Glogau Military School Tragedy

German Heer 1935-1945.

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dsetzer
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Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by dsetzer » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:15 am

In January of 1945 the Russian army made a push for the Oder river, the border between Germany and Poland. The attack centered on the city of Steinau.

When the first Russian tanks arrived on the bank of the river the Germans were caught completely off-guard. They considered Steinau to be a quiet sector and there were few if any combat-ready companies stationed there.

In the panic that ensued, orders were given to mobilize the students of the German military school located nearby in Glogau. Children aged 12 – 15, still in their school uniforms, were issued single-shot bolt-action rifles and sent to stop the Russian tanks. The results of that action were predictable.

I have been unable to find references to this incident on the Internet.

Is anyone able to point me to sources for more information about this tragic chapter of the war on the Russian front?
--
Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

Ohlauer
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Re: Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by Ohlauer » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:20 pm

Hallo
I live in Silesia. I have some material on the fighting in Steinau. But this event did not find the information. Maybe my friend living in Wohlau will know something. Deals with the history of fighting in 1945 in the Kreis Wohlau(Steinau in kreis Wohlau).
Maybe it is a Volkssturm, or RAD?

Marek

dsetzer
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Re: Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by dsetzer » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:59 am

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posting. I was hoping that someone from the area around Steinau would come forward to assist.

From postings on other Axis Forums I have learned that there was an Unteroffiziersschule in Jauer and that students there did take part in the fighting around Steinau.

A Gerneral named von Ahlfen who commanded the Jauer cadets wrote of his experiences. (von Ahlfen, H. (1998): Der Kampf um Schlesien 1944 - 1945., 8th ed.; Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1998. )

I found another officer who was an instructor at Jauer and who also participated in the defense of Steinau. The page (in German) is here: http://www.ritterkreuztraeger-1939-45.d ... Alfred.htm

The account of Steinau that I am working with was made by Werner Mork, who was an eyewitness to these events. He, like his comrades, was newly arrived in Silesia and knew nothing of the area. He assumed that the military school cadets were from Glogau, or that is what he heard from others.

He also insists that many of the dead students he saw were only 12 to 15-years old. They were dressed in what the regular German soldiers mocking referred to as the “Hindenburg Memorial Uniform.” By that they meant a tunic (Waffenrock) with decorated cuffs that would probably identify the school or rank. I have not been able to find a photo of such a student uniform on the Internet and would greatly appreciate some one sharing a photo with me.

Here is an excerpt from the text about the military school cadets:

"The Russians arrived at Steinau an der Oder and immediately crossed it with a spearhead of tanks. However, since the first group was only an advance unit, they quickly fell back to the other side of the river to await the arrival of a full tank regiment.


The German service units were totally surprised by the sudden arrival of the Russians and the garrison and the commanders at Glogau were greatly alarmed. There were no combat-ready troops there, because no one had reckoned on the Russians making a push in this area. This was considered a quiet sector. That would completely change in a very few days.


In the ensuing panic the commander in Glogau mobilized the students in the military school there. He charged them with marching to Steinau to engage the Russians and to wipe them out. They were considered to already be soldiers. These ‘soldiers’ were kids aged from 12 to 15 years old! They were outfitted with captured Norwegian single-shot carbines and sent to the Oder to face the Russians on the other bank.


What happened next was murder; clear and premeditated murder of children that the German leaders must be held responsible for. They sent these children to the new front on the Oder and drove them under the guns of the enemy. They knowingly sent these youths to their deaths. The servants of the Party and the Wehrmacht are guilty of the infanticide that occurred in Steinau.


The totally untrained non-soldiers were taken from their school desks still in their school uniforms, the so-called Hindenburg Memorial Uniform, with those laughable captured carbines and they were flung at the Russian tanks which quickly shot them to pieces and totally wiped them out. Now they lay there as corpses, pointlessly cut down in the midst of their childhood along with their belief in Führer, Folk and Fatherland. They were driven to their deaths by coldhearted criminals. There is no other word for the blaggards who were responsible for this crime. They were never made to answer for this criminal act.


It was war, after all, and in war desperate situations can arise that require sacrifice, even when children are involved. Children who were in school to be modeled by the Wehrmacht to be dutiful soldiers who would follow a military career. The faculty of the school did nothing to protect the children from this insane order. As good subordinates of the Wehrmacht they helped carry out the death sentence. These were educators whom the parents entrusted with the care of their children. Indeed, to train them for a military career, but certainly not for full combat while they were still in their childhood. What kind of men were they who were responsible for these gruesome deaths? I can not understand it...not comprehend it.

[...]

