Heinz Barth's Service records
Unfortunately I have not been able to locate much by way of service records for Barth and the data shown below is the amalgamated total of what has been found to date. If more is found in future it will be shown here: see also his trial in 1983.
What is interesting about this data is that it is apparent that Barth was neither an early member of the Nazi Party, nor of the SS. In fact he did not join the Party until after the war had begun and it is unclear whether he volunteered for the SS or was involuntary transferred. What is obvious is that he sympathised with the aims of the Nazi Party and that since childhood he had been exposed to their beliefs. What is noteworthy is that his religion was shown as being, 'Protestant' and not 'Gottgläubigkeit' (ggl) which was the more normal declaration for an SS man. Showing 'ggl' indicated a general belief in the existence of god, without owning allegiance to any particular branch of faith. All the entries below are believed correct up to November 1944, when his records end.
Name: Heinz Barth (there is no indication in this case that Heinz was a short form for Heinrich).
Born: 15 October 1920 in Gransee, a small historic town about 30 miles north of Berlin. The area in which Gransee is located, was from 1945 until German reunification in October 1990, known as the German Democratic Republic or GDR (the communist led, East Germany).
Height: 176 cm (5ft 9in).
Religion: Protestant and he did not change during his service with the SS.
Marital Status: Unmarried without any children (in 1944).
Civil occupation: Shopkeeper (believed to be a grocer).
Hitler Youth: Barth had been in the Hitler Youth from 1-10-32 to 31-7-38 and must have enjoyed the experience judging by the fact that he earned the organisation's Gold Badge.
Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrer Korps (National Socialist Motor Corps). On 1-8-38 he joined the NSKK which was one of the movements that people graduated into when they became too old for the Hitler Youth. It specialised in pre-military training for the army's motorised units.
Entry into the Party: 9-11-39. This date was the anniversary of the Beer-Hall Putch and it was common practice in Nazi Germany to use notable dates as common dates for promotions etc.
Party Number: 7,844,901. This is quite a high number and it is an indication that he was a late joiner. Adolf Diekmann for example was member number 1,752,411 and Heinrich Lammerding was member number 722,395 (as a matter of interest Adolf Hitler was member number 555, although he had tried to claim that he was number 7).
Entry into the SS: 10-2-43. There is no indication or not to say if this was a voluntary or involuntary act.
SS Number: 458,037. Again this is a quite a high number, Diekmann was 309,894 and Lammerding was 247,062
Other awards: Barth earned the Reich Sports Badge in Bronze and the German Life Saving Association badge in Gold.
Military Career: Barth had been in the regular army before his entry into the SS and must have held the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, because he is shown with the equivalent grade (Untersturmführer) on 24-2-42, i.e. nearly a year before he entered the SS. He was promoted to Obersturmführer (1st Lieutenant) on 9-11-44 (anniversary of the Beer-Hall Putch). This date was well after the attack on Oradour and after he was severely wounded, losing part of a leg (believed to be his left, on an unknown date in August).
There are no data relating to his military service prior to joining the SS, but from 10-2-1943 (the date of entry) he was posted first to the SS-Kraft Pioneers detachment, then just for one day on 15-2-1942 to the SS basic training unit. On 15-2-1943 he moved to the 10th SS-Panzer Grenadier Division until 19-10-1943 when he moved to 3rd SS-Panzer Division Totenkopf. On 19-10-1943 he moved to 2nd SS-Panzer Division Das Reich and stayed there until 28-8-1944 when he made his last recorded move to: SS-Panzer Grenadier Training and Replacement Battalion 2 (which was the Training and Replacement unit for Das Reich).
This last posting would have been to make the best use of his
experience in a training role following his serious wounding and incapacity for active
front-line service. Interestingly, he was promoted to Obersturmführer about 6 weeks after
this move, which shows that a serious wounding was not a bar to advancement within the SS.
See also the records for Otto Kahn, which show a similar posting to a training
establishment following a wounding and loss of a limb.
Barth won no medals for bravery and no other military decorations other than campaign medals.
© Michael Williams: revised August 2009