Germany / Biography
Gustav Krukenberg was an SS general, who commanded several European Waffen-SS units during the Battle of Berlin.
Gustav Krukenberg was born on 8 March 1888 in Bonn. His father was a medical professor at the University of Bonn, and his mother was a feminist author. He studied law in various German and French universities and received his doctoral degree in Heidelberg in 1911. In 1907, he became an officer candidate. During the First World War, he served as an ordnance officer and adjutant, being promoted to captain in 1918. After the war, he served as a private secretary for two foreign ministers. Later, he occupied the position of director of a German industrial company, before being sent to Paris with a German delegation in 1926, where he spent the next five years. Krukenberg proved to be a talented stakeholder and diplomate, and had close contacts with the French industrial elite and press.
In April 1932, he joined the NSDAP and until 1939 functioned as a director of a small chemical company in Berlin. When the war started, Krukenberg was reinstated as a major and served in various German staffs as a quartermaster. After he requested to be transferred to the Waffen-SS in 1943, Krukenberg was promptly promoted to major-general and became, at first, inspector and later commander of the new French SS Charlemagne Division. In April 1945, he and his French SS volunteers were transported to Berlin. Here, Krukenberg was promptly appointed commander of the Berlin Defence Sector C, which included another SS Division: Nordland. Krukenberg’s troops managed to inflict serious casualties to the advancing Soviet troops. Nevertheless, they were forced to retreat into the city centre, where Krukenberg established his command post in a wagon in the Stadtmitte subway station.
After being informed about Hitler’s suicide, Krukenberg agreed to join the breakout group and provided support for the spearhead to break through the Weidendammer Bridge. Later, he hid for a week in his friends’ apartment, where he surrendered after being discovered by the Red Army. After his captivity, Krukenberg returned to West Germany in 1956, and he was active in the Heimkehrerverband (Homecomers Association). Gustav Krukenberg died on 23 October 1980.