Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch

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Karl Pfeffer Wildenbruch
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Ege-237-06A, Karl von Pfeffer-Wildenbruch.jpg
Born (1888-06-12)12 June 1888
Kalkberge, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 29 January 1971(1971-01-29) (aged 82)
Bielefeld, North-Rhine Westphalia, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch War Ensign of Germany 1903-1918.svg Reichsheer
Ordnungspolizei flag.svg Ordnungspolizei
Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1907–1945
Rank 40px Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS
Service number SS #292,713
Unit 4th SS Polizei Division
VI SS Corps
IX SS Mountain Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Iron Cross 1st Class (1914) & (1939)
Iron Cross 2nd Class (1914) &(1939)
Wound Badge
Anschluss Medal
Sudetenland Medal
The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
SS Honour Ring

Karl Pfeffer Wildenbruch (12 June 1888 – 29 January 1971) was a staff officer of the German General Staff during World War I and an Obergruppenführer General in the Waffen-SS and the Polizei, during World War II. He commanded the 4th SS Polizei Division and the VI SS Army Corps and the IX SS Mountain Corps; he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Early life

Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was born on 12 June 1888, in Kalkberge, Rüdersdorf. After finishing high school he became a Fahnenjunker in the 22nd Field Artillery Regiment in March 1907. He was promoted to Leutnant in August 1908, and in 1911 he was assigned to the Military Technical School in Berlin.[1]

World War I

At the outbreak of The Great War, Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was assigned the command of a Battery, and was a Regimental Adjutant. He later became a staff officer on the German General Staff. He served under Field Marshal General, Colmar von der Goltz, in Baghdad who was the commander of the 1st Turkish Army. Pfeffer-Wildenbruch's next posting was as the IA to the German Military mission in Constantinople from May to November 1917. At the end of 1917 he returned to Germany, as a staff officer with the 11th Infantry Division. At the end of the war he remained on the General staff of the ZBV 55 and XXIV reserve corps.[1]

Interwar period

In August 1919 Pfeffer-Wildenbruch joined the police service, and spent time in the Reich Ministry of the Interior. He became the police commander in Osnabrück and Magdeburg. In 1928 he went to Santiago de Chile, to serve as Chief of the Chilean Carabineros de Chile,[2] returning to Germany in 1933.

In June 1933, Pfeffer-Wildenbruch became an Oberstleutnant in the National Police Regiment at Frankfurt an der Oder and from May 1936 he was the Inspector General of Police schools, being promoted to Generalmajor der Polizei in May 1937.[1]

In March 1939 Pfeffer-Wildenbruch joined the SS[Note 1] and served on the staff of the Reichsführer-SS, being promoted to SS-Brigadeführer in April 1939.[1]

World War II

Germany initiated World War II by invading Poland in September 1939. Near the end of that year, Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was given command of the 4th SS Polizei Division with the rank of SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant der Polizei. After the Battle of France he returned to the staff of the Reichsführer-SS, next serving as chief of the colonial police from 1941 to 1943.[1] In October 1943 he took over as commander of the VI SS Corps, with a promotion to SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und Polizei.[3]

In December 1944 Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was appointed commander of the IX SS Mountain Corps, stationed in Budapest, Hungary. He was in command of the German forces during the Battle of Budapest from 24 December 1944 to 11 February 1945.[4] The siege of Budapest was one of the longest and bloodiest city struggles of the Second World War and the fight lasted 46 days. Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was awarded the Knight's Cross on 11 January 1945 and the Oak Leaves on 1 February 1945. During the attempt to break out from Budapest, he was seriously wounded, and was captured by the Soviets. On 10 August 1949 he was sentenced to 25 years of labor camps,[5] but after Stalin's death he was released together with some 10,000 other prisoners of war and war criminals due to an informal agreement (concluded in September 1955) between German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin. His release came in October of that year.[2]

Pfeffer-Wildenbruch was killed in a traffic accident on 29 January 1971 at Bielefeld.[2]

Awards and decorations


  1. His service number was 292 713



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "personregister".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Battle for Budapest By Krisztián Ungváry, Ladislaus Löb, p. 67
  3. Latvia in World War II By Valdis O. Lumans, p. 287
  4. Mitcham 2007, p. 234.
  5. http://www.hrono.ru/biograf/bio_p/pfeffer_v.html
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Thomas 1998, p. 149.
  7. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 337.
  8. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 96.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). The German Defeat in the East, 1944–45. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3371-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1994). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>