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Joachim Peiper and the Nazi Atrocities of 1944 (Hardback)

Military WWII > German Forces & Weaponry

By Stephen Wynn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 184
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526737113
Published: 14th January 2022



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Joachim Peiper held the rank of Obersturmbannführer in Nazi Germany’s fanatical Schutzstaffel, more commonly referred to as the SS. He spent the first two years of the war as an adjutant to the Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, and leading member of the Nazi Party, Heinrich Himmler, where he would have witnessed at first hand the construction and implementation of numerous SS policies, many of which would have been in relation to ethnic cleansing and the Holocaust.

In October 1941, having yearned for a chance at combat, he changed roles and became a commander in the Waffen-SS, although he still remained in regular contact with Himmler. As a member of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte, he saw service in the Soviet Union, Italy and Belgium.

On 19 September 1943, he and his men were responsible for the murder of twenty-four Italian civilians at the village of Boves. On 17 December 1944, men under his command were responsible for what became known as the Malmedy massacre, involving the murder of eighty-four unarmed American prisoners of war. Following this, between 17 and 20 December, Peiper and his men were involved in the murder of a number of other American soldiers, as well as Belgian civilians.

Peiper was never charged with the atrocities at Boves, but in 1946 he faced an American military tribunal for the Malmedy masssacre. Although found guilty and sentenced to death, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment but he was eventually released in 1956.

In 1972, Peiper moved to the French village of Troves in north east France. On 14 July 1976, his home was attacked and set on fire. Overcome by smoke, he died in the flames.

The unsolved peacetime murder of a war crimes convicted Nazi is described in a new book that tells of the life of military leader Joachim Peiper who is suspected of the massacre of hundreds of American prisoners of war.

SS Standartenfuhrer Joachim Peiper was sentenced to death for war crimes, his sentenced later commuted to life imprisonment in 1951 but he was released after serving ten years.

Later, for some unexplained reason, he moved from Germany to live in France where he resided in a well protected house. But one night in 1976 a mysterious group, possibly former Resistance Fighters, attacked his home, set it on fire where he died as a result of the blaze. The attackers, described as The Avengers, were never identified.

The book, authored by retired police officer Stephen Wynn and published by Pen and Sword (£20), is packed with well researched details of 1939-45 war crimes and those convicted of responsibility.
The author, in fairness, points out the massacre of prisoners of war in 1944-45 was not only by German troops. American soldiers also killed German prisoners of war they had captured. None of the Americans were ever prosecuted for war crimes.

Terry Sutton

About Stephen Wynn

Stephen is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police as a constable for thirty years between 1983 and 2013. He is married to Tanya and has two sons, Luke and Ross, and a daughter, Aimee. Both Stephen’s grandfathers served in and survived the First World War, one with the Royal Irish Rifles, the other in the Mercantile Marine, whilst his father was a member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during the Second World War.
When not writing Stephen can be found walking his dogs with his wife, Tanya, at some unearthly time of the morning when most normal people are still fast asleep.

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