Prologue: This project was undertaken due to the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. We like to think that military commanders are held accountable for the war crimes of their troops. Few are.
After the war, Kurt Meyer was charged with war crimes. He was tried and found guilty and sentenced to death on December 28, 1945. The sentence was commuted to life in prison. He was sent to Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick to serve his sentence.
The Regina Labor Council was upset that Meyer had been pardoned and expressed concern to the Canadian government.
The arrogant Meyer asked for special privileges. He didn’t want to be housed with “common law offenders”. Meyer was the only war criminal to serve his sentence outside of Germany. In 1950 he was sent back to Germany to complete his life sentence.
Kurt Meyer was released from German prison in September 1954 after serving only 9 years for his war crimes. He died on December 23, 1961. It is suggested that he was an arrogant SS officer until the end.
After his release, on September 7, 1954, Meyer traveled to his hometown of Niederkruchten in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, where a parade was held in his honor. He was welcomed as a hero.
Meyer was the Standartenführer, the commander of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment of the 12th SS Division in Normandy. As a leader, he was responsible for the actions of his men.
At the end
Kurt Meyer was an SS until the end. Upon his release, he joined and held important positions as a member of the Waffen SS Veterans Association. For the job, he became a beer salesman selling beer to NATO forces stationed in Germany.
Kurt Meyer was born on December 23, 1910 and died on December 23, 1961 at the age of 51.
Out of respect for the thousands killed by the Waffen SS, no insignia images are included.
Newspaper clipping about the murder of Lance Corporal Douglas Sumner Orford on June 7, 1944
The following images are from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. This site and Veterans Affairs Canada do a great job of remembering the dead.
If you or your family have scanned images of photos and documents, I encourage you to visit the CVWM site and upload them to your family member’s file.
Lance Corporal Douglas Sumner Orford
Died on active service, June 7, 1944
Number: F/26412, Age: 23
Force: Army, Unit: North Nova Scotia Highlanders, RCIC
Born: February 2, 1921, Leytonstone, Essex, United Kingdom
Enlisted: October 27, 1939, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Son of Arthur James Orford and Gwendoline Dorothy Orford (née Sumner), of South Woodford, Essex, England
Bény-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France, Grave Reference: II. A.3.
The Cold War began in 1947. The Soviet Union became the new enemy. This is probably, in part, why more former NZAIs were not prosecuted and why their wartime organizations were tolerated.
Regina aviation historian Will Chabun told me that in Tony Foster’s book A Meeting of Generals there is a story of Kurt Meyer being transported by the RCAF to the Yukon where he was used to explain how the Soviets would attack that part of Canada. and eastern Alaska. The Canadian army relied on its experience on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union.
NAZI SS Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer, NAZI member #316714 and SS member #17,559, joined the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, the “LSSAH”, Hitler’s personal bodyguard in 1935.
In my opinion, Kurt Meyer was well versed in elite SS doctrine early in the war and certainly when leading a Panzer reconnaissance unit on the Eastern Front. And given his active membership in the Waffen SS Veterans Association after the war, he never “changed his ways”.
There was controversy over whether Meyer should have been convicted. He was the commander; those under his command committed war crimes. He was a convicted war criminal. The Canadian military should never have asked for advice on anything.
The first part can be read here.