Kurt Student

Kurt Arthur Benno Student (born 12 May 1890 in Birkholz, county Züllichau-Schwiebus Neumark, † July 1, 1978 in Lemgo, Germany) was a German officer, last Colonel of the Air Force in World War II, and the highest-ranking general of the paratroops of the Wehrmacht.


Military career until 1939

At the age of eleven student joined the cadet school in Potsdam. In 1910 he was an ensign in the Rifle Battalion “Graf Yorck von Wartenberg” (East Prussian) No 1 adopted the Prussian army. He was transferred after a few weeks on the just-opened FlugplatzJohannisthal to undergo pilot training. In 1913, he received his pilot license. In the First World War, first used in the field airmen and warplanes, he joined in October 1916 as commander of the fighter squadron 9th He was a successful fighter pilot with six confirmed victories and experienced after a serious injury, the end of the war in their homeland. Here he was promoted to captain in June 1918.

After the First World War student was involved in planning the construction of a new Air Force, although the Army was allowed to have no planes after the Treaty of Versailles. From 1922 to 1928 student worked in the inspection for weapons and equipment in the field of aircraft development, which was under the Army Weapons Office. He was instrumental in the establishment of the secret flying school and testing center of the army in the Soviet Union.

1933 Student was transferred to the Air Force and was initially employed in the training. From 1933 he was commander of the Technical School in Juterbog, 1935 Commander of the pilot testing locations and commander of the Rechlin test center, from 1936 commander of the aircraft Aviation School and Chief of Staff at the command of the flying school. In April 1938 he was appointed commander of the 3rd Appointed Air Division and promoted to Major General. In July 1938 he was with the installation of 7 Commissioned Air Division, which is currently under construction in the paratroops of the Air Force should be summarized. As of February 1939, he served concurrently as Chief of parachute and airborne troops in the Ministry of Aviation.

World War II

On 1 January 1940 promoted to lieutenant general, a student took in early May with his troops at the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands in part, with his troops fell to the important task in the strategic points such as bridges and airfields. When he wanted to order after the surrender of Rotterdam, a unit of the Waffen-SS to set their untimed fire, he was hit by a stray bullet in the head and seriously wounded. Because the German parachute troops during the conquest of the Dutch-Belgian border fortifications and bridges (such as As the Fort Eben Emael) had played a major role, a student received on 12 May, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and two weeks later was promoted to Air General (renamed on 1 May 1943 in the General paratroops).

On 1 January 1941 became a student Commanding General of the XI. Air Corps, to which the paratroops had meanwhile been increased. He was also the commander of the German airborne troops in the Battle of Crete in May 1941 and after briefly taking the island commander. As such, he ordered 31 May brutal reprisals against the widerständische island population. Examples are the massacre of Kondomari and Kandanos (see below).

Due to the high, slow to replace losses of the paratroopers in Crete taking the further use of these valuable troops at greater jump landings were forbidden by Hitler. 1941 remained so under any operation against British positions in the Middle East or in Cyprus. Instead, had after the first setbacks of the Wehrmacht in the war against the Soviet Union in the winter 1941/42 paratroopers to close loopholes used by Front. (Since this was definitely recognized as a misuse of these highly specialized troops, later went to the drawing up of Air Force field organizations from waste ground personnel.)

Students Air Corps stationed in the Mediterranean, however, remained as a reserve air fleet 2 by Albert Kesselring and devoted himself to further training and gain the paratroops. As in 1942 after an air offensive against Malta the opportunity to conquer the island fortress surrendered, a student was charged with the planning of the German-Italian company Hercules, but this was dropped because of concerns Hitler soon. The troops were provided for this purpose instead, Panzer Army Africa used to amplify Erwin Rommel in the African campaign.

As mid-1943 with the invasion of Sicily began the campaign in Italy, were in turn students paratroopers that were used to supplement the insufficient ground troops. After the fall of the government of Badoglio Axis alliance in September 1943 paratroopers to command corporations such as the liberation of Mussolini ( Company Oak) and to fill Rome’s were used in the case of axis. In November this year student of Air Force chief Goering was appointed to draw up a parachute army until April 1944.

From March to November 1944, student commander of the 1st Parachute Army, then the Army Group H in the West (promoted to Colonel General on July 13, 1944), whose leadership on the instructions he gave Hitler the end of January 1945 to the first re- To take parachute army, a command which he 28 to April 1945 held. From 28 April 1945, that in the last days of the war, instead of Kurt Student Gotthard Heinrici was entrusted with the command of Army Group Vistula to the Eastern Front. To 2 May 1945 but was no longer able student to arrange the decimated army and those in resolution. Students also sat down last walk west to Schleswig-Holstein, where he witnessed the end of the war.

Company Mercury

Operational planning for the attack on Crete on 20 May 1941 was a student. It should come off 10,000 men with parachutes, 750 men landing in gliders and after taking the main airfields further 5000 men meet with Ju 52, including mountain troops under General Julius Ringel. Crete was suited Hitler, according to the British as a base for bombers, could be attacked from the Romanian oil fields of the. There were 42,640 men allied troops, including 11,000 Greek soldiers ready on the island.

