Born: 15 February 1895, Fürstenwalde.
Died: 2 May 1945, Berlin.
General der Infanterie
Iron Cross 1914
2nd Class 24 January 1915
1st Class 14 August 1916
Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg 18 October 1918
Cross of Honor 20 December 1934
Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 15 June 1940
1st Class 17 June 1940
Eastern Front Medal
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Knight's Cross on 29 September 1941
Wilhelm Burgdorf was a German general. Born in Fürstenwalde, Wilhelm Burgdorf served as a commander and staff officer in the German Army during World War II.
Burgdorf military career
Wilhelm Burgdorf joined the German Army (Reichsheer) at the outbreak of World War I as an officer cadet and was commissioned as an infantry officer in Grenadier Regiment 12 in 1915. Between the wars he served in the Reichswehr and was promoted to captain in 1930. In 1935 he became an instructor in tactics at the military academy in Dresden with the rank of major and was appointed an adjutant on the staff of the IX corps in 1937. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1938 and served as the commander of the 529th Infantry Regiment from May 1940 to April 1942. In May 1942, he became Chief of Department 2 of the Army Personnel Office. Wilhelm Burgdorf became the Deputy Chief in October 1942, when he was promoted to Generalmajor. Wilhelm Burgdorf was promoted to Chief of the Army Personnel Office and Chief Adjutant to Adolf Hitler in October 1944. At that time, he was further promoted in rank to Generalleutnant. Wilhelm Burgdorf retained that rank and position until his death.
As part of Wilhelm Burgdorf 's function as Adolf Hitler's chief adjutant, he played a key role in the death of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Erwin Rommel had been implicated as having a peripheral role in the bomb plot of 20 July 1944, in which an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler recognised that to haul the most popular general in Germany before a People's Court would cause a scandal throughout Germany and accordingly arranged a face-saving maneuver.
On 14 October 1944, Wilhelm Burgdorf , with General Ernst Maisel, arrived at the Erwin Rommel home. Wilhelm Burgdorf had been instructed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel to offer Erwin Rommel a choice take poison, receive a state funeral, and obtain immunity for his family and staff, or face a trial for treason. Erwin Rommel drove away with Wilhelm Burgdorf and Maisel. Erwin Rommel's family received a telephone call 10 minutes later saying that he had died.
Shortly before the Battle of Berlin, Wilhelm Burgdorf was overheard by Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager saying, When the war is over, we will have to purge, after the Jews, the Catholic officers in the army. Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, a Roman Catholic Wehrmacht officer, vocally objected, citing his own decorations for heroism in combat. Boeselager then left before General Wilhelm Burgdorf could respond.
When the Soviet Army began their assault on Berlin, Wilhelm Burgdorf joined Adolf Hitler in the Führerbunker. On 28 April, when it was discovered that Heinrich Himmler was trying to negotiate a surrender to the western Allies via Count Folke Bernadotte, Wilhelm Burgdorf became part of a military tribunal ordered by Adolf Hitler to court-martial Heinrich Himmler's SS liaison officer Hermann Fegelein. Fegelein, by that time was Eva Braun's brother-in-law. SS-General Wilhelm Mohnke presided over the tribunal which, in addition to Wilhelm Burgdorf and Mohnke, included SS-General Johann Rattenhuber and General Hans Krebs. However, Fegelein was so drunk that he was determined to be in no condition to stand trial. Mohnke closed the proceedings and turned Fegelein over to Rattenhuber and his security squad.
On 29 April 1945, Wilhelm Burgdorf , Hans Krebs, Joseph Goebbels, and Martin Bormann witnessed and signed Adolf Hitler's last will and testament. On 2 May, following the earlier suicides of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelm Burgdorf and his colleague Chief of Staff Hans Krebs also committed suicide by gunshot to the head. The bodies of Hans Krebs and Wilhelm Burgdorf were found when Soviet personnel entered the bunker complex
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