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Hellmers, Johannes

    Date of birth:
    October 23rd, 1918 (Allersllev, Denmark)
    Date of death:
    December 15th, 1999 (Saeby, Denmark)
    Nationality:
    Danish (1849 - present, Const. Monarchy)

    Biography

    Johannes Hellmers was the most decorated Danish volunteer in the Waffen-SS. Hellmers was company commander of a Dutch company in the Netherlands SS Panzergrenadierbrigade "Nederland".

    Johannes Hellmers was born on October 23rd, 1918 on the farm Oremansgärd in the Danish town Allerslev. He graduated from school in 1934 and tried to enter a two-year agricultural education. Hellmers was enlisted to Army April 20th, 1937 and joined the agricultural School in 1938. Hellmers left for a short period the army, but in May 1939 he joined again and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. On April 9th, 1940 the German army, occupied Denmark. In Haderslev were on April 9th, 1940 three Danish light guns in position, and they opened fire on the German vehicles and troops. The Danish guns damaged three vehicles. Two of the Danes who were involved in this battle, later joined the Waffen-SS and both reached the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer. These two were Johannes Hellmers and Ole Peter Kure.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmführer der Reserve
    Unit:
    Chef 6. / SS-Freiwilliger-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 "De Ruyter" / 23. SS-Freiwilliger -Panzergrenadier-Brigade "Nederland"
    Awarded on:
    December 18th, 1944
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmführer der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Chef 6. / Freiwilliger-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 "De Ruyter"
    Awarded on:
    March 5th, 1945
    Hellmers’ Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

    “During the fighting in the Kaleti area, a Kompanie assembled from the remains of a Bataillon occupied the old command post line 400 metres east of Kaleti as its new main line. The commander of this Kompanie was SS-Obersturmführer Hellmers.

    On the morning of the 25.01.1945 the Russians attacked with tanks and 200 men from the wood lying in front of the position. They succeeded in penetrating into the trench line and rolling up half of it. In this seemingly hopeless situation SS-Obersturmführer Hellmers decided to launch a counterthrust with a few men. Personally leading at their head with a machine pistol, he stormed forwards and threw the enemy out of the trenches while inflicting heavy losses.

    Although he was wounded twice during this action, he remained at the frontline. With the commander fighting within its midst, the Kompanie managed to repel all further attempts of the enemy to capture the German line with the fire of its infantry weapons.

    It is thanks to Hellmers’ decisiveness and outstanding personal bravery that the line near Kaleti was completely retained during the fighting on the 25.01.1945. By his efforts the attempted enemy breakthrough beyond Kaleti was prevented. His resistance here was of decisive importance for the entire sector between Purmasan and Skuodas.”
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

    Sources

    • Photo 1:
    • Photo: Danskere i Tysk Tjeneste
    • - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
      - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
      - 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
      - Freikorps Danmark
      - Microfilm Publication A3343. US National Archives.

    Photo