Georg Keppler - World War II Service

World War II Service

In October 1939, SS-Regiment Der Führer became a component of 2nd SS Division Das Reich. Keppler continued as its regimental commander throughout the operations in the West, Balkans and in Russia. In August 1940, on personal recommendation of Paul Hausser, Keppler was awarded the Ritterkreuz. He remained with Das Reich until July 15, 1941, when he took over for injured Theodor Eicke as a commander of the Totenkopf Division. Upon Eicke's return on September 21, 1941, Keppler was given commanded of the SS-Division Nord. During the Fall 1941 he started to suffer from regular headaches and eventually had fallen seriously ill. After extensive medical examinations it was determined that Keppler had a brain tumor and spent the remainder of 1941 and the Spring 1942 in hospital under close medical care . In January 1942, Keppler was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer (equiv. to a US Major General) and three months later was given command of the 2. SS-Division Das Reich. In February 1943, on the advice of his doctors, Keppler removed himself from an active field duty and assumed a number of administrative positions within the Waffen-SS, first in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and later in Hungary. After his promotion to SS-Obergruppenführer (equiv. to a US Lieutenant General) he was given again a field assignment as a commander of the I. SS-Panzerkorps, which he led from August 16, 1944 until October 24, 1944, during the later stages of the Battle of Normandy. On October 30, 1944 Keppler returned to the Eastern Front, where he took over the III.(germanische) SS-Panzerkorps. He remained with this unit until April 2, 1945 when he became the last commander of the XVIII.SS-Armee-Korps, surrendering to the U.S. forces on May 22, 1945. After the war Keppler was imprisoned, but was released in 1948 and settled in Hamburg, where he died on June 16, 1966.

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