Dietrich, Josef “Sepp”, born on 28-05-1892 in Hawangen, Bavaria, 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. Prior to 1929 he was Adolf Hitler’s chauffeur (did you know) and bodyguard but received rapid promotion after his participation in the murder of Hitler’s political opponents during the Night of the Long Knives. SA leader Ernst Julius Röhm and his adjutant Edmund Heines and August Schneidhuber and many more were murdered, as well Kurt von Schleicher, a former chancellor and General Werner Freiherr von Fritsch. Sepp Dietrich was the illegitimate son of Kreszentia Dietrich, who later married Pelagius Milz, a coachman, who became Dietrich’s stepfather. Before the war Dietrich worked as hotel boy, servant and coachman and butcher and still was an animal lover . In In 1911 he voluntarily joined the Bavarian Army with the 4. Bayerische Feldartillerie-Regiment “König” (4th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment) in Augsburg. In the First World War, he served with the Bavarian Field artillery and he served with the artillery, as a paymaster sergeant and later in the first German tank troops. He was promoted Gefreiter in 1917 and awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class In 1918 he was promoted Unteroffizier. Last Bavarian army record lists Dietrich as recipient of Iron Cross 1st Class and Bavarian Military Merit Order 3rd Class with swords . 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, butcher, policeman, foreman, farm labourer, beerhall brawler, petrol station attendant and customs office. Dietrich had been introduced to Nazism by Christian Weber
, who was his employer at the Tankstelle-Blau-Bock filling station in Munich. A much-hated SS General in Munich, Weber was killed by Bavarian insurrectionists just after the collapse of the Third Reich, age 61 on 11-05-1945. Dietrich’s role earned him a nineteen-month sentence from a postwar court. Dietrich joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1928, NSDAP Nr. 89015 and SS Nr. 1.117 and became commander of Hitler’s (see Hitler Paula) Schutzstaffel (SS) bodyguard. In summer 1934, Dietrich played an active role in the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler along with Dietrich and a unit from the Leibstandarte travelled to Bad Wiessee to personally oversee Ernst Julius Röhm‘s arrest on 30 June.
After that 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 later earned him a nineteen-month sentence from a postwar court. When World War II began, Dietrich led the Leibstandarte during the German advance into Poland and later the Netherlands/Rotterdam . After the Rotterdam bombardment, with 650 killed civilians and surrender, the Leibstandarte moved south to France on 24 May 1940 and led the Hitler 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 I.SS-Panzerkorps , attached to Army Group Center, under Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Commander 16th Army, Ernst Busch, on the Eastern Front. The Leibstandarte had the next commanders, from 15-08-1938–July 1943 SS Oberst General of the Waffen SS, Sepp Dietrich, from July 1943-20-08-1944 SS Brigade Commander and Major General of the Waffen SS, Theodore Wisch. From 20-08-1944–06-02-1945 SS-Standartenführer, one of Adolf Hitler’s last remaining Generals, Wilhelm Mohnke. From 06-02-1945–08-05-1945, SS Brigade Commander and Major General of the Waffen SS, Commander 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH), Otto Kumm . Total casualties among the Waffen-SS will probably never be known, but one estimate indicates that they suffered 180.000 dead, 400.000 wounded, and 40.000 missing. World War II casualties indicates that the Waffen-SS suffered 314.000 killed and missing, or 34.9 per cent. By comparison, the United States Army suffered 318.274 killed and missing in all theatres of the war. In 1943, he was sent to Italy to recover Benito Mussolini mistress, Clara Petacci. He received numerous German military medals but also became notorious for his mistreatment of prisoners of war. On 17 December, Kampfgruppe Joachim “Jochen” Peiper under his overall 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. Interestingly, Dietrich was already becoming disillusioned with Hitler’s war leadership and is said to have told Field Marshal Erwin Rommel that if he sought a separate peace on the Western Front, he would support him. Dietrich commanded tank troops in Vienna but failed to prevent Soviet troops from taking the city. Accompanied by his wife, Dietrich surrendered on 09-05-1945 to Master-Sergeant Herbert Kraus
