Lengerke, Wilhelm Ludwig Theodor von, born 17-06-1894, in Salchow, the son of Major Julius Friedrich Achilles Von Lengerke in a nobel family joined the Army Service on 01-10-1913, age 19, as a Fahnenjuncker in the 6th Horse Jäger Regiment . He was in the fields of the first war with this Regiment and ended the was as an Oberleutnant. He retired from the service on 31-12-1922, but reactivated in the growing Reichswehr as a Rittmeister on 01-07-1934, age 40. During the winter months of 1939 he as a Major was the Instructor at the Cavalry School in Krampnitz, to 15-02-1940 and appointed to commander of the II Battalion of the 2nd Battalion of the Cavalry Regiment 13 in Lüneburg. At the outbreak of World War II his Regiment was regrouped into the 6th Aufkläring Abteilungen, Enlightening departments. He then became the commander of the Aufkläring Abteilungen 30, 30th Infantry Division under command of General der Infanterie Kurt von Briesen . Von Briesen was killed by Soviet aircraft near Isum on the Seversky Donets River, southeast of Kharkow, on 20-11-1941, age 55 On 01-06-1940 von Lengerke was promoted to Oberstleutnant and on 01-02-1942 to Oberst. On 01-09-1941 he received the wounded badge . Wilhelm von Lengerke here with his arm in a sling was an old style officer who upheld the Prussian tradition and insisted that his soldiers did too. His obedience to the authorities, however, met its limit when orders violated the laws of decency and dignity, honour and humanity. And the biggest violation to Lengerke’s moral code arrived soon after crossing the Russian border on 22-07-1941: the infamous Commissar Order demanding that all captured commissars, and those already in German captivity, be immediately shot by the troops. The directive was not well-received by von Lengerke. “That’s an order to murder!” von Lengerke called out, “and incompatible.with the honour of German soldiers. I will not allow us to give in to it !” and so it was. The order was not passed on to the troops under his command. His respect for his soldiers was unsurpassed and he was heard to say that he wore his Knight’s Cross as the recognition for the contributions and performance of his men. Von Lengerke was with the staff of German Army Mission in Romania, to 03-12-1941 and assigned Von Lengerke was appointed commander of the 1st Battalion of the Reiter/Cavalry Regiment I, Insterburg. He was with this Regiment, Reiter Regiment I/Schützen Regiment 21/Panzergrenadier Regiment 21 at the West and East front from February 1940 until 26-08-1942 .
Death and burial ground of Lengerke, Wilhelm Ludwig Theodor von.
His last command was of the 21st Panzer Grenadier Regiment as he was killed in battle of Stalingrad, on 26-08-1942, age 48, near Prywolschki, 50 km from Stalingrad and is buried their too, posthumously promoted to Generalmajor der Kavallerie. Von Lengerke was buried on the “Heldenfriedhof of the 24th Panzer Division” near Prywolschki The area was later reconquered by Russian troops and the graves have never been found. In 2006 the “Volkbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfursorge”created a memorial site in Rossoschka for those fallen soldiers whose grave could not be retrieved. Their names are ingraved in granite cubes. Von Lengerke’s name is engraved in cube 126.
Thus one of the Division’s most honourable men was interred in Russian’s soil. The Knight’s Cross that he wore so proudly, together with his other decorations, were sent to his wife Marianne.
Oberstleutnant Volrath von Hellermann commander of Kradschützen Abteilung 4, took command of Panzergrenadier Regiment 21. The later Generalmajor Vollrath von Hellermann was captured by Allied troops in May 1945 and was released in 1947. He died 25-08-1971, age 71 in Munich. On the Zentral cemetery of Lüneburg in the section for war heros “Ehrenhain 3, there is a memorial stone for Wilhelm von Lengerke. Only steps away the grave of WWII General Ingo von Collani.
Marianne Giesecke, born von Lengerke and the daughter of Wilhelm von Lengerke, sent me kindly a lot of information and photo’s of her father.