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Waffen SS: Combat Divisions, German Soldiers

Waffen SS -- Elite Warriors and their postwar struggle.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Third Reich tours, German WW2 badges, Nazi Helmets, Foreign Waffen SS, Wehrmacht, Nazi Uniform, Military Medals: Iron Cross, RC panzers.

The Waffen SS in Russia, 1941-44 by William K Fowler
Another in the series of photo books from Concord is one of special interest for figure modellers. It shows the Waffen SS units in Russia 1941-1944, concentrating on people rather than vehicles. Uniforms and equipment are finee to see in regulations and years of production etc, but this is what shows how the clothing and the equipment were worn and used by troops in the field, adapted to what was available and what made life comfortable. As in the years it covers, there are sections of photos from the heat of summer to the thick white snows of winter, plus all the mud in between.
(militarymodelling.com)

Waffen SS Lt. Werner Langer, who fought on the Eastern Front and shook Hitler`s hand, speaks with a classroom (14-min video)
He`s 87 years old and he`s wearing an American flag lapel pin. His accent is strong, his humor self-deprecating and his message is clear: the importance of voting and being well-informed. Lt. Werner Langer fought for the Nazis in World War II. He recently spoke with a Santa Margarita history class - and he wasn`t exactly what the kids expected from a Hitler Youth and Nazi soldier, a caricature they had seen only in movies. As an officer in the Waffen SS he fought against the Red Army, took shrapnel from a rocket, spent time as a POW, and received his copy of Mein Kampf directly from der Fuhrer.
(patch.com)

How Waffen SS veterans exploited postwar politics and the major parties
While hunting for new voters, both the conservative Christian Democratic Union and the center-left Social Democratic Party courted veterans of Hitler`s Waffen-SS after the Secodn World War. A recent study illustrates how the major parties were taken advantage of in the process. Helmut Schmidt wasn`t the only one courting the Waffen-SS veterans. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and SPD postwar leader Kurt Schumacher also tried to garner votes among members of the former elite unit. Adenauer even visited former Waffen-SS General Kurt Meyer ("Panzer Meyer," or "Tank Meyer"), who was then imprisoned in the town of Werl, near Dortmund.
(spiegel.de)

Adolf Storms, a member of 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, charged over mass shooting of Jews
Adolf Storms, a member of an elite Waffen SS unit, has been charged with killing 58 Hungarian Jews. His name was discovered in the records related to Hitler Youth detachment which dug the mass grave. Storms was a member of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking which fought on the Eastern Front, including the tank battles of Kharkov and Kursk. By the 1945 the unit was moving to Austria to surrender to the Americans rather than to the Red Army. But first the Waffen SS unit, led in the early days by General Felix Steiner, cleaned up the evidence against by killing the slave labourers who had dug its defensive lines. As yet no witness has been found to testify in the case.
(timesonline.co.uk)

Members of SS Dirlewanger Brigade - which shocked even Nazi commanders - located
Polish authorities claim to have id`ed 3 members of a SS unit which shocked even Nazi commanders. Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has announced that they want to bring the men to justice for their part in the crushing the Warsaw Uprising while serving with the SS Dirlewanger Brigade. The unit, named after its leader Oscar Dirlewanger, comprised of criminals, the criminally insane and volunteers. One SS man from another unit depicted the Dirlewanger brigade as "more a group of pigs than soldiers" while General Heinz Guderian wrote that on hearing the "hair-raising news" from Warsaw he asked Hitler to sent the Dirlewanger Brigade to the Eastern Front.
(telegraph.co.uk)

Wehrmacht, Waffen SS veterans in other Armies of the World after the WWII
Wehrmacht Veterans in other Armies of the World -thread at Axis History Forum talks about Wehrmacht and Waffen SS veterans after the Second World War, and lists the countries and armed forces (U.S. Army, the Royal armed forces, etc) in which they continued to serve in another uniform or as advisors.
(forum.axishistory.com)

