Woyrsch, Udo Gustav Wilhelm Egon von, born 24-07-1895 in Schwanowitz or Zwanowice, Brzeg County, in Silesia. His family owned an estate there. His family had originally come from Southern Bohemia, and had established themselves around 1500 in Troppau/Opava, Moravian Siwesia. The family were recognized minor nobility, one ancestor had even served as a Prussian royal chamberlain and his uncle was the Prussian General Field Marshal Remus von Woyrsch (1847–1920).
From early 1914 to 09-02-1919 Udo von Woyrsch served with the Germany Army as an Oberleutnant in the Great War. From 10-02-1919 to 23-08-1920 he was associated with an organization called the Grenzschutz, “border protection”. He was awarded a variety of medals during the war, including the Iron Cross, First Class and later the Cross of Honour 1914-1918 Combatants. According to Richard Grunberger, a British historian, who died age 80, on 15-02-2005, von Woyrsch had been involved in de Freikorps
during the 1920s. Early on Woyrsch joined de NSDAP, Membership number 162,349
and the SS, Member Number 3.689
. Heinrich Himmler
charged him with organizing the SS in the Nazi Gau Silesia. In 1933 von Woyrsch was elected to the Reichstag. He was the SS and Police Leader in Elbe, and in 1934 von Woyrsch participated in the Night of the Long Knives (see Ernst Julius Röhm
, ordering the execution of his SS rival Emil Sembach, executed age 43, on 01-07-1934.
On 30-06-1934 von Woyrsch took command in Silesia and on the orders of Hermann Goering
) arrested a number of SA leaders, disarmed all SA headquarters’ guards and occupied the Breslau police headquarters. Von Woyrsch’s men murdered some of the SA officers as a result of an on-going private envy.” Udo von Woyrsch had a close friendship with Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich
, and was on Himmler’s personal staff. On 01-01-1935 he was promoted to SS Obergruppenführer.
In September 1939 von Woyrsch commanded the Einsatzgruppen specifically charged with, and adept at, terrorizing and murdering the Jewish population of Poland. The brutality of this Einsatzgruppen in Kattowitz was such that outraged Wehrmacht officers interceded with the Gestapo
to have it stopped. Between 20-04-1940 and February 1944 von Woyrsch was the Higher SS and Police Leader in military district IV and district leader in Dresden. According to Richard Grunberger, von Woyrsch was part of Himmler’s entourage trailing about northern Germany in 1945. Von Woyrsch was a POW of the British from 1945 to 1948 when he was sentenced to 20 years but released in 1952. Tried again in 1957 for the “Röhm Putsch” but released in 1960.
Death and burial ground of Woyrsch, Udo Gustav Wilhelm Egon.
Living in Biberach along the river Riz, Udo von Woyrsch died at the old age of 87, on 14-01-1983 and is buried with his wife Inez, who died old age 93, in 2001, on the Stadtfriedhof of Biberach.