Waffen-SS Kriegsberichter Photographers

In January of 1940, an SS-Kriegsberichter-Kompanie (Waffen-SS war reporters company) was established, and its züge (platoons) were attached to the four main Waffen-SS combat formations that fought in the Western Campaign of May and June 1940. These platoons remained with their respective divisions for the Balkans Campaign in the spring of 1941.

By August of 1941, many additional units were fighting as part of the Waffen-SS. As a result, also during August of 1941, the SS-Kriegsberichter-Kompanie was expanded to Abteilung (battalion) strength. Waffen-SS expansion continued to grow throughout the war, and in December 1943 the reporters unit again expanded, this time to regimental size. It also received an honorary title at this point, becoming known as SS-Standarte “Kurt Eggers”. It also received a cuff-title bearing the same name. Kurt Eggers was the former editor of the SS magazine Das Schwarz Korps. He was killed in action west of Kharkov while serving with the 5.SS-Division on August 13, 1943.

Gunter d’Alquen commanded the SS-Kriegsberichter unit for its entire existence. He held the Allgemeine-SS rank of Standartenführer and began his Waffen-SS command in 1940 as a Waffen-SS Hauptsturmführer der Reserve. During the course of the war, he was gradually promoted until he became a Waffen-SS Standartenführer der Reserve at his regimental command.

Under d’Alquen was a staff that processed the incoming material, as well as photographers, movie cameramen, writers, broadcaster, and recorders, all who served in the field. The men in the field did their service with the various platoons assigned to the assorted Waffen-SS formations. The reporters generally served with several different platoons during the war, and many news reporters joined during the war’s course. Non-Germans most often served with their own national formations but were sometimes detached to cover a particular campaign and report on it for their home press.

The list below of SS-Kriegsberichter is exclusively photographers. The basis of the list is wartime captions. The photos of the SS-Kriegsberichterwere reproduced in Das Schwarz Korps and in many German newspapers and were usually released to the foreign press as well. The photos used in German newspapers were printed with the photographer’s name somewhere in the article, usually directly below the photo. Many books reproduce these photos, and much knowledge of photographers stems from this.

Many photos released to the foreign press survive as either original photographs or as copies. Most of these photos originally had a caption on the back listing the photographer, the date of release, and some vague details such as “The returned patrol leader makes his report on the northern sector of the Eastern Front,” or something similar. It is important to note that the date of a photo’s release is not the date on which the photo was taken. The time between a photo being shot in the field and it being released to the press varied between a week and three months. Often photos from the same sequence, and taken within moments of each other, were released many days apart.

After studying hundreds of photos and photographers patterns begin to appear. A photo was taken during, ‘…the second week of the great offensive action between Belgorod-Orel,” and released to the press on August 24, 1943can reasonably be supposed to have been taken during the Zitadelle battle. If this photo shows Panzer IVs with the Das Reich Kursk-era unit symbol and is credited to Zschaeckel, it gives a clue that Zschaeckel spent time with that unit. This can then be reinforced if another Zschaeckel photo released at about the same time shows a Das Reich Knight’s Cross winner. Variations on this process were used to establish all of the assignments recorded below.

Finally, issues of a wartime magazine (not Das Schwarz Korps) from a German archive were consulted. These listed the promotions and decorations accumulated by the SS-Kriegsberichter and included every type of reporter. This is where the first names and other personal details of the men below were found.

Already since this list was first posted some new names of photographers have been provided by visitors to this page. Anyone with press release photos or anything to add to the information is welcomed to share the details. This list is far from complete, and this is why it is named the “growing list.” The hope is that it can continue to grow for a long time to come. Thanks for any help!

