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Awarded Knights Cross 09.04.1944
as Obersturmführer Chef 8./SS-PzRgt 5 "Wiking"

Signed 4”x6” postwar photo

Karl Nicolussi-Leck was born on the 14 March 1917, in Vadena in South Tyrol (Italy). At school he read the works of Plato and studied Philosophy, Law and Political Science and played a leading role in the South Tyrolean Nazi organization Völkischer Kampfring Südtirol (VKS) (eng: Peoples Action Group).

When War was declared Nicolussi-Leck volunteered to join the Waffen SS (SS number 423.876) on April 10, 1940. He was posted to the SS Standarte Deutschland in the SS-VT and after completing basic training was promoted to Rottenführer (Corporal).

By the time of Operation Marita the invasion of the Balkans he had been promoted to Scharführer (Staff Sergeant) and was awarded his first combat decoration the Wound Badge when he was wounded for the first time.

Nicolussi-Leck was transferred to the SS Der Führer Regiment, SS Division Das Reich for Operation Barbarossa the invasion of the Soviet Union and was seriously wounded in the advance towards Moscow.

In November 1941 he was selected to become an officer and posted to the SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz and promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) after graduation in April 1942. He was placed in command of a platoon in the 2nd Company, 5th SS Panzer Battalion, 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking.

He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class during the Battle of Rostov and shortly after the 1st class award in the advance north of the Kuban River.

On the 15 October 1942, he was given command of the 1st Company, 5th SS Panzer Regiment after all the Company's officers had been killed or wounded in battle earlier that day.

Kovel encirclement

Nicolussi-Leck was awarded the Knight's Cross during the Battle of Kovel, in the Pripet Marshes while in command of a Kampfgruppe of the II. Battalion, 5th SS Panzer Regiment, newly equipped with Panther tanks, along with the III. Battalion, SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment Germania, newly equipped and up to strength, which had just arrived at the front from Germany.

Nicolussi-Leck immediately launched an attack with five Panthers. Soon after beginning the attack, he received a radio message from the besieged commander to halt his attack and withdraw. He ordered his radio operator to ignore the call, and continued his attack. Risking court-martial, he then proceeded to fight his way though the Soviet encirclement, destroying several Soviet tanks in the process. His Panther was the first vehicle to break the encirclement. After the relief force established a corridor to the encircled force, the withdrawal began. Unlike the previous encirclement at Korsun, the trapped force managed to escape with most of its equipment intact, and the division was ready for action immediately.

Post war

After the war Karl Nicolussi-Leck helped many of his SS comrades leave Europe for South America. In 1948 he immigrated to Argentina, but he returned in the early 50's to the South Tyrol, where he worked as an entrepreneur for Mannesmann. He was the founder of the South Tyrolean Center for Education the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bolzano and the University Claudiana.

Karl Nicolussi-Leck died on the August 31st, 2008 in Bozen, South Tyrol.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.com
Signed postwar 5” x 7” photo

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