Crisolli, Wilhelm.

Back to all people

- Medals


Crisolli, Wilhelm, born 20-01-1895 in Berlin of Italian descent, His father was Giuseppe Fulvio Pio, Conte Crisolli, and his mother, donna Maria Francesca Aganetti, of a burgher banking family of the North of Italy, in Venetia, Lombardy and Piedmont. Wilhelm joined the Army Service on 14-08-1914, age  with the 4th Horse Jäger Regiment as a Fahnrich. He followed a Fahnenjunker course in Döberitz until 12-12-1914. Transferred  to the 5th Squadron of the 4th Horse Jäger Regiment in the field of the first war on 14-12-1914 until 10-07-1916. Commandant of the Grand Headquarters until 04-05-1917. Then detached to the Field War School Course and assigned as Leutnant and court officer of the 15th Reserve Jäger Battalion until 05-08-1917. He served with different Jäger Regiments and at the end of the war remained in the 100.000 men new Reichswehr,  as Adjutant of the Guards Jäger Battalion.

Promoted to Rittmeister/Hauptmann on 01-02-1931, Major on 01-11-1935 and Oberstleutnant on 01-08-1938 as Tactics Instructor at the war school in Potsdam  to 10-11-1938. Commander of the 1st Battalion of the 9th Cavalry Rifle Regiment from 10-11-1938. Commander of the III Battalion of the 8th Rifle Regiment from 26-08-1939 to 03-06-1940 in the battle of France.Crisolli was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 15-07-1941 during Operation Barbarossa , in which he took part in the offensive to the Caucasus and the Battle of Kursk.

Although Hitler lost the battle for Britain, he opened a second front in the east. On 22-06-1941 he invaded the Soviet Union, the start of ‘Operation Barbarossa’. Because Hitler surprised Jozef Stalin, the attack is initially successful. At the end of September the Germans encircled Leningrad. Millions of Russians die or are taken prisoner of war. However, in December, when winter sets in and the Germans are in front of Moscow, the advance comes to a standstill. The Russians counterattacked and inflicted their first defeat on the Eastern Front on the Germans. In May 1942, the Soviet army tried to recapture Kharkiv, but the Germans hit back hard and also conquered Crimea. About 250,000 Russians are killed in these battles and an equal number are taken prisoner of war.

Appointed as commander of the 8th Rifle Regiment to 31-01-1942, meanwhile an Oberst and severely wounded in hospital . Wilhelm  landed in the Führer Reserve until 01-05-1942 and assigned as commander of the 13th Rifle Brigade. Again in the Führer Reserve to 25-07-1943 and at the same time delegated with the leadership of the 13th Panzer Division  where he succeeded Generalleutnant Hellmuth von der Chevallerie to Mai 1943.

Again in the Führer Reserve of the Army Group South and delegated with the leadership of the 6th Panzer Division , succeeding Generalleutnant Walther von Hünersdorff 

  to 22-08-1943. Soldier of this Panzer Division executed an unknown number of black prisoners of war from the 12th Senegalese Tirailleurs regiment  in mid-June 1940. It is estimated that, of the 40,000 black soldiers from the French colonies engaged in combat with German forces during the battle of France 1,500 to 3,000 were executed either during or after combat

Crisolli was again in the Führer Reserve OKH  to 25-11-1943. Assigned as commander of the 20th Luftwaffe Field Division  to 12-09-1944, now a Generalmajor.In 1943, Crisolli was dispatched with the 20th Luftwaffen Sturm Division to Italy to defend it from the Allied Powers, who had landed in Sicily on 10-07-1943.

Death and burial ground of Crisolli, Wilhelm.

 Wilhelm Crisolli was killed in a partisans ambush while on the move to Modena on 12-09-1944, age 49 and posthumously promoted to Generalleutnant. This was a few weeks before the Germans launched a massive anti-partisan assault in the Bologna area, which became known as the Monte Sole massacre or the Massacre of Marzabotta. Reference Monte Sole Massacre, south of Bologna September 29- October 2. It is interesting that some units of the Herman Göring 

  Division participated in this “mopping-up” action–sending Luftwaffe troops to take retribution for the killing of a Luftwaffe officer. The Marzabotto massacre was a World War II war crime consisting in a mass murder of at least 770 civilians by Nazi’s, which took place in the territory around the small village of Marzabotto. Giovanni Fornasini, age 29, a parish priest and member of the Resistance, risked his life to protect the population from the Nazis during the massacres. While Fornasini saved the lives of many of his parishioners and managed to escape immediate death, he was later discovered by an SS officer while he was burying the bodies of those killed in the massacre, which was forbidden by the Nazis. The officer accused him of crimes committed in the Marzabotto area. When Fornasini confessed to having helped the villagers avoid execution, the officer shot and killed him. It is also the deadliest mass shooting in the history of Italy.

 , in the mountainous area south of Bologna. It was the worst massacre of civilians committed by the Waffen SS  in Western Europe during the war. In 1998, on the 54th anniversary of the massacre, the German President Johannes Rau made a formal apology to Italy and expressed his “profound sorrow and shame” to the families of the victims of Marzabotto.

Wilhelm Crisolli is buried on the German war cemetery Futa Pas Cimitero Militaire, Firenzuola, Provincia di Firenze, Toscana in Italy.

 firenzuola_cimitero_militare_germanico_della_futa_8 (1)



Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *