Burk, Karl, born on 14-03-1898, in Hessen, the son of a farmer. In 1913 he joined the Bavarian army and last served in the First World War in 1918 as a Underofficer. He remained a soldier in artillery regiments after the war. In 1927 he became Oberwachtmeister.. In 1933, he joined the NSDAP (membership number 1.848.222) and the SS (membership number 68.910) as the SS Hauptscharführer. He commanded the 8th SS Standard Lower Silesia (like regiment) at the beginning of World War II in 1939 and was then deployed in the upper section southeast.
He became a SS Brigade Führer and General of the Waffen SS . To 01-08-1942, Burk was the first commander when the Flak-Abteilung. “Ost” was established. The SS-FHA ordered a reorganization of that formation in August 1942 and it became the Flak Abteilung of the SS Kavallerie Brigade with Sturmbannführer Helmut Barthelmes as its first commander. Karl Burk was awarded the German Cross in Gold , on 05-11-1942 and promoted to SS-Standartenführer . Burk as SS Brigade Führer had his last command of the 15th SS “Latvian I.” Waffen Grenadier Division , until the end of the war, he succeeded SS Oberführer, Führer 15th SS-Freiwilligen Division, Adolf Ax
. The 15th SS Waffen-Grenadier-Division, Lettische Nr. 1, was a division of the Waffen SS, with first commander SS-Brigadeführer Peter Hansen . Hansen died 23-05-1967, age 70, in Viersen. The division was raised in November 1943 from the Lettischen SS Freiwilligen Legion, enlarged to a Division and active on the Eastern Front. The members were mainly Letten, recruited by the Reichskommissariat Ostland in the Baltissch States. Several Regiments were organized like the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Legion, later the 15th Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS where he took over the command of SS Oberführer Adolf Ax .
In Podgaje on 02-02-1945 members of this division committed a war crime when, together with members of the SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade “Nederland” , under command of SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Wagner , 32 soldiers of the Polish 1st Army were tied up in a barn with barbed wire and locked up. set the barn on fire. Some members of the division had previously been members of the Arājs Kommando, commanded by SS-Sturmbannführer Viktors Arājs , also members of the division, a unit of the Latvian Hilfspolizei, commanded by the Sicherheitsdienst. After the war, Jürgen Wagner was extradited to Yugoslavia by the Americans and was executed on 27-06- 1947, age 45, for war crimes committed within his command range in 1941.
On 21-12-1979, Arājs was found guilty in the State Court of Hamburg of having on 08-12-1941 conducted the Jews of the greater Riga Ghetto to their deaths by the mass shootings in the Rumbula forest. For participation in the murder of 13,000 people, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. On 13-01-1988, on his 78th birthday, Arājs died in solitary confinement in a prison in Kassel.
The command was responsible for the deaths of some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews. Total casualties amongst 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. The 15th Division was surrounded by the Russian near Neustrelitz, broke out and surrendered to the American Forces, near Schwerin.
Death and burial ground of Burk, Karl.
After the war Burk lived in Fritzlar, until his death at the age of 65, on 23-09-1963 and is buried on the Georgengasse cemetery, in Fritzlar.