The report of the losses of II.(Sturm)/JG 4. (Air Battle Over the Ore Mountains September 11th, 1944 Archives)

Death notification entry in the Thum archives. (Via Frank Retzlaff)

‘On September 11th, 1944, between 1150h and 1230h, several

enemy formations flew over Thum. At approximately 1210h, several low flying enemy aircraft appeared, which were chased and

shot at by German fighters. One German fighter flew from the

southeast and went into an easterly turn over the square in Thum

at a height of some 50m. He took on a direction towards the hospital in Thum, and at around 20m from the building he was only

about 10m above the ground and dropping, flying between two

trees in the hospital garden. It is likely that the aircraft clipped

the fence of the hospital, forcing the propeller into a potato

field about six meters past the fence, flipping the aircraft onto

its back. After the crash, a plume of smoke could be seen and

an explosion heard. With that, the aircraft disintegrated. The

engine lay 30m to the right of the wreck. The remaining pieces

of the plane, including ammunition, lay strewn about. As a result

of the impact or the explosion, the pilot was found 110m behind

the impact site. He was still belted to his seat. The parachute

lay unopened beside the pilot. His logbook and other documents,

along with his pistol and field cap, were nearby. The fuselage

of the airplane was a burned out wreck. The pilot’s body was

also burned. The flames on him were put out with a portable

extinguisher, but there were no vital signs anymore. There were

obvious signs of trauma to the legs, the right shoulder, and face.

The pilot had an identification stamp on his person. It carried the

number 542 64817, and from his logbook, it was apparent that he

was Obergefreiter Karl Kleemann, born on November 10th, 1923,

in Bad Cannstadt.

INFO Eduard - July 2021

It was also possible to determine that he belonged to 7.Sturm/

Jagdgeschwader 4. This incident has been reported to Air Control

at Chemnitz. According to the information supplied by Kasseninspektor Finenkel in Thum, it was requested that the body be

taken to the mortuary in Thum. The crash site will be guarded

until the wreckage is cleared.’

Karl Kleemann was buried on September 16th, 1944 at 1530h in

the ‘hero section’ of the cemetery in Thum. Annemarie Kraus also

recalls those days: ‘The pilot’s picture was displayed for a long

time in the window of the Gensel bookstore. He was buried with

full honors in the cemetery in Thum. Us kids were present, and

we observed the ceremony from the cemetery wall…’ The ceremony was also attended by a delegation from the non-com officer

school in Annaberg, and according to the town of Thum records,

two members of Kleemann’s Staffel were also present.


The crash of the young pilot in Thum, same as countless other

pilots, was forgotten over time and the memory faded in the

minds of the witnesses to the event and most young people never

even learned about the event. Official communist doctrine in East

Germany dictated that when it came to a Second World War German pilot dying on German territory, it was too uncomfortable