Bodewin Keitel

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Bodewin Keitel as General of the Infantry (1941)
Hptm. Frhr. v. Wangenheim and Lieutenant Keitel, 1914

Bodewin Claus Eduard Keitel (born December 25, 1888 in Helmscherode , † July 29, 1953 in Göttingen ) was a German officer , most recently a general of the infantry in World War II .


Bodewin Keitel was born on December 25, 1888 on the Helmscherode estate as the son of the landowner Carl Keitel (1854–1934) and his wife Apollonia Vissering (1857–1889). Shortly after Bodewin's birth, the mother died of puerperal fever . He was the brother of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel , who later became the head of the Wehrmacht High Command . Bodewin joined the Hannoversche Jäger Battalion No. 10 ( Goslar ) on February 23, 1909 at the age of 20 as an officer candidate . On August 22, 1910, he was promoted to lieutenant .

First World War

At the beginning of the First World War , Keitel was a platoon leader in the cycling company of the "Jäger Battalion No. 10". Promoted to first lieutenant on February 25, 1915, he was appointed company commander shortly thereafter . As such, he transferred to the Brandenburg Jäger Battalion No. 3 on June 18, 1915 . The promotion to captain took place on December 18, 1917. Still with the rank of captain, he was commander of the III on November 6, 1918. Battalion of the 2nd Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 32 (III./32).

Interwar period

After the end of the First World War he was accepted into the Reichswehr and transferred back to the 10th Jäger Battalion. During the post-war turmoil, he took over command of the battalion from December 21, 1918 to February 12, 1919 and then served as a company commander in various battalions.

On February 1, 1928 Bodewin Keitel was promoted to major and on October 1, 1932 to lieutenant colonel. On March 1, 1933 he was given command of the III. Battalion of 2nd Infantry Regiment, promotion to colonel followed on October 1, 1934. With his promotion, he was also chief of the General Staff of the IX. Army Corps appointed. On October 12, 1937, he was transferred as their chief to the training department ("T4") in the Army General Staff.

On February 28, 1938, when he was promoted to major general, he was appointed Chief of the Army Personnel Office (HPA). He held this position until October 1, 1942.

Second World War

On April 1, 1940, Keitel received his promotion to lieutenant general and a year later to general of the infantry . In the period from October 1, 1942 to February 28, 1943, he was given leave of absence to “restore health”. His successor in the Army Personnel Office was Rudolf Schmundt . On March 1, 1943, Keitel was appointed Commanding General of the Deputy General Command XX. Army corps and commander in military district XX in Gdansk appointed.

At this time, Lieutenant Colonel Hasso von Boehmer served as the liaison officer in military district XX. He was won over by his friend Henning von Tresckow for the military resistance surrounding the Stauffenberg brothers . On the day of the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler (July 20, 1944), Keitel was on an inspection tour in his command area. As the first general staff officer (Ia), Boehmer received the telexes from the conspirators arriving from the Berlin Bendler block and initiated the first steps. When Keitel heard about the failed attack over the radio, he returned immediately to Danzig, first had his brother Wilhelm confirm by telephone that Hitler was alive, and then arrested Boehmer, who came before the People's Court and was executed in 1945.

On 1 December 1944 Bodewin Keitel was in the leader Reserve of the Army (OKH) High Command added. On May 3, 1945, shortly before the end of the war, he was taken prisoner by the US . From this he was released on April 17, 1947 because he suffered from Parkinson's disease .

Keitel spent the last years of his life, impaired by the illness with symptoms of paralysis and difficulty speaking, at the Götzenhof near Bodenfelde in Lower Saxony . Bodewin Keitel died on July 29, 1953 in a hospital in Göttingen .


  • German gender book. Volume 102. Görlitz 1938.
  • Hans-Joachim Keitel: History of the Keitel family. Hanover 1989.
  • Dieter Lent: Keitel, Bodewin. In: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck, Günter Scheel (ed.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon: 19th and 20th centuries. Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 1996, ISBN 3-7752-5838-8 , p. 315.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Klaus Kunze : Pictures of life from the old Weserbergland, part 17: The terminally ill general. Retrieved November 8, 2015.