Adendorf, Peter Totenkopf 1942-1944, II. SS-Panzerkorps at Arnhem 1944, holder of the Panzer Assault Badge in Bronze and the Close Combat Clasp in Silver.
Ahrens, Anton? SS-Kavallerie Division 1943-1944
Alefs, ? SS-Polizei Division 1944
Altstadt, Willi commanded 5. Zug of the Kriegsberichter Abteilung with Wiking in the Caucasus 1942, won the Iron Cross I in August 1942, promoted toUntersturmfuehrer in March 1943, married February 23, 1943
Apfel, Hans Ardennes 1944-1945
Augustin, Paul LAH in the Kharkov campaign 1943, promoted toHauptscharfuehrer March 1, 1943, and killed in action 19 days later on March 20.
Baumann, ? Totenkopf 1941
Bayse, ? SS-Panzerkorps at Kursk (same as Buyse below?)
Brantsen, ? Legion Nederland 1942
Budulis, Janis Unit unknown, Latvian?
Bueschel, Max SS-Kavallerie Brigade 1941, LAH at Kursk and Zhitomir1943, still with LAH in winter of 1944, then briefly with Hohenstauffen early spring 1944in Galicia, back with LAH late spring 1944 in Belgium
Buyse, Jan Flemish, Legion Flandern 1942, Untersturmfuehrer 1944,commanded the war reporters platoon of Division Langemarck 1944-1945. Holder of theIron Cross II
Chlemacher, ? LAH 1943
Dietel, ? Western Front 1945
Duerr, ? LAH late 1941, Totenkopf 1943
Fabiger, Erich III.(Germanic) SS-Panzerkorps at Narva 1944
Fritsch, Ferdinand SS-Kavallerie Division 1943-1944, holder of the WoundBadge in Black and the Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze
Fritz, Hans Waffen-SS staff in the Netherlands 1942-1944
Frost, ? SS-Polizei Division 1944
Gerber, Gerhard Unit unknown, served for a time on the Pressestelle des RFSS, holder of the Iron Cross II, promoted to NCO Candidate on January 30, 1944
Goesling, Jobst commanded 10. Zug of the Kriegsberichter Abteilung withNord 1941-1942, his platoon later moved to cover the Latvian 15. Waffen-GrenadierDivision, holder of the Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze
Gottschmann, Franz probably with Das Reich early 1942, then with Totenkopf atDemyansk later 1942, killed in action with the SS-Panzerkorps near Kharkov early 1943
Groenert, Hermann Totenkopf 1943, Reichsfuehrer-SS Division early 1944, back to Totenkopf in Poland summer 1944, promoted to Unterscharfuehrer August 15, 1944, awarded the Iron Cross I during August 1944, also held the Infantry Assault Badge and the Wound Badge in Silver
Hilkenbach, ? Totenkopf late 1943
Hoffmann, ? (several men with this name) SS-Panzerkorps at Kharkovearly 1943, 2. Latvian SS-Infanterie Brigade autumn 1943
Hoppe, Kurt SS-Kavallerie Division 1943, Reichsfuehrer-SS Division early1944
Jaeckisch, Fritz Ardennes 1944-1945, previously a movie cameraman, holder of the Wound Badge in Black
Jarolim, Alois Wiking 1943-1944, holder of the Infantry Assault Badge
King, Johan LAH 1943
Koennecke, ? IV. SS-Panzerkorps near Warsaw, autumn 1944
Kok, Cornelius Estonian, came to Wiking with SS-Panzergrenadier BataillonNarwa in 1943, holder of the Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze
Kraus, ? Eastern Front 1941 during Barbarossa
Kunzmann, Adolf SS-Fallschirmjäger Bataillon 500 1944
Lechner, ? Eastern Front 1943
Lindekens, Hugo Brigade Langemarck 1944, Flemish?
Ludwig, Hans LAH Winter 1943-1944, holder of the War Merit Cross with Swords II
Lueder, ? Normandy 1944
Merz, Willi Totenkopf at Kharkov and Kursk 1943, Das Reich rebuilding inFrance early 1944, holder of the Iron Cross II
Mielke, Werner Legion Nederland during 1942, II. SS-Panzerkorps inNormandy
Moebius, Helmut Wiking 1943, Brigade Nederland spring 1944, holder ofthe Iron Cross I
Nachtwey, ? member of the war reporters platoon of Hitlerjugend spring 1944
Neumann, Paul Served with (commanded?) several units, won the IronCross I during the spring of 1943, promoted to Untersturmfuehrer on November 9, 1943
Niquille, Giovani (Nino) Nord 1942, SS-Skijaeger Kompanie Norge mid1943, SS-Kavallerie Division late 1943, holder of the Wound Badge in Black, InfantryAssault Badge in Bronze, and the Iron Cross II
Pachnike, Klaus LAH early 1944, Hitlerjugend in Normandy, holder of the Wound Badge in Black and the Iron Cross II
Prochnow, Dieter Das Reich or Totenkopf late 1943
Puttrich, ? Eastern Front(SS-Kavallerie Division?) late 1942
Reinsberg, ? Legion Nederland 1942
Roeder, ? Hitlerjugend in Normandy
Rose, Heinrich Unit unknown
Roth, Franz as Untersturmfuehrer commanded 7. Zug of the KriegsberichterAbteilung assigned to LAH in 1941 for Greece and Barbarossa, holder of the Winter1941-1942 Medal and the Iron Cross I, killed in action in early 1943
Rottensteiner, Ferdinand LAH winter 1943-1944, won the Iron Cross IIAugust 1944
Schremmer, Hans Totenkopf 1944 in Bessarabia and Poland
Schulz, ? Normandy 1944, Ardennes 1944-1945
Slapak, Walter Wiking summer 1943, probably as commander of war reporters platoon, promoted to Untersturmfuehrer September 21, 1942
Steinkopf, ? Festung Kuestrin 1945
Stollberg, Willi Hitlerjugend in Normandy
Tillmann, ? Frundsberg at Nijmegen 1944
Truoel, Hans III. (Germanic) SS-Panzerkorps in Estonia spring and summer 1944, won the Iron Cross II during August 1944
Unger, ? IV. SS-Panzerkorps near Warsaw late 1944
Westermann, ? Prinz Eugen 1944
Wiesebach, ? Totenkopf and the SS-Kavallerie Brigade 1942
Wisniewski, Bruno Nord 1942-1943, Brigade Nederland 1944, holder of theIron Cross II
Wittmar, Gerhard Totenkopf 1942-1943, holder of the Demyansk Badge
Woscidlo, Wilfried Training staff for reporters 1942, Hitlerjugend 1943-1945
Zschaeckel, Friedrich Eastern Front (Das Reich?) 1941, Nord 1942,Totenkopf at Kharkov 1943, Das Reich at Kursk, Hitlerjugend in Normandy, promoted toObersturmfuehrer on April 20, 1943, holder of the Iron Cross I
Zeymer, Werner Eastern Front 1943, Totenkopf late summer 1943