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Maitla, Paul

Date of birth:
March 27th, 1913 (Kärkna, Estonia)
Date of death:
May 10th, 1945 (Nymburk, Czechoslovakia)
Nationality:
Estonian (1918-1940, Republic)

Biography

The fate of Paul Maitla was uncertain for number of decades, until some information was discovered in 2005 in the city archives of the Czech town of Nymburk. These archives show that Maitla was arrested on May 9, 1945 and murdered together with 4 other Estonian soldiers on May 10 (on the first day of peace after World War II had ended) by Czech communists.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Waffen-Hauptsturmführer
Unit:
Führer I./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 45 (estn. Nr. 1)
Awarded on:
August 23rd, 1944
Maitla’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“After three days of drumfire the enemy commenced their attack against the friendly positions in the Narwa gap on the 28.07.1944. Having smashed up the frontline with the fury of their artillery, they succeeded in capturing a decisive hill that was vital for the continuation of the defense.

A few hours later Maitla and his Bataillon, the I./SS-Gren.Rgt. 45, were brought up. They were sent into a counterattack against the far materially superior enemy with the mission of taking back this important hill. In an energetic attack that saw no restraint the Bataillon stormed this important hill under the exemplary leadership of its commander, and continued to pursue the fleeing enemy beyond it. As a result of this success by the Bataillon and its brave commander it has been possible for the Tannenberg line to be held up to the present day, with a breakthrough of the enemy being prevented.

The award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross for Hauptsturmführer Maitla is as such especially justified. Even though he does not carry the Iron Cross First Class the result he achieved is too outstanding to be ignored, and for the immense bravery he showed during this battle he should also be awarded the Iron Cross First Class.”

The Divisional commander added a few words of his own to this recommendation…

“The award of the Knight’s Cross along with the Iron Cross First Class is approved by me.

The personal courage of SS-Hauptsturmführer Maitla during this counterattack at Orphanage Hill (south of the Narva-Reval road) was vital for the holding of the Tannenberg Line. Furthermore his independent decision to pursue the fleeing enemy gave Kampfgruppe Krügel (which had been heavily weakened by the enemy attack) time to reorganize itself for defense.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

Photo