Böhler Jochen , Gerwarth Robert — The Waffen-SS: A European History (2017)


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THE WAFFENSS
is is the rst systematic pan-European study of the hundreds of thousands
ofnon-Germans who fought—either voluntarily or under dierent kinds of
pressures—for the Waen-SS (or auxiliary police formations operating in the
occupied East). Building on the ndings of regional studies by other scholars—
many of them included in this volume—e Waen-SS aims to arrive at a fuller
picture ofthose non-German citizens (from Eastern as well as Western Europe)
who served under the SS ag. Where did the non-Germans in the SS come from
(socially, geographically, and culturally)? What motivated them? What do we know
about the practicalities of international collaboration in war and genocide, in terms
ofeveryday life, language, and ideological training? Did a common transnational
identity emerge as a result of shared ideological convictions or experiences of
extreme violence? In order to address these questions (and others), e Waen-SS
adopts an approach that does justice to the complexity of the subject, adding a more
nuanced, empirically sound understanding of collaboration in Europe during
e Waen-SS
A European History
Edited by
JOCHEN BÖHLER
ROBERT GERWARTH
e present volume is the result of a sustained collaborative eort over several
years. It began with a conference at the University of Toru in May 2014, and
theeditors would like to note their special thanks to Jacek Andrzej Mynarczyk
forhosting this event. We are also grateful to the conference participants and
commentators who provided extensive critical input. Neither the conference nor
List of Plates
List of Contributors
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
Jochen Böhler and Robert Gerwarth
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east: e Nazi
leadership and non-German nationals in the SS and police
List of Plates
Key personnel involved in the internationalization of the Waen-SS: Heinrich
Himmler (centre), Gottlob Berger (second from right), Hanns Albin Rauter
(left), and the leader of Dutch SS, Henk Feldmeijer (second row, rst right),
List of Plates
List of Contributors
Georgios Antoniou
is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the Aristotle University of
essaloniki. He received his PhD in History and Civilization from the European University
Institute of Florence (2007). He is a former Research Fellow of the Foundation for the
Memory of the Shoah in Paris (2005–7) and a former visiting lecturer at Yale University
(2007–8). He was also a visiting lecturer at the University of Cyprus (2008–9). His research
List of Contributors
Ubyvstvo pol’skykh uchenykh u L’vovi v lypni 1941 roku: fakty, mify, rozsliduvan
(Lviv: vydavnytstvo L’vivs’ko
politekhniky, 2011).
Xavier Bougarel
List of Contributors
Mats Deland
is an Associate Professor and aliated with the MIM Institute at Malm
University College. As a researcher at Stockholm University, he was involved in the govern
SweNaz
Switzerland. His research has been funded by the ACLS New Faculty Fellowship, the CLIR–
Mellon Dissertation Fellowship for Research in Original Sources, the American–Scandinavian
ja politseipataljonid Narva rindel 1944. aastal
[Estonian Border Guard Regiments and
Police Battalions on the Narva Front in 1944] (Tallinn: Varrak, 2011, with Marek Nisuma);
‘Ülevaade Eesti ohvitseride andmekogu allikatest’ [An Overview of Sources for the Database
Estonian Yearbook of Military History
Estonian Yearbook of Military History
and war graves (February 2013).
Jacek Andrzej Mynarczyk
is a Lecturer in German History at the Nikolaus Kopernikus
University. He is also a Gerda Henkel Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow on the University
College Dublin–Jena joint project ‘Himmler’s Transnational Militia’. After studying
Ancient and Contemporary History and Philosophy at Katowice and Essen (MA: 2000),
he was a research assistant at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw (2004–9). His
PhD thesis, a major local history of the Holocaust and German–Polish relations during the
Nazi occupation, was published as
Judenmord in Zentralpolen: Der Distrikt Radom im
Generalgouvernement 1939–1945
(Darmstadt: WBG, 2007). He has also published
Polen
and is currently Professor of Modern History at the University of Santiago de Compostela.
Since October 2012, he has also been Professor of Modern European History at the Ludwig
Maximilian University, Munich. He has published widely on the comparative history of
nationalist movements and national and regional identities, as well as on overseas migration
from Spain and Galicia to Latin America, and the modern war and war experiences in the
Immo Rebitschek
studied Modern History, German, and Religious Studies at Jena from
2006 to 2011, and is currently a Research Associate at the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena. He
He has published books and articles in Danish, English, and German on prisons, punish
ment, and human rights, including works on prison history, prisoners’ children, and the use
and eects of solitary connement in prisons. He has also published books and articles on
the history of the Waen-SS and the Nazi war of extermination on the eastern front. He is
the author or co-author of seven monographs and co-editor of several edited collections.
His latest book is
When the Innocent are Punished: e Children of Imprisoned Parents
(Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014).
