Helmut Kämpfe

Helmut Kämpfe
Photograph from, Comrades to the End by Otto Weidinger

    Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe. I do not have a date for this picture, but it shows Kämpfe wearing his Knights Cross, which he was awarded on 10th December 1943, for action in Russia. I believe that Kämpfe left Russia in December 1943 with the first part of the Division, to be re-fitted in France. As some of the trees in the background are in leaf and he is not wearing winter clothing, this would put the date sometime between December 1943 and 9th June 1944, when the main body of the Das Reich Division was in southern France. Notice that he is showing the Der Führer Regimental cuff-band on his left sleeve. He was a married man with three children and the likely reason for the absence of a wedding ring is that it is German custom to place the ring on the left hand upon engagement and then move it to the right upon marriage. The name, Kämpfe, whilst it does literally means 'Fight' in an imperative sense, I think best translates into English as, 'Fighter', an appropriate name for a Knights Cross holding SS-Sturmbannführer.

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© Michael Williams: revised March 2004