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Sylvester Stadler
SS-Sturmbannführer Sylvester Stadler
Nickname Vestl
Born (1910-12-30)30 December 1910
Died 23 August 1995(1995-08-23) (aged 84)
Place of birth Fohnsdorf
Place of death Augsburg-Haunstetten
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1935–1945
Rank Brigadeführer and Generalmajor
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Swords

Sylvester Stadler (30 December 1910 – 23 August 1995) was a SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS, a commander of the 2nd SS Division Das Reich, 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen and a winner of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords. He was one of the youngest German generals during World War II, being only 34 years old when the war ended in 1945.

Early life

Stadler was born in Fohnsdorf, Austria, on 30 December 1910 and trained to become an electrician before joining the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1933. In 1935 and 1936 he attended officer's school at the SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz, Bavaria. He became a company commander in June 1939, and a battalion commander in March 1942.

Der Führer and Oradour-sur-Glane massacre

In May 1943, Stadler was made commander of the Panzer-Grenadier regiment Der Führer (part of the elite 2nd SS Division Das Reich). On 10 June 1944, part of Der Führer regiment, led by SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Diekmann, undertook a massacre in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France, in which 642 villagers were killed. Although Stadler ordered a court martial for Diekmann, the SS officer responsible, his reputation was tarnished. Diekmann himself was killed in combat before he could face trial. Command of Der Führer passed to SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Weidinger on 14 June, who had been with the regiment for familiarisation purposes,[1] as Stadler prepared to become commander of the 9. SS-Panzer division "Hohenstaufen".

The Hohenstaufen

On 10 July 1944, Stadler was made commander of the elite 9. SS-Panzer division "Hohenstaufen". Along with Kurt Meyer ("Panzermeyer") Stadler was among the youngest divisional commanders in the German armed forces. The Hohenstaufen fought in Poland, France, at the Eastern Front, in Normandy (at the defense of the infamous Hill 112 and at the Falaise pocket), at Arnhem ("Operation Market Garden"), in the Ardennes offensive and in Hungary. He surrendered his division to the United States Army in Austria in May 1945.

Military decorations

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Stadler was wounded severely several times. His personal bravery won him the Close Combat Clasp in Gold as a divisional commander in 1944. In 1943, Stadler was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross after the German recapture of Kharkov – a strategically located city south of Kursk in the Soviet Union – during Spring 1943. The Knight's Cross was upgraded with Oak Leaves following the Battle of Kursk (the Eichenlaub – Nr. 303 – was presented to Stadler personally by Adolf Hitler). The award was upgraded once more just before the end of the war with Swords (Schwertern – Nr. 152), presented to him by Sepp Dietrich.

Personal life and death

Stadler married in 1936 and had three sons. He died on 23 August 1995 in Augsburg-Haunstetten, Bavaria.


  1. No evidence of the award can be found in the German National Archives, also not mentioned by the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). According to Fellgiebel, the award was presented by SS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich, which would make it an unlawful presentation. Fellgiebel is referring to H. Buch and W. Kment as sources. Buch reported on 25 June 2004 that he hadn't to do anything with this case. Stadler himself claimed that Dietrich proposed him on 22 March 1945, even though the 9. SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" was not subordinated to the 6. SS-Panzerarmee. The sequential number "152" was assigned by the AKCR. The date might have been taken from Ernst-Günther Krätschmer.[7]


  1. Order of Battle for Das Reich as of June 1944
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomas 1998, p. 338.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 716.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 406, 505.
  5. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 72.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 48.
  7. Scherzer 2007, p. 176.
  • Berger, Florian (1999) (in German). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. 
  • Berger, Florian (2004). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold. Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 3-9501307-3-X.
  • 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. 
  • Krätschmer, Ernst-Günther (1999). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen-SS [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Waffen-SS]. Coburg, Germany: Nation Europa Verlag. ISBN 978-3-920677-43-9. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2005). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-22-X.
  • 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. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 

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