Norbert Spannenberger
is an Assistant Professor at the University of Leipzig. He has pub
lished widely on the history of eastern and south-eastern Europe and particularly on
is primarily interested in the history of World War II in south-eastern Europe. Her recent
Key personnel involved in the internationalization of the Waen-SS: Heinrich Himmler
(centre), Gottlob Berger (second from right), Hanns Albin Rauter (left), and the leader of
‘With the SS and the Norwegian Legion against the common enemy
Bolshevism.’ SS recruitment poster displayed in Norway, June 1942.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 003-025-037
A Norwegian SS volunteer interrogates Russian POWs on the eastern front, summer
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 146-1986-053-17
Free Corps Denmark on exercise in Poland in 1942. In the centre is Corps Commander
Christian Frederik von Schalburg.
Belgian volunteers from Wallonia during ideological training at the
SS-Junkerschule
(ocer-training school) in Bad Tölz, Bavaria, 1942–3.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 101III-Junkerschule Toelz-5214-20
A French Waen-SS volunteer in Paris, October 1943.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 101III-Apfel-017-30
‘For Honour. For Life.’ Recruitment poster for the Italian SS.
Courtesy of Istituto Storico della Resistenza e dell’Età Contemporanea (Macerata, Italy)
A Greek
Evzonas
under SS command posing next to an executed Resistance member,
Greece, 1943.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz 179-1552-13
‘Protect your Homeland! Destroy Bolshevism.’ SS recruitment poster used in Estonia,
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 003-045-013
Local auxiliaries of the German police in the Bilgoraj region (near Lublin, Poland) on
anti-partisan operation ‘Werewolf’, summer 1943.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Instytut Pamici Narodowej (Warsaw, Poland)
Albanian Muslims in the recruitment oce of the Skanderbeg Division. In the back
ground, a portrait of Hitler has been hung next to an image of the Albanian patron saint,
Skanderbeg.
National Archives and Record Administration, USA, Kriegsberichter Westermann, 17a
e military training area of Neuhammer (Silesia), November 1943: e Grand Mufti
of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husayni, visits Bosnian Waen-SS volunteers. Second
Bosnian Muslims in SS uniforms at prayer, November 1943.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 146-1977-137-20
Men from the ‘Handar’ Waen-SS Division, May 1944. e wounded are carried to
the dressing station.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 101III-Wiesebach-174-30A
Defendants during the Oradour massacre trial, Bordeaux, 1953. Twenty-one of the
former SS men—fourteen of them volunteers from Alsace—were sentenced.
Last defenders: Two young Latvian SS soldiers with an anti-tank weapon during the
ird Battle of Courland, 1944–5.
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 146-1983-003-16
‘We are not leaving a single comrade in the no-man’s land of uncertainty.’ Poster for
the 1959 convention of former Waen-SS soldiers in Hameln, organized by the HIAG
(Mutual Aid Association of Former Waen-SS members).
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 005-041-003
Europastein
(Europe Stone) on Mount Ulrich (Ulrichsberg) in Carinthia, Austria.
Erected in 1994, the
Europastein
has become the site of annual multinational commemorations
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS
An introduction
Jochen Böhler and Robert Gerwarth
In the autumn of 1945, the Lithuanian-born French author Romain Gary pub
lished his critically acclaimed war novel
Éducation européenne
in which he describes
the life of a 14-year-old Pole, Janek Twardowski, who, after the killing of his
Böhler, Gerwarth
advanced over the last decade or so,
historians have only just begun to contribute
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
‘move on’ from the complex realities of collaboration and complicity in war crimes,
it was easier to sentence a handful of prominent collaborators and maintain that
the masses had been fundamentally opposed to Nazism and the New Order.
On
the other side of the Iron Curtain, collaborators were also portrayed as being part
of a small, marginal minority. Show trials were held against prominent individuals
with the primary purpose of publicly accusing and subsequently executing these
e image that is beginning to emerge from the recent wave of scholarship on
Western European SS volunteers is rather dierent from that cultivated immedi
Böhler, Gerwarth
transnational approaches have been used rather one-sidedly, namely to investigate
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
by no means exceptional) cases of the collaborators Ivan ‘John’ Demjanjuk and
Jacob ‘Jack’ Reimer illustrate, the Second World War became the ‘enabler’ of new
Böhler, Gerwarth
understanding of the First World War, including its legacies in the post-war world.
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
similarities and dierences in the ways in which Europeans from various back
grounds engaged with, and participated in, the war crimes of the Waen-SS.
