- Lasch, Otto
General der Infanterie. Defender of “Festung Königsberg”.
- 25-06-1895, Pless, Oberschlesien.
- 28-04-1971, age 77, Bad Godesberg.
Bad Godesberg, Zentralfriedhof. Abt XIV-Grab 682.
Otto Lasch, born on 25-06-1895 in Pleß, as son of the high master forrester of the Prince of Pless in Silesia. Lasch after graduation took part in World War I in the Jäger-Battalion „Fürst Bismarck“ Nr. 2 in Kulm. (see Bismarck) After 1918 he joined the Police Service and in 1935 the Wehrmacht. He advanced to the rank of Lieutenant General and functioned as Commandant of Königsberg in East Prussia from November 1944.
This place was an important medieval defensive bastion and consisted of the capital of the first German provinces conquered by the Soviets when changing the course of the war. Erich Koch was the Gauleiter of Königsberg and sent all kinds of falsh reports to Berlin, which Hitler believed and made him powerful. Koch was appointed as head of the Volkssturm of East Prussia on 25-11-1944 and had no merrcy for anyone serving under him, no retreat allowed, not one step. However as the Red Army advanced into his area during 1945, coward Erich Koch initially fled Königsberg to Berlin at the end of January after condemning the Wehrmacht from attempting a similar breakout from East Prussia. He then returned to the far safer town of Pillau, "where he made a great show of organizing the marine evacuation using Kriegsmarine radio communications, before once more getting away himself" by escaping through this Baltic Sea port on 23-04-1945, on the icebreaker Ostpreußen. From Pillau through Peninsula, Rügen, and Copenhagen, he arrived at Flensburg, where he hid himself after unsuccessfully demanding that a U-boat take him to South America. He was captured by British forces in Hamburg in May 1949. He was transfrred to Poland were he was condemned to lifelong imprisonment, at Barczewo. Koch appeared in a television report on Königsberg's history in 1986, interviewed by West German journalists in his Polish prison cell. He remained unrepentant to the end, arguing that he would never have surrendered as "it was a matter of honour". He died shortly thereafter of natural causes in prison at Barczewo, Poland, at the age of 90, on 12-11-1986, as the last war criminal to serve a term in Poland. Instead of supporting Lasch's efforts to evacuate civilians and organize a serious defense, the Fuhrer (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know) lectured him on the "iron will" good National Socialists needed and sent him the People's Storm force, the Volkssturm, comprised of old, very young and frequently disabled men, often without basic equipment. Many carried obsolete Italian M-91 Carcanos without ammunition or even the enbloc magazines needed to make the rifles operate as repeaters. In order to prepare itself against the offensive it created a defensive belt of 53 kilometers around the city. Following heavy fighting and surrounding of the city during the Battle of Königsberg by the Soviet Forces of 36 divisions against Lasch's three badly damaged divisions, he in his bunker
decided to surrender his garrison troops, to the Red Army forches under General Rokossovsky's (see Rokossovsky), 09-04-1945. Hitler convicted him in absentia and his family to the death penalty. His wife and daughters were arrested in Berlin and Denmark. Josef Goebbels (see Goebbels) (did you know) was still the Gauleiter of Berlin. However at the end of the war they were released. Lasch was to remain until 1953 in Soviet labor camp captivity in Workuta, but was released late October 1955, when due to Adenauer’s (see Adenauer) intervention during his Moscow visit remaining 5000 German war prisoners were released in 1947. Lasch died in Bonn on 28-04-1971, age 77 and is buried with his wife Lisette, born Wrögel, who died age 69, on 01-06-1968, on the cemetery of Bad Godesberg, Zentralfriedhof. Close by the graves of other WWII Generals, Hans von Hanstein (see Hanstein), Lothar von Block (see Block), Heinrich Claes (see Claes) and Hans Georg von Seidel (see Seidel).