The Akademische Wehr Münster existed on paper for some time but was mobilized for the first time on 17 March 1920 in response to the communist takeover of the Ruhr. Composed of university and military students from the city, Martin Niemöller, a battalion commander, described the unit in his memoirs: “The first battalion was made up of military students, the second of Catholic corporations, and the third, which I had the honor of commanding, of the rest.

The Akademische Wehr Münster took to the field as a component of Division Münster, one of Generalleutnant Oskar Freiherr von Watter’s three task forces engaged in suppressing the communists. After the Ruhr had been secured, the Akademische Wehr Münster returned to Münster where it was disbanded on 23 April 1920.


Major der Reserve Naendrup

Manpower strength

Approximately 750

Order of battle

I. Bataillon
II. Bataillon
III. Bataillon

Notable members

Kapitänleutnant a.D. Martin Niemöller (leader of the III. Bataillon) (later a Protestant Pastor famous for his resistance against the Nazi regime for which he spent several years in Sachsenhausen and Dachau) (1)
Oberst Dr. rer. pol. Egon Treeck (in the I. Bataillon) (Knight’s Cross holder)
SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Wagner
(the ranks are the highest ranks reached in the Third Reich era)


Members of the Akademische Wehr Münster wore a small embroidered triangle on their left sleeve.

Soldiers of Akademische Wehr Münster near Dortmund


1. This is the Martin Niemöller famous for the below quote. Note that there are different versions of that quote but I'm using the one given by the Martin-Niemöller-Stiftung.

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen,
ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen,
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich geschwiegen,
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr,
der protestieren konnte.

First they came for the communists,
and I did not speak out,
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists
and I did not speak out,
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I did not speak out,
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.


Sources used

Carlos Caballero Jurado - The German Freikorps 1918-1923
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

Martin Niemöller – From U-Boat to Pulpit (Vom U-Boot zur Kanzel) (memoirs)