SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
SPECIAL CAMP 11

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NAME: Generalfeldmarschall Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist

PW NO:           560275

RANK:            Generalfeldmarschall

CAPTURED:   Mitterfels bei Krenzkirchen, Germany

DATE:             25 April 1945

PERSONAL
DATE OF BIRTH:       8 August 1881

PLACE OF BIRTH:     Braunfels/Kreis Wetzlar/Lahn
DATE OF DEATH:     16 October 1954
PLACE OF DEATH:   Vladimir POW Camp near Moscow, USSR
NATIONALITY:         German
RELIGION:
OCCUPATION:        Regular Soldier
HEIGHT:
WEIGHT:

NEXT OF KIN:
Wife: Gisela Wachtel (married on 18 October 1910 in Hannover)
– two sons (Johannes Jürgen Christoph Ewald and Hugo Edmund Christoph Heinrich).

Account

Edwald von Kleist was born in to an aristocratic family. He was a strong monarchist who was close to the Von Hindenburg family serving as a commander of a cavalry division from 1932 to 1935.  Temporarily retired, he was recalled in August 1939 at the age of 58 as commanding general of XXII Army Corps (Motorized).  In April 1941, he was sent to the Balkans where his troops captured Belgrade.

In 1942, Hitler sent von Kleist to the Caucasus with orders to take the oil wells there by the autumn of that year.  At first, von Kleist made progress in this campaign.  Official Nazi policy was to treat the non-Germanic peoples of the east as inferior races, but von Kleist realised the advantages of gaining the co-operation of these people and used officers who knew them well.  As a result he gained the support of many people who fought with the Germans against the Communists.

In January 1943, Hitler made von Kleist a Field Marshal in recognition of his services at a time when the Russian campaign was deteriorating. Near the end of the war, von Kleist was taken prisoner by the Americans and turned over to the British.  In 1946, after being held at Island Farm, he was extradited to Yugoslavia and then to the Soviet Union, where he died in October 1954 in the Vladimir POW Camp near Moscow.

Promotions:

  • Fahnenjunker: 13 March 1900
  • Fähnrich: 18 October 1900 (C2c)
  • Leutnant: 18 August 1901 – Patent 19 August 1900
  • Oberleutnant: 27 January 1910 (GOg)
  • Rittmeister/Hauptmann: 22 March 1914 (V23)
  • Major: 1 February 1922 – RDA 1 July 1921 (20a)
  • Oberstleutnant: 1 December 1926 (5)
  • Oberst: 1 October 1929 (26)
  • Charakter als Generalmajor: 1 January 1932
  • Generalmajor: 1 October 1932 (3)
  • Generalleutnant: 1 October 1933 (10)
  • General der Kavallerie: 1 August 1936 (1)
  • Generaloberst: 19 July 1940 (3)
  • Generalfeldmarschall: 1 February 1943 (1)

Commands & Assignments:

