Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

German SS and Waffen-SS 1923-1945.
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Regiment Norge
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Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by Regiment Norge » Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:37 am

Hi!

Some new documents that has come to my attention I found a statement from another surveiving norwegian within the I./SS.Pz.Gren.Rgt NORGE that this norwegian was KIA at Heiligen Kreuz / Jagersdorf near the river Sassnitz 60 KM east of Graz. This norwegian was buried at an old lokal cemetary and the wooden gravecross indicates the name of the KIA written in red "Fettstift" as he recalls.

Have search ater this places without sucess, I do not find any river SASSNITZ and no Dorf JÄGERSDORF or JEGERSDORF, can anybody help me in this matter and locate these villages as my intetion is to find this grave.
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by fridgeman » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:50 am

Hi!

Best would be you give us the original text or picture and we have a look. So far it does not really make sense,
maybe you mixed up some information or the translation was wrong. What would help too, the month or year when it happened.

The information you have direct at 2 different places for my understanding.

"Sassnitz" is a small town in northern germany at the east sea, close to Rostock and Stettin. Thats also the area where
the Rgt. 23 Norge was located in early 1945. In Rostock there is also an old monastery called "Kloster zum Heligen Kreuz" with a cemetery. A river of the name dont exist.

"Jägersdorf" is the german name for "Krnov" (today Czech republic territory), thats north east of Graz, but much more then 60km.

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by Regiment Norge » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:43 am

Thanks for information.

Yes I have wondered about the text in the original police document after the war. As you wrote there is no Sassnitz in Austria, I found two Heiligenkreeuz, one in Wasser and the other im Lafnitz near the border to Hungary. I think this norwegian SS volunter remebered wrong. In the police document he states that it was a bordertown to Hungary, that seems to by Heiligenkreuz im Lafnitz and he locates this town to be 60 km right eastwarts from Graz. heiligenkreuz im Wasser is only 17 km from Graz, and it is not by the border to Hungary.

There were in fact two norwegian within the remnants of the I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 23 NORGE who were killed in this town, one on the 1.5.45 he was left behind on the battlefield and the second was beaten to death by russians and found 4.5.45 and buried at this old country graveyard near the river SASSNITZ, but here he again remembers wrong. NO river Sassnitz is to be found here, but the little river is called FLUSS LAFNITZ, this must be the same and he mixed the names. The last one is the difficult one, JEGERDORF as he weites the name of the village, this I can not find. and I think again the is it misspelled, but what option is there?

The deates of the KIA must also be wrong, this batallion could not have fought so far east betwen 1-5.5.45, remember that SS-Kampfgruppe Schweitzer fought in the north near Rechnitz around 1.4.-4.4.45 and had to retreat with huge casualties on 4.4.45. So I assume that also these two norwegian were KIA on 1.4.45 and 3.4.45.

Any clues to locate the Dorf JEGERSDORF or something that can be alike I would be very happy. The next is to find information on old graveyards nearby, here I do not have a clue so if anybody has information or links here I am very thankful.
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:31 am

Hello, that area in Austria happens to be exactly where I'm from .. although I grew up here in the US, family there have been kind enough to travel the whole area with me during my visits. If I can, I'll post a pic I took tonight of a section of an old map on my wall right after I saw this post.
Along the bottom in the map detail are some of the names of the towns mentioned in the post.
During one of my visits there we stopped at a place called 'Schloß Kornberg', an estate at the bend of the road between Riegersburg and Feldbach. The gentleman who showed us around the place I believe was either a descendent of the former owners, or the current owner, and was in the place when what he recalled as officers of the Wiking division that stopped there briefly during its retreat through the area. He made sure to mention their conduct as being quiet, orderly, and respectful of the property and people there at the time.
Hopefully the map will help clear up some questions. Heiligenkreuz appears twice .. once at the Hungarian border, and again south of Graz, with Riegersburg near the Kornberg estate along that path. Maybe Jennersdorf just west of the eastern Heiligenkreuz is the town mentioned? Also, just north of there you can see in blue the name of the river Lafnitz, and the town of Lafnitz in the middle of the pic near Pinkafeld.
I hope this helps!
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:57 am

...I didn't return to the thread quick enough to be able to edit my above post, but would like to add that there is an 'Eggersdorf' close to the area, just northeast of Graz...