My SS stepfather - Camera shy "German footsoldier" turned out to be from Führer`s Praetorian Guard
To the soldiers who watched over him, Josef Dagner was a German footsoldier who had been seized by Allied troops and shipped to a PoW camp in the North-East. But Dagner had a secret. Far from being a unwilling conscript, he was a member of the SS (Schutzstaffel), and part of the Fuhrer`s Praetorian Guard. His reluctance to be in a photograph was not because, as others imagined, that the quiet German was camera shy. He was fearing that someone would recognize his face from a Nazi death squad. When he arrived in England, the doctors who checked him made no mention of the scar beneath his armpit - where Dagner had removed his SS blood group tattoo with a razor blade.
(thenorthernecho.co.uk)

Waffen SS eastern front veterans Johannes Niessen and Josef Dorsch at the Ulrichsberg gathering
The remnants of Adolf Hitler`s war machine traveled to Ulrichsberg for annual gathering, which in the 1990s was attended by Heinrich Himmler`s daughter Gudrun Himmler. Johannes Niessen pulled out a photo of himself as a blond, blue-eyed youth straring out of the photo with a cap bearing the death`s head insignia of Waffen SS. "I volunteered for the SS. With my Aryan looks, I was just what they wanted." Niessen`s regiment, the 48th SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Regiment, fought on the Eastern Front. Meanwhile much-decorated Josef Dorsch handed out letters for contributions to an SS cemetery in the Ukraine, and signed autographs for his young admirers.
(thesun.co.uk)

Nazi Waffen SS veterans honored in 50th Ulrichsberg gathering in Austria
500 people honoured Waffen SS veterans at the 50th Ulrichsberg gathering on top of the Ulrichsberg mountain, paying homage to the Third Reich soldiers` "sense of sacrifice" in a stronghold of the far-right leader Jorg Haider. Among the people were representatives from veterans` groups and from the Austrian army, as well as younger neo-Nazis and retired soldiers with the banners of the Flemish SS volunteers. "We want to... remember that a war does not have any winners, only victims... We also want to remind people that we only did our duty in fighting with the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS after the Anschluss," explained Rudolf Gallob.
(afp)

Survivors of a 7500-man Nazi military unit the Dirlewanger Battalion to be traced?
German war-crimes prosecutors have been asked to track down living members of a Nazi military unit accused of some of the worst wartime barbarities. Polish historians had found 72 names and postwar addresses of members of the Dirlewanger Battalion, commanded by Oskar Dirlewanger. The unit had at first been formed out of hunters, and later included ex-prisoners from armed forces jails. All previous attempts to id members had failed, but names had now been found in Red Cross records. One member of the unit praised Dirlewanger, who was seized and tortured to death by Polish jailers after the war: "He was a great guy. Always at the forefront, never the rear."
(dw-world.de)

11 Nazi uniform patches from the 3rd SS division Totenkopf for sale
The sale of Nazi memorabilia from a German unit which killed nearly 100 British POWs has been called a "disgrace" by a war veteran. 11 uniform patches from the 3rd SS division Totenkopf are expected to sell for £300 each. The Totenkopf ("death`s head") division - one of Nazi Germany`s most ruthless and formidable combat formations - massacred 97 soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, who surrendered during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. The carnage was ordered by SS officer Fritz Knochlein, who was later executed for war crimes. Offered Nazi badges and lapels feature the "death`s head" skull, Nazi insignia and the Third Reich eagle.
(bbc.co.uk)

Waffen SS Panzer commander Werner Busse dies aged 82
A Waffen SS Panzer commander who became a popular Highland pub landlord has died aged 82. Werner Busse, who served on the Eastern Front in the Second World War, later became friends with many British soldiers. He volunteered for the Waffen SS ("Armed SS") aged 16, joining the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. In 1944, his tank was destroyed by an anti-tank rocket in a post D-Day battle in Caen. The 18-year-old got only minor shrapnel wounds, was caught by the Allies, and sent to various POW camps in the UK, but because of food shortages he was shipped out to America, where he worked on Jimmy Carter`s peanut farm.
(dailyrecord.co.uk)

