Gaedcke, Ludwig Heinrich “Heinz”, born 16-01-1905 in Guben, Brandenburg,
the son of a lawyer and grew up in Guben. Following graduation from the Gymnasium in 1924, he joined the 8th Prussian Infantry Regiment
as a professional soldier in 1925. He served in a variety of posts until 1935, when he was promoted to Hauptmann and admitted to the War Academy for general staff training. Subsequently he worked as a clerk in the General Staff of the Army. With the outbreak of World War II he as a Hauptmann was in the General Staff of the Army and became Chief of Operations in the General Staff of the 25th
under command of Generalleutnant Christian Hansen
until 15-11-1940. He was promoted to Major in 1940, Oberstleutnant in 1943 and Oberst in 1943. The same command of the 25th
Motorised Infantry Division, until 01-02-1943, as he landed in the Führer Reserve (see Adolf Hitler
) (did you know
), to 01-03-1943. The 25th
Motorised Division Bologna ,
Italian: 25 Divisione Autotrasportabile “Bologna”, was an Semi-Motorised Infantry division of the Italian Army. It was stationed in Tripolitania and was sent to Libya for the Italian invasion of Egypt. It fought in North Africa until it was destroyed in the Second Battle of El Alamein. Gaedcke became instructor at the war academy to 05-10-1943 and Chief in the General Staff of the XXIV Panzer Corps, under commander General, Kommandeur 1st Panzer Division
, Walter Nehring
until 05-11-1943. He was detached as acting Chief of the General Staff of the XI Army Corps
under Generaloberst Erhard Raus
and with the breakthrough of the Cherkassy Pocket, he only could escape Russian captivity riding on the back of a horse
across the south of Hungaria, As a result he landed in the Führer Reserve from 07-12-1943 until 25-02-1944. He was promoted to Generalmajor in 1944. Detached as Chief in General Staff of the 4th
under General der Infantrie Friedrich Hossbach
here behind Hitler, to 15-08-1944 and he had to flee for the Russian forces through Hungaria on the back of a horse to save ground. His last command was as Chief of Staff of the 6th
until his Allied captivity on 08-05-1945, together with now 6th
Army commander General der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur Heeresgruppe Balck
, Hermann Balck
Death and burial ground of Gaedcke, Ludwig Heinrich “Heinz”.
From 1948 to 1956 he worked in managerial roles for the companies Bürkle and Bahlsen. Following West German rearmament he joined the Bundeswehr as one of its first general officers in 1956. He commanded the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces from 1957 to 1959 and the Bundeswehr’s 11th Panzergrenadier Division from 1959 to 1960. From 1961 to 1965 he was Commanding General of the 3rd Corps
in Koblenz. He was promoted to Generalleutnant in 1961. Upon his retirement in 1965 he was awarded both the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Legion of Merit.
He at the old age of 87 died, on 21-12-1992, in Waldesch.
He had four children and was the maternal grandfather of the Secretary-General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr.
Martin Selmayr has said that his commitment to the European project in part stems from a trip he took as a teenager with Gaedcke to the battlefields and military cemeteries of Verdun, where Gaedcke told him that his generation had an obligation to prevent any repeat of the mistakes of the past.
His son Heinz sent me his father’s signed biography and a picture of his father’s grave on the village cemetery of Waldesch and years later we visited the graveside shortly after the death of his mother, Gerda in 2006. The picture most above is from March 2012, a complete gravestone then.
When Gaedcke’s wife, Gerda 2006, had died, the temporary grave crosses.