  • 13 March 1900: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in Feld-Artillerie-Regiment General-Feldzugmeister (1. Brandenburgisches) Nr. 3.
  • 3 January 1904: Adjutant and Court Officer of the Mounted Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment 3.
  • 1 October 1909-30 September 1910: Detached to the Military Riding Institute at Hannover.
  • 1 October 1910-22 July 1913: Detached to the War Academy in Berlin for General Staff training.
  • 19 December 1911: Transferred to Husaren-Regiment Landgraf Friedrich III von Hessen-Homburg (2. Kurhessisches) Nr.14 at Kassel.
  • 22 March 1914: Rittmeister (Cavalry Captain) on Staff and Leader of the 3rd Squadron of 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr.1.
  • 2 August 1914: Leader of the Replacement Squadron of 2. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Königin Viktoria von Preußen Nr.2.
  • 5 August 1914: Leader of the Replacement Squadron of 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr.1.
  • 17 October 1915: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the 85th Landwehr Division.
  • 1 December 1915: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the 86th Infantry Division.
  • 1 January 1916: Adjutant of the 171st Infantry Brigade.
  • 26 January 1916: Transferred to Cavalry Regiment 85.
  • 2 February 1916: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the 85th Landwehr Division.
  • 3 March 1916: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the staff of the XVII Reserve Corps.
  • 23 April 1916: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the 85th Landwehr Division.
  • 1 June 1916: Detached for service as the 1st Adjutant of the 85th Landwehr Division.
  • 19 June 1916: Detached for service as a General Staff Officer to the 85th Landwehr Division.
  • 28 July 1916: Delegated with the post of Operations Officer (Ia) on the staff of the 86th Infantry Division.
  • 1 August 1916: Returned to Cavalry Regiment 85.
  • 29 October 1916: Ordnance Officer on the General Staff of the XVII Reserve Corps.
  • 13 March 1917: While retaining his previous position, transferred as a Hauptmann into the General Staff of the Army.
  • 1 June 1917: Detached to the Artillery Measuring School in Wien.
  • 3 August 1917: Operations Officer (Ia) of the Guards Cavalry Division on the Eastern and Western Fronts.
  • 4 January 1918-11 January 1918: At the same time, detached to the General Staff course in Wahn.
  • 12 January 1918-14 February 1918: At the same time, detached to Army Group “German Crown Prince.”
  • 15 April 1918: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General Staff of the 225th Infantry Division.
  • 14 September 1918: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General Staff of the VII Army Corps.
  • 5 May 1919: Operations Officer (Ia) on the staff of Reichswehr Brigade 7.
  • 1 June 1920: General Staff Officer on the staff of Infantry Leader 10.
  • 1 October 1920: 1st General Staff Officer on the staff of Infantry Leader VI, Hannover.
  • 1 April 1922: Squadron Chief in Reiter [Riding]-Regiment 13.
  • 16 July 1923-15 August 1923: At the same time, detached to the Staff Officer Course at the Hannover Cavalry School.
  • 1 October 1923: Detached to the Hannover Cavalry School.
  • 1 January 1924: General Staff Officer and Tactics Instructor at the Hannover Cavalry School.
  • 1 March 1928: Detached to the staff of the 2nd Cavalry Division.
  • 1 April11928: Chief of Staff of the 2nd Cavalry Division, Breslau.
  • 1 July 1929: Chief of Staff of the 3rd Division, Breslau.
  • 1 February 1931: Commander of Infantry Regiment 9.
  • 1 January 1932: Commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division, Breslau.
  • 1 October 1933: Breslau Military District Commander.
  • 1 October 1934: Commander of the Breslau Army Service Center.
  • 1 May 1935: Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] VIII, Breslau.
  • 21 June 1935: Commanding General of the VIII Army Corps and Commander of Wehrkreis VIII, Breslau.
  • 4 February 1938: With effect from 28 February 1938, retired from the Army with the honor of carrying the uniform of Cavalry Regiment 8.
  • 1 July 1938: Placed at the disposal of the Army for employment.
  • 26 August 1939: Commanding General of the XXII Army Corps (Motorized). [His corps took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939.]
  • 5 March 1940: At the same time, named Commander of Panzer Group “Kleist.” [He led his group in the French campaign, May-June 1940.]
  • 16 November 1940: Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Group 1. [He led his group in the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941.and the invasion of the Soviet Union from 22 June 1941.]
  • 25 October 1941-21 November 1942: Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Panzer Army on the Eastern Front.
  • January 1942-May 1942: Commander-in-Chief of Army Group “von Kleist” composed of his own 1st Panzer Army, the 17th Army and Group “von Mackensen” (III. Army Corps Motorized) on the Eastern Front.
  • 22 November 1942: Commander-in-Chief of Army Group A on the Eastern Front.
Generalfeldmarschall von Kleist conducting an inspection tour in the Crimea, 1943. Note his Interimstab and Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 2nd Class (worn at the throat) and 3rd Class (pinned to left breast).