Bernard Gosselin, saved by the Waffen-SS 9th Division doctor
In 1944 the battle of Normandy was raging near Albert and Emilia Gosselin. Their 3 children had died in infancy, and the only doctor in the area had been injured in Allied bombing. Unable to find even a midwife, Albert appealed to German troops. To his horror, he found they were from the SS. The Waffen-SS 9th Division doctor had been amputating wounded soldiers but agreed to deliver the French baby, named Bernard Gosselin. ... who 28 years later was approached by a man with grey hair, who asked "Is your name Bernard and were you born in July 1944?" Bernard said "yes". Man asked "Do you know who I was? ... I was the wicked SS". There began 25-year friendship.
(independent.co.uk)

Russia condemns Estonian Waffen SS legion reunion, Erna Raid
Russia`s Foreign Ministry condemned a meeting of veterans of Estonia`s Waffen-SS division in the Baltic state. Estonian Waffen SS veterans gathered to commemorate one of the bloodiest World War II battles in Estonia. The ministry also said the military competition Erna Raid, scheduled for August 6-11 and held annually since 1993, complied with Estonia`s line towards glorifying Nazism, as it commemorated the Abwehr-trained Erna reconnaissance group, which operated in the rear of the Red Army in 1941. Reunions to glorify fighters against the Soviet occupation have become a tradition in the Baltic state.
(rian)

Norwegian Waffen-SS nazi in Costa del Sol: Got Gold Cross by Hitler   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A Norwegian Nazi Fredrik Jensen who served in the Waffen-SS and was awarded the Gold Cross by Führer has been discovered living in Marbella on the Costa del Sol. He served in a number of Waffen SS units, including the SS Panzer-Grenadier der Fuhrer, SS-Panzer-Division -Das Reich, the Panzer-Grenadier Regiment 9 Germania and the Panzer-Division Wiking. He fought on the frontline, which earned him the rare accolade of being one of the few foreigners to receive the highest decoration granted by Adolf Hitler to Waffen SS troops: the Gold Medal. He joined the SS after the Norwegian Nazi party seized power under the puppet-regime of Vidkun Quisling in 1942.
(independent.co.uk)

Waffen-SS officers of 16th SS Armoured Infantry Division sentenced
Between Sept 29 and Oct 1, 1944 the 16th SS Armoured Infantry Division under the SS Sturmbannführer Walter Reder carried out a massacre in the town of Marzabatto. An Italian military court has only now sentenced, in absentia, the 10 Waffen-SS officers involved to life imprisonment and pay 100 million euros. A few weeks earlier, on August 12, 1944, the same Waffen SS unit, as well as Wehrmacht soldiers, had taken part in the massacre of Sant’Anna di Stazzema. "German War Crimes in Italy" by by military historian Gerhard Schreiber tells the cruelty of the Wehrmacht and SS troops.
(wsws)

1,400 Waffen SS members living in the UK - SS Galizien division
More than 1,400 former Waffen SS members were living in the UK four years ago and authorities are in the process of searching for more. Minister Tony McNulty said a total of 1,450 veterans of the SS Galizien division were registered in Britain in 2003. No allegations of war crimes has been received against any of them. Scotland Yard’s war-crimes division is using a database run by the US Justice Department to search for former members of the Waffen-SS who may be living in the UK, to help with enquiries.
(ejpress)

Ex-PoW, a Waffen SS grenadier, wants his ashes scattered in Scotland
A Nazi storm trooper has arranged to have his ashes scattered in Scotland where he was a POW. Heinrich Steinmeyer was a grenadier in the Waffen-SS when he was captured in Normandy and taken to Cultybraggan POW camp in Perthshire. Rudolf Hess was kept there, and the ringleaders of a 1944 plot to liberate PoWs from camps throughout Britain were also sent there. His experience in the camp changed his view of the war. "Cultybraggan was a holiday camp compared to fighting or being a PoW in Russia... I was young and had been brought up in Hitler`s system. I was part of the Hitler Youth, we were all young boys in our Panzer division."
(telegraph.co.uk)

