Gerhard Bremer was a German officer in the Waffen SS. He fought during World War II and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves for his extreme bravery and personal leadership. By the end of the war, he had achieved the rank of Obersturmbahnführer of the Waffen-SS, which is the equivalent of Major.
Gerhard Bremer was born in Saarbrücken, Germany, on May 27, 1917. At nineteen, he enlisted in the SS and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, Germania Regiment. In 1937, Bremer became commander of the SS officer school at Bad Tolz. In 1938, he was transferred to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and was appointed commander of the 10th Company.
When World War II broke out, Bremer took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. In May 1940, he fought in the Battle of France and, in April 1941, participated in the Balkan Campaign. For his outstanding service in the Polish and Western campaigns he was awarded the Iron Cross both first and second class. By the end of the Balkan campaign Bremer was promoted to Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) and was given command of the 1rst Motor Cycle Company of the Reconnaissance Battalion.
During Operation Barbarossa Bremer fought with audacity and courage, showing command skill, and was awarded the Knight’s Cross in the first month of the Russian Campaign. He served in the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler until June 1943 when he was transferred to the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend to command the 3rd Battalion of the 26th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. In April 1944, Bremer was appointed commander of the 12th SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion, which covered the Divisions left flank during the Battle of Normandy on the outskirts of Caen.
In August 1944, during the fighting with the Canadian Royal Winnipeg Rifles at Putot-en-Bessin, Bremer was reported to have taken part in the execution of 12 Prisoners. He was encircled with his Battalion in the Falaise Gap, but, after fierce savage fighting, his unit was finally able to break through the enemy lines and withdraw to the Mass, covering the retreat of the 5th Panzer Army for which he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross.
Between December 16, 1944, and January 25, 1945, Bremer took part in the Ardennes Offensive, and in March 1945 in Operation Spring Awakening, which took place in Hungary, ending the war in the area of St Poelten. In May, he surrendered along with what was left of the 12th SS Division Hitlerjugend to the US forces. Bremer was kept as a prisoner of war by the French Government from 1948 to 1954. When he was finally released, he moved to Denia in Spain with his wife Almut and his son Gerd. Gerhard Bremer died on the October 29, 1989, in Alicante, Spain.