SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS
Karl-Maria Demelhuber...Continued...

* In Siegrunen magazine (Volume 6, Number 1, 1983), author Richard Landwehr notes Demelhuber was transferred to London in 1946 for investigation into alleged war crimes committed by SS-Standarte “Germania” in 1940. Although Landwehr observes Demelhuber was cleared of any charges, he offers no details on the allegation. Presumably, the British authorities were attempting to identify the perpetrators of two war crimes committed by the SS against British troops in France: the massacres at Le Paradis and Wormhoudt in May 1940.

On 27 May 1940, SS-Obersturmfhrer Fritz Knöchlein, chief of the 14th Company of the 2nd SS Totenkopf Infantry Regiment (SS-Totenkopf-Division), ordered the execution of 100 British soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment following their surrender at Le Paradis. After the war, Knöchlein was identified by two British soldiers who had survived the massacre. He was tried by a British military tribunal and hanged as a war criminal on 21 January 1949 in Hameln.

On 28 May 1940, SS-Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Mohnke, newly appointed commander of the II. Battalion of the Leibstandarte SS “Adolf Hitler,” allegedly ordered the execution of about 80 British soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and other units after they had surrendered near Wormhoudt. In May 1945, Mohnke was captured by the Russians in Berlin and held as a prisoner until October 1955. He was never brought to trial for his alleged role in the Wormhoudt massacre. Mohnke led a quiet life and died on 6 August 2001.

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A letter dated 15 May 1947 from the Judge Advocate General Office to the Foreign Office inquired if the latter office had any objections to the handover of Demelhuber to the Polish authorities. A handwritten note described his alleged crimes: Demelhuber, SS-Standartenführer, SS-Standarte “Germania”. Accused of mass murder, torture, wanton destruction of property and other crimes in Poland between September 1st and October 30th 1939. UNWCC [United Nations War Crimes Commission] List No. 1 (Serial No. 253).

As events would prove, Demelhuber was not turned over to Poland and remained in British custody until his release in May 1948.

Decorations & Awards:

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Photos courtesy of Willi Schumacher

Click here to see a photo of Karl Maria Demelhuber in the company of fellow prisoners of war at Island Farm

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