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Otto Korfes (German Otto Korfes, November 23, 1889, Wenzen, Gandersheim district, Braunschweig – August 24, 1964, Potsdam, Brandenburg) – German military leader, Wehrmacht officer, major general (1943), military and political leader of the GDR, general major (1952).BiographyChildhood, adolescence. Service startFrom a pastor’s family. He was the fifth child in the family of Otto Korfes and his wife Emilia, née Friedrich. In 1901, when Otto was 12 years old, the family moved to Kattenstedt in the Harz. In 1901-1909 he studied at the gymnasium and on March 16, 1909, upon graduation, he received a certificate of maturity.In May of the same year, Korfes entered the 66th Infantry Regiment (3rd Magdeburg). In October he was promoted to fenrich, and on August 22, 1910, he became a lieutenant. In August 1914, when the First World War began, he was sent to the Western Front and already on September 17, he received the 2nd Class Iron Cross.At the beginning of 1915 he was the next rank of chief lieutenant. In the spring of 1916, Korfes was awarded the 1st Class Iron Cross. At the end of 1917 he was awarded the rank of captain. In July 1918, shortly before the end of the war, he was seriously wounded and was in the hospital until January 1919.Peaceful life in the Weimar RepublicIn July 1919 he was invited to work in the German Union of Officers in Berlin, and in the fall he entered the philosophy department of the Friedrich-Wilhelm University of Berlin. At the same time, from the beginning of 1920, he began to work in the of the Reichsarchive. On June 9, 1923, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Social and Political Sciences. In the same year, he was recruited into the military history department of the Reichsarchive under the leadership of General Hans von Heften.From that time on, he began to give lectures, his publications were . In December of the same year, he became a member of the „Steel Helmet" Union of Front-line soldiers, whose leader was his former colleague Franz Seldte. On October 26, 1929, he married (in July 1929, the engagement took place) to Gudrunn Merz von Quirnheim, daughter of the President of the Reichsarchives Hermann Merz von Quirnheim.In 1933, their daughter Sigrid was born. On October 1, 1937, Korfes left his job at the Reichsarchiv (recently he worked in the rank of Ober-regirungsrat, that is, senior government adviser, at the Military Historical Research Institute in Potsdam (German: Kriegsgeschichtlichen Forschungsanstalt des Heeres in Potsdam) and again entered the service to Army.The Second World War. Surrender at StalingradIn the fall of 1937, he was reinstated to the rank of major and was assigned to the 66th Infantry Regiment in Magdeburg. On February 1, 1938, he was awarded the rank of lieutenant colonel. In the fall of 1938, he participated as battalion commander of the 66th Infantry Regiment in the occupation of the Sudetenland. Soon Korfes became the commander of the 66th regiment.In February 1940, he was appointed commander of the 518th Infantry Regiment. In this position he took part in the defeat of France. On June 22, 1941, a regiment as part of the 295th Infantry Division (17th Army) took part in the attack on the Soviet Union. The division fought its way through Uman, Poltava, Artyomovsk and Rossosh to the east. In August 1942, the 295th Infantry Division (and with it the Korfes regiment) was transferred to the 6th Army, advancing on Stalingrad. As part of the 51st Army Corps, the division fought in September for the Mamayev Kurgan, and in October for the Krasny Oktyabr steel plant and the Lazur chemical factory.On November 16, 1942, a few days before the Soviet offensive began, Korfes was appointed acting commander of the 295th Infantry Division. On January 1, 1943, he was awarded the rank of major general and he was officially approved as division commander, and on January 22 of the same year, Korfes was awarded the Knight’s Cross. But no titles and awards could change the situation that developed in the Stalingrad boiler at the beginning of 1943. At the end of January, the 6th Army ceased to exist. On January 31, 1943, Korfes in full dress and with all the orders surrendered.In captivityIn February 1943, a few days after the capture, Korfes and other generals were transported and placed in a prisoner of war camp in Krasnogorsk near Moscow. In April 1943, Korfes, along with the others, was transferred to a prisoner of war camp in Voikovo. In July 1943, the generals were again transported to a new POW camp at Voikovo. On August 19, Korfes, along with Seydlitz-Kurzbach and Lattman, were transferred from Voikov to a retraining center in Zhukovo.On September 11-12, 1943, Korfes participated in the creation of the Union of German Officers in Lunevo and became a member of the presidium of the new organization. On September 14-15, 1943, the Union of German Officers and the National Committee „Free Germany" were united. From September 1943 to November 1945, Korfes was mainly engaged in publicistic activities in the newspaper „Free Germany" and participated in programs on the radio station bearing the same name.On July 20, 1944, a group of German officers attempted an assassination attempt on Hitler, which ended in failure. One of these officers was the brother of Korfes’s wife, Albrecht Merz von Quirnheim, who was shot immediately after the failure of the conspiracy. Another relative of Korfes, the husband of his wife’s older sister, Wilhelm Dieckmann, also involved in the conspiracy, after brutal interrogations by the Gestapo was shot in the Moabit prison on September 13, 1944. After information was received in Germany that Korfes was actively cooperating with the Russians, repressions were launched against his family.In the service of the GDROn September 13, 1948, Korfes returned to the Soviet occupation zone of Germany. Shortly after his return, on October 16, 1948, he was appointed head of the Central Archives in the Soviet zone of German occupation in Potsdam, created on June 1, 1946.In November of the same year, he joined the National Democratic Party of Germany. In 1949, Korfes became a member of the NDPD Presidium. In 1950-1952, Korfes directed the Institute of Archival Studies in Potsdam. On October 1, 1952, with the rank of Major General, he was called up to serve in the Barracks People’s Police as head of the Historical Department (German: Leiter der Historischen Abteilung).In the 1950s, Korfes is engaged in various activities: he is a member of the National Council of the National Front of the GDR, the historical section of the Academy of Sciences, the academic council of the Museum of German History. In 1958-1964, he was also chairman of the Society of Former Officers (Arbeitsgemeinschaft ehemaliger Offiziere). On March 31, 1956, Korfes retired. On November 29, 1959, on his 70th birthday, Korfes was awarded the Order of Merit to the Fatherland in silver. On August 24, 1964, at the age of 75, he died in Potsdam.In 1994, a biography of Korfes was published, written by his daughter Sigrid Wegner-Korfes „Weimar-Stalingrad-Berlin".Military ranksFenrich – October 18, 1909Lieutenant – August 22, 1910Chief Lieutenant – February 25, 1915;Captain – December 18, 1917;Major in the reserve – June 1, 1935;Major – October 1, 1937;Lieutenant Colonel – February 1, 1938;Colonel – January 1, 1941;Major General – January 1, 1943Major General (NNA) – October 1, 1952.AwardsIron Cross 2nd class;Iron Cross 1st class;Class 1 Iron Cross Buckle;Class 2 Iron Cross Buckle;Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross – January 22, 1943German Cross in Gold – January 11, 1942;Order of Merit to the Fatherland in Silver (GDR) – November 23, 1959.


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