Plöger, Karl-Heinrich.

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Plöger, Karl-Heinrich, born 27-04-1914 in Hohenfelde, as the son of Gustav Plöger (1885-1931) and Amanda Brunhilde, born Schneekloth (born 17-11-1892; she died 12-11-1928). He had five siblings, three brothers and two sisters. Both parents died early, especially the death of their mother at the age of 35 was a great tragedy for the children, which they never fully overcame. His father, who also died less than three years after the woman’s death (died 31-07-1931 in Molfsee) came from Klein-Schlamin and was a leaseholder in Hohenfelde (Eckernförde district), his mother came from Passade, where her father Heinrich Otto Schneekloth (1850–1916) Hufner. On 19-05-1939, Feldwebel Plöger married his fiancée Erna Schultz (1916–2006); long-time member of the DRK district association Plön), daughter of Franz Wilhelm Theodor Schultz and Ida Maria, born Lembke. It is quite possible that he was officially called “Schneekloth-Plöger” at this point in time, in honor of his mother Schneekloth-Plöger and not only after the war, as is sometimes assumed. The marriage gave birth to three children: Sigrid, Viktoria “Wita” and Hans-Joachim.

Karl-Heinrich served as a Hauptmann in the 6th. Kompanie / Panzergrenadier-Regiment 14 / 5. Panzer-Division under command of SS-Oberführer Karl Ullrich Karl Ulrich survived the war and died 08-05-1996 (aged 85). The 14th Rifle Regiment was set up on 5-11-1938 in Opole, in military district VIII. The 2nd battalion was later to be stationed in Groß-Strehlitz, also military district VIII. After the formation of the 5th Panzer Division, the regiment was subordinate to it. Tactically, the regiment was subordinated to the 5th Rifle Brigade. On 10-08-1940 the II. Battalion was transferred to the Kradschützen-Bataillon 55 and by the staff of the III. Battalion of Infantry Regiment 243 replaced. On 15-09-1941, the 4th and 9th companies were handed over to the regiment to set up the 128th Rifle Regiment and the regiment is now regrouped into battalions with 4 companies each. On 05-07-1942 the regiment was renamed Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 14. The Rifle Replacement Battalion 13 was responsible for providing the regiment with a replacement. “. Karl-Heinrich was awarded with the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold on 11-04-1942. On 05-02-1945 he received the Spange and the Iron Cross On 13–02-1945, the V Division was ordered west to Lake Balaton, where SS Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich’s Resume of Adolf Hitler 6th SS Panzer Army  was preparing Operation Spring Awakening, an offensive at Lake Balaton. Gille’s remained as a support to the 6th SS Panzer Army during the beginning of the operation. Dietrich’s army made “good progress” at first, but as they drew near the Danube, the combination of the muddy terrain and strong Soviet resistance ground them to a halt. The division performed a holding operation on the left flank of the offensive, in the area between Lake Velence-Székesfehérvár. As the operation progressed, the division was engaged in preventing Soviet efforts at outflanking the advancing German forces. On 16 March, the Soviets forces counterattacked in overwhelming strength causing the Germans to be driven back to their starting positions. On 24 March, another Soviet attack threw the IV SS Panzer Corps back towards Vienna; all contact was lost with the neighbouring I SS Panzer Corps, and any resemblance of an organised line of defence was gone. Wiking withdrew into Czechoslovakia. The division surrendered to the American forces near Fürstenfeld, Austria on 9 May.

War crimes of the V Division:

Following the shooting death of Hilmar Wäckerle, one of the division’s officers, in the city of Lviv, Jews in the area were rounded up by members of the division’s logistics units led by SS Obersturmführer Braunnagel and SS Untersturmführer Kochalty. A gauntlet was then formed by two rows of soldiers. Most of these soldiers were from the Wiking’s logistics units, but some were members of the German 1st Mountain Division. The Jews were then forced to run down this path while being struck by rifle butts and bayonets. At the end of this path stood a number of SS and army officers who shot the Jews as soon as they entered a bomb crater being used as a mass grave. About 50 or 60 Jews were killed in this manner.

In addition, historian Eleonore Lappin, from the Institute for the History of Jews in Austria, has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of Wiking in her work The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945.

On 28-03-1945, 80 Jews from an evacuation column, although fit for the journey, were shot by three members of Wiking and five military policemen. On 04 April, 20 members of another column that left Graz tried to escape near the town of Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Troops from the division stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them into a gully, where they were shot. On 7–11 April 1945, members of the division executed another eighteen escaped prisoners.

Death and burial ground of Plöger, Karl-Heinrich.

Karl Heinrich Plöger survived the war and died 05-04-1996, age 81, in Neumünster. Karl-Heinrich was buried at the Alter Friedhof Probsteierhagen, Old Probsteierhagen cemetery, in Plön.with his wife Erna.

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