As it Happened: The SS Struggle for Power - Documentary
The SS would be feared for its brutality and 40,000 of its guards would form the Death`s Head Battalions that ran the liquidation camps. Yet the elite, black-uniformed corps who became the Nazi Party`s enforcers sprang from a 200-strong group whom Adolf Hitler recruited in 1925 after the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch. This account details the rise of Hitler and Schutzstaffel after the murder of the power-hungry Ernst Rohm, who led the original Nazi storm-troopers SA. Thereafter, Heinrich Himmler, would nurture the SS and make it the embodiment of Nazi terror. 6-part series includes SS officers speaking out for the first time.
(theage)

Flemish Eastern Front Waffen-SS vets group will cease to exist   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Far-right Sint-Maartensfonds, the organisation set up by and for Flemish vets of the Nazis` World War II offensive against the Soviet Union, will shortly cease to exist. Flemings were among the volunteers from a host of countries, who joined the Nazis in their offensive against Stalin`s Red Army. Those who fought claim that they did so in order to fight the communism. However, many were also members of infamous Waffen SS. After the war, those who had fought on the Eastern Front were convicted of collaboration. Some were executed; others imprisoned and most lost their rights.
(expatica)

Waffen-SS firing squad in Battle of the Bulge: Malmedy Massacre   (Article no longer available from the original source)
During the Battle of the Bulge, Staff Sgt. Bill Merriken and more than 100 American soldiers were captured by German Waffen-SS troops and moved into a field, where German officer Maj. Werner Poetschke waved two battle tanks into position in front of the Americans, and gave the order for the machine gunners aboard the tanks to open fire. Merriken, in the front row, was hit twice as machine gun fire raked across the fallen men. A German tried to took his ring, but his finger was too swollen from the cold. "I was afraid they were going to try to cut it off, but instead, they fired a shot into my right knee."
(newsadvance)

Protests against Nazi Waffen-SS Wehrmacht Gathering in Austria
Since 1958, every autumn an annual meeting takes place by the "Europa-Heimkehrergedenkstätte" - Europe homecomer memorial - at the Ulrichsberg in Carinthia, where veterans of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS and their ideological heirs meet up in order to participate in the biggest meeting of former "volunteers" in the German-speaking countries. Delegations and Kameradschaften from Germany, Norway, Belgium, Finland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands travel there every year. The purpose is to commemorate the comrades who were killed in the war and their "decent fulfilment of their duties" as soldiers.
(is)

Professor spent 3 years as an Waffen-SS soldier - documentary
Adalbert Lallier, Concordia professor, is haunted by his past: three years spent as an Waffen-SS soldier during which he witnessed the murder of seven persons by his superior officer. The documentary film Once a Nazi... follows Lallier after he voluntarily comes forward, to publicly own up to his Nazi past and to travel to Germany to testify in the last Nazi war crimes tribunal. Although 50 witnesses were called in, his testimony was the key to the conviction of his SS lieutenant, Julius Viel. It also marked the first time a Waffen-SS man ever turned against his superior in a civil court.
(hour)

Nobel-winner admits serving in Waffen-SS Armored Division
German Guenter Grass admitted that he served in the Waffen SS, the combat arm of Adolf Hitler`s feared paramilitary forces, during World War II. He had volunteered for the submarine service but was not accepted, only to be called up to the Waffen SS 10th Armored Division "Frundberg." The SS, Schutzstaffel or "Protective Echelon", started as a bodyguard for Adolf Hitler headed by top Nazi Heinrich Himmler. It later became a huge organization, which included the Waffen SS, a combat force that took part in fighting alongside units of Wehrmacht and gained a reputation as fanatical fighters.
(foxnews.com)

Memorials for Waffen SS Grenadiers of Estonian Legion
Two new memorials to soldiers of the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as Estonian Legion, opened in town of Sinimäe. Guests are going to honor the memory of the fallen Dutch and Walloons who fought with the Division at World War II. Battle of Sinimäe between the Nazi and Soviet troops lasted for seven months in 1944. About 200,000 German and Soviet troops were killed, there are also a memorial of the Soviet soldiers, a memorial of Estonians soldiers who fought with the 20th Waffen SS division, and memorabilia of Waffen SS legionaries of Danish and other nationalities.
(regnum)

