|SS-Sturmbannführer Sylvester Stadler|
On January 30 1944, he was promoted SS-Standartenführer and on July 10 1944, he was made commander of the elite 9.SS-Panzer-Division Hohenstaufen. At the age of 33, he was one of the youngest officers in the Waffen-SS to hold this rank. At the end of 1944, Stadler´s panzers participated in the Ardennes Offensive. During the offensive, the SS-Oberführer Sylvester Stadler once again demonstrated his sense of military fairness, in which he exchanged wounded U.S. soldiers for captured soldiers of his division. A short while later, Hohenstaufen was dispatched to the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee west of Budapest. When he received order to pull back to the west in the face of the sheer hopelessness of the situation he did not carry out the order. Instead, he launched a risky relief attack on Stuhlweißenburg, which allowed the withdrawel of the German forces encircled there. The first-class frontline SS-officer Sylvester Stadler received the Swords to the Knight's Cross, as the 23rd officer of the Waffen-SS. Shortly afterwards he was promoted SS-Brigadeführer. On May 4 1945 he negotiated a ceasefire with American forces and received assurances that 9.SS-Panzerdivision Hohenstaufen would go into U.S. captivity. He was released from captivity in 1948 and started a life as a businessman. The family man with two sons died on August 23 1995 in Augsburg. Credit: Florian Berger: The Face of Courage. Image: SS-Sturmbannführer Sylvester Stadler March 1943. Photographer: SS-Obersturmführer and Kriegsberichter Friedrich Zschäckel. Commons: Bundesarchiv.