Hyazinth / Hyacinth

100-jähriges Bestehen

Im Jahre 2003 hat der Familienverband der Grafen und Freiherren von Strachwitz sein 100-jähriges Bestehen gefeiert.

Hyazinth / Hyacinth

Count Hyazinth Strachwitz
von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz
Der Panzergraf / The Panzer Count
(July 30, 1893 - 1968)

Count Hyazinth Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz was born on July 30th of 1893 to old Silesian nobility in Grosstein. His family had long military tradition dating back to fighting Mongols during the battle of Legnica (Legnitz) on April 15th of 1241, when the Mongols defeated a Polish army under Henry II, prince of Lower Silesia. His roots were reflected by his Christian name, which was given to family's first child for over 700 years to honour Silesian Saint Hyazinth to whom the chapel in family castle at Grosstein was dedicated. Young Count joined the Imperial Army's elite Garde du Corps cuirassier regiment being sponsored by Kaiser Wilhelm II. He studied at the Lichterfelde Cadet Academy. Strachwitz was a talented horseman, swordsman and athlete and prospective candidate for German team for 1916 Olympic Games. In 1914, the French captured Lieutenant Strachwitz after one weeklong raid into the French rear areas. The French for wearing civilian clothes when captured sentenced him to death but the sentence was commuted. The Count remained a prisoner of war to the end of the war in southeast of France. Strachwitz returned home very sick in 1918. He then joined the Freikorps (paramilitary organization) to restore the order in post-war Upper Silesia, which was being reclaimed by newly formed Poland. Following that he remained in the army - Reichwehr's 7th Cavalry Regiment, which followed the traditions of the former regiments of the Imperial Army.

Colonel Count Strachwitz von Gross Zauche und Camminetz was the most decorated regimental officer of the German panzer army in WWII. He was awarded all the grades of the Iron Cross, including the Knight's Cross on August 1941 and Oakleaves on 13 November 1942, the Swords on 28 March 1943, and Diamonds on 15 April 1944 when commanding a battle group in the sector of Army Group North. 
Originally a cavalryman, Strachwitz belonged to an old military family with estates in Silesia. He served during WWI and with the Freikorps, and fought during the campaigns in Poland and France. He gained however reputation on the Eastern Front, exploiting with small battle groups to fight Russian armor. When isolated from friendly units he also showed courage outside his vehicle, fighting hand-to-hand against Russian infantry until his crew had repaired the tank. He became famous for his rapid advances, breaking through enemy lines and disrupting enemy headquarters and supply units. On one occasion he was the first to cross a river bridge, attacking a column of hundreds of Russian trucks and guns.

Generalleutnant der ReserveHyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz

Des Teufels General


  • Panzerkampfabzeichen in Gold (4. Stufe)
  • Nennung im Wehrmachtsbericht
  • Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
  • Verwundetenabzeichen in Gold
  • Ritterkreuz    25.08.1941
  • Eichenlaub  (144) 13.11.1942
  • Schwerter (027) 28.03.1943
  • Brillanten  (011) 15.04.1944

* 30.07.1893 in Groß-Stein/Schlesien
† 25.04.1968 in Winkl am Chiemsee

Der aus einem oberschlesischen Adelsgeschlecht stammende Graf Strachwitz trat bereits vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg in das kaiserlich-preußische Kavalleriekorps ein. Als Leutnant im berittenen Garderegiment "Garde du Corps" zog er 1914 in den Krieg gegen Frankreich. Doch für den verwegenen jungen Offizier war dieser Krieg nur von kurzer Dauer. Im September 1914 geriet er während eines Spähunternehmens in französische Gefangenschaft, für Tapferkeit im Gefecht hatte er jedoch in dieser kurzen Zeit bereits das Eiserne Kreuz 1. Klasse erhalten. In den Jahren 1921/22 kämpfte Graf Strachwitz in den Freikorps "von Hülsen" und "Schweidnitz" erfolgreich gegen polnische Freischärler in Schlesien. In den Zwanziger- und Dreißigerjahren war der Gutsverwalter als Rittmeister der Reserve im Reiterregiment 7 in Breslau gelistet.
1935 wechselte Strachwitz - von seinen Freunden Conté genannt - als Reserveoffizier ins Panzerregiment 2 in Weimar. Der Reiterveteran aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg zeigte sich von der neuen Waffengattung begeistert.

