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer (equivalent to a captain) before mobilisation of the German Army saw him called up for military service. Despite his commissioned rank in the SS, he was taken into the Army as an NCO and served with Infanterie-Regiment 337, part of 208.1nfanterie-Division, winning the Iron Cross Second Class during the Polish campaign and the First Class on 28 May 1940 during the campaign in the West. On 25 June 1940, Feldwebel Reinefarth was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
    After the successful conclusion of the campaign in the West, Reinefarth was demobilised and joined the Ordnungspolizei, the police administrative service, rising rapidly through the ranks. He served in occupied Bohemia-Moravia as Inspector of General Administration from June 1942 to June 1943, reaching the rank of Brigadefuhrer und Generalmajor der Polizei. From June to December 1943, he served in various administrative capacities at the Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei in Berlin. He was mobilised again in 1944. this time into the Waffen-SS (the Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler was also endowed with the title of Chef der Deutschen Polizei). In August 1944 he was promoted to SS-Gruppenfuhrer unde General-leutnant der Polizei. Reinefarth commanded a Kampfgruppe, serving under the Hohere SS-und Polizei Fuhrer, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, during the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising. Despite his own distinguished conduct during the French campaign, Reinefarth was not a good commander at this level and troops under his command behaved with considerable barbarity during these operations. Despite his less than impressive performance, Oak-Leaves were added to Reinfarth's Knight's Cross on 30 September for his part in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising.

    Heinz Reinefarth rose from the ranks of a humble Feldwebel with the Army to become an SS-Gruppenfuhrer and Generalmajor of the Police. Despite the personal bravery he had displayed in his early military career, he is better known for the atrocities of the security troops under his command in Poland in 1944.


    In December 1944 he was appointed as commander of XVIII SS-Armeekorps and commanded the fortress area of Kustrin on the Oder Front. His final post was as commander of XIV SS- Armee-Korps. He was captured by the British at the end of the war, and despite demands for his extradition by the Poles, he was exonerated at the end of his trial. He entered politics, becoming a member of the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein in 1958. No charges were ever brought against him for the atrocities committed by troops under his command, and he died in retirement in 1979.

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