Foreign Waffen-SS -- Serving the Nazis or Fighting the Communism.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Third Reich tours, German WW2 badges, Nazi Helmets, Foreign Waffen SS, Wehrmacht, Nazi Uniforms, Iron Cross, RC panzers.
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Belgium concern as WW2 Nazi collaborators get German pensions
Belgian survivors of Nazi persecution appealed to the government to stop the payments, and Pensions Minister Daniel Bacquelaine "shares their indignation", adding that Germany manages the payments and "we have no official figures" for the recipients. Belgians who served in the SS were made Germans by an Adolf Hitler decree. After the 1945 liberation, 57,000 Belgian collaborators were convicted. The Memorial Group, lobbying the Belgian government, estimates that as many as 2,500 ex-collaborators are receiving German pensions.
A new book called We Were Estonian Soldiers tells some amazing WWII stories
A new book called "We Were Estonian Soldiers" has been released describing Estonia`s involvement in WWII from a soldier`s viewpoint. The stories are about 5 Estonian officers who were classmates at the Estonian Military Technical Academy 1936-1940. Their memoirs start with the Soviet occupation of Estonia and the outbreak of WWII. All were commissioned 2nd lieutenants upon their graduation from the academy in 1940, then their lives took different paths. Lt. Victor Orav started his military career in the Estonian Army which was soon disbanded and integrated into the Russian occupation forces. He deserted from the Red Army and ended up in a German POW camp. He then served in the German SS and was heavily wounded in action. At the end of the war he managed to get from Czechoslovakia to western Germany in order to not fall into Russian hands.
Indian soldiers in the German Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS and in the Italian Army
A new book - "For Free India" - tells the story of the Indian soldiers who served in various Axis units, including the Legion Freies Indien, the Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen-SS, and Battaglione Azad Hindoustan of the Italian Regio Esercito.
American volunteers in the Waffen SS
Some U.S. citizens served in the Waffen SS, but no unit made up of American volunteers was ever formed. According to the SS archives, 5 Americans served in the Waffen SS in May 1940, but after that date no numbers are available - and the U.S. authorities did not look into the matter after the war. At least 8 American Waffen SS soldiers were killed wearing the hated SS uniform. In addition to Waffen SS, numerous ethnic Germans who were born in the USA served in the Wehrmacht. Boy Rickmers - who was born in New York - won the Knight`s Cross as part of Wehrmacht`s 320. Infanterie-Division.
British men who wore the Waffen SS uniform (with three lions insignia) in pictures
At first glance, he seems to be a regular Waffen-SS corporal. But look the SS uniform a little closer and two upsetting clues emerge: On the man`s right arm is a Union Flag shield, while his right collar tab has a strange insignia, the three lions of the Royal Standard of England. For this SS corporal was no ordinary Nazi. He was member of a little-known unit of the Waffen SS called the British Free Corps (BFC) - initially Legion of St Georg - a group of British and Commonwealth soldiers who decided to fight for the Nazis against the Soviets rather than spend the war in captivity as PoWs.
Historian: Dutch Waffen SS members participated in committing genocide
Dutch members of the Waffen SS took part in genocide during World War II, historian Evertjan van Roekel said in Dutch history magazine Historisch Nieuwsblad. The Dutchmen in Waffen SS have claimed that they were regular soldiers and didn`t know about the genocide. Roekel has examined the diaries of Dutch SS soldiers in the 5th Panzer Division (Wiking) and found descriptions of how they killed Jews. "Hanging the Chief Rabbi from the tower of the Synagogue in Tarnopol was great" and "The greatest booty fell in to our hands... 13000 living Jewish souls... we didn`t leave them that way, obviously."
Heinrich Boere proud of his Waffen SS service
Heinrich Boere, a member of a Waffen SS hit squad, said at his trial that he was proud about being selected as a volunteer to fight for the Nazis. He recalls his mother waking him up the night in 1940 that Nazi Germany invaded his hometown in the Netherlands and seeing Luftwaffe`s Stuka dive-bombers overhead. Instead of fearing the Nazi bombs, his family was joyful: "(My mother) said `they`re coming` now things will be better. It was better." After the Germans had overrun Holland, he remembers as an 18yo seeing a recruiting poster for the Waffen SS, signed by Heinrich Himmler. He turned up with 100 other Dutchmen and was one of 15 chosen. "I was very proud."
