16 October 2016

German Victory Parade in Belgrade

Image size: 1600 x 1200 pixel. 609 KB
Date: Sunday, 13 April 1941
Place: Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Heinz Fremke from Propaganda-Kompanie (PK) 691

House of the National Assembly in Belgrade – then and now. After nine SS men from the "Reich" Division used the general confusion and formally captured the Yugoslav capital on 12 April 1941, a victory parade of the true conqueror of the city, the 1st Armoured Group, was held on 13 April at noon. In the (old) photo, tanks of the Panzer-Regiment 15 / 11.Panzer-Division "Gespensterdivision" (Ghost Division) parade in front of their commanders: standing in the centre is Generaloberst Ewald von Kleist (commander of the armoured group), to his right is Generalmajor Ludwig Crüwell (divisional commander), and on the left, in black uniform, is Oberstleutnant Gustav-Adolf Riebel (commander of the division's panzer Regiment). The defeat of Belgrade was also celebrated in the "Song of Armoured Group Kleist": "We were the victors of Belgrade; we defeated all resistance, and broke up with a false state!" Crüwell later fought under Rommel and after the war became chairman of the Africa Corps Veterans Association; Riebel was killed in 1942 at Stalingrad – and von Kleist ended his life in Soviet captivity, as a war criminal, in 1954. At the spot from which these three officers once proudly watched their rolling tanks – today stand the civilians, waiting for a bus.

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