PREHISTORY: FROM WORLD WAR I
TO WORLD WAR II
When foreign enlistment was rst discussed by the SS leadership during World
War II, Himmler and his closest associates could draw on a number of historical
precedents. Indeed, the idea of recruiting foreign forces in occupied, allied, or
other countries in order to strengthen Germany’s war eort long pre-dated the
ird Reich. During the First World War, the deployment of non-German troops
(notably Poles in Europe and ‘Askari’ in the African theatre of war) became an
integral part of the Kaiserreich’s mobilization policy, mirroring that of other com
(through the King’s African Ries, the
Tirailleurs sénégalais
, or the French Foreign
Ethnic Poles, whose country had been partitioned in the late eighteenth
Böhler, Gerwarth
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
countries, notably in the areas of ‘policing, surveillance and repression’.
However,
the domestic inuence of right-wing authoritarian movements diered widely
across Europe. In Germany and Italy, fascist parties were now in government,
whereas in the Western European democracies of France, Belgium, and the
Böhler, Gerwarth
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
‘People’s Community’. Even if, in reality, the
Volksdeutsche
were generally treated as
second-class citizens, this did not prevent some of them from actively participating
in the persecution of Slavs and Jews in Nazi-occupied eastern and central Europe.
However, as the case of the allies of Germany in south-eastern Europe shows, the
recruitment of
Volksdeutsche
into the Waen-SS was less successful than the Nazis
Böhler, Gerwarth
freeing up German personnel for service further east. Some of these formations
were controlled by the Wehrmacht or, occasionally, the
Sicherheitspolizei
(Security
Police) and SD (
Sicherheitsdienst—
Security Service). Others were originally subor
Ordnungspolizei
(Order Police). e largest formations, however,
were created under the auspices of the Waen-SS, which from 1943 came increas
ingly to incorporate even the pre-existing units, and also provided recruitment and
supply infrastructure for other types of units less directly connected to the SS
sphere—such as Baltic
Flakhelfer
(youth conscripts in anti-aircraft units). As initial
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
e realization that the war in the east could not be won without substantial
manpower support from indigenous populations in eastern Europe also paved the
way for the recruitment of ‘Muslim soldiers’, mainly from aggrieved non-Christian
Böhler, Gerwarth
e new alliances and antagonisms of the Cold War conditioned the fates of
Non-Germans in the Waen-SS: An introduction
Racial theory and realities of conquest in
e Nazi leadership and non-German nationals
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
of identity.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
lack, Gutmann
Reichsführer
OTIONS
OF
RACE
H
ITLER
H
IMMLER
AND
CY
OF
BLOOD
AND
LAND
iven his concern, expressed in
Mein Kampf
, that ‘only a suciently large space on
this earth guarantees to a people the freedom of existence’, Hitler saw in the vast
expanses of Russia the solution to Germany’s perceived problems of space to achieve
permanent economic and military security. He postulated that ‘the right to the soil
can become an obligation, whenever a great nation appears to be doomed to death,
if it does not expand its territory’. Germany would be a ‘world power’ or it would
not exist. Perhaps Hitler’s lasting opposition to non-German auxiliaries in the east
related to his belief in the racially-dened weakness of the eastern Slav and so-called
Asiatic peoples. In the 1920s, Hitler predicted that the Russian empire was ‘ripe for
collapse’; the Germans had been ‘chosen by fate’ to witness a ‘catastrophe’ that
would symbolize the ‘strongest conrmation of the validity of
völkisch
y’.
His view of Russia’s military value was so low that he scoed that a
German–Russian alliance against the Western Powers, proposed by German con
servatives in the years after the Versailles Treaty, ‘would be the end of Germany’.
For Russia’s military inconsequence stemmed from the fact that ‘Slavic peoples




wers’ and that ‘.



lavic character




G
erman





eating upper class, which Hitler attributed to the presence of German blood in
Hitler,
ein Kampf


bid., 748, 749
¹

erhard Weinberg (ed.),
Hitler’s Second Book: e Unpublished Sequel to
Mein Kampf (NewYork:
Enigma, 2003), 148, 149, 150, 151.
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
irteen years later, in June 1941, Hitler’s assessment had not changed and now,
Black, Gutmann
insucient to police German-occupied territory. Already tasked with policing
German-occupied Polish territory, both the annexed regions and the so-called
General Government, Himmler was appointed
Reichskommissar für die Festigung
deutschen Volkstums
(RKFDV, Reich Commissar for the Strengthening of German
Ethnicity) on 7 October 1939. is appointment authorized him to ‘bring back
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
und Fürsorge, ‘Trägerin der volkspolitischen Arbeit im Generalgouvernement’, n. d. [internal evi
Black, Gutmann
other self-organized paramilitary units.
Within six weeks, after the murder of
20,000–30,000 non-Jewish Poles and Polish Jews, the SS dissolved the
Selbstschutz
in the Polish territories directly annexed to the Reich and placed its personnel into
the SS and other Nazi paramilitary organizations.
