Military Wiki
Eberhard Heder
Born (1918-06-30)June 30, 1918
Died November 18, 2017(2017-11-18) (aged 99)
Place of birth Neustettin, Pomerania
Place of death Warburg, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1937–1945 Waffen SS
1955–1976 Bundeswehr
Rank Sturmbannführer
Unit 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
German Cross in Gold
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Close Combat Clasp in Silver
Infantry Assault Badge
Wound Badge in Black
Eastern Front Medal 1941/42

Eberhard Heder (born 30 June 1918) was a Sturmbannführer (Major) in the Waffen-SS during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II. After World War II he was admitted into the Bundeswehr and obtained the rank of Oberst (Colonel).

Early life

Heder was born on 30 June 1918 in Neustettin, Pomerania. He volunteered to join the Waffen SS and joined the SS Pionier Battalion in Dresden on the 1 November 1937.

World War II

He was later selected to become an officer and posted to the SS-Junkerschule in Braunschweig in 1939 and after graduation he was given command of a company in the 5th SS Pionier (Engineer) Battalion, SS Division Wiking.

He deployed with them in Operation Barbarossa the invasion of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class in August 1941 and the Iron Cross 1st class in January 1942.

He was awarded the German Cross in Gold in March 1943, when in command of the Estnisches SS-Freiwilligen-Panzer-Grenadier-Battalion Narwa during the Battle of Kharkov, Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket and the "Battle of Kowel".

He was then given command of the 5th Pionier Battalion and was awarded the Knight's Cross in November 1944 for his actions in the fighting for Warsaw.
This is what Eberhard Heder described as the reason he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross:

"In the defensive fighting around Warsaw, I was assigned with a most hastily-assembled 'alarm group' ("Alarm-verband") of the 5. SS-Panzer Division "Wiking". We operated north of Warsaw and were tasked to close a gap in the front because fresh reserves were no longer available. In a very critical situation and cut off temporarily from our own lines, we succeeded in holding the front line and preventing a Soviet breakthrough, equipped with only some light machine guns, and the occasional support from German artillery fire and a few tanks. For three days and nights, [our small force] was mercilessly attacked again and again by their massed artillery fire and heavy weapons, as well as their low-flying aircraft. Due to our effort, the breakthrough of the enemy to the Vistula was to be prevented."

Post war

Heder survived the war and later joined the West German Bundeswehr in 1955 and reached the rank of Oberst (Colonel) on the 30 September 1976. After his marriage he lived in Daseburg and now in Warburg.


Further reading

  • 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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Hamilton Charles Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich, R James Bender Pub 1997, ISBN 0-912138-27-0
  • Kurowski Franz Panzer Aces II Stackpole Books, 2004, ISBN 0-8117-3175-8
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7. 
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will, Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45 Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
  • Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8