Just an update really. I can confirm that the German officer in the film discovered in England, and pictured above, is Obersleutnant Walter Gieseke. I have gone through considerable numbers of SS personnel files checking mug shots, awards etc etc. The date of the film is not 1942 as first thought, but August 1943. By this stage Einsatzstab Gieseke was preparing to withdraw to the East out of the path of the advancing Russians. Below is a little biography of him which I have put together from SS records, together with British and American intelligence reports.
Note: Gieseke spells and signs his name as above. The SS personnel office, however, have both him and Otto as Giesecke. Walter’s career history indicates a man who could be described as a “Johnny come lately”. He misses out on service in the First World War. In 1933 he joins the Nazi Party as Hitler comes into power. He joins the SA when it looks like a good idea and leaves it when it proves not to be the case. He joins the police when, with the evolution of the Nazi security apparatus, it looks like a good move. In 1942 he joins the SS when it looks prudent to do so.
Date of Birth: 26 November 1901
SS Number: 431,515
Nazi Party Number: 1,853,472
Occupation: Professional Soldier and Policeman
Religious Belief: Listed as believer in God
War Service Cross, 2nd Class with Swords (Jan, 43)
Eastern Front Winter War Medal 1941-42
Eastern Front Service Medal (Jan, 44)
Iron Cross First Class (Feb, 44)
Infantry Assault Badge in Silver (Feb, 44)
26 November 1901 Born at Hohenhameln Germany
15 April 1919 Enters the Old German Army
3 August 1919 Demobbed from Old German Army
4 August 1919 Enters the Reichswehr (Weimar Era German Army)
14 April 1931 Leaves the Reichswehr
1 May 1933 Joins Nazi Party
4 October 1933 Joins the SA
1 December 1934 Leaves the SA and enters the Police.
26 August 1939 Given rank in the new Wehrmacht (had he remained on the reserve list after leaving the Army in 1931 and was recalled with the outbreak of war with Poland? His service appears to have been as a “feld gendarme” (ie. Military policeman) which would make sense in terms of his career path
8 May 1940 Appears to have been widowed
12 February 1941 Leaves post in Wehrmacht
1941-42 Undoutedly Serves in Russia, probably in one of the police regiments, as he is later awarded the Eastern Front Winter War Medal 1941-42
26 March 1942 Transferred to serve on Road Project DGIV
18 August 1942 SS Personnel Office in Berlin asks Gieseke for photos of himself and a quick confirmation that he has received their request. It appears that the SS had confused Walter and Brigade Fuehrer Otto Gieseke. Details of Einsatzstab Gieseke were being logged on Otto’s personnel file as well as Walter’s
10 September 1942 is accepted into the SS. He had successfully demonstrated proof of his Aryan background as far back as 1750 to the Race and Settlement Office (letter on personnel file 14/9/42). This again seems to indicate a certain confusion about Gieseke. Did the SS realise that they had entrusted DGIV to a man who wasn't even in the SS and that realising their mistake in August 1942 they quickly took steps to correct the situation.
10 September 1942 receives rank of Sturmbannfuhrer in the SS.
1 January 1943 War Service Cross, 2nd Class with Swords
21 June 1943 promoted to rank of Obersturmbannfuhrer in the SS
10 July 1943 A Latvian Schuma Battalion attached to Einsatzstab Gieseke is engaged in a Sonder Einsatz at Kerch (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
24 July 1943 Two Schuma Battalions attached Einsatzstab Engaged in a special operation in the vicinity of Nikolayev-Cherson (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
29 July 1943 Gieseke receives authorisation for transport 1 F-Wagen mit PKW from the main railway station. The destination is the Police School for Rechnik und Verkeer in Berlin. SS unit based in Dnjeperpetrovsk also moving some of its heavy gear to the West. (British Archives German police decodes HW16/27)
1 September 1943 Evacuation of Stalino begun (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68).
18 September 1943 Evacuation of Dnjeperpetrovsk. E-Stab Gieseke moves to Luzk (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
25 September 1943 Evacuation of 2,700 volksdeutsche from Dnjeperpetrovsk (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
2 October 1943 The Motor Transport Repair Shops at Dnjeperpetrosk are moved to Krivoi Rog (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
23 October 1943 Schuma deserters are reported at Gaissin. On capture they are put to work on the road (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
6 November 1943 E-Stab Gieske thought to be at Olyka engaged in anti-partisan activity in vicinity of Rowno. E-Stab Gieseke thought to have three Schuma regiments attached. (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68)
13 November 1943 Order of Battle Report No 3 - E-Stab Gieseke reported at Olyka on 27 October (British Archives Order of Battle Reports HW16/89)
20 November 1943 E-Stab Gieseke clearing railway line vicinity of Rowno (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68).
27 November 1943 Report of two new police regiments forming - one under Gieseke (British Archives Notes on Police Decodes HW16/68).
5 December 1943 Order of Battle Report 5 December 1943 places Schuma Battalion 28, listed as part of E-Stab Gieseke at Biala-Cerkwa (British Archives Order of Battle Reports HW16/90)
18 December 1943 Order of Battle Report 18 December 1943 places Einsatzstab Gieseke at Kowel in Poland on 7 December (British Archives Order of Battle Reports HW16/89)
1 January 1944 receives Eastern Front Medal
5 February 1944 receives Iron Cross First Class
12 February 1944 receives Infantry Assault Badge in Silver (This and the Iron Cross First Class undoubtedly mean that Gieseke is increasingly close to front line fighting after he is pulled from the Road project)
21 March 1944 Report on Personnel File Places him in Command of Police Regiment Gieseke (3 battalions). Their location is Sedziszow near Debica (Southern Poland). The area’s large Jewish population had largely been murdered by 1944 but German troops were busy fighting the Polish partisans of the “Home Army”. Both Sedziszow and Debica were important railway towns on the route to Lvov. An attempt by partisans to blow up a train carrying Senior Nazi Hans Frank on 2 February 1944 led to large scale reprisals. At Debica on 2 February 50 Poles were murdered by the railway track. One young German soldier Otto Schimek refused to participate in the murder of civilians. He was tried and convicted by a military court and sentenced to death. There is a memorial to him in the vicinity of Debica.
2 April 1944 Order of Battle Report 2 April 1944 places Gieseke at Stutzpunkt Sediszow on 8 March
From this point on Gieseke disappears from view. There is nothing on his personnel file and his name does not come up in Allied intelligence sources.
However, in the late 1960s German prosecutors found Gieseke living in retirement at 6 The Market Place, Burgdorf.
As a result of the publication of the diary of one of the labourers on DGIV over 20 members of Einsatzstab Gieseke are questioned about allegations of murder and brutality. In the 1970s all cases are dropped because of a lack of evidence or inconsistencies therein. I would love to know what happened to Walter after this if anyone knows etc.