Albert Graf von der Goltz

Albert Graf von der Goltz

Albert Graf von der Goltz in Ukraine in December 1943.
Born (1893-06-24)24 June 1893
Heinrichsfelde, German Empire
Died 16 March 1944(1944-03-16) (aged 51)
Odessa, Soviet Union
Allegiance  German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Wehrmacht Gebirgsjäger
Years of service 1913–18; 1939–44
Rank Oberst
Unit 2nd Dragoon Regiment

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Other work Estate owner, Politician (during Interwar period)

Albert Graf von der Goltz (24 June 1893 – 16 March 1944) was a German officer in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany.

World War I

Albert Graf von der Goltz was born in the family estate in the Province of Posen in 1893. His father was Heinrich Graf von der Goltz (1855–1923), a member of local nobility; his mother was Else von Borkowski (1861–1951). Albert also had an older sister. With 251 inhabitants per the 1885 census, the family estate hosted, amongst others, a distillery and a brickyard,[1][2]

Goltz entered army service in 1913 at the age of 20. As a noble, he was accepted into the 2nd Dragoon Regiment, an elite formation created in 1689.[3] By the time of the outbreak of the 1st World War in 1914 he had been commissioned as a Leutnant, and fought with distinction in the war, earning both classes (2nd and 1st) of the Iron Cross.[4]

Interwar period

After the capitulation of Germany, Goltz was discharged from the army, got married in 1919 and returned to the family estate.[5] Due to the conditions imposed by the Versailles Treaty the former German Empire lost, amongst others, parts of Prussia to Poland. This included Heinrichsfelde, which was six miles from the new German border. During the interwar years, Goltz sought to preserve the German presence in the area and set a personal example by having six children with his wife from 1920 to 1928. In addition, his estate hosted a school for both Polish and German children.[6] He was described as a reliable first-line combatant for the Germans in Poland.[7]

Eventually, he was elected chairman of the local chapter of the Nazi-orientated JdP (Jungdeutsche Partei in Polen, Young German Party in Poland). As the anti-German demonstrations and pressure against local cultural life in Pomerania and elsewhere were increasing, Goltz strongly protested against the arbitrary closure of the local Diakonissenstation, a charitable organization, and the confiscation of its assets by the Polish authorities. As a result, on 17 February 1939, his estate in Czajcze was assaulted by approximately 250 Poles, and Goltz himself was physically threatened by the intruders. The police force arrived to restore order only after the dissolution of the demonstration.[5] The friction between Poles and Germans in the region continued throughout 1939, fueled by the threatening attitude of Nazi Germany toward Poland. In August 1939, after Goltz was recalled to active service, tension reached its peak. Rumors circulating among the population had it that Goltz intended to lead a Freikorps unit across the border.[6] In a provocative act that received some publicity after the end of the war, some ethnic Germans set a part of the estate on fire, blaming the Poles for the incident. Goltz himself was unaware of this, until one of his daughters confessed to it during the war.[8]

World War II

In August 1939, Goltz was called to the Wehrmacht with the rank of a Hauptmann an infantry regiment in the 23rd Infantry Division. The division crossed the German-Polish border in the area of Sępólno Krajeńskie and the Regiment fought in Klonowo, while later it was transported to East Prussia and reached the city of Białystok. During the Battle of France, the Regiment invaded Luxembourg and Belgium, took part in the bitter fighting in Charleville-Mézières and in the Aisne Canal. During those campaigns, Goltz was awarded the Clasp to both classes (2nd and 1st) of his World War I Iron Crosses.

In October 1940 he was transferred to the 123rd Infantry Division and took command of a battalion. In April 1941, the division was moved to East Prussia so to participate in Operation Barbarossa. He fought in Demyansk during the heavy winter of 1941/42. For his successful leadership he was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 7 May 1942.

On 15 October 1942 Goltz was appointed to command a regiment. The regiment continued to fight in the area of Demyansk and Kholm. In August 1943, he was transferred to the 3rd Mountain Division of the 6th Army. There, he commanded several regiments. For his distinguished performance during the battles around Volnovakha (August – September 1943) and the defensive battle south of Zaporizhia (September 1943), he was awarded the Oak Leaves on the Knight's Cross on 2 November 1943. He was promoted to Oberst in December. Goltz officially received the Oak Leaves from Adolf Hitler in the ceremony held in the Wolf's Lair in Rastenburg, on 30 January 1944. Goltz was severely wounded near the Bug river on 15 March 1944, when his command post was attacked by Soviet tanks. He was transported to Odessa, where he died in a hospital on 16 March 1944.

Personal life

Albert Graf von der Goltz was married to Baroness Isabelle Marie Luise "Isa" Knigge (1895–1986) on 23 January 1919 in Grünau. She organized the evacuation of Heinrichsfelde and the flight of the German population to Mecklenburg after the demise of her husband. Isa von der Goltz, along with her 22-year-old daughter Renate, a Red Cross sister, managed to lead the approximately 300 men and women convoy to the safety of the village of Güldenstein in Harmsdorf (Schleswig-Holstein). The fact that the Goltz family had friendly relations with other German nobles of Silesia helped provide temporary accommodation and shelter in their estates to the refugees during the march to the west.[9] The family itself settled in northern Germany, as Czajcze was ultimately incorporated into post-war Poland. She died in 1986.[10]

Her daughter, Isa, trained as a nurse and between 1980–1998 was the president of the Red Crosse's branch in Hamburg. In recognition of her activities, she was awarded one of the highest decorations of the International Red Cross, the Florence Nightingale Medal.[11] She died in the morning of 17 May 2007, at the age of 85.



  1. Dr. Rademacher, Michael:"Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte: Landkreis Wirsitz". Archived from the original on 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2011-07-26. . (German)
  2. Dziedzictwo Krajny - Czajcze (Polish)
  3. 1. Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 2 from Preußische Militärgeschichte (German) (Attention - popups)
  4. Genealogisches Hanbuch des Adels, vol. 112, p. 367 and vol. 72, p. 246
  5. 1 2 Bierschenck, Die Deutsche Volksgruppe in Polen
  6. 1 2 Eser 2010, p. 653
  7. Polish Western Affairs, vol. 23-24, p. 124. Instytut Zachodni, 1982
  8. Polish Western Affairs, vol. 27-28, p. 252. Instytut Zachodni, 1982
  9. Dörr, 1998, p. 468
  11. Abschiedsgeschenk der Gräfin von der Goltz für die Behinderten. Article at Hamburger Abendblatt, 20 October 1982. (German) (Attention - popups)
  12. 1 2 Thomas 1997, p. 209.
  13. 1 2 Scherzer 2007, p. 342.


Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Hans Kreppel
Commander of Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 138
30 August 1943 – 6 September 1943
Succeeded by
Oberstleutnant Josef Brandl
Preceded by
Major Fritz Dittman
Deputy Commander of Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 144
7 September 1943 – 12 September 1943
Succeeded by
Major Hermann Josef Dropmann
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Josef Brandl
Commander of Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 138
12 September 1943 – 14 March 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Hermann Rath
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