Priess, Hermann, born 24-05-1901 in Marnitz the son of a farmer, followed the primary school and after the round down he volontered in the Army on 22-01-1919, age 17. He served for twelve years in the Reichswehr. He joined the free corps von Brandis in the Baltic States and was wounded in action and received the Iron cross 2nd Class. Freikorpsführer Cordt von Brandis died age 83 on 11-06-1972 in Barendorf.
Hermann Priess joined the SS in 1934. Promoted to Sturmbannführer on 20-04-1939. As commander of a SS Artillery Regiment he was involved in the Western invasion in 1940 and in the battles of operation Barbarossa in 1941 in Rusland.
Priess here with “Papa”Hauser was a SS Brigadeführer and the commander of 3rd SS Division Totenkopf following the death of Theodor Eicke in February 1943. On 03-09-1943 promoted to Oberführer. Awarded by Hitler with the Oak Leaves on 09-09-1943 as SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS and commander of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division “Totenkopf”. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. On 20-06-1944 appointed as commander of the new XII SS Army Corps in Breslau. He was succeeded by SS-Brigadeführer Hellmuth Becker on 21-06-1944. In captivity, Becker repeatedly looked out for his soldiers and became a problem for the guards. In November 1947, he was put on trial before a Soviet military court in Poltava and sentenced to 25 years forced labor, rebuilding destroyed villages. Allegedly, a fellow prisoner reported him for building a dud grenade in a brick wall, and on 22-02-1953, age 50, he was shot for the supposed sabotage the Russian Prisoner-of-War Camp 337 near Sverdlovsk, age 50, on 28-02-1953.
Priess was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS on 20-04-1944. Succeeded by SS Gruppenführer Max Simon he on 30-10-1944 became the commanding officer of the 1st SS-Panzerkorps Leibstandarte and led it during the Battle of the Bulge, the Operation “Frühlingserwachen” or Operation “Spring Awakening”
and the retreat to Austria. Operation Frühlingserwachen (6 – 16 March 1945) was the last major German offensive of World War II. The offensive was launched in Hungary on the Eastern Front. This offensive was also referred to in Germany as the Plattensee Offensive, in the Soviet Union as the Balaton Defensive Operation (6 – 15 March 1945).
After the war, Max Simon was sentenced to death by a British court for his part in the Marzabotto massacre. This sentence was later changed to life imprisonment. Simon was pardoned in 1954 and released from prison. Max Simon died on 01-02-1961 at Lünen. The 1st SS-Panzerkorps engaged in scattered resistance to delay Russian forces long enough for Germany to build defensive lines, retreated through Hungary and Austria, and finally surrendered to the American forces on 08-05-1945.
Death and burial ground of Priess, Hermann.
After the war, Hermann Prieß, nr 45, was convicted of war crimes
because of his involvement in the Malmedy massacre together with SS Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, nr. 42 and SS Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich nr.11 and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Landsberg am Lech. He was released in 1954 and died age 83 on 02-03-1985 in Ahrensburg and is buried with his wife Hildegard, who died age 76 on 26-12-1989, on the cemetery of Ahrensburg, old section..
Cemetery and grave location of Priess, Hermann.