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CJE 27th January 2016 19:35

Last Ritterkreuz

When and whom was the last Ritterkreuz of the war awarded to?

Thanks in advance.


VtwinVince 27th January 2016 22:24

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Do you mean under the Hitler regime, or Doenitz?

Johannes 28th January 2016 10:30

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Hi Guys

Seem to remember a couple of men being awarded the Ritterkreuz in the 1960's.



CJE 28th January 2016 10:41

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Do I need to rephrase my question? "During the war", it means before 8 May 1945.

Chris Goss 28th January 2016 10:53

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
From what I recall, as the end of war approached, who was awarded what (and I include DKiG) and when became quite nebulous. Probably best firing off a few names in the hope like Hptm Karl-Heinz Stahnke getting the EL 27 Mar 45?

CJE 28th January 2016 12:37

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Well, I know that my mother tongue being French, I may not be as specific as if I was on a French discussion board.
However, I thought I had been clear: last RK (not EL or DKiG) before 8/5/45.

Adriano Baumgartner 28th January 2016 13:31

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
I do have Lt. Herbert Bareuther, Staffelkapitän 14./JG 3, KIA 30.04.1945 awarded the RK posthumously on the 02nd May 1945

The last “batch” of airmen seems to have been awarded the RK on the 28th April 1945…at least a SG 10 man, some NJG airmen and at least a Flak man.

Major Heinz Unrau, I/KG 51 was awarded his RK on the 01st May 45

It seems Fw. Josef Baldes, from 1.(F)/Aufkl.Gruppe 124 was awarded his RK on the 09th May 45…but am not sure about this one…another RK-Träger from the LW seems to have been awarded on that date too (a Fallschirmjäger)

CJE, you certainly do remember the Mister Kit series of booklets from the 80's-90's period (Mach 1)...well, there is a former KG 53 pilot and later JG 300 airman that received his RK (from documents of 1945) late in the 60' some of the gentlemen who answered the thread put seems some airmen (LW) received their RK later in the 50's or 60's, due to the caos to process the formal documents on the last days before the end of WW2 in ETO (May 45).


Chris Goss 28th January 2016 17:39

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Chris-you misread what I wrote. What I wrote is if people fire off some names, maybe one can get there by cross referring the dates and hence a process of eliminating which is what Adriano has started. There are many cases of aircrew apparently being awarded but never receiving and that also applied to DKiG (which I know you are not interested in) from 1 Jan 45 onwards. Don't forget I am Welsh so English is not really my Mother tongue

Adriano Baumgartner 28th January 2016 18:39

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
Chris, CJE, Vince and Johannes,

I understand that, from time to time, those LW airmen were personally invited to Berlin to receive the awards personally by the highest hierarchy. Therefore, profiting CJE's thread, does someone knows the last time this kind of cerimony was held at the Chancelery, in Berlin? I mean for awards from RK onwards (EL, S, Br)? We all have seen that vídeo showing some EKII being presented on A.H. last birthday, to some youngsters from the Wolksturm...but was the 28th April 1945 batch of LW airmen the last to have being honored with that kind of cerimony? From what I found, there were at least 4-6 airmen honored with the RK on that date. Of course, one can not dismiss that the date was similar (same document), but they may have received their award on the the front!

I also understand from books and pictures, that eventually some LW airmen did receive their RK from their commanding officers on a Squadron or Group cerimony...all hands saluting, etc...Perhaps by 1945 time...these cerimonies were held at this kind of level (Geschwader, Jafü, etc...).

Adriano S. Baumgartner

Rainer 28th January 2016 23:31

Re: Last Ritterkreuz
The answer to this question is more complicated as you would think. The German efficiency had strict rules how someone could be nominated to receive the Knight's Cross and until his death on 30 April 1945 it was Hitler himself who ultimately decided if it was awarded or not. On the day he died some 33 proposals for this award were ready to be signed. His successor Dönitz sent a list of staff positions authorized to award the Knight's Cross on 3 May 1945, but legally only those awarded until and including 8 May 1945 can be valid.

According to the German historian Veit Scherzer about 200 alleged awards of the Knight's Cross are currently disputed as no official documentation or evidence of the award can be found. The cases of Herbert Bareuther and Heinz Unrau are two of them, furthermore the proposal of the award for Josef Baldes was never finalized.

The last confirmed award of the Knight's Cross to a member of the Luftwaffe went to Hptm Hans Beyer, Staffelkapitän 3.(F)/33, on 1 May 1945.

The video you mentioned was the last public appearance of Hitler and taken on 20 March 1945, one month before his last birthday. The last member of the Luftwaffe to receive an award personally from Hitler could have been Rudel on 1 January 1945.

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