Did Willi Bittrich commit any war crimes?

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Beppo Schmidt
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Did Willi Bittrich commit any war crimes?

Post by Beppo Schmidt » 21 Aug 2003 01:01

I know Bittrich was imprisoned for 8 years after WWII for war crimes, but then he was found innocent and released. Can anyone tell me what he was accused of, and what evidence there was against him?

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Matt H.
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Post by Matt H. » 21 Aug 2003 01:35

Willi Bittrich was the SS General (Obergruppenführer) at Arnhem for whom the British 1st Airborne had considerable praise for, was he not? According to accounts from various captured British paratroopers, Bittrich and the men under his command behaved in a quite chivalrous and honourable manner towards his POWs.

I am not aware of the Nürnberg judgement against him, but given the events above, I'd be most interested to know.

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Post by David Thompson » 21 Aug 2003 02:18

Bittrich, Wilhelm "Willi" (26.2.1894-19.4.1979) [SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS] – WWI service as officer-pilot; service, Free Corps (Freikorps) "Huelsen" Mar-Jul 1919; service, Free Corps (Freikorps) "Ehrhardt" Jan-Jun 1920; entered Reichswehr 1923 and trained German pilots in the USSR; NSDAP-Nr.: 829700 (joined 1932); SS-Nr.: 39177; commander, SS Air Squadron "East" (Führer SS Fliegerstaffel "Ost") 31 Oct 1932-8 Mar 1934; service, 74th SS Regiment "Baltic Sea" (Führer 74.SS-Standarte "Ostsee") at Greifswald 8 Mar-25 Aug 1934; transferred to SS combat troop branch (SS-Verfügungstruppe) 25 Aug 1934; commander, Political Readiness Detachment (Führer Politische Bereitschaft) Hamburg 25 Aug 1934-1 Apr 1935; leader, company in Ist Battalion of 1st SS Regiment "Germany" (Führer 2./I./SS-Standarte 1 "Deutschland") 1 Apr 1935-29 Sept 1936; leader, IInd Battalion of SS Regiment "Germany" (Führer II./SS-Standarte "Deutschland") 29 Sept 1936-23 Mar 1938; leader, Ist Battalion of 3rd SS Regiment (Führer I.Sturmbann/SS-Standarte 3 "Der Führer") 23 Mar 1938-1 Jun 1939; staff, "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" 1 Jun 1939-1 Feb 1940; staff, replacement office for SS combat division in the SS Main Office (SS-V.-Division, SS-Hauptamt); service, SS Guidance Main Office (SS-Führungshauptamt) 1 Feb-1 Dec 1940; commander (Kdr.), SS Regiment "Deutschland"/SS-Division "Reich" 1 Dec 1940-14 Oct 1941; acting commander, SS-Division "Reich" Oct 1941-Jan 1942; service, SS Guidance Main Office (SS-Führungshauptamt) Jan-1 Jun 1942; commander, SS-Kavallerie-Division "Florian Geyer" 1 Jun 1942-15 Dec 1943; commander, 9.SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" 15 Feb 1943-10 Jul 1944; commander, II.SS-Panzer-Korps 29 Jun 1944-8 May 1945 [Knights Cross 1941; Oakleaves 1944; Swords 1945] {taken prisoner by American troops 8 May 1945; extradited to France; put on trial by a French military tribunal at Marseilles Jun 1953 on charges of of permitting hangings, pillage and arson; convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment 23 Jun 1953 (NYT 24 Jun 1953:6:6); put on trial for war crimes by a French court at Bordeaux and acquitted 1954; died 19 Apr 1979 at Wolfratshausen / Bayern (Axis Biographical Research, SS und Deutschen Polizei [SS and German Police], http://www.geocities.com/~orion47/SS-PO ... izei.html; Waffen-SS Commanders I, pps. 78-82; Roll of Infamy p. 16; Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP [9 Nov 1944]).}

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