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Lenski, von, Arno Ernst Max

    Date of birth:
    July 20th, 1893 (Czymochen/Eastern Prussia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    October 4th, 1986 (Eichwalde-Berlin/Brandenburg, Germany)
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)


    Arno Ernst Max von Lenski was born into a well-to-do family. His father was the owner of a large estate. In 1903, Arno enlisted in the Kadettenhaus Köslin in Pommerania where he was educated in Prussian fashion. In 1908 he was transfered to the Hauptkadettenanstalt at Gross-Lichterfelde near Berlin where he graduated as a Fähnrich. On March 22nd, 1912 he was incorporated with the Grenadierregiment zu Pferde (Equestrian Grenadierregiment) nr. 3 in Bromberg and was promoted to Lieutenant after an education at the Kriegsschule (War school) in Hersfeld.

    During World War One he first served as Zugführer (Squad leader) and later on as Ordonnanzofficier (courier-officer) on the Stab des Generalkommandos z.b.V. 55 (Staff of General command with special task). At the end of the war, he remained in the army, serving in the Reichswehr with Kavallerieregiment nr. 6 in Demmin. Until 1929, he attended the Kriegsschule in Hannover and was an instructor for several years. In 1929 he took command of 5.Schwadron / Reiterregiment No. 14 (5th Sq. Horseregiment) with the rank of Rittmeister. He married in 1930 but became a widower two years later after his wife had died of leukemia. 1933 saw him promoted to Major and he was posted as commander of the Unteroffizier-Reitschule (NCO Ridingschool) and adjutant to the Kommandeur der Kavallerieschule (Commander of the Cavalryschool) in Hannover. 1935 he remarried to Erica Nette with whom he became two sons and a daughter and was promoted to Kommandeur Kavallerieregiments Nr. 6 (Commander of Cavalryregiment) in Schwedt a/d Oder. He was subsequently promoted to Oberst in 1935 and from 1939 onwards he was Kommandeur (Commander) of an Aufklärungsabteilung (Reconnaissance unit) in the West.

    December 1st, 1939, however, he was promoted to Kommandeur Schule für Schnelle Truppen (Commander of the School for Fast Troops) in Kampnitz. On August 29th, 1940, Hitler named him honorary member of the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court). In september 1942 he was again given a frontcommand as Kommandeur 24 Panzer-Division (Commander 24th Armored Division) and was promoted to Generalleutnant. Following the defeat of the 24 Panzer-Divison at Stalingrad, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets. He was imprisoned in the POW camps at Krasnogorsk, Susdal and Vojkovo. May 7th 1944, he joined the Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland (National Comittee for a Free Germany) and the Bund Deutscher Offiziere (German Officers Union) and returned to Germany August 17th, 1949.

    From March 1951 onwards he served as Director of the Berlin Municipal Office and on August 1st, 1952 he was posted to the staff of the Kasernierte Volkspolizei (People’s Police). In this capacity he was charged with reorganizing and expanding the East-German Armored units. On April 28th he had risen to Chef der Panzertruppen (Chief of Armored Troops) in the Ministerium für Nationale Verteidigung (Department of National Defence). Moreover, he was a member of the Volkskammer (East-German Parliament) representing the NDPD (National Demokratische Partei Deutschland – National German Democratic Party). Von Lenski also had a seat on various executive committees like the DTSB, the DSF and the NOK der DDR (National Olympisches Komite der DDR – National Olympic Committee of the DDR). In December 1957 he was dismissed from operational service by order of the East-German Intelligence Service and on July 31st 1958 he was dishonorably discharged from the army. As a pensioneer, he concerned himself mainly with the equestrian sport. He died October 4th, 1986.

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    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Generalmajor (Brigadier)
    Kommandeur, 24. Panzer-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    January 21st, 1943
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:


    • - PATZWALL, K. & SCHERZER, V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001.
      - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
      - Wenzke R., Arno von Lenski - NVA-Panzergeneral mit preußischen Wurzeln, in Hans Ehlert, Armin Wagner: Genosse General - Die Militärelite der DDR in biographischen Skizzen Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2003, 632 Seiten, ISBN 386153312X
      - Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X