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Heinz Schweizer
German bomb disposal operator

Heinz Schweizer

Heinz Schweizer
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German bomb disposal operator
Was Military personnel
From Germany
Field Military
Gender male
Birth 18 July 1908, Berlin, Margraviate of Brandenburg
Death 5 June 1946, Breydin, Barnim District, Brandenburg, Germany (aged 37 years)
Star sign Cancer
Awards
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross  
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Hauptmann Heinz Schweizer (18 July 1908 – 5 June 1946) was a Luftwaffe Feuerwerker [de] or armourer, specifically a bomb disposal operator, during World War II.

He is noted for his role in saving a group of political prisoners at the end of the war.

Most German bomb disposal during World War II was carried out by the Luftwaffe. Feuerwerker or armourers were given specific and extensive training in bomb disposal, although by the late-war period this was replaced by experience and examination alone, as for the British system. A bomb disposal section or Sprengkommando was led by an officer or Oberfeuerwerker (Senior NCO) with three or four Feuerwerker. Simple labouring, such as excavation for buried bombs, was carried out by prisoners: either criminals or political prisoners, but not prisoners of war. Citizens of occupied countries were also used, within those countries. These prisoner labourers were in turn guarded by Luftwaffe guards. Relations between Luftwaffe members and prisoners appear to have been cordial, for the political prisoners at least, if not the criminals.

In May 1943 Schweizer recovered an unexploded bouncing bomb from a Lancaster, 'E Easy', that crashed on its way to the target during Operation Chastise, the Dambuster raid. On 28 June 1943 he was awarded his Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) as Hauptmann (W) and leader of Sprengkommando 1/IV Ratingen-Düsseldorf.

In 1945, Hauptmann Schweizer learned that the SS were about to execute a number of political prisoners. Together with his junior assistant, army officer Oberleutnant Werdelmann, he went to their camp. Claiming that a number of unexploded bombs required an immediate large team of labourers, he had the threatened prisoners released to his own custody. He took them to his headquarters at Kalkum in the Ruhr until they could be released to the advancing American Army.

Schweizer was murdered on 5 June 1946 in Klobbicke/Biesenthal by a drunken Soviet soldier.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 27 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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