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August Zehender

August Zehender
Born (1903-04-28)28 April 1903
Died 11 February 1945(1945-02-11) (aged 41)
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Waffen SS
Years of service 1935–1945
Rank Brigadeführer
Unit 22nd SS Volunteer Cavalry Division Maria Theresia
Battles/wars World War II

August Friedrich Zehender (28 April 1903 – 11 February 1945) was a Brigadeführer and General-Major in the Waffen-SS during World War II and the commander of the 22nd SS Volunteer Cavalry Division Maria Theresia who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.[1]


August Zehender was born at Aalen near Württemberg in a family of a railway official.

In 1918, he joined the army and attended the non-commissioned officers' school at Ellwangen. In 1920, he was posted to the 25th Schützen Regiment at Schwäbisch Gmünd.[1] In 1935, Zehender was posted to the SS-Verfügungstruppe (his NSDAP party number was 4263133 and his SS service number 224219). He served with the III Battalion, SS-Standarte Germania at Ellwangen, where he was in charge of a platoon in the machine-gun company. Several years later, he became the commander of the 4th (machine-gun) Company in SS-Regiment Deutschland. After promotion to Sturmbannführer, he was given command of a motorcycle battalion in Panzer Division Das Reich, having as his company commanders Wilhelm von Kment, Fritz Klingenberg and Christian Tychsen.[1]

At the end of June 1941, Zehender was seriously wounded on the Eastern Front at Losza and after his recovery he was posted to the SS Cavalry Brigade.[1]

In January 1943, Zehender's regiment took control of the village Cholomedina, fought off several counter-attacks from the enemy and made further attacks deeper into the territory held by the Soviet forces. For these actions he was promoted to Obersturmbannführer and awarded the Knights Cross on 10 March 1943.[1][2]

In the spring of 1944, he was given command of the 22nd SS Volunteer Cavalry Division Maria Theresa, with which he fought at Budapest.[1]

On 4 February 1945, Zehender was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross. He was killed in action 7 days later in Budapest at the age of 41.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "ritterkruetztraeger". 
  2. ^ Land wehr p.125

Further reading

August Zehender (center, looking up) walking up the Stairs of Death at Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp during a tour with Heinrich Himmler and other SS officers, June 1941.
  • Thomas M. Durante. "The German Close Combat Clasp of World War II" (2007). ISBN 978-90-812301-1-7
  • Florian Berger. "Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold" (2004). ISBN 3-9501307-3-X
  • Manfred Dörr. "Die Träger der Nahkampfspange in Gold, Heer-Luftwaffe-Waffen-SS 1943–1945". ISBN 3-7648-2585-5
  • Landwehr, Richard (1999). Steadfast Hussars : the last cavalry divisions of the Waffen-SS. Brookings, Ore.: Siegrunen. ISBN 1-57638-130-7.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag.  
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag.  
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