Georg Keppler

Born: May 7th, 1894 in Mainz
Died: June 16th, 1966 in Hamburg
Iron Cross 2nd Class (clasp):
May 13th, 1940
Iron Cross 1st Class (clasp):
May 13th, 1940
Knights Cross: August 15th, 1940

Following the post-war reduction of the Army, Georg Keppler joined the Polizei and enlisted with the Sicherheitspolizei (security police) in Hannover on January 31, 1920. He remained in Hannover with the Sicherheitspolizei for 6 years, until July 1926, when he moved to the Landespolizei (state police) in Thüringen. Two years later took command of the Landespolizei-Abteilung in Jena. After serviing with various polizei units, Keppler finally joined the SS-VT in 1935. As a Sturmbannführer, Keppler took command of I Batallion of SS-Standarte I "Deutschland" on October 10th, 1935. He held this command until the early 1938 when he was tasked with forming a primarily Austrian Regiment which eventually became Regiment "Der Führer". After being given command of DF, he led this unit throughout the pre-war period. In October 1939, DF became a component of Das Reich, having spent the Polish Campaign in reserve in on the Western border of Germany. Keppler continued as DF Regimentskommandeur, winning the Knights Cross, until reassigned in July 1941, after leading the division in Russia. On July 11th, 1941, Keppler became the divisional commander for "Totenkopf" until September, when Theodor Eicke assumed command. Keppler had fallen ill from a brain tumor and spent the remainder of 1941 recovering. After convalescing, Keppler became DR divisional commander while it reformed as a Panzer-Grenadier Division and thus commanded the division for one of the longest periods of time, second only to Hausser. He led the division until February 1943, when he was again forced to stop down due to his brain tumor. This injury would plague Keppler for the remainder of his life. After assuming a number of administrative positions within the Waffen-SS, he finally returned to a field command with 1.SS Panzer Korps, which he led from August 15-September 18, 1994, being involved in all the major battles during the Normandy Campaign. Keppler returned to the Eastern Front on October 30th, 1944, when he led the III.(Germ)SS-Panzer-Korps. He held this position until February 1945. Keppler ended the war as XVIII.SS-Armee-Korps. Although illness plagued his career, Keppler was one of the most ablest senior commanders, result in his holding of more Korps commands than any other Waffen SS General.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Yerger

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