US government praised Latvian Waffen SS units after the war, so why cannot Latvians do the same
The Latvian Legion was set up only in 1943, about a year after the last mass murder of Jews in Latvia - there is no reason to claim that there were any direct connections between the legion and the war crimes by military or paramilitary groups. Latvian soldiers did not kill civilians, they fought against the military might of the Soviet Union. Only a few years earlier, in 1940, the Red Army had ended the Latvia`s independence, killing and deporting civilians. As the US government said in an official statement in 1950: "Waffen-SS units of the Baltic states are to be seen as units that stood apart and were different from the German SS in terms of goals, ideologies..."
Breakdown of nationalities in the Waffen SS
Axis History forum -thread looks into difficult subject of estimating the number of foreign nationalities in the Waffen SS units during the Second World War.
British men in Nazi SS uniform: Rare Waffen SS British Free Corps badge for sale
A rare Nazi badge, similar to the three lions on the English football shirt, is to be auctioned. The badge belonged on the nazi uniform of soldiers in the British SS Freikorps Brigade. The British Nazi unit, still a big WW2 mystery, was formed in January 1944. Members, recruited from a variety of sources, were officially accepted into the Waffen-SS when it was named the British Free Corps. Those in the brigade were given German uniforms bearing the Union Flag shield and the badge bearing the three lions. The German Waffen-SS British Free Corps (later named British SS Freikorps Brigade) was the brainchild of John Amery, son of Conservative Cabinet minister Leo Amery.
The hangman of Ommen, Waffen SS member Herbertus Bikker, died peacefully at home
Herbertus Bikker, a Dutch Nazi war criminal known as the hangman of Ommen, has passed away in 2008. German authorities have only now confirmed that he was buried in Hagen. Bikker, a member of the Waffen SS, became infamous as De Beul van Ommen for his cruelty as a guard at the camp Erika. He also served in an elite SS regiment on the Russian Front and participated in Nazi raids in Holland. Bikker was sentenced to death the murder of the Dutch resistance fighter Jan Houtman. His sentence was commuted to life-long imprisonment but in 1952 he fled to Germany. As an ex Waffen-SS soldier Bikker became a German citizen and could not be deported.
Ukraine: Posters show symbols of 14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS. Galizische
Street poster panels in Lvov, Ukraine, show symbols of SS Halychyna (14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galicia -- 1st Ukrainian), which was formed of volunteers from Galicia in western Ukraine in 1943. Poster panels, which violate local legislation, do not mention imprint or customer. The SS division was for the most part wiped out in the battle of Brody in July 1944.
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.
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.
Remains of Norwegian Elite Waffen SS Skijäger battalion discovered (Article no longer available from the original source)
Remains of an elite SS Alpine unit of Norwegians vanquished in World War II have been found on the Karelia peninsula in Finland. The bones of 100 soldiers of the Norwegian SS Skijäger battalion (idea of SS volunteer Gust Jonassen) were id`d by their tags and one ring with inscription. The last stand of the battalion - on 25 June, 1944 - was one of the more vicious hand-to-hand fighting actions of the war. Troops fought with hand grenades, small arms and eventually bayonets against the vastly superior numbers of the Red Army - allowing their (German) comrades to get away. 50,000 Norwegians joined Waffen SS, mainly to the save the Europe from the Communism.
Heinrich Boere: Dutch Waffen SS gunman dodges jail, ages in peace
Heinrich Boere volunteered for the SS after Holland fell to the German blitzkrieg in 1940. His first victim was a pharmacist. Two more followed on a single day, one gunned down at point-blank range in his doorway, the other on the road. Boere was part of a mostly Dutch Waffen SS death squad tasked with killing fellow countrymen in revenge for attacks by the anti-Nazi resistance. Though sentenced to death (later changed to life imprisonment) in the Netherlands in 1949 Boere has escaped jail so far, as German courts refuse to deport him. Now the case has been reopened in a last-ditch attempt for justice.