The Armoured Count, shown here in standard black AFV uniform, with a unique version of the officer's Feldmütze (field hat), having astrakhan fleece added to the turndown flaps.
Colour photo courtesy of Paal Waland

Born on 30 July 1893 to a wealthy family in Upper Silesia, Graf (Count) Strachwitz (whose Christian name, by tradition in his family, was given to first born sons for over 700 years in homage to Saint Hyazinth) attended military school in Berlin and in 1912 joined the Regiment Garde du Corps as a commissioned officer.  The unit was a very socially exclusive one, being the most senior regiment of the Prussian Army.   Graf Strachwitz distinguished himself in sports before the First World War, and saw action as a junior officer, being captured during a patrol early in the war and spending long years in captivity after a death sentence (for wearing civilian clothes on the patrol) was commuted.  Nonetheless, he had time enough to win both the Iron Cross II Class and I Class.

Between the wars, Graf Strachwitz helped in the defence of Silesia against Polish incursions, in the turmoil that was post-war Germany, and after a time he left the military to run the family estate (Grossstein).  As a reserve officer, he attended exercises of Reiter (Cavalry) Regiment 7 and Panzer Regiment 2 during the 1930s.  He served with the latter regiment in Poland, France and the Balkans.  He participated in the advance on Belgrade in the spring of 1941, a drive in which Infantry Regiment GD also took part.

By the time of the Russian invasion, Graf Strachwitz (holding the rank of Major) commanded the first battalion of Panzer Regiment 2, being awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 25 August 1941.   On 13 November 1942, he became the 144th soldier to be awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, by now commanding the entire regiment.  Fighting on the northern front of the Stalingrad pocket, his unit destroyed 105 Soviet tanks without loss; he was seriously wounded and lucky enough to be evacuated before the Stalingrad pocket collapsed.

By January 1943, "der Panzergraf" (The Armoured Count, as he was by then known) was an Oberst and given command of Panzer Regiment Grossdeutschland.  Not long after followed the award of the Swords to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, on 28 March 1943, for his part in the counterattack at Kharkov.

Hyazinth Von Scrachwitz né en 1893 dans une famille noble en haute silésie à Grosstein. Entre à l'école supérieur des cadets à BERLIN- Lichterfelde. A la déclaration de la 1° guerre mondiale il est sous lieutenant de cavalerie dans la Garde Impériale. En menant une patrouille pendant la campagne de France il est capturé, et tombe gravement malade, les autorités françaises l'expédient alors en Suisse où il est interné. Il retrouve son pays après l'armistice avec le grade d'ObertLeutnant.

Il rejoint alors les corps francs de la Baltique et combat contre les Polonais. Le comte Von Strachwitz gère la propriété de ses parents. En 1934 après la prise de pouvoir du parti national socialiste, il participe à des exercises avec le 7° Rgt de cavalerie de Breslau et le Pz Rgt 2 de la 1°Pz Div. Il est décoré de la Ritterkreuz en août 41 pendant la campagne de l'Est alors qu'il commande le Pz Rgt 2 puis reçoit les feuilles de chêne le 13/11/1942.

En janvier 43 il est à la tête du Pz Rgt GD, cette unité combat pour Charkow et pour son action il est décoré des glaives le 28 mars 1943. En juillet 43, participe à la bataille de Koursk. Il quitte son unité suite à un différent avec le Kdeur de la G.D. Puis prends le commandement de la Pz Lehr Div ( juin 44 / décembre 44) après avoir été promu GeneralMajor.
Le 15/1/44 il reçoit les brillants à sa ritterkreuz. A la fin de 44, à la tête d'un Kampfgruppe portant son nom il reprend la ville de Tukkum en Lettonie. Au cours d'une inspection sur le front il est blessé grièvement dans un accident de voiture pour la 14° fois !! Il gagne ses galons de Generalleutnant le 1/01/1945 et est capturé par les américains en silésie.

Après la guerre, il s'expatrie en Syrie après avoir perdu sa fille en italie contre les partisans, sa femme (écrasé par une voiture américaine) , son fils cadet mort au front. Un coup d'état l'envoi en prison, il s'évade avec sa nouvelle femme et s'enfuit au Liban. En juillet 49 il part pour l'Italie où il exploite un vignoble. Puis regagne son pays à l'automne 1951.