Soviet monument to Waffen-SS 15th Cossack cavalry corps
The 15th Cossack cavalry corps fought against the Soviet Union under the control of the feared Waffen-SS from 1944. Wartime leader of the corps General Helmut von Pannwitz was executed as a war criminal. Although Russia has repeatedly voiced its concern over the monuments dedicated to Latvian and Estonian Waffen-SS Nazis, a monument to Nazi allies has stood at right in the Moscow`s Church.
(rian)

The hero who wiped out Hitler`s tank ace Michael Wittmann
As a German war hero, he was in a deadly class of his own - having destroyed nearly 300 enemy panzers and guns. So astonishing were Michael Wittmann`s exploits that he was feted throughout the Third Reich by the Nazi propaganda machine. So when the highly-decorated Waffen-SS tank ace met his death in the Normandy in August 1944, several Allied units claimed the distinction of having killed him. But now the man who really finished off the most successful tank commander of the Second World War has finally been revealed - Joe Ekins. Astonishingly he had only ever fired five practice rounds before the encounter with Wittmann near St Aignan de Cramesnil.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Story of Anton Geiser - assigned to the Nazi Waffen SS
Geiser has lived quietly in the US for 47 years. Nobody knew that he was a camp guard for the German army during World War II. Geiser, assigned to the Nazi Waffen SS, was so ashamed of his service that he kept it to himself. As a teenager he joined the German Youth: "If you didn’t join the rest, you wouldn’t be respected." He was 17 when he got a letter: The Nazis had ordered that all ethnic Germans serve in the German military. He traveled to Breslau and was issued a uniform and an 8 mm rifle with bayonet. Infantry training included use of a rifle, machine gun, pistol and hand grenades, and marching. The new soldiers also attended classes in Nazi ideology.
(sharonherald)

Members of Waffen SS among Wehrmacht troops remains in Usti
Members of the Nazi SS are among the German troops buried in the Czech Republic and probably also among the remains of the soldiers temporarily buried on the premises of a construction company in Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia. "Along with Wehrmacht members, we have also exhumed and buried members of the Waffen SS," director Martinic told. He stressed that only remains of the Waffen SS members had been found, not those of the SS guards who were notorious for their brutality in extermination camps.
(vnnforum.com)

Ex-SS legionary`s new book "Latvian legionary in true light"
On the eve of Day of Latvian Waffen SS legionaries, famous public writer and ex-SS legionary Visvaldis Latsis presented his new book "Latvian legionary in true light." The author tried to collect all "justificatory" arguments of the presidential historical commission, and stress the importance of their deeds in patriotic education of youth. He said that he wanted to prove that Latvians fought for their freedom, but were naive. Latsis himself is a contradictory person: Loyal soldier and commander of Latvian SS Legion Strike Force.
(regnum)

Jewish death squads recall revenge on SS officers   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A group of elderly Holocaust survivors came forward with accounts of a death squad they formed after World War II to take revenge on their Nazi persecutors, recounting a brazen operation in which they poisoned hundreds of SS officers. Reports of Jewish death squads have surfaced over the years, and several books have been written. Earlier this year, Israel`s government refused a request from Poland to extradite a suspected death squad member.
(-)

Where Nazi Storm Troopers are Heroes
Why are all those monuments going up in eastern Europe, honoring dead Waffen SS (elite Nazi combat troops) soldiers. What’s going on here? It`s not World War II being rewritten, just remembered. Russians are gone from Eastern Europe, and most Eastern Europeans are glad to see them go. And in many of these countries, the guys who joined the SS during World War II, to fight the Russians, were always considered national heroes. So in countries like Croatia, Bosnia, and the Baltic States, memorials are going up to the men who died fighting for the SS against the hated Russians.
(strategypage)

