Wöhler, Otto August Wilhelm, born 12-07-1894 in Grossburgwedel, the son of the landowner and mayor Heinrich Wöhler and the early deceased Emma, born Henke (death 13-01-1895). Heinrich married a second time, Otto’s stepmother became Emilie Rühlmann (1865–1936). They lived on Heinrich-Wöhler-Strasse in Großburgwedel, named after his father, where the museum Heimatstube Großburgwedel is located today.
Wöhler was a German General of Infantry, serving during World War I and World War II and recipient of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. He was from a long-established in Grossburgwedel Lower Saxon farm family in the 19th Century community leaders presented. So his father, Heinrich (1868-1953) was from 1908 to 1935 community leaders. His mother died in 1892. Wöhler fought in World War I as a leutnant with the 1st Upper-Alsace Infanterie Regiment and served in the post-war Reichswehr A seasoned General Staff Officer, he had caught the attention of Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Erich von Manstein, who made him his Chief of Staff when Erich von Manstein was appointed to command 11th Army . Wöhler served with Manstein until April 1942 when he was assigned as Chief of Staff for Army Group Center under General Field Marshal, who committed suicide, age 61, on 19-09-1944. Günther von Kluge
Wöhler’s first combat command was Ist Armeekorps which he led from April to August 1943, before being given command of 8th Army on 22-08-1943, succeeding General Johannes Blaskowitz He assumed command of the newly established 8th Army, the former Army Group Kempf, as General der Panzertruppe, Werner Kempf
had been relieved because he thought it impossible to hold Kharkov, General Field Marshal von Manstein, whose Army Group South included 8th Army, was very pleased with this appointment as Wöhler had fought with distinction and skill during the summer and fall of 1943. His cool-headedness was considered a crucial asset at that stage and later on the Eastern Front. According to Generaloberst der Panzertruppe, Heinz Guderian’s memories, when Heeresgruppe Süd, which he commanded, destroyed Russian bridge-head over Hron river by 22-02-1945, Adolf Hitler (did you know) said ” Wöhler may not be National-Socialist, but at least he is he-man.” On 28-11-1944 he here with Oberst Adolf Trowitz, who died age 84 on 03-01-1978 Hamburg, and who later became Generalmajor and bearer of the Knights Cross, was also awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross awarded for his participation in the defensive battles in Debrecen, after he had received the Brave already in the same year the Romanian Order of Michael. Hitler refused a promotion to Generaloberst on the ground, although he was a good General but a bad Nazi. As with every other German senior officer, Wöhler was investigated by the Allies after the war and was then implicated in Einsatzgruppe activities while serving as Chief of Staff of 11th Army in early 1942. He was tried by a U.S. Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (“OKW Case” No. XII) and then sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in October 1948.
Knight’s Cross Bearer General of the Infantry Otto Wöhler (left with binoculars) congratulates his proven corps leader, General of the Panzer Troop Erhard Raus (right), on being awarded the Oak Leaves for the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Wöhler was released in autumn 1950 and married twice. Until his death, old age of 92, on 05-02-1978, Otto Wöhler participated in many functions and as patron of civic organizations in his home community of Burgwedel. He also created a charitable foundation that inherited his estate.
Death and burial ground of Wöhler, Otto August Wilhelm.
He is buried with his second wife Gertrud, born Zinn, who died at the very old age of 103, in 2005, his first wife Marie who died age 34, on 19-05-1940 and next to a remembrance stone for his only child, son Gert, who went down with his ship as a midshipman in 1944 in the Gulf of Finland, age 18, on 12-12-1944, on the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery of Grossburgwedel, near Hanover.
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