A local fellow wrote some well researched detailed books about the heavy fighting in this area .. not sure if the one I have is still in print or still available (I was lucky to get it back in '01), but it's based on memoirs of soldiers and citizens who were there during the last heavy battles at the very end of the war. Hair-raising stuff. It's written in German .. maybe there are copies still available in Europe.
The first pic is of the book cover, and the second pic is of one of the maps in the book of troop movements just northeast of Graz.
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:49 am

fwiw, here are two war relics from that area and that time that a family member gave me in the mid-50's.
They had to move away from their property just east of Graz as the front approached … some weeks after the end of the war when they returned home, they found a lot of stuff littered all over the place that was left behind during the retreat. The only weapon found on the property was this K98 that was in an obscure corner of their barn that ivan apparently didn't explore…
No one cared one bit about that stuff after the war … the gun was neither oiled nor maintained and was left to rust, and the helmet wound up ultimately being used as a pot to heat tar for repairs around the property.
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by Regiment Norge » Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:35 am

Hi!

Thanks for the pictures.

About this book by Friedrich Brettner - Die letzte Kämpfe des II. Weltkrieges. Is there anything mentioned in this book about the following units:

SS-Kampfgruppe SCHWEITZER from SS-Pz.A.u.E.Btl. 11 in Graz who fought 1-4.4.45 near Rechnitz/Sachendorf

SS-Pz.Gren.Btl. 23 "NORGE" who fought near Heiligenkreuz and Jennersdorf 1-4.4.45

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:37 pm

Hello!

I’m pretty sure most of what Brettner has researched in detail took place mostly north of the Graz area, but will check through the book for any reference to the units you mentioned, and will update.

Grüße!

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by Regiment Norge » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:29 am

Thanks reinhard.. Do you post your findings here?

I wrote SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 23 "NORGE" but there were in fact only the I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt 23 "NORGE" - I./Norge involved in the fightings.

Is there any maps concerning the fighting around Rechnitz - Sachendorf between 01.4-04.4.45 and the units involved in the fighting?
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:18 pm

Hello!

Thanks for the reminder and additional details about Rechnitz/Schachendorf/Schweitzer ... have indeed found a very specific reference to the action of this unit in that area in a few pages of the book.

If copyright laws permit, I'll post three or four photos of the relevant pages of text and map, and will do the best I can with a basic translation to English of the German text ... otherwise, I'll just give a general translation of the text.
With photos, surely some of the other German-speakers here will also be able to help, as my knowlege of the German language is quite good, but not perfekt by any means :wink: ...

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:53 pm

Hello ... here are two photos of the first map from the book .. top photo is of the open book, bottom photo is of the top half of the map to show more detail .. note the towns of Rechnitz and Schachendorf near the bottom right of the bottom pic...
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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:26 pm

OK, here’s what I’ve found so far…

General der Panzertruppen Hermann Breith, commander of the III.Panzerkorps, Heeresgruppe SÜD
At the beginning of April 1945, the following units were under his command:

1. Volks Gebirgs Division, Generalleutnant Wittman

Kampfgruppe Krause under the command of Generalleutnant Walter Krause (SS Kampfgruppe Schweitzer was under this command)

ARKO 3 under the command of Oberst Semmer, Artillerie Kommandeur, III. Panzerkorps

Sperrverband Motschmann, formed from SS Polizeiregiment 13

Overall total confirmed troop strength .. 20,000 men


On Good Friday, 30th March 1945, SS-PzGren.A.u.E.Bataillon in Graz was alerted, and sent to the Hungarian border via civilian buses as ‘Kampfgruppe Schweitzer’. The heaviest weapons available were a few Granatwerfer. Alledgedly 6 companies in total, some of the individuals were no older than 16.
There is an account via memoir of Heinz Burbach, a former Unterscharführer of SS-A.u.E.Btl. 11, describing the counterattack to retake Rechnitz and Schachendorf starting 31 March, Russians were thrown back to the Hungarian border. Then, despite heavy Russian counterattacks, over 10 days the German defense held with 600 casualties, but the units were encircled by the enemy because neighboring units were not able to hold the line. Some of the troops had no more than six weeks prior training. The foundation of this unit were in part wounded Unterführer and men of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 23 Norge of 11. Freiwilligen Panzer Grenadier Division. After successfully retaking Rechnitz, many cases of abuse of civilians by the Russians were verified, including the rape of women and girls, as well as plunder of homes and businesses.
In the afternoon of 4 April, Rechnitz was completely encircled, upon which Sturmbahnführer Schweitzer resolved to break out of the encirclement. The breakout occurred between 6 to 9 April in the direction of the town Weiden. Schweitzer was wounded during the successful breakout, command of the unit was assigned to Untersturmfüher Hans Roller. After rest and reinforcement in the area of Hartberg, the unit was reassigned to ARKO 3 under the command of Oberst Semmer.
Schweitzer was awarded the Knight’s Cross on 14 April for his action in leading the successful attack to retake Rechnitz.

