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 Walter Beyer

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Walter Beyer

Birth
Germany
Death
10 Jul 1945 (aged 33)
Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA
Burial
Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA
Plot
Section 10, Grave 31
Memorial ID
9529517 View Source

Hauptfeldwebel (Senior Sergeant-equivalent of American Army Sergeant First Class), German Army. A German Prisoner of War, he was convicted of the murder of a fellow German POW, Johannes Kunze, and executed.

On May 13, 1943, in Tunisia, Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) Johannes Kunze, was taken prisoner by the American Army, and shipped back to the United States as a Prisoner of War. Eventually, he was sent to the Tonkawa POW Camp, about 80 miles due north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Desiring to stay in the US after the war, he began passing information describing German activities inside the camp to the American doctor in the camp hospital. On November 4, 1943, Kunze gave a note to a different American doctor, who was filling in temporarily. That doctor did not understand the German writing or the meaning of the note and returned it to another German POW to give back to Kunze. The evidence of Kunze's treason ended up in the hands of the camp senior leader, Senior Sergeant Walter Beyer, a hardened Nazi. Beyer convened a "court-martial" that night in the camp's Mess Hall. After finding Kunze guilty of treason, the "court" had him beaten to death and his body left outside the Mess Hall, where the American Military Police guarding the camp discovered it. Approximately 200 German POWs were questioned, and five who had blood on their uniforms were arrested and charged with the murder. They were Hauptfeldwebel Walter Beyer, Feldwebel Berthold Seidel, Unteroffizier Hans Demme, Unteroffizier Hans Schomer, and Obergefreiter Willi Scholz. American Lieutenant Leon Jaworski (later of Watergate fame) was the prosecuting attorney of the five German POWs at their courtmartial. The men were found guilty of murder, and sentenced to death. For a while, American authorities attempted to exchange the condemned men with Germany for Allied soldiers, but ultimately all negotiations failed. Once Germany had surrendered, there were no further negotiations, and the five men were hung at Fort Leavenworth Military Penitentiary in July 1945, where they had been kept after conviction. They are buried in the local Fort Leavenworth Military Cemetery. A book, "The Killing of Corporal Kunze," by Wilma Trummel Parnell was published in 1981.

Hauptfeldwebel (Senior Sergeant-equivalent of American Army Sergeant First Class), German Army. A German Prisoner of War, he was convicted of the murder of a fellow German POW, Johannes Kunze, and executed.

On May 13, 1943, in Tunisia, Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) Johannes Kunze, was taken prisoner by the American Army, and shipped back to the United States as a Prisoner of War. Eventually, he was sent to the Tonkawa POW Camp, about 80 miles due north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Desiring to stay in the US after the war, he began passing information describing German activities inside the camp to the American doctor in the camp hospital. On November 4, 1943, Kunze gave a note to a different American doctor, who was filling in temporarily. That doctor did not understand the German writing or the meaning of the note and returned it to another German POW to give back to Kunze. The evidence of Kunze's treason ended up in the hands of the camp senior leader, Senior Sergeant Walter Beyer, a hardened Nazi. Beyer convened a "court-martial" that night in the camp's Mess Hall. After finding Kunze guilty of treason, the "court" had him beaten to death and his body left outside the Mess Hall, where the American Military Police guarding the camp discovered it. Approximately 200 German POWs were questioned, and five who had blood on their uniforms were arrested and charged with the murder. They were Hauptfeldwebel Walter Beyer, Feldwebel Berthold Seidel, Unteroffizier Hans Demme, Unteroffizier Hans Schomer, and Obergefreiter Willi Scholz. American Lieutenant Leon Jaworski (later of Watergate fame) was the prosecuting attorney of the five German POWs at their courtmartial. The men were found guilty of murder, and sentenced to death. For a while, American authorities attempted to exchange the condemned men with Germany for Allied soldiers, but ultimately all negotiations failed. Once Germany had surrendered, there were no further negotiations, and the five men were hung at Fort Leavenworth Military Penitentiary in July 1945, where they had been kept after conviction. They are buried in the local Fort Leavenworth Military Cemetery. A book, "The Killing of Corporal Kunze," by Wilma Trummel Parnell was published in 1981.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
  • Added: 28 Sep 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 9529517
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9529517/walter-beyer: accessed ), memorial page for Walter Beyer (2 Nov 1911–10 Jul 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9529517, citing United States Disciplinary Barracks Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, USA; Maintained by Kit and Morgan Benson (contributor 46483611).