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
ough short-lived, Globocnik’s experiment in Lublin foreshadowed the
Black, Gutmann
OPERATION ‘BARBAROSSA’: RADICALIZATION
TOWARDSGENOCIDE AND EROSION OF
‘RACIALPURITY’ IN THE SS
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
suppressing injurious elements—especially Jews and Communists—in their own
countries’. Stahlecker later boasted that his men, thinking past ‘initial spontaneous
self-cleansing actions’, sought ‘to ensure that reliable forces
nent auxiliary organs of the Security Police’.
Erich Ehrlinger, the commander of
Black, Gutmann
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
Daluege followed up with an urgent appeal for the ‘expeditious’ establishment of
SS and police bases in the USSR and mobilization and deployment of police
Black, Gutmann
Not all German administrators were happy with the deployment of the auxiliar
ies. In September 1941, the General Commissar of ‘White Ruthenia’, Wilhelm
Kube, complained to the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories about the
deployment of Ukrainian auxiliaries on Belarusian territory, a measure that he
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
cannot be managed by the [German] Sipo [Security Police] personnel—search for
suspects, arrests, and house searches’. Jäger reported at the beginning of December
that ‘the goal of making Lithuania free of Jews’ could only have been achieved
through the establishment of a
Rollkommando
the leadership of SS-Obersturmführer
Hamann, who ‘
understood how to secure
cooperation with the Lithuanian partisans
’ e
Einsatzkommando
leader
boasted that ‘the [killing] actions in Kaunas itself, where enough more or less
trained partisans were available, can be viewed as model shootings in contrast to
the enormous diculties which frequently had to be overcome outside the city’.
Jäger’s superior, Walter Stahlecker, wrote as early as October that ‘as long as we
must carry out large-scale executions and pacication actions, the above-
“Partisan troop” [i.e.,
Rollkommando
Hamann] will remain at the side of the
Lithuanian Security and Criminal Police’. e killers would ‘later be deployed
provisionally outside Lithuania in another region [i.e., Belarus] within the opera
tional space’. Despite their initial unsuitability for police tasks, the Germans estab
lished a Latvian auxiliary Security Police unit and an auxiliary Order Police force
when they arrived in Riga in July. In September they appointed new Latvian dis
trict police chiefs, who attended a workshop in Riga that month, where ‘questions
of organization were discussed and guidelines for the treatment of Jews and
Communists were issued’. Finally, in Estonia, the German Security Police force
established an Estonian auxiliary Security Police as well as several police companies
from the Estonian self-defence units, which were ‘deployed in carrying out execu
tions’, as well as in the ‘suppression of Red Army soldiers cut o from their units
and partisan groups which continue to turn up in Estonia’.
LUBLIN AND THE TRAWNIKI MEN
In Lublin District in the General Government, SSPF Globocnik was already at
work developing support units for the proposed SS and police bases in the occu
Black, Gutmann
training camp for the selected POWs. Having been recalled to Lublin at the end of
October 1941,
SS-Hauptsturmführer
Karl Streibel, the former personnel specialist
for the Lublin
Selbstschutz
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
) from their
Nearly 14 per cent—at a minimum—of the entire force trained at Trawniki
Black, Gutmann
Globocnik recommended Streibel’s promotion to
SS-Sturmbannführer
workat Trawniki, where he had established eight companies and an NCO
(non-commissioned ocer) training course for approximately 1,250 men.
Himmler visited Trawniki in July 1942, three months after the conclusion of the
rst Lublin deportation operation and on the eve of the massive Warsaw deporta
tions, he must have felt condent in what he observed. at same evening, he
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
Jaworow was rated ‘especially deserving’ of an award for having served for two
Black, Gutmann
mention hundreds of ‘inferior’ Russians. Like the Security Police auxiliaries in the
it presented ‘very great dangers’. In July 1942, Himmler ordered the chief of the
SS-Führungshauptamt
(SSFHA, SS Operations Main Oce), Hans Jüttner, to
ensure that non-Germans serving in SS legions wore national emblems and not SS
runes on their lapels, for he wanted ‘for all time, to prevent the admission, as a
result of the exigencies of war, of all men who are not, from the strictest percep
tion, qualied to be SS men’.
As late as September 1942, Himmler told SS and
‘racially best’ members of foreign ‘races’ was awed, as these men, perceiving them
selves to be a new national elite, might some day challenge German supremacy.
Nevertheless, the need for manpower induced Himmler to seek permission for the
establishment of an Estonian legion in August 1942 and a Latvian legion on 10
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
February 1943.
