Julius Ringel

Julius 'Papa' Ringel (16 November 1889 – 11 February 1967) was an Austrian general in the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. He fought in the Western and Eastern fronts, as well as the Balkan Campaign.[1] Ringel commanded the 3rd Mountain Division, 5th Mountain Division, LXIX Corps,[2] Wehrkreis XI and the Army Corps Ringel.[3] He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Julius Ringel
Born16 November 1889
Völkermarkt, Duchy of Carinthia, Austria-Hungary
Died11 February 1967 (1967-02-12) (aged 77)
Bayerisch Gmain, Bavaria, West Germany
Allegiance Austria-Hungary (to 1918)
 Austria (to 1938)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branchAustro-Hungarian Army
Austrian Army
Army (Wehrmacht)
Years of service1905–45
RankGeneral der Gebirgstruppe
Commands held3rd Mountain Division, 5th Mountain Division, LXIX Army Corps, Army Corps Ringel
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Early life

Julius Ringel was born in Völkermarkt in the Austrian state of Carinthia. In 1905, he was admitted to a military school in Vienna, graduating on 18 August 1909.

Service in the Austro-Hungarian and Austrian Armies

Following his education, Fähnrich Ringel was assigned to the k.u.k. Landwehr Infanterie-Regiment 4 (a mountain infantry unit) and a year later, he was promoted to Leutnant. During World War I, Ringel saw action in Galicia and the Italian Alps where he was taken prisoner of war in 1918. Upon his return to the newly formed Republic of German Austria, Ringel fought against the troops of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia occupying Carinthia. Following the Carinthian Plebiscite and the creation of the First Austrian Republic, Ringel was transferred to the Austrian Federal Army where he rose to the rank Lieutenant Colonel in 1932.

Service in the Wehrmacht

As an avid supporter of the Nazi Party, Ringel strongly encouraged the union of Austria with the German Reich and after the Anschluss enthusiastically joined the Wehrmacht with the 3rd Mountain Division.[4] On 1 February 1939, Ringel was promoted to colonel. When World War II began, he was assigned to the 268th Infantry Division as a regimental commander and he took part in the campaign in the West.

On 7 June 1940, Ringel returned to the 3rd Mountain Division, becoming its commander on 14 July 1940. In October, he was promoted to Major General and appointed commander of the newly established 5th Mountain Division. The division saw its first action in the spring of 1941 in the Balkans Campaign and took part in the operations codenamed Marita and Merkur aimed to capture mainland Greece and Crete. For his leadership during these operations Ringel was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 June 1941. The operation in Crete was still underway when Ringel ordered his mountaineers to carry out reprisals against civilians who fought the invading Germans.[5]

In November 1941, Ringel's division was posted back to Germany for rest and reorganization. In March 1942 it was sent to the Eastern Front southeast of Leningrad, to take part in the operations against the Soviet Volkhov Front. For his actions, Ringel was promoted to Lieutenant General and in October 1943 received the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross. Ringel's division was transferred to Italy in December 1943 to man the Winter Line near the town of Cassino. Four months later, he was appointed commander of the LXIX Army Corps in Croatia. In June, Ringel was promoted to the General of the mountain troops and put in charge of the Military District Salzburg (Wehrkreis XVIII (Salzburg)) from which the Army Corps Ringel was formed. He held this appointment until the end of the war. He died in Bayerisch Gmain in 1967.

Theft of Aegean Antiquities

After Crete fell, Ringel stole several Minoan, Classical and Hellenistic artifacts from Villa Ariadne in Knossos and offered them to the University of Graz in Austria. Twenty six of these objects were repatriated to Greece in 2017.[6][7][8]




  1. Williamson 2012.
  2. Antill 2012, p. 21.
  3. Palazzo 2007.
  4. Thomas & Wegmann 1994, p. 216.
  5. Stroud 2015, p. 47.
  6. Greek City Times, Nov. 20, 2017.
  7. Yiannis Papadopoulos (2018-01-12). "Return of stolen antiquities puts a WWII hero in the spotlight". Retrieved 2018-01-18. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. "Επαναπατρισμός 26 αρχαίων αντικειμένων από την Αυστρία". archaiologia.gr. 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  9. Thomas & Wegmann 1994, p. 217.
  10. Thomas 1998, p. 211.
  11. Scherzer 2007, p. 631.
  12. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 359.
  13. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 73.


  • Antill, Peter; Gerrard, Howard (2012). Crete 1941: Germany’s lightning airborne assault. Campaign. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1846036682.
  • 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.
  • Palazzo, Albert (2007). The Battle of Crete. Australian Army Campaigns. Canberra, Australia: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 978-0975766910.
  • Ringel, Julius (1994). Hurra die Gams!, Die 5. Geb. Div. im Einsatz. Graz: Stocker Verlag.
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Stockert, Peter (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 4 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 4] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-932915-03-1.
  • Stroud, Rick (2015). Kidnap in Crete: The True Story of the Abduction of a Nazi General. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1632861948.
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1994). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 2: L–Z [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part VI: The Mountain Troops Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3.
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
  • Williamson, G.; McGregor, M. (2012). German Commanders of World War II (1): Army. Elite. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1780969725.
  • "Austria returns stolen antiquities to Greece". greekcitytimes.com. Greek City Times. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.

Military offices
Preceded by
Generaloberst Eduard Dietl
Commander of 3. Gebirgs-Division
14 June 1940 – 23 October 1940
Succeeded by
General der Gebirgstruppen Hans Kreysing
Preceded by
Commander of 5. Gebirgs-Division
1 November 1940 – 10 February 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Max-Günther Schrank
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Ernst Dehner
Commander of LXIX Armeekorps
31 March 1944 – 24 June 1944
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Helge Auleb
Preceded by
General der Artillerie Max Grimmeiß
Commander of Wehrkreis XVIII (Salzburg)
21 January 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by
dissolved on 8 May 1945
Preceded by
Commander of Korps Ringel
February 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by
dissolved on 8 May 1945
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