Heavy losses on the German side in the conflict and engaging, supported by the civilian population or partisan tolerated exacerbated the forms of struggle. As the first and provisional commander of the occupied island of Crete was Kurt Student to an escalation of violence and counter-violence. The historian Hagen Fleischer points out that the German “retaliation” for attacks by partisans “is one of focus, as she had previously only in Slavic populated areas (Poland) found application”. The accompanying, often through appropriate exaggerations nourished atrocity propaganda created as in the Polish campaign a climate where war crimes were possible. As adopted at the General Student 31 May 1941 via a command retaliation:

General Student further ordered that the retaliation should be made in each case as possible from that unit that have previously suffered from attacks. The retaliatory measures ranged from Kontributionszahlungen about shootings and burning of villages to the “extermination of the male population of entire regions.” For the last two measures, the approval of the General was obtained. According to this command as the site of numerous Kandanos male civilians in the village was destroyed and Kondomari arbitrarily seized and shot.

Student leads so that the axiom of collective liability in Greece. Had to punish the partisans, which attacks perpetrated, or the “guilty civilians”. The differentiation between “guilty” and “innocent” in the wehrmacht internal discussion, if ever, been almost exclusively defined by tactical considerations.

Companies oak

A day after the crash and the arrest of Mussolini on 25 July 1943 Student received instructions from Hitler for the company oak. It was a commando operation planned by German paratroopers who should liberate Mussolini. The planning was general student, the execution was for the Parachute Training Battalion and its commander. SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Skorzeny was given permission to join the company. On 12 September 1943, the company was conducted. Mussolini was on the Gran Sasso freed from a hotel and then flown out. On 14 September 1943, he met with Skorzeny with Hitler at his headquarters in Rastenburg one.


After the war was a student on the 28th May 1945 arrested and sentenced by a military court to five years in prison. In the fall of 1947, Greece requested his extradition. 1948 was released after a successful appeal from captivity student.

In the Nuremberg war crimes trials, especially in the case against the German generals “South-East”, no charges against student was charged.

The construction of the traditional association “Federation of German paratroopers” student counted among the leading minds in the traditional associations of the Wehrmacht. When former members of the armed forces every year on the 20th Of May in the Old City celebrated the Crete-day, was one student to the guests of honor.

At the funeral of convicted war criminal Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke 1968 student gave a eulogy.

Student died on 1 July 1978 at the age of 88.


Since autumn 1998, the Ministry of Defence denied that General student is worthy tradition. In the Franz-Josef-Strauss Barracks in Old Town (near Schongau), the name “Colonel student-road”, along with other street names that were named after people from the time of National Socialism, 16 October 1998 renamed. On the same day the “Colonel General Student Hall” was renamed “Tower Room”. 2010 put the former bureau chief of the Military History Research Institute of the Federal Armed Forces, Brigadier General aGünter D. Roth, a study whose merit is in the judgment of the historian Rainer F. Schmidt to prove.


•Prussian military pilot badge on 27 February 1914

•Iron Cross (1914) Class II and I. 26 September 1914 and 29th August 1915

•Honor cup for the winner in a dogfight

•Knight’s Cross of the Order of Albrecht II Class with Swords on 21 June 1915

•Knight’s Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords on 5 June 1916

•Wound Badge (1918) Black

•Prussian aviator commemorative badge on 10 September 1919

•Pilot badge on 21 May 1935

•Wehrmacht Long Service Award IV to First Class

•Medal commemorating the first October 1938 with clasp Prague Castle on 5 June 1939

•Clasp to the Iron Cross II and I. Class 20 September 1939

•Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

◦Knight’s Cross on 12 May 1940

◦Oak Leaves on 27 September 1943 (305 awards)

•Pilot and Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds on 2 September 1940

•Wound Badge (1939) in Silver

•Cuff Crete


•Günter Roth: The German paratroops from 1936 to 1945. The Commander Colonel General Kurt Student.Strategic, operational head or war craftsmen and the soldierly ethos – Findings. Criticism. Lesson. Publisher ES Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8132-0906-8 * Gerhard Schreiber: The Second World War. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-44764-3.

•Gerhard Schreiber: The Italian military internees in the German sphere 1943-1945 Munich 1990, ISBN 3-486-55391-7.. (= Contributions to military history 28)

•Marlen by Xylander., The German occupation forces on Crete 1941-1945 (Tracts on military history, Volume 32). Freiburg, 1989, ISBN 3-7930-0192-X.

•Karl-Heinz Golla: “The German parachute troops from 1936 to 1941.” Publisher ES Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-8132-0684-X.

•Hans-Martin Stimpel: “The German parachute troops from 1942 to 1945.” Publisher ES Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-8132-0683-1.

Fighter pilot in World War II (German Empire)

Military person (Reichswehr)

Military person (Air Force of the Armed Forces)


Winner of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross

Winner of House Order of Hohenzollern

Support of the Albrechts Order (Knight 2nd class)

War crimes of the Wehrmacht

Person (German occupation of Greece 1941-1945)


Born in 1890

Died in 1978


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