Agricola, Kurt

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Agricola, Kurt, born on 15-08-1889 in Döbeln, into an Saxon family that traced its roots back in the 16th century. He was the second and youngest son of Rudolf Agricola (03-10-1860 – 29-07-1914), an officer of the Royal Saxon Army who finally rose to the rank of Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) and became director of the Garrison Administration (Garnisonsverwaltung–Direktor) of Dresden, and Elisabeth, born Drenkmann (14-05-1865 – 23-10-1937), whose family was elevated to nobility  in 1901 (whereupon her birth name changed to “von Drenkmann”). He had an older brother, Werner Eduard Alfred Agricola (19-08-1887 – 29-06-1962). Little is known of his early life; he attended the Gymnasium in Leipzig (König–Albert–Gymnasium) and Dresden. Agricola started his military career on 01-04-1908 as a Fähnrich in the 12th Königlich Sächsische Infantry Regiment Nr 177 , age 18 . On 19-08-1909 he was promoted to Leutnant. As the first war started he as battalion adjutant in his regiment was on the Western front and involved in the battle at the Marne river. Promoted to Oberleutnant on 01-12-1914 and one month later as Regiment adjutant. For his behavior on the front he was awarded with the Military St. Heinrichs Medalle.  He was sent to a General Staff course in January 1918 during one month and ended the war on the Western front. He was allowed in the new Reichswehr

136_001 as Company Chief of the 24th Infantry Regiment. He became an Oberst on 01-04-1932 and from 01-12-1934 as commander of the Infantry Regiment Breslau. Promoted to Generalmajor on 01-01-1938 and at the same time commander of the Fortress Oppeln.  Agricola retired, age 48, on 31-01-1938. Agricola was in the Staff of the 4th Infantry Division, under Generaloberst der Infanterie, Hans Friessner
but didn’t see the battlefields from a short distance as he was placed to the disposal of the Army. However, his aspiring career ended abruptly in January 1939, when he was sent into retirement on political grounds because of his marriage to a Jewish woman.
For a staunchly antisemitic regime such as the Nazi one, and with the implementation of racial laws, marriage with a Jewish woman could be a threat to an officer’s career as well as life. His personal papers indirectly reveal that Agricola had been put on watch list for racial reasons. Soon, his own ancestry came under official, if indirect, investigation. Initially, Agricola was asked to prove (and was able to do so) his “Aryan” ancestry (up until his great–grandfathers) in 1937. As the effect of the Nazi racial policies became more dangerous to the life of his wife and the couple’s children — naturally classified as Mischlinge — Agricola was forced to divorce his wife, who afterwards fled to South America. Agricola also sent their children to the Bethel Institution in Bielefeld  for their own protection. Reactivated he became again the commander of Opplen, until 19-12-1941. Following commander of the rear war area and Field Commander of Kursk. He became the rank of Generalleutnant on 01-08-1943, with the command of the Field Command Korück 580, in the rear area of the 2nd Army  under command of General der Infanterie Walter Weiss  , with headquarters in Kromy on 19-12-1941, with the battle for Moscow in full swing, succeeding the 64–year old Generalleutnant Johan Ludwig Müller  , who had requested his relief because of a heart ailment. Johan Ludwig Müller surrendered to the Soviet forces in August 1944 and was held in the Soviet Union as a war criminal until 1955.  He died  age 80 on 28-06-1972 in Ettlingen.
Korück 580 was the sole formation responsible for the protection of approximately 37.000 km2 of occupied territory, 800 km of railway (including the vital Kursk-Oryol line), 500 km of roads and 320 bridges. The forces at the Korück’s disposal were insufficient for such a task, merely 800 men of questionable fighting value, as better trained and equipped units were urgently needed to fight at the front. To make matters worse, those forces had to deal with 2.000 to 2.500 armed partisans in the harsh conditions of the Russian winter. In short, as a rear area commander, Agricola faced an extremely difficult task.
Agricola, finally given a chance to prove himself as commander, addressed the problems energetically. He quickly came to the conclusion that major anti–partisan actions were impossible to conduct due to the extreme conditions and the lack of forces, so he opted to concentrate and fortify his available forces in key positions. It was due to his persistence that the 2nd Army yielded to his requests and reinforced him with over 10.000 Hungarian troops until May 1942. During these months, Agricola’s units battled fiercely with partisans
  , succeeding in killing over 7.200, according to official reports. It is argued that the relatively heavy casualties of the Korück’s troops — 1.161 dead, wounded and missing — and the number of captured enemy weapons indicated that Agricola, in contrast with the typical occupation policy of the time, was not focused (at least exclusively) in reprisals against the civilian population, in the hope of terrorizing and weakening the partisan movement. Korück 580 was ultimately successful in eliminating the local partisan threat until the summer of 1942.
The youngest Lieutenant General in WWII with 36, was Theodor “the Mad” Tolsdorff 
  , the youngest General, with 42, Walther “The General Boy” Wenck
. The German Golden Cross Agricola received on 15-12-1943. Agricola landed in the Führer Reserve OKH (see Hitler) (did you know) (see William Hitler), since 15-04-1945. Shortly after the war’s end, he was arrested by Soviet authorities, convicted of war crimes and remained in captivity for a decade. He served his sentence in the labor camps of Karaganda in Kazakhstan and Vorkuta in the Komi Republic.  On 09-10-1955, the POW transport carrying the 32 officers, with Agricola reached the West German town of Herleshausen, a few kilometers west of the borders with East Germany. By then, two months after his 66th birthday, Agricola had spent over ten years in captivity, and his health was deteriorating. The release of the prisoners because of the intervention of Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer the new German Chancellor, who succeeded to convince Josef Stalin, to let go the last 5.000 prisoners of war, most soldiers from the Stalingrad debacle, the turning point of World War II.

Death and burial ground of Agricola, Kurt.

 After his repatriation, Agricola was reunited with his family and remarried his former wife, who had in the meanwhile returned from South America where she had fled the Nazis in the late 1930s. On 27-12-1955, however, just two months after he was released, Kurt Agricola died in Bad Godesberg near Bonn and was buried in the nearby cemetery in Bonn’s district Kessenich. Only steps away the grave of SS Gruppenführer, Kommandeur der XXXXIV Heeresgruppe, , Friedrich “Fritz” Koch.
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