Please Click Photo To Enlarge

Interimstab - the everyday "Walking Out Baton" of Generalfeldmarschall Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist

  • Baton manufactured by the concern of H.J. Wilm, Berlin, and appears to be silver, silver-gilt and black enamel.
  • The finial (top most portion) is in the form of a stylised acorn
  • Four gold finished emblems adorn the top mount, these being: a large Wehrmacht Eagle, a Swastika emblem, a small style Army Eagle emblems and an Iron Cross emblem in silver and black enamel.
  • The lowest portion of the mount is a circular collar, which bears the raised lettering inscription:

  • The shaft of the baton is a dark coloured wood, probably mahogany.

The above baton is part of a private collection. The photos are courtesy of Frederick J. Stephens

Generalfeldmarschall von Kleist (sitting in vehicle) and Generalleutnant Josef Rußwurm, the Inspector of Army Signals Troops, pictured upon their capture by U.S. troops of the 26th Infantry Division at Mitterfels bei Krenzkirchen on 25 April 1945.

  • 1945-1946: Transferred to Special Camp No. 11, Island Farm, Bridgend, Wales.
  • 12 August 1945 Wrote in his memoirs:

"Wer will uns von der Liebe Gottes scheiden?" ist das Wort, das ich aus dem heutigen Gottesdienst, den jeden Sonntag Pfarrer Gruber abhält, mitbringe. Er legt nicht mehr die Bibelworte aus, um sie zu zerpflükken, sondern er greift den großen Gedanken des Textes auf, um daraus Kraft und Trost für unsere Lage zu finden. Ich besuche an jedem Sonntag meiner Gefangenschaft einen Gottesdienst"

...which reads...

"Who wants to part us from the love of God?" are the words I bring back from today's worship service which Pastor Gruber conducts every Sunday. He does not explain the lessons from the Bible anymore to pick them apart but, rather he takes up the greater theme of the text, in order to draw from it strength and comfort for our situation. I attend worship service every Sunday of my captivity.
(Note: "Captivity" = Island Farm Special Camp XI)

  • 3rd September 1946 transferred to LDC (London District Cage) for onward extradition to Yugoslavia, tried as a war criminal and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
  • 1948: Extradited to the Soviet Union and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • 16 October 1954: Died in Vladimir POW Camp, Soviet Union, from “general arteriosclerosis and hypertension.”
Decorations & Awards:
  • Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross: 15 May 1940, General der Kavallerie, Commanding General of the XXII Army Corps (Panzer Group “Kleist”).
  • Oakleaves (No. 72): 17 February 1942, Generaloberst, Commander of Panzer Group 1.
  • Swords (No. 60): 30 March 1944, Generalfeldmarschall, Commander-in-Chief of Army Group A.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 4 October 1914.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 27 January 1915.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 27 September 1939.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 17 September 1939.
  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”)
  • Hamburg Hanseatic Cross
  • Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
  • Prussian Officers’ Long Service Cross (Not authorized for wear after the establishment of the Third Reich-era Armed Forces Long Service Awards on 16 March 1936.)
  • Johanniter Order, Knight of Justice: 1935.
  • Johanniter Order, Knight of Honor: 1917.
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross): 2 October 1936.
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal): 2 October 1936.
  • Hungarian Order of Merit, Grand Cross with Swords: 13 May 1941.
  • Italian Military Order of Savoy, Commander: 30 July 1942.
  • Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 1st and 2nd Classes: 6 October 1942 (Royal Decree No. 3034).
  • Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 3rd Class: 16 July 1942 (Royal Decree No. 2029).
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht [Armed Forces Communiqué]: 10 April 1941; 13 April 1941; 26 August 1941; 27 August 1941; 11 October 1941; 12 October 1941; 22 November 1941; 30 May 1942; 19 August 1943; 9 October 1943.

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