of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division, nickname “Arrowhead”. . The casualties of the 36th Infantry Division during ww2: 1,681, 663 wounded and some 875 men were reported missing and later it was confirmed that 500 had been captured by the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division under Generalleutnant Ernst-Günther Baade . Baade was wounded on 24-04-1945, when his staff car was strafed by a British fighter aircraft near Neverstaven in Holstein. He died of gangrene, age 47, in a hospital at Bad Segeberg on 08-05-1945. Dietrich’s formal military education was sparse and many critics have said command of an army was beyond his competence. Many of the German Army Generals looked down upon him in this regard, especially members of the General Staff. However, Dietrich was an acknowledged expert small-unit tactician and no one questioned his personal bravery since he was a lead-from-the-front type of commander. The troops that he led appreciated his rough humor and identification with the soldiers on the front lines. Dietrich was also smart enough to appoint highly capable officers to his staff to handle the technical aspects of higher command, leaving him free to exercise overall command. He after the war remained friends with SS Obergruppenführer, Kommandeur 12 SS LSSAH, “Hitlerjugend” , Panzer Meyer, SS Standartenführer, Kommandeur SS Panzer Reg 1 “LSSAH”, Joachim Peiper, SS Standartenführer, Falaise Pocket, 12th SS Panzer Division, Max Wünsche and SS Sturmbannführer, 1st SS Division Leibstandarte Otto Günsche, Hitler’s bodyguard, he would burn the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun. (Braun parents)
Dietrich was married twice. His first wife was Barbra “Betti” Seidl”, born 24-04-1896.
They were married on 17-02-1921 and were divorced in April 1937. Hitler with the first Mrs, Sepp Dietrich, Barbara from Munich, who was the sister of Sepp’s lawyer during his various war crime trials postwar, Alfred Seidl . Sepp Dietrich, a women lover, was a regular visitor of the dangerous Berlin’s top brothel the Kitty ” Pension Schmidt“ in Berlin. Sepp and Barbra were still married when Sepp began seeing another, younger woman and this lady he married on 19–01-1942, the 22 year old Ursula Moninger-Brenner, who had married future SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei Karl-Heinrich Brenner in 1935. Karl-Heinrich Brenner died age 58, on 14-02-1958, in Karlsruhe. Ursula’s father was the owner of the famous Moninger brewery in Karlsruhe that is still in business. Born 26-03- 1915 she was 22 when they met at Horcher’s Restaurant in Berlin in 1937. Sepp was 45 more than twice her age. The marriage endured the end of the war and his long imprisonments for 24 years, until his death in 1966 Barbara “Betti” died in 1983 and had three sons,
Dietrich’s and Mrs. Moninger-Brenner’s first 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 20-03-1943, with SS Reichsführer, Heinrich Himmler as the boy’s godfather. Dietrich’s third son, Götz-Hubertus , was born in Karlsruhe on 23-11-1944 and he has all his father’s decorations; Himmler was again the godfather. Thus, despite the fact that Himmler was the godfather of his offspring, the Reichsführer was the only man Sepp ever really hated in his career.
Death and burial ground Dietrich, Josef “Sepp”.
Sepp Dietrich lived in Ludwigsburg and died of heart failure in bed, on 21-04-1966, at the age of 73 and Hitler birthday and he would have been 79 years old then, A 6.000 old comrades joined his funeral on the Neuer Friedhof of Ludwigsburg. He was eulogized by former SS-Oberstgruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS
Kommandeur General II SS Panzerkorps, Paul “Papa” Hausser and SS Obergruppenführer, Kommandeur der SS-Division “LSSAH”, Wilhelm Bittrich. Bittrich, the same man who not much earlier, on 29-06-1966, had stated: “I once spent an hour and a half trying to explain a situation to Sepp Dietrich with the aid of a map. It was quite useless. He understood nothing at all” . Close by the grave of Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Commander of the 227th Infantry Division in Holland’s invasion in 1940, Friedrich Zickwolff ( see Jan Ackermans). Several people informed me begin 2015 that Dietrich’s gravestone meanwhile is removed.
Cemetery location Dietrich, Josef “Sepp”.