This profile is based on a copy of Generalmajor Kreipe’s microfilmed service record housed at the United States National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

NAME: Generalmajor Karl Heinrich Georg Ferdinand Kreipe

PW NO:          046002

RANK:           Generalmajor


DATE:            26 April 1944


DATE OF BIRTH:     5 June 1895

PLACE OF BIRTH:   Niedererspier/Kreis Sondershausen/Thüringen

DATE OF DEATH:   14 June 1976

PLACE OF DEATH: Northeim         

NATIONALITY:       German

RELIGION:               Evangelical

OCCUPATION:        Regular Soldier

HEIGHT:                    5'9"

WEIGHT:                   175lbs

HAIR COLOUR:        Dark Brown Turning Grey

EYE COLOUR:         Blue Grey

NEXT OF KIN:         Margarete Schmidt, Nordheim Hannover (British Zone)


Parents: Friedrich and Maria (née Pfannschmidt) Kreipe. A pastor in Niedererspier, Friedrich Kreipe died on 30 October 1914 in Sondershausen.


Wife: None (Bachelor).


Commands & Assignments:

"Daily Mail Special Correspondent - Cairo Friday May 19th 1944: Panzer Dvisional General Kreipe had finished his day's work at his headquarters in Heraklion, heart of Nazi-occupied Crete. It was a fine April evening as he stepped into his car and told the driver to take him to his villa. General Kreipe never reached it. His car journey - plus an expected sea voyage - landed him in Egypt, a prisoner of war in British hands. This is what happened to the general, commander of the 22nd Panzer Division on that eventful evening of April 26th 1944.The general, who was in uniform with slacks tucked into his boots, had no escort for this was occupied Crete, miles from the battlefront and the nearest enemy base, and the Cretan guerillas were under control. There was no on ein the car but Kreipe and his driver. They had gone no more than six miles when a red traffic light waved in the dusk. The driver pulled up. Two British officers when to the door and Kreipe was a prisoner. Bundling the driver out of the front seat, one British officer tool the wheel and the party drove off through Heraklion, with the general covered inside by automatics. The two pennants on Kreipe's car gave them safe passage through 22 German military control points. About 30 miles beyond the town the car was abandoned and the party embarked in a British ship. The daring plan had succeeded. It had been based on the most detailed personal reconnaisance of the German divisional head-quarters area by a British officer. The names of the raiders who had been landed with the co-operation of the Navy, must at present be kept secret. Commander of the kidnapping force was a major, his assistant was a Coldstream Guard captain. Both are operating under the command of General Paget C-in-C"

Generalmajor Heinrich Kreipe,
Commander Of Troops, Crete.
Captured wearing this tropical uniform during a Commando raid intended to kidnap him.
Note this field marchal's collar insignia

Display case photo at Imperial War Museum, London
12: Cosh used by Captain "Billy" Moss to knock out the driver of Kreipe's car. Moss then drove the car with Leigh Fermor impersonating the General.
13: Leaflet dropped on Crete after the kidnap
14: Medal group awarded to Patrick Leigh Fermor - These include the Distingusihed Service Order (DSO)


Extract from the book Thresholds of Peace: Four Hundred Thousand German Prisoners and the People of Britain, 1944-1948 by Matthew Barry Sullivan (Hamish Hamilton, London, United Kingdom, 1979):

The luckless Heinrich Kreipe, the general abducted from Crete had come back from Canada rather earlier. He was twice moved to hospital Camp 99 at Shugborough Park in Staffordshire to have his diabetes treated before being moved to Special Camp 11. His hurt pride, because of the indignity of those eighteen days in the Cretan mountains would dog him for the rest of his life: he would one day take out an injunction against both the book [Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss] and the film about the kidnap appearing in Germany, on the grounds of defamation of character: he had not, he claimed, given his word of honour not to try to escape, as was maintained. He won his case.

Decorations & Awards:

Generalmajor Kreipe’s World War I Combat Service Record

Western Front, 1914-1916

Eastern Front, 1916
Western Front, 1916-1918

[1] On 4 September 1941, Generalmajor Dr. phil. Friedrich Altrichter succeeded Generalleutnant Iwan Heunert as commander of the 58th Infantry Division. During Oberst Kreipe’s tenure as a regimental commander, the division was commanded thereafter by Oberst (later Generalleutnant) Karl von Graffen from 27 March 1942.

[2] The commander of the 22nd Infantry Division was subordinated to Luftwaffe Generalleutnant (later General der Fallschirmtruppe) Bruno Bräuer, the Fortress Commandant of Crete. Bräuer served in this post from 6 September 1942-31 May 1944. On 20 May 1947, he was hanged in Athens for war crimes. On 1 July 1944, newly promoted General der Infanterie Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, the original objective of the kidnap mission, returned to the island as the Fortress Commandant of Crete. He was hanged along with Bräuer on 20 May 1947 for war crimes.

[3] Following the kidnap of Generalmajor Kreipe, command of the 22nd Infantry Division passed to Generalleutnant Helmut Friebe effective 1 May 1944. This officer was the older brother of Generalmajor Werner Friebe, an inmate of Island Farm Special Camp 11. Two months after the kidnapping of Generalmajor Kreipe, Captain W. Stanley Moss attempted to repeat the operation with Generalleutnant Friebe as the objective. However, increased German security measures prevented him from carrying out the plan.