Denmark and World War II: Waffen-SS and closed borders revealed
After the WWII, Denmark basked in the glory of the most successful attempt to save Jews. Sept 28 - Oct 9 1943, 7000 Jews were ferried to safety in neutral Sweden. But why there were so few Jews in a country bordering Nazi Germany, an evident destination for Jewish refugees from 1933-1939 Nazi persecution? Because at the height of the refugee crisis in 1938, the Danish authorities closed the border. In April 1940 the Waffen-SS began recruiting in Denmark. With the start of the anti-Bolshevik "crusade" in June 1941, 13,000 volunteered. Of these, the Waffen-SS picked out 7,000 most fit, who fought mainly in the Waffen-SS Viking, "Death`s Head", and Nordland divisions.
FSB files about 1944 Warsaw uprising, Waffen-SS RONA brigade
1400-pages of Soviet secret police and Nazi intelligence documents about 1944 Warsaw uprising against the Nazis are now published. The Germans "didn`t take the likelihood of a revolt seriously," but once it broke out "their detailed knowledge of the resistance set up enabled them to carry out pinpoint bombing which caused huge losses. Documents from Polish informers run by the Nazis inside the resistance demonstrate the degree of penetration of the movement by the Germans," said Marcin Majewski. The collection also examines the role of the Waffen-SS "Russian National Liberation Army" (RONA) brigade, made up of Soviet troops who had sided with the Nazis.
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.
Estonian Waffen-SS veterans gather for congress (Article no longer available from the original source)
A congress of servicemen from the 20th Waffen-SS division and other Estonian veterans who served in German military units during World War II has started in the Vaivara district. The congress started near the Sinimae hills, the scene of the worst battle in Estonia in WWII in 1944. The veterans, holding the flags of the units they served for, laid wreaths at a memorial rock in honor of the 20th SS division servicemen who were killed in action, and also to the commemorative plaques in honor of the Danish, Dutch, and Norwegian Waffen-SS legionaries who fought there.
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.
Ukraina: Nazi march to honor Galicia Waffen-SS Division
A nationalist party plans to conduct a march to commemorate a Ukrainian military formation that fought for Nazi Germany in World War II, the party said. "April 28 is when Ukraine`s Galicia SS Division was established. It is our national holiday. For the first time in many years, we must celebrate it in an appropriate way." The Waffen-SS division, which derived its name from a region in Western Ukraine, was comprised of people who saw the Third Reich as a force to topple the Bolsheviks and gain independence. The Galicia division has been accused of participating in several atrocities during the war.
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.
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.
Strange Allies - Bosnian Muslim division of the Waffen-SS
There have been four phases of cooperation between militant Islam and the extreme right, stretching back to Germany`s Third Reich and World War II. As WWII progressed, al-Husseini helped organize a Bosnian Muslim division of the Waffen SS. After Hitler`s defeat, as Nazi Germany crumbled, Hitler`s erstwhile officers had to flee. It was natural that many of Hitler`s men travelled to the Middle East. After Gamal Abdel Nasser became Egypt`s president, a number of Nazis were given prominent positions. Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny trained thousands of Egyptians in guerilla and desert warfare.
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.
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.
Latvians debate history and archive of the Latvian 15th Waffen-SS Division
The Latvian government announced that it wants schoolchildren to study the country’s history as a separate subject. But in a country whose history is still under debate, the reforms are proving to be controversial. Latvia’s independence is based on the claim that the country’s annexation by the Soviet Union was an occupation. Moscow claims that Latvia volunteered to join the U.S.S.R. The most awaited event of the year will be the opening of the regimental archive of the Latvian 15th Waffen-SS Division, recently returned from Holland and already the subject of intense debate both in Riga and Moscow.
Eastern Front Waffen-SS Veteran Ilmar Haaviste
I joined the German forces in 1944. There was a mobilisation, and also Estonian units on the Eastern Front were transferred to near Narva, where the 20th Estonian Division of the Waffen-SS was formed. I had heard from my schoolteacher father that in 1943 there was an Allied conference in Tehran where Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to a proposal from Stalin which in effect handed him Estonia... You have to remember the first year of Soviet power, in 1940-1941, in which it showed itself to be so appalling, we`d seen nothing like it. All the deportations, murders, destroying everything - all this turned the majority of Estonians against the communist regime.
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.