August 6, 2014

Sylvester Stadler

Sylvester Stadler
Sylvester Stadler (1910 – 1995) was one of the hardened Eastern Front veterans. An Austrian, he joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe (VT) in 1933. In 1934 he was given German citizenship. In 1935 he was chosen to attend the SS officer school at Bad Tölz. Army and SS-VT units were combined to form Panzer-Division “Kempf” in East Prussia, on August 10, 1939. At the time Stadler was an SS-Hauptsturmführer and company commander at the Signals Battalion. 

After the Polish Campaign the various SS-VT units came under the command of the SS V-Division, which was established on October 19, 1939. SS V-Division took part in the invasion of Western Europe, subordinated to Eighteenth Army, and fought in Holland, Belgium and France. At the end of the campaign it had reached the Franco-Spanish borders. Stadler won the Iron Cross 1st Class for his performance during the campaign.

In January 28, 1941 the SS V-Division was redesignated as the SS “Reich” Division (mot.). By that time Stadler had left the Signals Battalion and was commanding the 5th Company of Regiment “Der Führer”. 

In 10 October 1941 Stadler was wounded and returned to Germany. There he served as an instructor at the SS officer school. He returned to the Eastern Front in March 1942 and became commander of the 2nd Battalion of Regiment “Der Führer”. In May 1942 the Division was renamed as SS-Division “Das Reich”. In September 1942 Stadler was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer. In November 1942 the Division was reconstituted and redesignated as the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich”. 

Stadler was recommended for the Knight’s Cross for the night attack he conducted on 1st March 1943 and resulted in the capture of Jefremowka. In April 1943 he received the award and was also promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer. On 1st June 1943 he became commander of Regiment “Der Führer”. In September 1943 he earned the Oaklives for his actions during the defensive battles around Kharkov (Kharkiv), in August 1943. In December 1943 part of “Das Reich”, under Stadler’s command, went to France for rebuilding. 

In January 1944 he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer. Stadler’s Regiment was involved in the massacre that took place at Oradour-sur-Glane. Stadler assumed command of 9 SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen” in July 10, 1944. He was wounded at the end of July and was on convalescent leave until October. Stadler remained at the command of “Hohenstaufen” until the end of the war. On May 4, 1945 he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS and two days later he was awarded the Swords to the Knight’s Cross. In May 8, 1945 Stadler with his Division surrendered to American forces.

Weidinger, Otto. Das Reich I, 1934-1939. Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz, 1990.
Weidinger, Otto. Das Reich II, 1940-1941. Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz, 1995.
Weidinger, Otto. Das Reich III, 1941-1943. Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz, 2002.
Yerger, Mark C. Waffen-SS Commanders. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1999.

Photo attribution
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Zschaeckel-192-24A/Zschäckel, Friedrich/CC-BY-SA-3.0-de, via Wikimedia Commons