Valter Zeydlits-Kurtsbah

Valter Zeydlits-Kurtsbah

German military leader.
Country: Germany

  1. Biography of Walter von Seydlitz-Kurzbach
  2. Early Life and Military Career
  3. World War II
  4. Soviet Captivity and Later Life

Biography of Walter von Seydlitz-Kurzbach

Early Life and Military Career

Walter von Seydlitz-Kurzbach was a German military figure and artillery general. He was born into a family of military background on September 18, 1908, as the third of ten children. Two of his brothers tragically lost their lives on the frontlines of World War I. Seydlitz-Kurzbach fought in the war himself, participating in significant battles such as the Battle of Gumbinnen and the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded multiple times and received several military honors, including the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, the House Order of Hohenzollern, the Hanseatic Cross, and the Silver Wound Badge.

World War II

At the outbreak of World War II, Seydlitz-Kurzbach commanded an artillery unit on the Dutch border. He later became the commander of the 12th Mecklenburg Infantry Division and played a key role in the Battle of France, including the breakthrough of the Maginot Line and the crossing of the River Somme. In August 1940, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Seydlitz-Kurzbach's division remained in France until December 1940 and was then stationed in the Netherlands before being relocated to Poland.

In June 1941, Seydlitz-Kurzbach participated in the Eastern Front campaign, distinguishing himself in the Battle of Nevel and preventing a Soviet breakthrough near Khom. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and received Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross on December 31, 1941. In January 1942, he was transferred to the Führer Reserve.

Seydlitz-Kurzbach returned to the Eastern Front in March 1942 and formed a battle group consisting of the 5th and 8th Jäger Divisions and the 329th Infantry Division. Their mission was to relieve the encircled 2nd Corps near Demyansk. Despite their successes, Hitler refused to allow the withdrawal of the trapped troops from the Demyansk Pocket. Seydlitz-Kurzbach was appointed as the commander of the 51st Corps on May 8, 1942, which was part of the 6th Army led by General Friedrich Paulus.

During the Battle of Stalingrad, Seydlitz-Kurzbach's corps captured Mamayev Kurgan and reached the Volga River. However, the German advance was halted, and Seydlitz-Kurzbach urged Paulus to break out of the encirclement. Paulus rejected his pleas, and the 6th Army was ultimately surrounded and forced to surrender. Seydlitz-Kurzbach displayed a strong opposition to Hitler's strategy and even wrote to various German military leaders, urging them to take action against Hitler or lay down their arms.

Soviet Captivity and Later Life

Following the surrender of the German forces, Seydlitz-Kurzbach was taken prisoner by the Soviet Union on January 31, 1943. While in captivity, he decided to cooperate with the Soviet authorities in their efforts to overthrow Hitler. He believed that Hitler's actions had betrayed the German people and violated their military oath. Seydlitz-Kurzbach became the chairman of the Union of German Officers, an organization that operated under Soviet control.

After the war ended, the Union of German Officers was dissolved, and Seydlitz-Kurzbach was not allowed to return to Germany. He spent some time in Moscow, providing consultancy for the film "The Battle of Stalingrad," and wrote his memoirs about the war. Despite his efforts, Seydlitz-Kurzbach's role in the anti-Hitler resistance was largely unrecognized in Soviet historical literature.

In 1950, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and sentenced to 25 years in prison for alleged wartime crimes. Seydlitz-Kurzbach endured harsh conditions and psychological torture during his imprisonment. However, he was released on October 4, 1955, following the intervention of West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. He returned to Germany and was officially rehabilitated by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1956.

During his later years, Seydlitz-Kurzbach lived in seclusion. He passed away on April 23, 1996. Two decades after his death, he was posthumously rehabilitated by the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation.