Helmut Halle

March 10, 1915, Wörlitz - February 12, 1945, Budapest

Helmut Halle was born on 10 March 1915 in the small Sächsische Anstalt town of Wörlitz. He qualified as a construction engineer in 1937. The beginnings of his military career cannot be reconstructed, but on 1 February 1940 he promoted to a reserve lieutenant and on 1 March 1942 to a first lieutenant. On 1 January 1943 he was admitted into the regular officer corps. Promotion to a captaincy on merit ensued on 1 September 1944.

He was described officially on 9 December 1944 as “tall and thin in looks, with a singularly tough nature. He has become most dutiful, tactically adept and in good stead when facing the enemy. Halle manages to pass on national socialist ideas convincingly. He is much liked by his comrades.”

Halle arrived in Budapest as a sapper officer of the 127th official army brigade. His was among the units told to blow up the Budapest bridges. On 5 February 1945, the SS Hill Corps sent an express telegram to the 6th German Army on Halle’s warrior conduct:

“Lieutenant Halle, aided by the sapper brigade commander and seven unit members boldly and suddenly rounded up and evicted the enemy from a building that would have opened to the Bolsheviks the route to the Castle, and held the post for twelve hours before reinforcement arrived.” The move would doubtless have meant a medal for him had this not been neglected due to later events.

Halle’s activity meant something else to the residents of Buda. The report actually refers to the corner house of Logodi utca, Krisztina körút and Várfok utca and the building next to it. Halle and his men burnt these down with flame-throwers: two houses were wholly burnt down with some occupants inside, the rest escaping to the cellar of No. 14 Várfok utca, except some escapees shot dead by German or Soviet soldiers while fleeing. The uninjured lost all they possessed, but could think themselves lucky. They were then left to starve until the end of the siege.

During the Breakout, Halle led an assault group in the first wave at Széna-tér. Trace is lost of him after that and none of his group survived.