SS-Gruppenführer and Waffen-SS General-Lieutenant Fritz von Scholz Edler von Rerancze

Fritz Scholz was born on December 9, 1896 in Pilsen, Bohemia. Had Austrian nationality.

World War I – the Freikorps

He was called to serve in the Austrian-Hungarian army during the 1914 July mobilization. He served as the artillery unit officer, started in the regiment called k.u.k. Feld-Artillerie Regiment 22, serving in East. In May 1915 Scholz was promoted to Lieutenant and was transferred to k.u.k. Feldhaubitzenregiment 3, which also fought in East. In 1917 he was transferred to k.u.k. Feldartellierieregiment 40, where he served on the Italian front. During his time in Italy he also served as the telegraph officer.

Scholz's father, General-Major Ferdinand Scholz, had also served in East – in Bukovina, near Reransze which was in North-East of Czernowitz. His actions against the Russians had gained the attention of Emperor Franz Josef I. Thanks to this he was ennobled and granted the title Knight of Rerancze (Edler von Rerancze). As a result, the surname Scholz changed into Scholz Edler von Rerancze.

In November 1917 von Scholz was promoted to Oberleutenant and was once again transferred, this time to the Feld Artillerie Regiment 125, where he remained until April 1919. By securing the direction of the war, von Scholz earned several high awards, among others were the Austro-Hungarian Bravery Medal in gold and the Austro-Hungarian Distinguished Service Cross in silver and in bronze.

After being released from the army in 1919, von Scholz looked for a job and found temporary jobs in Klagenfurt, Munich, Leipzig and Tyrol. In 1921 he joined the Freikorps Oberland and participated in fighting against communist dissidents in the province of Silesia. At the beginning of 1920, von Scholz got first acquainted with the philosophy of the NSDAP and he soon became the supporter of it, joining the party's Austrian branch on October 9, 1931 (No 1304071). He soon joined the Austrian SA as the team leader and participated in other street fights against communists in Lützow and Munich. His team was merged with the SA Nordwest group in June 1933. His actions soon brought him problems with Austrian authorities and he was forced to escape to Nazi Germany at the end of 1933 to avoid being arrested.

In 1933, soon after arriving to Germany, he joined the Schutztaffel (No 135638) and served in the SS Osterreichschen Legion, based in Linz. By 1934 he was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer and was appointed to serve as the leader of the II/SS-Standarte 1 fifth company. When the Second World War broke loose, von Scholz was the SS-Sturmbannführer, the leader of the SS-VT division's 2nd battalion SS-Regiment Der Führer.

The Second World War – SS-VT and the Nordland regiment

Von Scholz was the Commander of Der Führer's 2nd Battalion during the Western Campaign in 1940. During this time he received the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st class. He also received the Close Combat Clasp with Swords for his service during the First World War. After the Campaign he received an order to take over the Danish-Norse volunteers regiment Nordland (SS-Infanterie-Regiment Nordland), which was being formed the same time in Klagenfurt, Austria. On January 30, 1941 he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer. They decided that the regiment will be a part of the new volunteers division, which was based on the SS-Division (mot) Das Reich Germania. The new division was called the SS-Division (mot) Wiking.

On the photo: Fritz von Scholz (in the middle) with his comrades on the Eastern Front in 1941. Walther Plöw on the left.

By the time Operation Barbarossa ended, the new division was not ready yet and had its first battle as a part of the army group Süd, fighting in Tarnopol, Galicia, at the end of June 1941. During the following months von Scholz led the Nordland's regiment in the battles on the Dnepr River and in Dnepropetrovsk. In October 1941 he was promoted to  SS-Oberführer and he continued to lead the Nordland's regiment, which ended its year with difficult battles near the Don river in Rostov. In December the division received an order to retreat from Rostov and return to the line on the Mius River. For leading the Nordland, in November von Scholz was awarded with German Cross in gold, which was a new award for bravery and it was between the Iron Cross' first class and the Knight's Cross. In less than a month after that, von Scholz was awarded the Knight's Cross for his services in Rostov.

In connection with Fall Blau and the army group Süd being sent to Stalingrad, the Wiking had to conquer Rostov once again and afterward move to Caucasus. The division spent one year fighting in the Caucasus' mountains. Despite the difficult resistance, the Wiking managed to move onwards until Turkey's boarder and moved forward on the front as the southernmost unit. Von Scholz was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer in December 1942 for his services during this campaign. On January 10, 1942 von Scholz received an order to return to Germany where he was put in charge of the volunteers' division Grafenwöhr which was being formed.

11th SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland

When the division had not been formed yet, von Scholz was sent back to the front to lead the first SS-infantry brigade (mot), which was merged with the army group Mitte. Then he had to lead the SS-infantry brigade (mot), which was mostly made up by Latvian volunteers and was merged with army group Nord. On April 20 von Scholz was called back to Grafenwöhr so that he would lead the division which had by then been reformed into the 11th SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland.

The division was soon taken to Croatia where they participated in fighting against Tito's communist partisans. During this period the division led itself very well. In January 1944 they received an order to transfer the division to Oraniebaum's front near Leningrad to join the Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's army group Nord.

Fritz led the division during the following retreat under Narva and also during the battles on the bridgehead in Narva. During this campaign he worked under his former Commander SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner, who had become the leader of the III SS-Panzerkorps.

In the time of intense battles von Scholz's leading had a strong impact on his men's spirit. His optimistic, caring attitude towards his unit brought him a nickname Papa Scholz. He was constantly on the forefront, visiting and encouraging his men and making sure they were as comfortable as possible. Nordland with other Steiner's corps managed to keep the front against a rather dominant enemy almost for five months. Von Scholz received the Oak Leaves for the Knight's Cross on March 12, 1944 for his services, he also received the Finnish Freedom Cross with Swords. On April 20 he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer.

At the end of July a Soviet operation called Bagration began. The collapsing of the army group Mitte meant that all Steiner's corps had to retreat to their reserve positions on the other side of Narva river. On July 27 von Scholz was visiting the hill Lastekodumägi and got hit in the head with a missile piece. Despite the doctors efforts to treat him, von Scholz died in July 1944. He was posthumously awarded with the Swords for the Knight's Cross.