Der letzte Gefallene – Last of the Fallen

Jochen Peiper
In 1957, with the help of former French prisoner of war Mr. Gauthier, Joachim Peiper decided to relocate in France with his family. In 1960 he built a house in Traves (Haute-Saône), high up on the bank of the river Saône. Peiper and his family lived there quite peacefully for over sixteen years when Paul Cacheux, member of the French communist party, recognized him. This resulted in a hate-campaign openly directed by the communist party. He decided to send his beloved wife and daughter to their family in Germany. Peiper was convinced he would be unable to protect his family adequately in case of an attack. Fearing his neighbor and friend, the former Leibstandarte SS officer Obersturmbannführer Erwin Ketelhut, would shoot at any attacker caused him to refuse his friend´s offer to spend the nights at his house. At 23:30 Peiper shot in the air to intimidate the intruders. He opened the door in order to talk to them. What happened afterwards can only be told by the culprits. The winner of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords SS-Standartenführer Joachim Peiper’s body was found on July 14 1976 (French national holiday) without hands and feet. He died at about 01:00. His house was also burned down. The perpetrators were never identified, but were suspected to be French communists. Image: Public domain.

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