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Hans Juchem
Born 4 June 1917 (1917-06-04)
Died 13 August 1943 (1943-08-14) (aged 26)
Place of birth Cologne, Germany
Place of death Donetz River, Russia
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1939–1943
Rank Hauptsturmführer
Battles/wars World War II

Hans Juchem (4 June 1917 — 13 August 1943) was a Hauptsturmführer (Captain) 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. He was the second recipient of only 631 awards of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold.[1]

Early life

Hans Juchem was born on 4 June 1917 in Cologne, during World War I. His father was a local businessman who decided to leave Germany for Switzerland after the German defeat in 1918, and only returned to Germany in 1933. In 1934, at the age of seventeen he volunteered to join the SS-VT and was posted to the SS Standarte Deutschland, under the command of Felix Steiner.[2][3]

He was selected to become an officer and was sent to the SS-Junkerschule in Bad Tölz in the class of 1938. After graduation he was promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant).[2]

World War II

Juchem was a platoon commander during the Polish Campaign and took part in the fighting at Mława and Modelin. He also took part in the Western Campaign in June 1940 and was involved in fighting at Vlissingen in the Netherlands, Cassel, the Marne and in Orléans in France where he was wounded for the first time and awarded the Wound Badge. He was promoted to Obersturmführer in November 1940, and given command of the 5th Company, SS Regiment Germania.[2][3]

Now part of the SS Division Wiking Juchem took part in Operation Barbarossa the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.[2][3]

Advancing into the Ukraine he was involved in fighting at Lemberg, Tarnopol, Rkiwira, Ignatiewka and on the river Mius. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class in September and the Iron Cross 1st class in December 1941.[2][3]

By this time Juchem had gained a reputation as a good commander and a man to turn to for difficult missions and his company was selected more and more to lead the Division's advance, or as a counterattacking force.[2]

He was awarded the German Cross in Gold in September 1942 for his achievements in the Caucasus. He was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in January 1943 and given command of the III.Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment Germania.[2][3]

In the fighting at the Kuban bridgehead he personally destroyed several Soviet guns and cut a supply route which was successfully mined.[2] Juchem was next involved in the battles for Kiev and Battle of Kharkovdisambiguation needed where he was awarded the Close Combat Clasp in Gold.[2][3]

Hans Juchem was killed in action three days later on 13 August 1943, during the fighting around the bridgehead on the Izium.[2][3]

He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross for his action earlier in the year for his command of the Battalion in the defence of height 186.9.[2][3][4]


Further reading

  • Berger, Florian (2004) (in German). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7. 
  • 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. 
  • 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