Klaus von Bismarck

Dr. h. c. theol.
Klaus von Bismarck

Klaus von Bismarck, 11 July 1961
Born (1912-03-06)6 March 1912
estate Jarchlin, Province of Pomerania, German Empire
Died 22 May 1997(1997-05-22) (aged 85)
Hamburg, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1934–45
Rank Oberstleutnant of the Reserves
Commands held Grenadier-Regiment 4

Second World War

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Other work Head of Social Welfare for Evangelical Church of Westphalia
Artistic director of WDR

Klaus von Bismarck (6 March 1912 – 22 May 1997) was the Director General of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Broadcasting) from 1961 to 1976, and the President of the ARD from 1963 to 1964. He was also the President of the German Evangelical Church Assembly from 1977 to 1979 and a member of its presidium from 1950 to 1995, as well as President of the Goethe Institute, 1977 to 1989.

Bismarck was a highly decorated Lieutenant Colonel (Oberstleutnant of the Reserves) in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. According to his memoirs published in 1992 he refused to obey Hitler's Commissar Order to execute all captured Russian political Commissars attached to the Russian Army whilst serving as an adjutant on the Russian front in 1941. (Gitta Sereny, 'Albert Speer - his battle with truth, Macmillan 1995)

He is a relative of Otto von Bismarck, Germany's first Chancellor, and was the son of Gottfried von Bismarck (1881–1928), Lord of Jarchlin and Kniephof, family estates located in Pomerania.

Bismarck received an honorary Doctor of Theology degree (Dr. h. c. theol.) from the University of Münster.

Awards and decorations


20 April 1936: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) of the Reserves, effective as of 1 April 1936 with a rank age of 1 April 1936[6]
30 September 1939: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) of the Reserves, effective as of 1 April 1939 with a rank age of 1 January 1939[6]
17 September 1942: Oberleutnant of the Reserves, with a new rank age of 1 October 1938[6]
17 September 1942: Hauptmann (Captain) of the Reserves, effective as of 1 October 1942 with a rank age of 1 October 1941, later changed to 1 October 1940 [6]
13 January 1943: Major (Major) of the Reserves, effective as of 1 December 1942 with a rank age of 1 December 1942[6]
15 December 1944: Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) of the Reserves, effective as of 1 November 1944 with a rank age of 9 November 1944[6]


  1. According to Scherzer as Oberleutnant of the Reserves.[4]
  2. According to Scherzer as Major of the Reserves.[4]




  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1992). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 2: Bi–Bo [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part III: Infantry Volume 2: Bi–Bo] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1734-3. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
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