Wehrpass of a Gefreiter in Sicherungs-Bataillon 797

Wilhelm Pfister was born in Bieswang in 1901. He was married and was employed as a stone worker. In March of 1941, when he was 40 years old, he was drafted and sent to a training unit, Landesschützen-Ersatz-Bataillon 13, in Prachatitz (Prachatice in the Czech Republic, annexed by the German Reich in 1938). After a couple of months he was sent to France, to Feldgendarmerie-Feld-Ersatz-Kompanie 7, where he spent two months on occupation duty before returning to his former training unit in Prachatitz. During his training, he was instructed on the use of the German K98 rifle, the French Berthier rifle Fusil 07/15 (Gewehr 302(f)) and the Czech ZB26 machine gun (MG 26(t)). In August 1941, he was assigned to Landesschützen-Bataillon 807, in Nuremberg, where he remained for over a year. After more than a year in the Army, he finally got a new rank, Oberschütze, in April 1942. Eventually, in February 1943, Pfister was deployed outside Germany once again, this time as part of Sicherungs-Bataillon 797. This unit was at that time in the occuped USSR, as part of Army Group Center. Pfister’s Wehrpass indicates that from February through November, 1943, he was engaged in combat against partisans in the area around Polozk and Witebsk, in what is now Belarus. In March, after 2 years of service, he was promoted to the rank of Gefreiter. In February 1944, Pfister became ill and was sent back to Germany to convalesce with Landesschützen-Ersatz und Ausbildungs-Bataillon 12. After a month, he had recovered and was sent back to his field unit, Sicherungs-Bataillon 797, now active as part of the 16th Army. The Red Army reached the border of Latvia on July 17, 1944. A week later, on July 21, Pfister was killed in action in Latvia. It’s not clear if his unit was at that time engaged again in combat with partisans, or (perhaps more likely) fighting defensive actions against Soviet regulars. Such details probably didn’t matter much to the family Pfister left behind. He was 43 years old.

The local Nazi Party district leader sent a letter of condolence to Pfister’s widow, full of patriotic jargon.