Herff, Maximilian von, born 17-04-1893 in Hanover, the son of a physician. There
, family weapon. He joined the Imperial Army in August 1914 and was commissioned as a leutnant, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse 1st
Life Guards Regiment of the 115th
He served in this regiment through most of World War I. Later he served in the Fifth Lower Silesian Regiment of the 154th
Infantry, and remained in that unit until 09-11-1918, the end of the was. During his service he was awarded the Iron Cross First
and Second Class. Between 1 March and 01-10-1919 he was a volunteer in the Hanoverian Freikorps
and then joined the Reichswehr. He married Hedwig von Grolman on 04-08-1920. In 1926 he joined the 18th
Cavalry Regiment in Stuttgart, and in 01-02-1928 joined the 15th
Infantry Regiment in Kassel. On 01-02-1928 he was promoted to Hauptmann, Captain and on 01-10-1934 to Major. On 16-03-1935 he was appointed to the Staff of the Eighth Corps in Breslau. He was promoted to Oberstleutnant, lieutenant colonel, on 01-08-1937. On 03-01-1939 was appointed to the Staff of the Seventeenth Corps in Vienna. During World War II, von Herff served with the Deutsches Afrika Korps
, under Erwin Rommel
in North Africa, on the Tobruk front. He was promoted to Oberst, colonel and commanded “Kampfgruppe von Herff”. In Mai 1942 Tobruk was captured, after two weeks battle during Operation Theseus. The English defenders surrendered on 21-06-1942. 32.000 Allied soldiers were imprisoned and about 5.000 tons Supply material and 10.000 tons of fuel confiscated. Rommel was awarded with the title General Field Marshal as result. After heavy battles of El Alamein in Septemer 1942 the Germans had to leave Tobruk finally. For his service in North Africa he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in June 1941.
At the suggestion of SS Obergruppenführer, Karl Wolff
to Heinrich Himmler
Herff was transferred to the Waffen SS. On 01-04-1942 he joined the Nazi Party, member no. 8 858 661 and the SS, member no. 405 894. From 01-10-1942 to 08-05-1945, he was chief of the Persönlicher Stab Reichsführer–
SS, Himmler’s personal staff
. On 20-04-1944, he was promoted to SS–
Obergruppenführer, SS General.
On 14-15 May 1943, Von Herff was in Warsaw during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
and observed the destroying of the Warsaw Ghetto from the troops of General of the Police, Jurgen Stroop
Stroop was hanged on 06-03-1952, age 56, in the Warsaw prison of Mokotow.
Tsvi Chaim Nussbaum ,
31-10-1935 – 02-07-2012, a Holocaust survivor, known as possibly being the boy in the famous photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto. Nussbaum’s parents immigrated to The British Mandate of Palestine in 1935. However, they found life too difficult there, and so returned in 1939 to Sandomierz in Poland. After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 Nussbaum’s mother and father were murdered before the Jews of the region were sent to various German Nazi concentration camps. Tsvi’s brother disappeared, never to be seen again. Shortly thereafter Tsvi, his aunt and uncle along with his first cousins’ Aaron and Mark Nussbaum and their mother Regina moved to Warsaw and, posing as gentiles, lived there for over a year. When caught, they were deported to the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen, where also Anne Frank
and her sister Margot and there mother would die.
Death and burial ground of Herff, Maximilian von.
Herff was captured by British forces in 1945, and held at Grizedale POW camp in Scotland. He suffered a stroke and died at nearby Conishead Priory Military Hospital, age 52, on 06-09-1945. He was reburied at Cannock Chase German war cemetery, Staffordshire. Generalfeldmarschall, Ernst Busch
died also in captivity and is buried on this cemetery. Also buried here the commander of the 55th
Jagdgeschwader, Oberst Alois Stoeckl