The murder of Jochen Peiper, France 1976

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by Poor Old Spike, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Poor Old Spike

    Poor Old Spike Discharged


    Ironically, although Peipers tactical knowhow had kept him alive through 5 years of combat in France, Italy and Russia, he made one tactical error that cost him his life- he decided to settle in France
    Photographed in 1976 aged 61 while giving interview to French journalist just weeks before his death
    (photos reproduced by kind permission of After the Battle publishing)



    After serving 11 years in jail from 1945 to 1956, Peiper got a job with Porsche (who had built the Panther) as a sales manager,and later with Volkswagen. He had a small house (below) built in France and moved there in 1972 with his wife, living off his service pension and doing translation work for a publisher. Here he sits at the garden table with the journalist

    The house was just outside the village of Traves.

    And Traves was west of Vesoul

    Peiper's house was in thick woods. He was on good terms with his German neighbour

    But ominous slogans began appearing on local roads leading to Peiper's property

    Power lines leading to Peiper's house give away its secluded position in the woods in this 1982 photo.
    His mailbox was on the wooden pole on the left and was sometimes ransacked

    The house was firebombed in 1976 with Peiper inside. His wife was away visiting Germany. Nobody was ever caught or admitted responsibility.His body was badly charred and an autopsy found smoke in his lungs, he'd gone down fighting, firing his .22 rifle and a pistol.
    His remains were interred in the Peiper family plot in Landsberg, Bavaria

    His name was later scrubbed out, but his supporters sent mail to local dignitaries threatening reprisals, forcing them to cancel the annual village fete that year
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  2. ranville

    ranville Senior Member

    Thanks for that,some really interesting photos.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Full article is in After The Battle Number 40 (the issue about Budapest) on pages 47 to 53 .
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Which, thanks to their damned sensible policy regarding a history magazine, is still available years (decades?) after publication:
    After the Battle - Magazines
    brithm likes this.
  5. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Totally agree VP. :)
    No matter what you think of the SS, Peiper's killing was a murder. The ATB article covers it quite well, Agate's book on Peiper gives some further coverage / views on his life post war with additional photos taken at his home in France.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Stupid question I'm sure: Why did he decide to live in France after the war?
  7. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    I suppose a modern example of this kind of stupidity would be a Royal Marine moving to a compound in Helmand.
  8. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Moving to France, on some level, could be regarded as act of arrogance. Even a provocation. He obviously paid for his misjudgment.
    I would have to think that the same fate would have awaited Kurt Meyer if he had settled anywhere in Canada.
  9. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    Just read about Kurt Meyer, surprised that he only received 10 years?
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Just read about Kurt Meyer, surprised that he only received 10 years?

    A very controversial sentence, at least in Canada.
  11. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    shouldda hung him.
  12. Poor Old Spike

    Poor Old Spike Discharged

    Stupid question I'm sure: Why did he decide to live in France after the war?

    Possibly for two psychological reasons-
    1- Perhaps he had 'Survivors Syndrome' and felt guilty at surviving WW2 whereas many of his friends and comrades didn't, so he went to live in what had previously been an enemy country knowing full well he might get killed and just didn't give a damn.

    2- Perhaps he also missed the thrill and adrenalin kick he got from 5 years of combat in WW2, and found that living in France (the previously enemy country) gave him a thrill.
  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Quite amazing that he, given his record, would be hired post-war to executive positions by Porsche and VW.

    Following his release from Landsberg Prison, Peiper maintained contact, albeit discreetly, with his old comrades in the SS. He avoided open affiliations with the HIAG and the Order of the Holders of the Knight's Cross but he was often seen with their members at the funerals of personalities such as Kurt Meyer, Sepp Dietrich and Paul Hausser.
    Peiper assisted the efforts of these organizations to rehabilitate the Waffen-SS's reputation by hiding the more ruthless aspects of their past and exalting their military achievements, claiming that the SS were just like other soldiers. Peiper once told one of his friends:
    “I personally think that every attempt at rehabilitation during our lifetime is unrealistic, but one can still collect material.”

    On 17 January 1957 he began work at Porsche in Stuttgart in its technical division. He would later represent the company at car exhibitions. He was later put in charge of auto exports to the United States but his wartime criminal conviction prevented him from obtaining a visa for travel to the United States. This would not allow him to maintain this new position
  14. But Peiper committed his crimes in Ukraine, Italy and Belgium but was never accused of crimes in France.
  15. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    That would be regarded as a fine distinction by many. He was a member of the SS and they certainly had their share of infamous acts in France. His mere presence in France may have been seen as an affront, regardless of this personal record.
  16. That would be regarded as a fine distinction by many. He was a member of the SS and they certainly had their share of infamous acts in France. His mere presence in France may have been seen as an affront, regardless of this personal record.

    But if that was the case, why were not more former members of the SS murdered in France? To start with his neighbour Erwin Ketelhut who had been an SS-Obersturmbannführer. Seems to me Peiper could not have foreseen the fatal problems he encountered in Traves, I doubt it was premeditated murder: they wanted to bully him into leaving the country when it all got completely out of hand.
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Apparently he liked France but the decision to settle there was a fundamental error in an era when the French population still had vivid memories of the excesses,particularly,those of the SS that were carried out during the occupation.France was,and he would have known this,that the vast majority of its people would be hostile to those with a large footprint of National Socialism.He had already been sentenced to death for alleged involvement with the Malmedy atrocity but had been reprieved and released from Landsberg Prison in 1956.

    He was a one time adjutant to Himmler, which identified himself with the heart of National Socialism.....there are photographs of him in Russia by the side of Himmler inspecting the Jewish population accompanied by the usual "dignity" afforded by the Third Reich to the untermenchen. Had he fallen into the hands of the Russians,it is doubtful that he would have returned to West Germany as others were in the mid 1950s

    One of his regrets was that he did not like what was taking place in Germany after the war when Germany was seeking in rehabilitate itself in the free Western Europe....he was a National Socialist till the end.
    Smudger Jnr and canuck like this.
  18. An ardent nazi no doubt and deeply involved in the crimes of the regime, Peiper told Charles Whiting that he was a nazi and would allways be one but his crimes were not known to the villagers. He and many other former members of the SS lived in France without any problems whatsoever. Peiper lived in Traves quietly for many years and peacefully as did his neighbour Ketelhut (an artillery officer in the SS division responsible for the Marzabotto and Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacres). As such there was no fundamental error, just "bad luck" when a member of the French communist party came across his SS file and realised who he was.They then started to bully him but he did not leave, possibly because he did not take the danger too seriously. Then the next level of intimidation got completely out of hand.
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Good. Glad they got the SOB. I always suspected Mossad but I'd buy a beer to who ever sent him off on his way to hell a little early.
  20. The murders are known and there's nothing mossad about them.

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