By 1944, the Waen-SS had two Latvian divisions, and one
RECRUITMENT OF SLAVS: THE
ULTIMATE COMPROMISE
As reluctant as the Nazi leadership was to establish units of Baltic nationals, they
Black, Gutmann
recruits actually t for service amounted to fewer than 6,000, while protests of the
Croat government and lack of manpower compelled the SS to recruit Catholic
(DAL, German–Arab Training Department), a
unit under the command of Air Force General Hellmuth Felmy and established by
the OKW’s military intelligence department, the
Amt Auslands/Abwehr
. Felmy
recruited Arab students, exiles, and ex-patriates for military and intelligence service
in the Middle East. Intended to accompany the Germans in a victorious march
through the Caucasus into Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, the DAL soldiers remained in
Luhansk (Stalino) until their transfer to Tunis in early 1943. Too late to have any
impact, the performance of the DAL in Tunisia was disappointing: its very pres
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
would negate the racist claim to rule the inferior peoples of the ‘east’. As Himmler
remarked in October 1943:
You can place an individual Russian whom you’ve enticed across the lines in a German
politruk
, a commissar, or a Komsomol boy. He will then drive for
you against his comrades. If you allow the drivers of twenty tanks to sleep in the same
place, you can never know when they will attack their superiors, when they will
Black, Gutmann
anity’ among the Russians; it would ‘instead always generate antipathy’.
ere
is no evidence that his attitude had changed by 1942, or even by 1945.
Himmler was equally hostile in general to arming Russian collaborators and to
Vlasov in particular. When the Minsk
Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei
Regional Commander of the Security Police), Erich Naumann, brought up the
option of engaging potential Russian collaborators in October 1942, Himmler
insisted that the auxiliaries not be given any promises relating to a national state;
they should be content with liberation from Bolshevism and possible improve
Hearing rumours in late winter 1943 about a ‘Russian
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
prepared their own downfall
Contemptuously rejecting the oer of services
from ‘this pig, Vlasov’, Himmler sardonically stated at Pozna a year later that
many geezers [i.e., Wehrmacht ocers and civilian ocials] would like to push a
million-man army into the hands of this man. ey want to furnish this unreliable
guy with weapons and equipment in order to ght against Russia, [but] perhaps also
one day, it would have been very likely—against us.
Condemning the argument—that only Russians could defeat Russia—as ‘the great
danger of the Vlasov movement’ in that it undermined the faith of German sol
diers in their own superiority, Himmler demanded that Vlasovism ‘must be intel
lectually totally annihilated among us, in our own ranks’.
One
Gauleiter
Himmler’s audience, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, remarked in his diary
the following night: ‘It would be the greatest misfortune, if we were to arm tens of
thousands or hundreds of thousands of Russians, even if they stand against
Bolshevism. Without doubt they would rise against us one day.’
Black, Gutmann
Only as the military situation became more desperate in spring 1944 did
Himmler allow himself to be persuaded by d’Alquen and other ocers on his sta
to revisit Vlasov’s ‘Russian Liberation Army’. e
Reichsführer
Racial theory and realities of conquest in the occupied east
enemies, without regard to military, economic, and administrative constraints,
German authorities had to enlist the services of non-Germans in the armed forces
and even in the racially elite SS and police apparatus.
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Claus Bundgård Christensen, Niels Bo Poulsen,
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
SS RACIAL IDEOLOGY AND THE VISION OF
A PANGERMANIC COMMUNITY
e notion of a special Nordic–Germanic race, which was vastly superior to other
supposed more or less ‘subhuman’ races, was a cornerstone of Nazi ideology in
general and of SS ideology in particular. Nevertheless it remained somewhat
unclear how exactly this Nordic–Germanic race was to be dened. From the per
spective of the SS ideologists the most important aspect of race was ‘blood lineage’,
and hence being Germanic was not tantamount to nationality. Although the
dierent nationalities in northern and north-western Europe were generally
regarded as Germanic tribes, individual citizens of these nations might have ‘low
racial qualities’ if their family tree had been ‘tainted’ with blood from other races.
Similarly, persons outside this region might still be viewed as bearers of Germanic
blood and traits. Late in the war, for example, Croats and Ukrainians were described
possessing a considerable proportion of Nordic–Germanic blood.
By no means all Nazi leaders considered this allegedly shared Germanic heritage
to be politically signicant. But in the 1930s and 1940s, the notion that all
Germanic peoples should be united under German leadership ourished in the
SS.In combination with pragmatic and cynical political considerations, this racial
philosophy created widespread interest in making the SS a pan-Germanic organi
zation. Recruiting Germanic volunteers for the Waen-SS became a key element
in this project.
Long-term Germanic ambitions of the SS
important role in dening and implementing Nazi Germany’s policy vis-à-vis the
Germanic countries. One consequence of the poor relationship that had evolved
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, M 53, 274, Division Galizien, An alle deutschen Führer der Division, Abt.
