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Swientek, Josef

Date of birth:
February 1st, 1912 (Oppeln/Silesia, Germany)
Date of death:
June 29th, 1991 (Königsstein/Taunus, Germany)
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)


NSDAP-Nr.: 4 490 574
SS-Nr.: 176 183

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Received in September 1939
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 28th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
11./Artillerie-Regiment SS-Totenkopf-Division
Awarded on:
July 20th, 1942
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Second World War (1939-1945)
SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 3 / 3.SS-Panzer-Division “Totenkopf”
Awarded on:
June 16th, 1944
Swientek’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“In the early morning hours of the 04.05.1944, following heavy artillery preparation, the Bolsheviks launched an attack on our positions with strong infantry forces supported by tanks and ground attack aircraft. It fell upon the sector from Hill 317 and southeast from there up to and including the northwestern part of Helestieni (which was held by a subordinated Romanian Bataillon).

In the sector of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 6 ‘Theodor Eicke’ the attack was fended off following heavy fighting (partially in close combat) with the outstanding support of the Artillerie-Regiment and its commander, SS-Obersturmbannführer Swientek, who personally directed the defensive fire from a forward observation post. However the Bolsheviks did manage to create a deep penetration in the sector of the Romanians. Due to the destruction of all communication links, news of this potentially dangerous crisis was delayed.

At this time SS-Obersturmbannführer Swientek was located at the observation post of the 6./SS-Art.Rgt. 3. He observed the developing breakthrough of the Bolsheviks, who had already reached the northern edge of Helestieni. He thus immediately went to 2 reserve Kompanien in the area and with these forces launched a counterthrust on his own initiative. At the same time he prevented the entry of enemy reserves through coordinated blocking fire in front of the Romanian sector.

Following a bitter, hour long battle with the overwhelming enemy forces that had penetrated into Helestieni, he managed to push the Bolsheviks back across the old frontline after fully devoting himself to the task. By the evening of the 04.05.1944 the entire sector was completely back in friendly control.

Through his decisive personal intervention, SS-Obersturmbannführer Swientek averted a dangerous crisis and prevented a Bolshevik breakthrough towards Roman.

In recognition of his heroic devotion to duty and its associated success, I ask that SS-Obersturmbannführer Swientek be awarded the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Second World War (1939-1945)
Silver version
(Allgemeines) Sturmabzeichen


  • Photo 1: Willi Schumacher Collection
  • Photo: Willi Schumacher Collection
  • - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht
    - Schneider J.W., Their Honor was Loyalty!, R. James Bender Publishing, 1977
    - Axis Biographical Research
    - Microfilm Publication A3343. US National Archives.