|Birth: ||Dec. 18, 1914|
|Death: ||Jun. 29, 1944|
Departement du Calvados
Military figure / infamous War Criminal. Adolf Otto Diekmann, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 4th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment (Der Führer), of the Das Reich Division of the Waffen-SS, was the highest ranking officer present at Oradour-sur-Glane, France, on June 10, 1944. It was on this day that 642 men, women and children were murdered and the whole town was destroyed by fire. Some records show his name as Otto Dickmann but the official SS records show that his name was Adolf Otto Diekmann. After the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane Diekmann made a report at 5:30 p.m. that day to his commanding officer at the Regimental Headquarters in Limoges. The following quote is from Diekmann's Report and was included in Waffen-SS General Otto Weidinger's book, "Comrades to the End": "The Company had encountered resistance in Oradour, and the bodies of executed German soldiers were found. It then occupied the village and immediately conducted an intensive search of the houses. Unfortunately this failed to turn up Kämpfe [a popular officer who was missing from the day before, when he was apparently abducted while doing a route recon], however large quantities of weapons and ammunition were found. Therefore all the men of the village were shot, who were surely Maquisards. The women and children were locked up in the church while all this was going on. Then the village was set on fire, as a result of which the ammunition that was stored in almost every house went up. The burning of the village resulted in fire spreading to the church, where ammunition had also been hidden in the roof. The church burned down very rapidly and the women and children lost their lives." The "executed German soldiers" mentioned in the report was a reference to supposedly wounded German soldiers in an ambulance who had been burned alive. The driver and another soldier sitting in the passenger seat had been chained to the steering wheel before the vehicle was set on fire. There were also bodies of German soldiers found in an old well in Oradour-sur-Glane. After the war investigation indicated that the church was intentionally set of fire first, before the rest of the town was destroyed. Diekmann was court-martialed at the instruction of his commanding officer, General Sylvester Stadler. The charges were dropped after Diekmann was killed in action at Normandy. Diekmann's comrades stated that at the time he was killed he did not seem to care anymore if he lived or died. He left his command bunker without his helmet when an exploding shell splinter pierced his head. It was said by some of his men that the burden of the atrocities he carried out at Oradour-sur-Glane weighed heavily on him and his death was actually a suicide. Robert Hebras, one of the five survivors of the massacre that occurred at a barn in the village, wrote a book called "Oradour-sur-Glane, the Tragedy Hour by Hour," in which he described Diekmann as a "blood-thirsty man" and said that "Major Diekmann was a man whose callousness had earned him the reputation of a cold, cruel butcher, and a drunkard besides." Diekmann was initially buried in a temporary grave at Banneville. On January 16, 1957, his remains were moved to the La Cambe German Military Cemetery in Normandy. He shares a gravestone with a 17 year old Grenadier named Georg Bossel. The ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane still stand as they were in June of 1944 as a memorial to what happened there.
(bio by: Rick Lawrence)
German Military Cemetery
Departement du Calvados
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Rick Lawrence
Record added: Aug 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94936710
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