Hitler`s Legacy in the Balkans and The Batschka Division
During World War II, the Bachka region of Vojvodina was annexed to a Greater Hungary by Nazi Germany. Hitler sought to dismember Serbia by creating a Greater Hungary, a Greater Albania, a Greater Bulgaria, and a Greater Croatia. Pursuant to this policy, the Bachka region was made a part of Hungary. The Batschka Nazi SS Division of Vojvodina emerged after the breakup of the Bosnian Muslim Kama Division, which had been formed and trained in Vojvodina. The Kama Division had been the second Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division formed by Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler.
(Serbianna)

`German war` nearly broke out in Prague in 1944   (Article no longer available from the original source)
A Czech historian has found evidence that pro- and anti-Hitler factions within the German military were poised to battle each other in Prague after the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler in mid-1944. Anti-Hitler factions in the Wehrmacht were ready to fight in the streets against pro-Hitler soldiers with the Waffen-SS in what was then Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Other historians confirmed that Jan B. Uhlir had discovered several lost pieces of a historical puzzle about plans for a "German war" toward the end of World War II.
(Expatica)

My grandad the Waffen SS officer of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
Dan Tetsell grew up with an uncomfortable family secret - his grandfather was an SS officer. my grandfather Kurt Martens was in the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, the premier regiment of the Waffen SS. Kurt was killed or went missing during the fighting around Prague castle sometime in early May 1945, so I never knew him. All we really had is the image of him in his uniform - the sly, boyish smile at odds with the double lightning flashes and death`s head cap of the SS.
(bbc)

My Grandfathers in the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS
Johann Wiehe got drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1940. He was trained as an anti-tank gunner attached to an infantry division, and took part in the initial assault on Russia and the rush towards the Volga at the time when the Wehrmacht seemed to be unstoppable. In the winter of 1942/1943 his division dug in outside of Stalingrad, where the most memorable of his stories occurred: His unit received orders to move off and meet a Russian counterattack, but my granddad was unable to join his comrades as his toes had to be amputated due to frostbite. Helmut Barkowsky was drafted into the Waffen SS in 1942...
(bbc)

Waffen-SS Panzergrenadier in the 1st SS Panzer Division
I was trained as a panzergrenadier in early 1943. After Training I was sent to Russia for 1st SS Div Leibstandate Adolf Hitler - Kharkov had just been taken by I SS Panzer Korps. Allied landings took place in Normandy - it was a different type of war to that which we had been fighting in Russia. There we were fighting against weather, partisans and man to man fighting. In Normandy we fought an unequal battle to stay alive from the constant air attacks. My firm belief is that if we had an decent airforce then they would not have won. We could only make any movement at night as Luftwaffe was non-existent.
(bbc)

Waffen-SS veterans in Britain hold secret reunions, confirms Totenkopf corporal
Waffen SS veterans who fought for Nazi Germany are living in Britain and attending secret reunions to celebrate their time under the Third Reich. Waffen SS veterans sing old Nazi songs at the gatherings - also attended by members of the British National Party. At least one BNP member is a honorary membership of the Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der Ehemaligen Soldaten der Waffen-SS (Mutual Aid Association for Soldiers of the Former Waffen-SS). The existence of SS reunions was confirmed by Werner Volkner, a corporal with the Totenkopf (Death`s Head) division of the SS. The singing of Waffen-SS marching songs was done out of nostalgia, he explained.
(telegraph)

The German Iron Cross winner who served Adolf Hitler, Queen and Country   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Werner Volkner won the Iron Cross in the SS and was later welcomed into the British Army. Across one wall are shelves of memorabilia from the Waffen-SS, the Nazi elite of which Mr Volkner was once a member, winning the Iron Cross for bravery under fire. On the other side, are mementoes relating to the Westminster Dragoons, the British Army regiment to which Mr Volkner also once belonged. The story of how he came to be a non-commissioned officer in both forces illustrates how thoroughly and adeptly veterans of the SS, brought here as prisoners at the end of the WWII, quietly insinuated themselves into British communities.
(telegraph)


See also:
Third Reich tours
German WW2 badges
Nazi Helmets
Foreign Waffen SS
Wehrmacht
Nazi Uniform
Military Medals: Iron Cross
RC panzers.