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Walter von Reichenau

Biographical information

TypeIOC member
Full nameWalter Karl Gustav August Ernst•von Reichenau
Used nameWalter•von Reichenau
Born8 October 1884 in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg (GER)
Died17 January 1942 in over ? (UKR)
NOC(s) Germany


Walter von Reichenau served on the IOC for only four years, from 1938 until his death in World War II in 1942. The son of a Prussian General, he was a military man who joined the German Army in 1903 and in World War I became a General Staff officer. In 1933 he was appointed as head of the Ministerial Office of the German Ministry of War. In this position, he was a leading figure in incorporation of the Army into the Nazi state. At the beginning of World War II he was commander-in-chief of the 10th German Army and was promoted to Field Marshall in 1940. Von Reichenau was a dedicated Nazi and anti-Semite who killed 1,000s of Jews, and starved tens of 1,000s of other prisoners during World War II. On 10 October 1941 he issued the infamous Severity Order which read in part, “The most important objective of this campaign against the Jewish-Bolshevik system is the complete destruction of its sources of power and the extermination of the Asiatic influence in European civilization. … In this Eastern Theatre, the soldier is not only a man fighting in accordance with the rules of the art of war, but also the ruthless standard bearer of a national conception. … For this reason the soldier must learn fully to appreciate the necessity for the severe but just retribution that must be meted out to the subhuman species of Jewry.”

Von Reichenau suffered a stroke in January 1942 after he had gone out for a morning run during the Russian Campaign. He died during the flight to Lemberg, where he was supposed to receive treatment. His death saved him from almost certain conviction at the Nuremburg Trials after the War.

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure Details
Member International Olympic Committee 1938—1942 Representing Germany    

Special Notes