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SS-Obersturmführer Erwin Heck

21.07.1920 - 06.05.2010 

As a boy Erwin had a wish to become a professional soldier. He applied for the SS - Verfügungstruppe. In 1938 he was accepted and joined the Regiment 'Deutschland'. In the years 1939 and 1940 with this Regiment he participated in the invasion of Poland and the West. In 1941 Erwin was recommended to become an Officer and was sent for officer training at the Junkerschule 'Braunsweig'.

For the training of young new recruits they were looking for junior officers who had front-line experience. So, after he had finished his officer training he was transferred to the SS-Infanterie-Ersatzbatallion ‘Germania' which was at that time encamped in the Netherlands. He remained there until the July 1943 when Erwin Heck became a company commander of the 8. Kompanie (Schwere) of the 10.SS-Panzer-Division ‘Frundsberg'. The company was sent to Russia in October 1943 and attached to the 2. SS-Pz. Div. 'Das Reich'. During this assignment, Erwin was wounded on the 28th December 1943. After his recovery Erwin was transferred in June 1944 to the SS-Unterführerschule 'Arnheim'. On arrival he was given the position of Ordonnanz-Officier within the school under the command of SS-Standartenführer Michael Lippert.

On the 17 September 1944 Heck was underway to the headquarters of the SS-Unterführerschule and it was clear to him that there was something serious going on. As soon as he arrived at the headquarters, Lippert told him that on the west of Arnhem airborne troops were landing. Lippert ordered Heck to go to the headquarters of General von Tettau which was situated at the Grebbeberg near Rhenen. As soon as he arrived he had to report that the SS-Unterführerschule 'Arnheim' with 8 companies was on its way.

His function with the SS-Unterführerschule during the battle against the 1st Airborne Division was two-fold. The first days he was still the Ordonnanzofficier of the whole unit but as soon as SS-Hauptsturmführer Oelkers took over the command of the Bataillon Schulz on the 20 September 1944, he became the Adjutant to Oelkers.

On 30 September 1944, Oelkers had to create a bridgehead across the Rhine. Together with a dispatch rider he was sent to the headquarters of the Waffen-SS in Bilthoven. He had to report that Oelkers did not have enough resources and the troops he had available were very tired from the battles they fought over the last 10 days. At the return journey from Bilthoven he crashed with the motorbike and ended up in hospital.

In November 1944 the SS-Unterführerschule Arnheim was closed and after he recovered from the accident was transferred to the SS-Unterführerschule 'Lauenburg'. On the 9th November 1944 he was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer and transferred to the SS-Unterführerschule 'Laibach' in Slowenien.

At the end of the war he was taken prisoner by the British and was sent to a prisoner of war camp in Italy were he stayed for two years.

Throughout the war Erwin Heck's name was actually Rübenstrunk. After the war Erwin had changed, for personal reasons, his name to Heck, his mothers name.

Thank you to Erwin Heck who provided this information.

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