Falkenstein, Hans Freiherr von, born on 12-09-1893 in Dresden, as the son of the Saxon Generalmajor Julius Johan Franz Ernst Moritz Freiherr von Falkenstein , entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the 100th Grenadier Regiment . With this Regiment he went into the fields of the first war and was as a Company Leader in British captivity on 30-08-1918 until 26-10-1919, as he was released. He was allowed in the new Reichswehr and with the outbreak of World War II he was Commander of the 7th Machine Gun Battalion, to 10-01-1940. Commander of the 103rd Infantry Regiment to 20-12-1941 and commander of the 14th Rifle Brigade to 20-02-1943. He landed in the Führer Reserve (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know), to 20-03-1943 and delegated with the command of the 707th Infantry Division , to 25-04-1943. The 707th infantry division was one of the very few large Wehrmacht units that took part in the murdering of Jews on a great scale. Later in June the 707th division was encircled and destroyed by Soviet forces near Bobruisk. It was formally disbanded on 03-08- 1944.
Almost all of the division’s officers and enlisted personnel willingly took part in these killings; the small number who refused were only lightly punished. This operation was initiated by their commander Generalmajor Mauchenheim, genannt Bechtolsheim, Freiherr Gustav Maria Benno von, who issued orders explicitly calling for the “annihilation” and “extermination” of Jews. Other German Army units undertook similar killings.
Von Falkenstein became commander of the 45th Infantry Division succeeding Generalleutnant Friedrich „Fritz“ Karl Kühlwein , from 01-05-1943 to 01-12-1943 and in the Reserve again to 25-02-1944. General Kühlwein survived the war and died age 79, on 25-09-1972 in Nürnberg. Commander of the 24th Infantry Division , succeeding Oberst Kurt Opelt who died age 79 on 20-03-1973, to 01-06-1944 and during the Operation Overlord he was again in the Reserve to 01-08-1944. More than 40 German divisions were destroyed during the Battle of Normandy. No exact figures are available, but historians estimate that the battle cost the German forces a total of around 450.000 men, of whom 240.000 were killed or wounded. The Allies had achieved this blow at a cost of 209.672 casualties among the ground forces, including 36.976 killed and 19.221 missing. In addition, 16.714 Allied airmen were killed or went missing in direct connection with Operation Overlord.
Falkenstein’s last post was as Military Replacement Inspector in Dresden to 07-05-1945, as he landed in Soviet captivity. He was first released in 1955, by the intervention of Konrad Adenauer who influenced Josef Stalin after several meetings.
Death and burial ground of Falkenstein, Hans Freiherr von.
Von Falkenstein lived in Hanover, where he at the old age of 87 died, on 30-10-1980. He is buried with his wife Ilse, born von Kaufmann, who died old age 90, in 1983, on the Engeshode cemetery in Hanover and only steps from the graves of the WWII Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Higher Artillery Commander 315, Walter Büchs, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur 276th Volks Grenadier Division , Hugo Dempwolff, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Kommandeur Headquarters of the OKH, Walter Gündell, SS Oberführer, Kommandeur 19th Waffen SS Grenadier Division , Friedrich Bock and SS Gruppenführer, Hans Wappenhaus.