Zeitzler, Kurt

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Zeitzler, Kurt, born 09-06-1895 in Cossmar-Luckau, the son of a pastor, a family of pastors. At the age of 18 he joined the 4th Thuringian Infantry Regiment of the German Army on 23-03-1914. Five months later Germany was at war. Zeitzler was promoted to Leutnant in December, 1914, and commanded various units, including a pioneer detachment. At the end of the war he was a regimental adjutant joined the German Army. Zeitzler was chosen as one of the 4.000 officers selected to serve in the Reichswehr , the small German army permitted under the limits of the Treaty of Versailles. He was promoted to Hauptmann in January, 1928  and became one of the early supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. In 1934 he joined the first panzer forces and by 1938 had reached the rank of Oberst. On the outbreak of the World War II Zeitzler was in the 14th Army and served under Generaloberst Siegmund List  during the invasion of Poland, commanding the XXII (Motorized) Corps in the 14th Army . In 1940 he was appointed as Chief of Staff to General Paul von Kleist

  and saw action in France in 1940. He held this position with Kleist in Greece and in the Soviet Union. In January 1942, Zeitzler became Chief of Staff to General Gerd von Rundstedt and played an important role in defeating the Allies at Dieppe on 19th August. Adolf Hitler (did you know), heard good reports of Zeitzler and considered appointing him to a senior post at GHQ. Despite objections from Wilhelm Keitel  and Alfred Jodl, Hitler decided in September 1942 that Zeitzler should replace General Franz Halder  as Chief of General Staff. At first Zeitzler went along with Hitler’s military decision but the two clashed over his “no withdrawal” policy in the Soviet Union. Zeitzler attempted to resign after the disaster at Stalingrad (see Friedrich von von Paulus) (see Walter Heitz) (see Carl Hilpert) but Adolf Hitler (did you know) refused to accept it.

 After further disagreements Zeitzler claimed ill-health and on 20th July 1944, after the bomb attack on Hitler in the Wolfschanze, left office. Hitler was furious and dismissed him from the German Army. At the end of the war, Zeitzler was captured by British troops. He was a prisoner of war until the end of February, 1947. He appeared as a witness for the defense during the Nuremberg trials, and worked with the Operational History Section (German) of the Historical Division of the U. S. Army.

Death and burial ground of Zeitzler, Kurt.


Kurt Zeitzler died, age 68 on 25-09-1963 in Hohenaschau and is buried on the local cemetery of Aschau im Chiemgau, Abt II, alas his gravestone has been removed and the spot has a new grave as Wolfgang Linke reported me .


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