Via Generalleutnant Walter Krause’s memoirs…
As of 31 March 1945, some of the units assigned to transfer to his command arrived in Großpetersdorf prior to the attack on Rechnitz…

1 Ausbildungs Bataillon der Waffen-SS (fairly certin this was Schweitzer’s unit), approx 900 men total in 5 companies, well armed and well led, CONSISTING MOSTLY OF VOLKSDEUTSCHE FROM HOLLAND AND NORWAY, and whose leaders were all Reichsdeutsche.

1 Gebirgsjäger Ausbildungs Bataillon, approx 400-500 men, armed only with light MG’s, and no heavy weapons.

1 Gebirgs Veterinär Ersatz Kompanie, approx only 150 not combat capable older men, without MG’s

1 Kavallerie Ersatz Schwadron, approx 180 men, barely combat-capable, no MG’s

With these troops he put together the counterattack to retake Rechnitz, with a brief account of the action from April 1 to April 5.


There is only one mention in the book of Heiligenkreuz, about action around there on April 30, plus Heiligenkreuz is much farther to the south, in the Hartberg area. You can see it on the map at the bottom border of the first pic, to the left of my fingertip.

I hope this information is of help!

BTW, I just tonight read the guidelines regarding copying/posting book material, so from here on in, no more map/text pics from me. Pretty sure this book has been out of print for some time, but 'rules is rules', and now that I have read them, I will follow them...

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:08 pm

... Some additional info that might be useful in your search ...

Here are the names of individuals in Schweitzer’s SS unit mentioned in the account:
Willi Schweitzer
Untersturmführer Willig Wagner
Obersturmführer Peter Pongratz
Unterscharführer Heinz Burbach
Oberscharführer Hektor
Untersturmführer Hans Roller
Oberscharführer Horst Schaa
Oberscharführer Visser
Untersturmbührer Stefan Lenzhofer, Kurlandfront veteran
SS-Sturmmann Wolfgang Häuptner, age 19, Kurlandfront veteran, Ausbildner, SS-Pz.Gr.A.u.E.Btl 11, Graz

Häuptner gives his account of the unit’s action from 30 March to 7 April …
30&31 March, unit is called up from Graz and transported to the front near Rechnitz.
1 April through 7 April, assault to retake Rechnitz.
Estimated 300-400 KIA, many casualties on the Russian side as well.

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by ReinhardH » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:34 pm

I hope this info has helped, norge
Alles Gute

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Re: Norwegian KIA 4.5.45 Heiligen Kreuz Austria

Post by Regiment Norge » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:29 am

Hi!

Thanks for the update.

Heinz BURBACH is well known to me, I had contact with him in the 1990s.

There is not much written about SS-Kampfgruppe SCHWEIZER or I./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt "NORGE" during these late stages of the war. Btl. NORGE have had heavy casualties in Hungary during Konrad I-III. Thus refitted in March 1945 in Urkut/Hungary (Stubaf. VOGT left the Btl. and an unknown officer took charge) casualties was again heavy on the Btl.

The VOPERSAL archive at Freiburg has two reports on SCHWEIZER, but the author is unknown. One of the reports came from Holland and is surely written by a dutch volunteer. The anhilation of the Kgr. SCHWEIZER at Rechnitz/Sachendorf with 600 casualties within a few days in April 1945 left few survivors and more missing in action.

The Kgr. consisted of more dutchmen than norwegians. Only a few norwegians is known to have served in the Kgr., and a handful is declared as KIA/MIA.
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