A black and white portrait of Franz Schmidt in SS uniform without a cap. It shows him from head to shoulders. Schmidt is facing the camera but not looking directly into it.
On Monte Sole, Franz Schmidt led a combat group that was deployed in the Creda, Vallego and Prunara areas. © BArch, R 9361-III/178364

Franz Schmidt

* " 6 December 1915" – Rodenkirchen (Oldenburg, Lower Saxony)
† "10 September 1971" – Hamburg

Franz Schmidt was a musician and conductor in the military band of the Waffen-SS. In the spring of 1944, he was transferred to the ‘Reichsführer-SS’ division and served under SS Sturmbannführer Helmut Looß. In the operation on Monte Sole in September 1944, he led a battle group that perpetrated the Creda massacre.

After the war, Schmidt was classified as exonerated in the denazification proceedings. Until his death in 1971, he lived in Hamburg and was very successful as a producer of schlager music.

Army branch
Navy 1933-40; Waffen-SS 1941-45
Joined the NSDAP
Not verified
Armed force
16. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Reichsführer-SS"
Years of service
SS-Hauptsturmführer, no. SS 391923
Hungary 1944
Occupation of Italy 1944-1945
Confirmed Massacres

Monte Sole - Creda

Post war period

Musician and music producer in Hamburg

Training and war experience

Participation in massacres of civilians

In the course of the 29 Sept. 1944 operation on Monte Sole, Schmidt commanded an assault detachment, as he indicated in a letter to a high-ranking SS-leader in Berlin.
A black and white portrait of Franz Schmidt in SS uniform without a cap. It shows him from head to shoulders. Schmidt is facing the camera but not looking directly into it.
© BArch, R 9361-III/178364

As O3 I now worked solely for the Security Officer (Ic) and earned the I[ron] C[ross] II in the course of this activity through successful guidance of an assault detachment into the main headquarters of a militarily well led and tightly organized Communist bandit-brigade (150 enemy deaths without any losses of our own).

Franz Schmidt

A black and white photograph showing Franz Schmidt from head to shins. He is wearing his uniform and cap and seems to be conducting or explaining. A music stand can be seen in the left edge of the picture. In the right edge of the picture, the back of a uniformed soldier can be seen, who has turned his right side towards the camera.
Franz Schmidt in a photo kept in his personal file in the Federal Archives in Berlin. © BArch, R 9361-III/178364

The postwar period

In 1948, in the course of denazification proceedings, Franz Schmidt was placed in category V – the lowest category, exonerated.


Franz Schmidt’s SS-personnel files are kept in the German Federal Archives in Berlin (R 9361-III/170055 and R 9361-III/551794). Information on the crimes attributed to his battle group in the Monte Sole area is contained in the files of Walter Reder’s 1951 trial in Bologna and Max Simon’s 1947 trial in Padua. These files are kept in the Rome military court and in the National Archives in London. 

Franz Schmidt’s cited letter of 12 Oct. 1944 comes from the Berlin Document Centre (present-day Bundesarchiv in Berlin (German Federal Archives in Berlin)). A copy of the original is kept in the Prieberg Archive at the University of Kiel’s Institute of Musicology. The files related to Schmidt’s denazification proceedings are kept in the Hamburg State Archive (221-11, F(P) 993). 


Luca Baldissara, Paolo Pezzino, Il massacro. Guerra ai civili a Monte Sole, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, pp. 94, 95, 111, 211.

Fred K. Prieberg, Handbuch Deutsche Musiker 1933-1945, Kiel, Prieberg, 2004.

Klaus Riehle, Herbert von Karajan. Neueste Forschungsergebnisse zu seiner NS-Vergangenheit und der Fall Ute Heuser, Vienna, ibera/European University Press, 2017, pp. 407-425.

Authorship and translation

Author: Carlo Gentile

Translated from German by: Joel Golb

© Project ‘The Massacres in Occupied Italy (1943-1945): Integrating the Perpetrators’ Memories’


Text: CC BY NC SA 4.0