Ostendorff, Werner, born 15-08-1903 in Königsberg, a son of the Prussian Regierungsvizepräsident Ernst Ostendorff. Married in October 1935, he and his wife had two sons and a daughter. Werner joined the Army on 05-11-1925. Assigned to the 1st Prussian Infantry Regiment, he remained with the unit for his entire Army service. Appointed an officer candidate on 01-04-1926, he was promoted to Gefreiter on 01-08-1927, to Unteroffizier on 01-10-1927, to Fähnrich, on 01-08-1928 and to Oberfähnrich on 01-08-1929. A month after being commissioned, Ostendorff was given a platoon command in the II. Battalion. From mid-November 1933 to the start of the following March he helped form the SA military training school at Gudwallen. He transferred to the Luftwaffe on 01-03-1934. Trained as an observer and pilot, Werner Ostendorff served with the Fliegertruppe Jüterbog as a tactical instructor, and head of the photographic interpretation section until the start of October 1935. He joined the SS on 01-10-1935 as number 257.146 and the NSDAP on 01-05-1937 as number 4.691.488
Moving to the SS-Verfügungstruppe, he taught classes at Junkerschule Bad Tölz
until 01-04-1938. Ostendorff then transferred to the new SS-Standarte 3 “Der Führer” under command of SS-Standartenführer Georg Keppler, and led the 4. Sturm of the I. Sturmbann until 01-06-1939. He next transferred to form and lead the SS-Flugabwehr-Maschinengewehr-Abteilung, officially until 10-10-1939. SS-Standartenführer Georg Keppler survived the war and died 16-06-1966, aged 72, in Hamburg,
With the forming of the first SS division on 10-10-1939, that became “Das Reich”, he left command of the anti-aircraft unit to SS Obersturmbannführer Jakob Fick , was selected as the first divisional Ia (Chief of Staff) by Paul “Papa” Hausser and officially held the post until June 1942. Jakop Fick died very old age 92 on 22-04-2204 in Goslar. Ostendorff won the Knight’s Cross on 13-09-1941 for leading a counter-attack against the village of Ushakovo in the vicinity of Smolensk which dominated the highly important Yelnya-Dorogobuzh road. The village was recaptured and the danger of a Russian breakthrough was eliminated.
He then succeeded SS Standarteführer Karl Kreutz , commanding the Kampfgruppe “Das Reich” in Russia from February to June 1942, during which Siegfried Max Schultz assumed the Ia post duties with those elements being refitted in France. Siegfried Schultz committed suicide age 34 on 22-05-1943 in Charkow. Karl Kreutz died age 88 on 27-07-1997 in Bonn.
Ostendorff’s performance with Kampfgruppe “Das Reich” won him the German Cross in Gold.
Krüger, Reitzenstein Hausser and Ostendorff in Russia, 1943
When Paul Hausser formed the initial SS corps in June 1942, he selected Ostendorff as his Chief of Staff. He officially held the post with SS-Generalkommando, later II. SS-Panzerkorps , until 22-11-1943, when succeeded by Rüdiger Pipkorn who was killed in action, age 44 on 26-04-1945 in Halbe. Promoted to SS Oberführer for his actions at Kharkov, he was next given a divisional command,.Ostendorff was assigned command of the 17. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Götz von Berlichingen” , officially effective 01-11-1943. He succeeded SS Standarteführer Gustav Mertsch Mertsch died age 85 on 07-02-1986. However, Ostendorff remained with his corps post into the third week of November. Delays in the raising of the division lasted until early January 1944 when he actually assumed command from Otto Binge who had led the formation staff and would die age 87 on 18-07-1982 in Cottbus. During the fighting in Normandy, Ostendorff was badly wounded near Carentan on 16-06-1944 when he was hit in the shoulder by machine gun-fire. Divisional command then passed again to Otto Binge.
Resuming command from then temporary commander Gustav Mertsch on 21-10-1944, he remained as leader of “Götz von Berlichingen“ until transferred again in late November 1944. Temporary divisional command passed to Oberleutnant Hans Lingner but Ostendorff officially retained full commander status until early December. Oberleutnant Hans Lingner died in battle, age 32 on 30-08-1941, near Krestowoschwishenkije, Sovjet-Unie.
Ostendorff was next promoted to SS Gruppenführer on 01-12-1944 and became the only Chief of Staff for Heinrich Himmler‘s Heeresgruppe “Oberrhein” from 02-12-1944 to 22-01-1945. His final posting was to “Das Reich” as divisional commander. He succeeded temporary commander Karl Kreutz officially on 10-02-1945, and led the division until grievously wounded by an incendiary shell on 09-03-1945 in the vicinity of Székesfehérvár during fighting in Hungary. SS Standartenführer, Rudolf Lehmann assumed command of “Das Reich”. Rudolf Lehmann died age 69, on 13-09-1983, in Ettlingen,.
Death and burial ground of Ostendorff, Werner.
Werner Ostendorff died at a field hospital in Bad Aussee from gas gangrene on 01-05-1945, age 41, the same day Berlin fell to the Russians. He is buried in Bad Aussee – Austria – Nordfriedhof – military section, in the Grundlseestraße. Radek Hroch from the Czech Republic visited the cemetery and sent me kindly the grave photo’s.