The children of Steinau an der Oder with their flintlocks were not able to hold back the Russians. They now lay as corpses on the battlefield. They were not the slightest impediment to the advancing tanks, not when they were alive and not now as corpses. The war in all its fury rolled over them without mercy, without regard and without humanity. Once again young men were pointlessly marched to their death, blinded by the Nazi ideology, just as the bloom of our youth during the First World War at Langemarck were pointlessly marched to their deaths as a sacrifice for the nationalism of the “Glorious Kaiser Era.”

[...]


It is odd that in all the documentation I have read regarding these days in January 1945 and the reports of the Russian attack on Steinau I have never found any mention of the murder of these children. The Gauleiter of the Nazi party, the general of the local Wehrmacht divisions and the principals of the school all have this on their conscience. No doubt they think of it as a necessary measure that went 'unfortunately' awry."

More excerpts from Werner Mork's memoirs can be found here:

http://home.comcast.net/~dhsetzer/Mork/

You may find the longer account of his experiences in Silesia of particular interest.
--
Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

Franke
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Re: Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by Franke » Wed May 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Hi there,

I am a bit of interested in Steinau and Wohlau 1945.

There WERE actually some troops from Glogau engaged at Steinau (fightings: 23.1.1945 - 4.2.1945), but they were the pioneers (elements of Pio.-E+A Batl. 213, i.e. ROB-Lehrgang/Obltn. Thomas; see: http://glogauerheimatbund.de/pages/NGA- ... illon.html), not NCO-School pupils.
The actual NCO-School pupils that defended Steinau were from Jauer (Heeres Uffz.-Schule f. Infanterie Nr 11 Jauer under command of Oberst Reichardt [MIA 2.2.1945, posthum. Ritterkreuz]).
The nazi-German Kampfgruppe that defended Steinau was a hastily formed unit that consisted of many smaller units. They were named (surely after the town had been surrounded by the soviets) Kampfgruppe Steinau of Division 408.
To make things short, as I am in hurry, the German units defending Steinau at the beginning of the fightings (23-24.1.1945) were (according to veterans memoirs and other sources):
- Heeres-Unteroffiziers-Schule Nr. 11Jauer (about 1000 NCO-School pupils, by the way they wore regular uniforms; many of them were 16-18 y.old);
- elements of Pio.-E. u. A. Btl. 213 from Glogau
- some pioneers from somewhere in Silesia under Leutnant Koch (maybe these were the soliders from Pio.E.u.A. Btl. 213, I do not know that)
- a few "Urlauberkompanien" hastily formed from furloughed soldiers who were mostly from Dresden, Berlin & Bohemia
- some cadets from Fahnenjunker-Schule Dresden (no closer info available...)
- some RAD units
- Volkssturm: at least 3 weakly or equipped bataillons from: Liegnitz, Frauenstadt, Goldberg (Nr. 13) (that one was quite well equipped),
They had heavy artillery (Flaks) and heavy mortars as well as aircraft support. They were able to stop entire soviet tank corps (10th Guard Tank Corps / 4th Tank Army) on 23/24/25 January. The soviets took heavy casualties loosing many tanks (German claim: 24) and soldiers, one battalion of their 62 Tank Brigade was literally annihilated on 24.1.1945. However the Germans took heavy casualties as well.
After the death [MIA - presumably dead] of Oberst Reichardt in a nearby village of Kreisau [27.1.1945-2.2.1945] the actual commander of the Kampfgruppe of up to 2000 soldiers was Hauptmann Bernhard of HUS 11 Jauer. He and a few of his soldiers were able to break through soviet lines and reach German lines. However [a fact that nazi propaganda omitted ], they left behind in Steinau’s monastery [their ‘last stand’] few hundred wounded comrades and old “soldiers” from Volkssturm. They got into soviet captivity. ..

---
According to other sources (G. Tessin) there were other units in Steinau as vell (but in the greater area or of Steinau or in the town itself - that I do not know):
Kampfgruppe Gabler, 1945, Steinau, Goerlitz, VBL-FB/698
Kunze, Kampfgruppe 1945, Steinau, Oder, VBL-FC/41
----

Greetings from Poland,
Franke

Franke
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Re: Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by Franke » Thu May 06, 2010 6:55 am

Errata - Oberst Reichardt died/was MIA in Kreischau [nsau] near Steinau while separated from the greater part of his Kgr. Steinau.

In the town itself there was a Volkssturm unit from Steinau as vell, but they had no weapons, so on the very first day they simply ran for their lives.

dsetzer
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Re: Glogau Military School Tragedy

Post by dsetzer » Sat May 15, 2010 4:32 am

Very interesting!

Thank you for the additional information.
--
Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:
http://www.DanSetzer.us/Mork

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