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Wilhelm Bittrich
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Military Personnel
    (February 26, 1894-April 19, 1979)
    Born in Wernigerode, Germany
    Nazi/Waffen-SS commander
    Commanded the SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer (1942-43)
    Commanded the 2nd SS Panzer Corps in Normandy (1944-45)
    Arrested in May, 1945; extradited to France on charges of having ordered the execution of 17 members of the French Resistance
    Tried, convicted and sentenced to five years in prison
    Sentenced to five years at a second trial for countenancing hangings, pillaging and arson (1953)
    Released after his convictions were overturned by a court in Bordeaux (1954)
    Portrayed by Maximilian Schell in 'A Bridge Too Far' (1974)
    He is best remembered for his contribution to the defeat of the failed allied airborne offensive Operation Market Garden which took place in the Netherlands (September, 1944).
    He claimed to be a recipient of the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, but no record exists of such an honor being bestowed on him (although some point to the irregularity of the honor's bestowing as part of the reason for the discrepancy).
    He presided over mass atrocities throughout Vichy France during WWII, most infamously the massacre of the Oradour-sur-Glane village.
    While never a direct participant in the killing, he did preside over regular deportations of families to concentration/extermination camps in Eastern Europe.
    He got off lightly after the end of the war - and was acquitted of all charges on two separate occasions by the French court system.
    He was never brought to trial for any war crimes he committed in the Soviet Union.
    Later in life, he became active with the Nazi revisionist/apologist party, HIAG, even serving as the organization's chairman in the 1970s until his death.
    He was known for poking fun at other officers' intelligence in his writings.
    He served on the Western and Italian Fronts during World War I, and was awarded both classes of the Iron Cross.
    Part of the reason for his convictions being overturned was the lack of evidence that he had ordered the execution of the 17 resistance fighters. In fact, evidence even pointed to his opening procedures to reprimand officers who DID order the act.

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