Between 1941 and 1944 Waffen-SS Oberscharfuhrer (Sergeant) Werner Kindler took part in 84 days of close combat, qualifying him for the Close Combat Clasp in Gold, the Third Reich's highest decoration for a frontline soldier. He was also awarded the German Cross in Gold, the Iron Cross First and Second Class and the Wound Badge in Gold. Drafted into the SS-Totenkopf in 1939, he served with a motorised unit in Poland, and in May 1941 was selected for the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler, with which he fought in the invasion of the Soviet Union. His unit converted to a Panzer Grenadier formation in 1942, and Kindler went on to fight at Kharkov and Kursk on the Eastern Front, and later in Belgium and France in 1944, where he was present at the infamous Malmedy massacre. At the end of the war, he was the last man of the Leibstandarte-SS to surrender to the Americans. This is one of the most dramatic first-hand accounts to come out of the Second World War.
Werner Kindler was born in 1922 in what was then Poland. Shortly after the end of the war, he escaped from an Allied POW camp and was reunited with those of his family who escaped to West Germany. He first came to public attention when he was interviewed by the German author Patrick Agte for his biography of Kindler's commander, Joachim Pieper.