VI, 1 February 1944.
Mark Phillip Gingerich, ‘Toward a Brotherhood of Arms: Waen-SS Recruitment of Germanic
volunteers, 1940–1945’, PhD thesis (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991), 67f. Bernd Wegner,
Hitlers politische Soldaten: Die Waen-SS 1933–1945
(Paderborn, Munich, Vienna, Zurich: Schöningh,
1997), 295. Helmut Krausnick, ‘Hitler und die Morde in Polen. Ein Beitrag zum Konikt zwischen
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
German Ministry of Foreign Aairs.
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
In a similar vein, it appears there were plans for considerable parts of northern
andeastern France to be ceded to Germany after its
Endsieg
and populated by
Germanics.
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
WHO JOINED THE WAFFENSS AND WHY?
Although the original enlistment requirements of the SS were reduced drastically
during the war—and this pertained to the Germanic volunteers as well—
physical and racial limits were upheld. In Denmark and Norway, about 50per
cent of volunteers were deemed acceptable by the SS, thus, in addition to the
6,000 who were enlisted from Denmark, an equal number of volunteers were
For Flanders, the total number of those volunteering (without
necessarily being enlisted) is not known; whereas the Dutch number is estimated
to have been around 30,000.
Considering that there were as many as 25,000
Dutch
volunteers in the Waen-SS and its sub-formations, the rejection rate in
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
volunteering.
Furthermore, a recent study shows that prior to joining the
Waen-SS the majority of Swiss, Swedish, and Danish ocers had developed a
longing for a radical reorganization of the European political, social, and economic
Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging
Vlaams Nationaal Verbonds
(VNV) or other Nazi groupings enlisted in the
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
Although the SS was also able to play the anti-communist card after Operation
‘Barbarossa’, they nevertheless gained footing only in extreme right-wing environ
ments. A report by the
Sicherheitsdienst
(SD, Security Service) in Norway on pop
ular reactions to ‘Barbarossa’ stated that the majority of the population hoped that
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
SS records do not reveal why the recruitment eort was begun in 1938. It could
be explained by the increasingly tense international situation, which made it desir
able to have local allies in the neighbouring countries at the disposal of the SS.
Such men could, for example, be channelled from the Waen-SS to the SD as
agents, or function as local elements in the SS-led occupation administration of
their respective countries.
Following Germany’s occupation of its Germanic neighbours in the spring of
1940, recruitment eorts were extended across the borders, a move apparently
envisioned by Himmler as invasion plans were being made.
On 20 April 1940, a
few weeks after the attack on Denmark and Norway and while ghting was still
going on in Norway, Hitler gave Himmler permission to recruit Scandinavian
volunteers for a new regiment named ‘Nordland’.
On 15 May, only a few days after the launch of the Western Campaign, Gottlob
Berger, the head of the SS
Hauptamt
, pointed out to Himmler that recruitment
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
Scandinavia, Himmler’s recruitment hopes for the ‘Nordland’ Regiment were more
modest. In late April, he issued an order according to which only half of the troops
in a unit were to be Danish or Norwegian, with the other half comprised of German
SS soldiers. e ocer corps was to feature ‘the most apt and impeccable leaders’
among the available Waen-SS ocers.
It is unlikely that this ratio was purely
based on expectations of a low number of recruits. By mixing Germans and
Scandinavians, it would be easier to transform the new non-German soldiers into
‘conscious Germanics and steadfast carriers of Nazi ideology and the idea of a
Germanic Reich’.
Pledging allegiance to Hitler
In August 1940, not only was the rst group of ‘Westland’ recruits sworn in, but
250–300 Danish volunteers arrived in Klagenfurt, the quarters of the 1st ‘Nordland’
Battalion.
Owing to Denmark’s ocial neutrality, these volunteers had been
recruited in secrecy, partly from among the German minority, partly by the Danish
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
SS-Obersturmbannführer
Dr Rudolf Jakobsen, spoke very bluntly about how
Europe was to be restructured under German supremacy. According to the volun
teers, he said that there would be no place for small states in the arena of high-level
politics in Europe, meaning that the smaller Germanic countries would be annexed
to Germany. According to Jakobsen, the leader of the Danish Nazis, Frits Clausen,
would never become the head of an independent state but rather
Gauleiter
Denmark.
Even worse, a high percentage of the enlisted men were evidently
ignorant of the fact that they had enlisted for military service. Supposedly, the
Danish Nazi Party had told its members that their stay in Germany would consist
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
December 1940. e ‘Westland’ and ‘Nordland’ Regiments were incorporated
into this division alongside the ‘Germania’ Regiment.
