Military Wiki
Desiderius Hampel
File:Desiderius Hampel.jpg
Desiderius Hampel
Born (1895-01-20)January 20, 1895
Died 11 January 1981(1981-01-11) (aged 85)
Place of birth Sisak, Austria-Hungary
Place of death Graz, Austria
Allegiance World War I
Austro Hungarian Empire
World War II
Hungary during World War II
Independent State of Croatia
Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1914–1918 Austro-Hungarian Army
1937–1941 Hungarian Army
1941–1942 Croatian Home Guard (NDH)
1942–1945 Waffen SS
Rank World War I
World War II
SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS
Unit 16th Hungarian Infantry Regiment
13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian)
Commands held 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) 1944–1945
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards World War I
Iron Cross II class
Wound Badge in Black
Military Merit Cross (Austria–Hungary) with War Decoration and Swords
Military Merit Medal (Austria–Hungary) in Silver
Honorary Medal for bravery (Austria)
World War II
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
Wound Badge in Silver
War Merit Cross with Swords

Desiderius Hampel was a SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS during World War II who commanded the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Early life

Desiderius Hampel was born 20 January 1895 in the town of Sisak, Austria-Hungary (modern-day Croatia). His father was an inspector on the Austrian Railway, and the family often had to move around Europe, living in different areas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This had the benefit of teaching the young Hampel a number of languages. After he completed his primary school education, he was sent to a military school in Karlovac. After graduation he joined the Army in October 1914, as a warrant officer in the 16th Hungarian Infantry Regiment Freiherr von Giesl, and in December was sent to the front line.

World War I

In April 1915, he was given command of a platoon and shortly after promoted to Leutnant and given command of the 14th Company. At the end of the year he was sent on a heavy machine gun training course at Bruck an der Leitha. When he returned to the front in November he was given command of the 4th Company of his regiment and was promoted to Oberleutnant in May 1917. In September 1918, he was appointed as the second in command of the 36th Battalion fighting in Serbia until the end of the war when he became a prisoner of war in Serbia. He escaped from captivity just over a year later and made his way to Vienna and then Budapest.

Between the wars

After he returned from captivity he started work on a farm and studied forestry between 1925 and 1928 at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He then worked in the forestry industry until December 1937 when he rejoined the Hungarian Army and served in Budapest.

World War II

Hampel served in Budapest until March 1941, and was then sent to the town of Csepel, in command of the area defences until December 1941 when he was dismissed from the army. He then joined the Croatian Home Guard with the rank of Major and was appointed as the intelligence officer for the IV Army Corps. In May 1942, after a request from Obergruppenführer Artur Phleps he joined the Waffen SS as a Sturmbannführer. He was given command of the III Battalion, 1st SS Gebirgsjager Regiment until June 1943 when he was moved to command the Training and Reserve Battalion, 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. Next he was given a position on the staff of the newly formed 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian). In November 1943 he was promoted to Obersturmbannführer and given command of the 27th SS Mountain Infantry Regiment of SS Handschar.

In April 1944, he was promoted to Standartenführer and soon after given command of SS Handschar, and in January 1945 promoted to Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his command of the division near the end of the war in May 1945.[Note 1] The same month he surrendered the division in Austria to the advancing British troops.

Post war

Desiderius Hampel survived the war and died on 11 January 1981 in Graz, Austria.

See also


  1. No evidence of the award can be found in the German National Archives. Presumably Desiderius Hampel received the Knight's Cross the same day as Karl Liecke and Hans Hanke. Letter from Ernst-Günther Krätschmer to Von Seemen dated 7 August 1980. According to Von Seemen presumably presented by General Maximilian de Angelis.[1] The Order Commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR) processed Hampel's case in 1980 and Fellgiebel decided: Knight's Cross yes, 3 May 1945. In his book he noted: "A justification for the presentation was not given". Hampel was member of the AKCR.[2][3]


  1. Von Seemen 1976, p. 153.
  2. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 27.
  3. Scherzer 2007, p. 136.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS 1943-45. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
  • Kumm, Otto (1995). Prinz Eugen: The history of the 7. SS-Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen". Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 978-0-921991-29-8. 
  • Lepre, George (1997). Himmler's Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division 1943-1945. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-7643-0134-9. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel (2007a). The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8
  • Mitcham, Jr.Samuel (2007b). Retreat to the Reich. Stackpole books. ISBN 0-8117-3384-X
  • Reynolds, Michael (1997). Steel Inferno: I SS Panzer Corps in Normandy. Spellmount. ISBN 1-873376-90-1.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Schulz, Andreas; Zinke, Dieter (2008). Die Generale der Waffen-SS und der Polizei : [1933–1945] : die militärischen Werdegänge der Generale, sowie der Ärzte, Veterinäre, Intendanten, Richter und Ministerialbeamten im Generalsrang / 3 Lammerding – Plesch [Germany's Generals and Admirals – Part V: The Generals of the Waffen-SS and the Police 1933–1945]. Bissendorf: Biblio-Verlag. 
  • Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 : The Knight's Cross Bearers of All the Armed Services, Diamonds, Swords and Oak Leaves Bearers in the Order of Presentation: Appendix with Further Information and Presentation Requirements]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7909-0051-4. 

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).