Krukenberg, Gustav.

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Krukenberg, Gustav, born on 08-03-1888, in Bonn, was Brigadeführer of the Charlemagne Division of the Waffen SS  and further commander of its remains and the SS Division Nordland  during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945. He was born, the son of a professor at Bonn University and his mother was the daughter of the archaeologist Alexander Conze . Conze died age 82, on 19-07-1914. Gustav gained a doctorate in law and joined the army in 1907. During World War I, he served as an ordnance officer and adjutant and was promoted to Hauptmann in 1918. After the war he served in the Civil Service as the private secretary to the Foreign minister and was briefly a director in industry. He joined the Nazi Party  in 1932 and he worked at the propaganda ministry after Adolf Hitler (see Hitler parents)

came to power and was a member of the Allgemeine SS. With the outbreak of World War II he rejoined the army as a Major and served on the General Staff in Paris. In December 1943 he transferred from the Wehrmacht Heer, in which he had reached the rank of Oberstleutnant, to the Waffen SS which he joined with the equivalent rank of  .  He was soon promoted to SS Standartenführer  and then SS  Oberführer.   A fluent French speaker, he commanded the French volunteers of the 33rd Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne  and following a summons to help with the defence of Berlin he breached several obstacles to lead the remnants of the division into the city in April 1945. On 25-04-1945 Brigadeführer Krukenberg was appointed the commander of Berlin Defence Sector C, which included the Nordland Division, whose previous commander Joachim Ziegler  was relieved of his command the same day. Joachim Ziegler was gravely wounded and died from his wounds on the 02-05-1945, age 40.        

The arrival of the French SS men bolstered the Nordland Division whose “Norge” and “Danmark” Regiments had been decimated in the fighting. By 26 April, with Neukölln heavily penetrated by Soviet combat groups, Krukenberg

  prepared fallback positions for Sector C defenders around Hermannplatz. He moved his headquarters into the opera house. Forced to fall back on 27 April, Krukenberg’s Nordland headquarters was then a carriage in the Stadtmitte U-Bahn station in Defence sector Z. The Frenchmen under Krukenberg proved particularly good at destroying tanks, of the 108 Soviet tanks destroyed in the centre district, they had accounted for about half of them. On 29-04-1945 Krukenberg awarded one of the last Knight’s Crosses of the war to Unterscharfführer Eugène Vaulot.  Vaulot was killed by a Russian sniper on 02-05-1945, age 21. It is widely believed that on 1 May, Krukenberg  attempted to stem the Soviet advance by ordering sappers to blow up the S-Bahn tunnel under the Landwehr canal causing 25 kilometres of S-Bahn and U-Bahn tunnels to flood, which led to many casualties. But in fact it is far more probable that the massive bombardment of the city by hundreds of tons of shells and rockets by the soviets have caused the flooding of the tunnels. As the Germans made extensive use of the underground (U-Bahn) for redeployment of troops, makeshift-hospitals or just a place to take refuge from the constant shelling, it seems highly doubtful that Krukenberg ordered the destruction of the U-bahn tunnels.  After Hitler’s death Krukenberg assembled most of his escort made up of French SS for the breakout. They joined up with Ziegler and a larger group of Nordland troops. They crossed the Spree just before dawn.

Death and burial ground of Krukenberg, Gustav.

   Near the Gesundbrunnen U-Bahn station they came under heavy fire. Brigadeführer Joachim Ziegler was gravely wounded and died on 2 May. Later, Krukenberg made it to Dahlem, Roland Freisler,

    where he hid out in an apartment for a week before surrendering to the Red Army. After the war Krukenberg lived in Bonn where he died at the very old age of 92 and is buried with his wife Lotte, born Schumm, on the Neuer Friedhof of Kessenich in Bonn.


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