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Friedrich Franek

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Friedrich Franek

Dr. rer. pol. Friedrich "Fritz" Franek
Nickname(s) "Fritz"
Born 16 July 1891
Died 8 April 1976(1976-04-08) (aged 84)
Allegiance Austria–Hungary (to 1918)
First Austrian Republic (to 1938)
Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1910–1945
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 196. Infanterie-Division
44. Reichs-Grenadier-Division Hoch und Deutschmeister
73. Infanterie-Division

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Dr. rer. pol. Friedrich "Fritz" Franek[Notes 1] (16 July 1891 – 8 April 1976) was a highly decorated Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II.


He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He was one of only two officers in the German Wehrmacht who held the Military Order of Maria Theresa, the highest Austro-Hungarian decoration for bravery as well as the Knight's Cross.

In the summer of 1944, Franek was commanding the German 73rd Infantry Division as the Red Army was advancing through Poland. At the end of July, during the Lublin–Brest Offensive, he joined battle at Garwolin with the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Army under the command of Alexei Radzievsky, when the German forces were routed and Franek himself was captured.[1] He was held prisoner until 1948.

Awards and decorations

Reference in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
8 February 1944 In den harten mehrtägigen Abwehrkämpfen nordwestlich Cassino hat sich die 44. Reichs-Grenadierdivision "Hoch- und Deutschmeister" unter Führung des Generalleutnants Franek mit einem unterstellten Bataillon des Grenadier-Regiments (mot.) 8 und einer Kampfgruppe unter Führung des Oberst Baade besonders ausgezeichnet.[3] Northwest in the tough multi-day defensive battles at Cassino, the 44th Reichs-Grenadier Division "Hoch- und Deutschmeister" under the leadership of Lieutenant General Franek with a subordinate battalion of the Grenadier Regiment (mot) 8 and a battle group under the leadership of Colonel Baade particularly distinguished themselves.


  1. ^ In German a Doctorate of political economy is abbreviated as Dr. rer. pol. (Doctor rerum politicarum).


  1. ^ Robert Forczyk, Warsaw 1944: Poland's bid for freedom (2009, ISBN 1846033527), p. 13
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 154.
  3. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 30.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Richard Pellengahr
Commander of 196. Infanterie-Division
1 March 1942 – 24 December 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Kurt Möhring
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Dr. jur. Franz Beyer
Commander of 44. Reichs-Grenadier-Division Hoch und Deutschmeister
1 January 1944 – 1 May 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Bruno Ortner
Preceded by
Generalmajor Johannes Nedtwig
Commander of 73. Infanterie-Division
26 June 1944 – 29 July 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Kurt Haehling
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