By summer 1941, however, when the ‘Wiking’ Division deployed to the eastern
front, it had still not developed into a truly pan-Germanic unit. Of the almost
20,000 troops, a mere 1,100 were non-Germans of Germanic origin. e 630
Dutchmen constituted the largest non-German contingent, followed by 290
Norwegians, 216 Danes, one Swiss, and one Swede.
Not only did many recruits
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Regiment in their own battalion with their own ocers, relatively few Germanic
volunteers entered the SS as ocers.
With a view to increasing the number of ocers, in spring 1940 the SS adjusted
the upper age limit for Germanic volunteers to 40 years and removed the rule
barring married men from serving.
Physical restrictions were also amended, and
in April 1941 Himmler established a new SS regiment, ‘Nordwest’, in Hamburg
Standartenführer
Otto Reich, a former concentration camp commander.
is regiment was designed to absorb 2,500 Dutch and Flemish volunteers who
had failed the physical requirements of the SS.
e combination of Dutch and
Flemish men in the same unit was potentially appealing to circles in the two coun
tries who were in favour of a Greater Holland that included not only Flanders but
also the Walloon regions of Belgium and northern France. e cooperation agree
ment with Staf de Clerq’s Flemish Nazi Party, the VNV, which had been against
the recruitment prior to spring 1941, was one reason why it was possible to enlist
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Front
—had not supported the legion; but they reversed their positions once
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
SS runesand ordered to salute by extending their right arms instead of using the
military salute.
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
never gave up his Nazi beliefs and remained a key gure in European neo-Nazi and
fascist milieux after the war.
Local Nazi parties and internal conicts in the legions
While the SS found it expedient to employ local Nazi parties for recruitment pur
poses, this carried the risk of the legions turning into party guards or of the local
partners themselves modulating the intensity of their recruitment eorts as a tactic
for pressuring the Germans into ceding power to them.
Hence in autumn 1941
the SS tightened its control over the legions and streamlined rules and regulations.
is was undertaken formally by means of a memorandum from Himmler dated
6 November 1941
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
in December 1941 at the behest of the CO of the German advisors.
Similarly,
the Free Corps Denmark’s CO Kryssing and the CO of its German training sta,
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Sturmbannführer
Massel, spent the autumn of 1941 in heated clashes until disap
proval on the part of both the SS and of many of the Danish Nazis and DNSAP
members in the corps led to Kryssing’s dismissal and replacement by Schalburg, as
mentioned earlier.
In the Flemish and Dutch legions, it was even more obvious that the German
ocers were there to do more than merely ‘oer advice’. Owing to a shortage of
volunteer ocers, the Germans were given actual command positions, such as
those of company and even legion commander. e German CO of the Dutch
Legion in particular distinguished himself by alienating the men; and an accident
in which a German company commander shot a Dutch sentry hardly improved
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
to be Germanied as soon as possible’.
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
losses, in combination with demobilization and illness, quickly exceeded the num
ber of available replacement troops. By June 1942, the Flemish Legion had been
reduced to three ocers, twenty-six non-commissioned ocers (NCOs), and 288
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
SS corps formations instead of deploying enlisted Germanic troops to anti-partisan
eorts in the rear area, which, militarily speaking, seemed less important at
Germanics from other countries
In September 1942, a Danish journalist suggested the establishment of an Icelandic
SS legion. He forecast that 300–400 men could be recruited for the unit in
Denmark, Germany, and Norway.
Although such a unit never materialized, a
limited number of men from Iceland did serve in the Waen-SS, as did Germanics
from the Faroe Islands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. While no special
units were established based on these nationalities, the SS did form a British Free
Corps. e idea of assembling a unit of British fascists for deployment on the east
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
theScandinavian and Dutch volunteers.
However, the Brits were not very keen
on combat and managed to talk their way out of ‘the nal battle against Bolshevism’.
In the last days of the war, most of them performed duties such as trac regula
tion, truck driving, and assisting refugees.
e 3rd (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps
By February 1943, plans to dismantle the legions and assemble all the Germanic
volunteers in one corps had reached an advanced stage, and the order to proceed
was issued in early March.
In the following months, the legions were withdrawn
from the front, and most of the men assembled on the large military drill grounds
in Grafenwöhr in southern Germany. During the summer of 1943, two new vol
unteer units were established: the
SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division
‘Nordland
SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Brigade ‘Nederland’
. Since less
was decided that the two ‘Nordland’ Regiments should bear the names ‘Norway’
and ‘Denmark’, and that the majority of men from the two countries be assembled
in their rst battalions. e Flemish volunteers, on the other hand, were not
included in the ‘Nederland’ Brigade in order to avoid stimulating dreams of a
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
a division, this recruitment process was far from lling the ranks. Consequently,
the 3rd (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps signed on about 8,000
Volksdeutsche
from
Romania.
