Joachim Peiper

(1915-1976)


Joachim Peiper (also known as Jochen Peiper from the common nickname for Joachim), was a senior Waffen-SS officer, and commander in the Panzer campaigns of 1939-1945.

Peiper was born on January 30, 1915.

Peiper was recruited into the Waffen-SS in 1935 upon his graduation from college. Sepp Dietrich reviewed his application and admitted him into the "Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler" honor guard regiment, which was re-formed as a Waffen/SS or military unit at the outbreak of war. At age 29, Peiper was a full colonel of the Waffen/SS and a holder of the Knight's Cross with Swords. He was a skilled leader, and took part in a number of major Panzer battles of the war.

After the end of World War II, Peiper and other members of the Waffen-SS were tried for war crimes in the Malmédy Massacre Trial, the Dachauer Prozess, and sentenced to death by hanging.

The sentences of many of the Malmedy defendants were later commuted to life, and then to time served, and Peiper was released on parole from prison at the end of December 1956, after serving 11 1/2 years, much in solitary confinement, and 55 months on death row.

After release, Peiper eventually went to live in Travès, France, and supported himself as a translator. Just as he was starting to write a book on the Malmedy Massacre, Peiper was killed in a fire bomb attack on his house on July 14, 1976. A group of Frenchmen, wearing ski masks, were photographed as they announced, “We got Peiper.” This photo was published on November 7, 1976, in the New York Times Magazine. The attackers were never prosecuted, but were suspected to be French Communists.


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