Part 9 Betrayal of the Cossacks
After the bloodiest part of WW2 and most likely the darkest hour the Allies would like us to forget. The dishonour and lies that we have been told, and the blood that has been drawn to cover it up.
Helmuth von Pannwitz (14 October 1898 – 16 January 1947) The Last Knight of Europe
Helmuth von Pannwitz (14 October 1898 – 16 January 1947) was a German general who distinguished himself as a cavalry officer during the First and the Second World Wars. Later he became Lieutenant General of the Wehrmacht and Supreme Ataman of the XV. Kosaken-Kavallerie-Korps. He was executed in Moscow for war crimes in 1947 of which he has been rehabilitated by the military prosecutor in Moscow in April 1996 almost fifty years after his violent death. The revocation of the Red kangaroo court's conviction of Pannwitz was itself overturned in June 2001.
Pannwitz surrendered on May 11, 1945, to British forces near Völkermarkt in Carinthia, Austria, and made every effort to ensure that his men would remain in the custody of the Western powers. But by mid-May it was becoming obvious that the Cossacks would be handed over to their deadly enemies, the SMERSH, an action often referred to as The Betrayal of Cossacks. The same fate overtook the members of the Kazachi Stan at Lienz, another 30,000 old folk, women, and children. All were executed, were sent to GULAG prison camps, or committed suicide to avoid being repatriated.
Pannwitz was a German national, and under the provision of the Geneva Convention not subject to repatriation to the SMERSH. But on May 26, he was deprived of his command and placed under arrest while the forceable loading of the Cossacks into trucks began and continued through the following days.
Although many escaped from their camps following these actions, General von Pannwitz and many of his German officer cadre did not want to leave their men alone and shared the uncertain fate of the Cossacks who had been comrades in combat for more than two years, so these Germans surrendered with the Cossacks to the NKVD at Judenburg and were mostly all killed cold-bloodedly, women and children raped or sent to the Gulag.
Almost fifty years later, on April 23, 1996, during the Russian presidency of Boris Yeltsin, members of the Pannwitz family petitioned for a posthumous verdict of acquittal of the 1946 conviction. The Military High Prosecutor in Moscow subsequently determined that Von Pannwitz was eligible for rehabilitation as a victim of Stalin-era repression.
On June 28, 2001, however, rehabilitation was reversed in a ruling that disputed jurisdiction of the 1996 proceedings, and Von Pannwitz's conviction for military crimes was maintained.
Helmuth von Pannwitz was awarded the following Medals:
Iron Cross (1914)
2nd Class (16 September 1915)
1st Class (27 January 1917)
Wound Badge (1914)
Cross of Honor (20 December 1934)
Iron Cross (1939)
2nd Class (23 September 1939)
1st Class (5 October 1939)
General Assault Badge (18 July 1941)
Eastern Front Medal
Order of Michael the Brave
3rd Class (7 May 1943)
Order of the Crown of King Zvonimir with Stars and Swords
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Knight's Cross on 4 September 1941 as Oberstleutnant and commander of Aufklärungs-Abteilung 45
167th Oak Leaves on 23 December 1942 as Oberst and Führer of the Kampfgruppe “von Pannwitz