Lothar Rudolph

Lothar Friedrich Rudolph was born on 23 January 1898 in Berlin. In april 1918 he married with Auguste Marie Lieschen Liwerski (born 15 december 1897).

As profession Lothar was a painter and stage-designer. Lothar had at least two children, its unknown for me if he had any other. Ewelyn (Eveline) was born on 10 May 1927 and Ingeburg on 12 december 1919. Together they lived on Pasteurstrasse 7 in Berlin.
During the war Ingeburg lived in Oslo, Norwegen, and thus was spared from most horrors of the war.

In January 1945 Lothar was called up for army service. He was send to Landesschützen-Ausbildungs-Bataillon II/3, located in Fürstenwalde. The Landesschützen units were made up from old men and normally their primary job was guarding/security. But as the war progressed, more and more of those old man units were used for other purposes, many times ending up in combat on the front. Lothar received his Soldbuch from the 1st Kompanie of this field-training unit on 6 January 1945. Later on Lothar was put in the 4th Kompanie.

In late January or early february 1945 Lothar was send to the Oder-front with his unit to fight against the Russians. The fact that this old man's field-training unit was send to the front was a typical example of the late-war shortages for the German army. One can only wonder if they even received enough (heavy)weapons, ammunition and supplies/equipment. But as we can see in his Soldbuch, Lothar at least received all of his basic infantry equipment and a rifle.

There isn't any information on the internet about Lothar's unit as to where they fought, just "near the Oder river". But when looking into the Red-Cross lists of missing persons, in the lists of Lothar's unit, one can see the route they took. This would indicate that Lothar's unit started of in the area between Meseritz and Crossen (current Poland), then crossing the Oder river and fighting in the area between Frankfurt (Oder) and Diehlo at the Oder river. In late March or early April Lothar’s Kompanie was used to form the 3th Kompanie of a new Grenadier-Regiment 355. Due to the fact that Lothar kept his old Kriegsstammrolle number on page 4 of his Soldbuch when switching units indicates that they basicly just renamed Lothar's unit into the new one. Otherwise Lothar should have received a new Kriegsstammrolle number.

214. Infanterie-Division

The old Grenadier-Regiment 355 was part of the 214.Infanterie-Division.
This Division’s last position was at the Baranow bridgehead in the Weichselbogen area. During the Russian offensive in January 1945 the Division was destroyed. Only small parts/kampfgruppen were able to escape. A group of survivors, Bataillon size, was assembled in Schlesien with the idea of re-creating the Division. But due to the war getting to close this didn’t happen and the soldiers went back to the front. In what order and in which units is unknown, but at least Grenadier-Regiment 355 was re-created which fought on the Oder front. In some books the 214. Infanterie-Division can be seen on maps. It could be that part of it was re-created, as a large kampfgruppe, with the name 214. Infanterie-Division. But i cannot find any good information about this Division after its destruction in January 1945.

On 20 April 1945, Hitler’s birthday, Lothar was promoted to Gefreiter (private first class) by his unit, 3./Grenadier-Regiment 355. This was noted on page 1 and 3 of the Soldbuch.

Lothar’s unit was pushed back from the Oder front into the so-called Halbe Kessel, located South of Berlin in the Spreewald area. Around 210.000 people were caught up in the pocket, of which only about 50.000 were soldiers, the others fleeing civilians. The Russians surrounded them with almost 300.000 soldiers.
In the Red-Cross lists i can see that fellow soldiers of Lothar's unit went missing near Ahrensdorf, Starkow, Kuschkow, Märkisch-Buchholz and Halbe.

The situation in the pocket was terrible. The Russians shot with whatever they had into the pocket and with so many people, vehicles and equipment it was easy to hit something. Dead bodies, discarded equipment and vehicles were everywhere, as far as the eye could reach. The Germans tried to break-out via Halbe towards the 12.Armee in the West multiple times, the last big attempt being on 28 April 1945.

Volksbund grave website entry

According to documents provided by the city of Berlin after the war Lothar was killed at Kuschkow (see above map, below-right), kreis Lübben in the Halbe kessel on 30 April 1945. But according to the Volksbund grave website the date of death was 28 April. Which one of the two is not fully certain. But looking at (post-)war maps showing the frontline around those dates would suggest that 28 April is a more exact date. By 30 April the frontline was already past the area of death. A possibility could be that Lothar’s body was discovered On the 30th or he was killed away from the front.

Lothar’s wife, Auguste Rudolph, fled from Berlin in one of the refugee treks towards the West during the last phase of the war. During her escape from the Russians she died. The exact date and location of death are not know to me. There is a big possibility that she died in the Halbe Kessel like her husband.