ϟϟ-Obersturmbannführer der Waffen-SS Weidinger

SS-Obersturmbannführer Weidinger
Otto Weidinger (1914 – 1990) from Wurzburg, Bayern served with 2.SS-Panzer-Division Das Reich. Weidinger first saw combat in 1939 invasion of Poland. After subjugating Poland, his unit participated in the Battle of the Netherlands, where he distinguished himself, earning the Iron Cross 1st Class. He was promoted and transferred to the Divisional Staff of SS-Division Das Reich. In June 1943, Weidinger saw significant combat action at the Battle of Kursk where he received a serious head wound. In April 1944, Weidinger was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and the assumption of command of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4 “Der Führer” (2.SS-Panzer-Division Das Reich) at the Normandy coastline. After two months of heavy fighting following the D-Day invasion, Weidinger's unit, along with 80,000 other German troops, were surrounded in what would be known as the Falaise Gap. Faced with the prospect of surrender or annihilation, Weidinger had his unit constantly probe the enemy line for weaknesses, which Weidinger then exploited by using his remaining Panzers. Ten thousand German troops were able to escape the collapsing pocket. For his actions in the face of near-certain defeat, Weidinger was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross in December 1944.

After the end of WWII, Weidinger was imprisoned by the Americans, along with thousands of other Waffen-SS men who were automatically considered war criminals by virtue of being volunteers in the Waffen-SS, which was designated as a criminal organization by the Allies. He remained a prisoner until June 1951. Otto Weidinger later wrote Comrades to the End - the complete regimental history of the German-Austrian SS-Regiment "Der Führer" as well as a 6 volume history of Division "Das Reich" consisting of five text volumes and a photo compilation. Awards among others: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, German Cross in Gold, Infantry Assault Badge in Silver, Wound Badge in Silver, Close Combat Clasp in Bronze and Tank Destruction Badge. Credit: Wikipedia. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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