Walter Thiel (* March 3, 1910 in Breslau; † August 18, 1943 in Karlshagen near Peenemünde) was a German Chemist and Rocket Scientist.

Thiel delivered the major ideas for the A4 Rocket mechanism and made it with his research possible to fly a rocket into space. The A4 showed the basics for the later development of space rockets in the USA and also the Soviet Union. Regrettably the A4 was also used in the war as a weapon of terror and used in propoganda purposes under the model V2.


80 years ago, the RAF flew its attack on Peenemünde and the scientists' settlement in Karlshagen. It was the operation Hydra. The aim was to kill the engineers and scientists who developed the rockets. However, the bombs unfortunately hit many forced laborers in the Trassenheide camp. Only a few of the important scientists were killed. However, one of the most important men in the research: Walter Thiel with his wife Magda and their children Sigrid and Siegfried.

In the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 12/13.08.2023 an article was published about it, which is unfortunately faulty, e. g. only the daughter of Thiel and not the son was named as a victim. But it shows nevertheless that the history of Peenemünde is still of interest. Attached is a photo of the article. Behind a paywall the article can be found under the following link:


The very comprehensive and very well reviewed book "THE V2. Entwicklung - Technik - Einsatz" by Murray R. Barber, published by Motorbuch-Verlag (ISBN 978-3-613-04311-4) has arrived at my house. The book is fantastically illustrated and definitely a new standard work. Thanks go to the author for honouring my support with mentions.


The Association of German Students Aachen-Breslau II was founded 100 years ago. A commemorative publication was published on this occasion. In Chapter 4 (from p. 198), Walter Thiel is frequently mentioned, who was active in the student fraternity Breslau II from July 1929 (admission as Fux) until the end of his studies. He presumably ended his active time when he went to Berlin in 1934 during his doctorate to finish it with his professor in Berlin. (Prof. Straus had to leave Breslau in 1934. He went to the University of Berlin, where he stayed until 1936. In 1939 he emigrated to the USA).

The reports on the individual semesters also show that Thiel was a member of the ASTA: SS 1930 (p. 220) to (or and) WS 1932/1933.

January 2019

Lecture about Walter Thiel at VDSt. Aachen Breslau II. Thank you very much for the invitation! Walter Thiel was a member of the student association VDSt. Breslau II. After the war the memberships were continued by the VDSt. Aachen.

September 2018

In "Infoblatt 3-2018 des Fördervereins Peenemünde e.V." an articel about Thiel was published. In addition, the talk of the memorial service on 18 August 2018 at the Karlshagener Ehrenfriedhof, held by Thomas Köhler, was printed in that same booklet.

August 2018

On August 18, 2018 was the 75th anniversary of the death of family Thiel.

(Source: private photo)

July 2018

Article about Walter Thiel was published in Raumfahrt Concret (Nr. 102, 2/2018)

(Source: private photo)

October 2017

On October 3, 2012 was the 75th jubilee of the first successful start of an A4 rocket from test stand VII in Peenemünde.

(Source: private photo, memorial stone at test stand VII)

March 2015

The film  "Geheimnisvolle Orte. Kummersdorf - Waffenschmiede und Kriegslabor." from Marina Farschid was shown on rbb (Radio Berlin Brandenburg) on 26 May 2015 and on 26 September 2017.

The film is only available for a short while in the media library. If you are interested in further information please contact rbb (Radio Berlin Brandenburg).

March/April 2014

In March 2014 a visit from Kummersdorf-Gut together with Hans Schumacher, the grandson of Heinz-Otto Glimm. Glimm was a colleague of Thiels in the research  of HWA of Head of Division Prof. Dr. Karl Erich Schumann (experimental ort was Kummerdorf-Ost). Glimm was also the Godfather of Sigrid(daughter). The tour through Kummersdorf was accompanied by journalists. In April 2014 an article about the visit was printed.