By December 1943, the ‘Nordland’ Division consisted of 5,900
Volksdeutsche
Reichsdeutsche
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
occasion, an entire non-German Germanic unit—‘Nederland’
Landsturm
engaged the Western Allies. Despite assurances that the ‘Nederland’
Landsturm
related to the fact that they were genuine volunteers as opposed to many other
Waen-SS troops. e fact that the Germanic volunteers—despite their disputes
with the Germans—generally had a high standing in the SS racial hierarchy and
were regularly promoted and acquired positions of trust within the SS system
ensured a certain solidarity with the SS throughout the war. It should be noted,
however, that the Swedes had one of the highest desertion rates in the SS. Although
this meant very little in the big picture owing to their low numbers—there were
fewer than 200 active Swedish Waen-SS men—it serves as a reminder that aban
doning a lost cause was an option for even truly political soldiers, as many of the
Swedes undoubtedly were. e Swedes primarily deserted while on leave; the risk
of having to account for their desertion was almost non-existent once they were
back in Sweden.
Germanic volunteers from the occupied countries did not have
the same option, although some crossed the border to Sweden or Switzerland.
What motivated them to ght, apart from solidarity with the SS, was partly fear of
punishment for desertion, and partly their awareness that they could expect harsh
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
A number of sources link Germanic SS soldiers directly to such killings. As early
as the beginning of July 1941 a Dutch soldier in ‘Wiking’ Division recorded with
approval in his diary that his colleagues spent their o-duty time ‘killing Jews’.
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
As late as 2013 a former Norwegian soldier in ‘Wiking’ Division, Olav Tu,
testied how on one occasion in the autumn of 1941 his unit massacred the
inhabitants of a village on the eastern front by herding them all into a church and
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
Copenhagen, thus making it easier to locate the addresses of the victims. In other
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
THE GERMANIC OFFICER CORPS
It is interesting to observe that the number of enlisted ocers varied considerably
only ‘after an adequate education’.
And in a memorandum dated 6 November
1941 about the legions, Himmler emphasized that, as a rule, men with military
backgrounds could count on obtaining the same ranks as they would have in their
and integrative element. is, too, was a matter of long-term planning and estab
lishing cadres to be used in future political work in order to win over respective
populaces for the pan-Germanic cause.
A number of special courses were thus created for the Germanic ocers, primar
SS-Junkerschule
in Bad Tölz, that among other things stipulated that
candidates be given additional time during examinations owing to their inferior
German-language skills.
By early 1944, more than 500 Germanic volunteers
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
lower-rank Germanic ocers.
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
hesitant about the pan-Germanic project.
e SS also opposed the Flemish and
Christensen, Poulsen, Smith
Germanic volunteers from northern Europe
inwestern and northern Europe occurred primarily in France, and even then only
in a few instances.
e general rule stipulated that the civilian population was
to be treated well, since they would eventually form a community with the German
people. us Danish volunteers on leave in Denmark were reminded that the cul
tural level of their people was high; and in December 1944, Himmler instructed
the Essen area HSSPF Karl Gutenberger to ensure that the evacuation of 70,000
Dutch refugees would be implemented according to the following formula: ‘Treat
Western and southern Europe
e cases of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece
Georgios Antoniou, Philippe Carrard, Stratos Dordanas, Carlo Gentile,
Christopher Hale, and Xosé M. Núñez Seixas
INTRODUCTION
CHRISTOPHER HALE
On 10 June 1944, soldiers of the SS ‘Das Reich’ Division infamously murdered
642 unarmed civilians, men, women, and children in the French village of
Oradour-sur-Glane. e entire community was destroyed. Nine years later, some
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
served on the Russian front, where he had won the Iron Cross. At the conclusion
of the trial, the unrepentant Roos was sentenced to death. His fellow Alsatians
received long sentences of hard labour.
e trial verdicts provoked outrage in Alsace and nationwide discomfort with
the punishment of fellow Frenchmen who were widely regarded as hapless vic
malgré-nous
. General de Gaulle lamented that the outcome of the trial
was the ‘iniction of bitter injury to national unity’. Within a year, the French
National Assembly passed an amnesty bill and all the Alsatians—with the excep
tion of Roos—were released.
e Oradour massacre and its bitter legal aftermath reveal tantalizing glimpses
into the paradoxes of German army and Waen-SS recruitment. e murderous
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
FRANCE
PHILIPPE CARRARD
From the LVF to the ‘Charlemagne’: French volunteers
on the eastern front
One of the most striking moments in Marcel Ophuls’s celebrated documentary
lm about the period of the German occupation in France during the Second
World War,
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
in Paris, which had received with enthusiasm the news of Germany’s attack on the
USSR on 22 June. Half-heartedly supported by Vichy and the German govern
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
degree was their anti-Bolshevism concomitant with anti-Semitism, and what
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
57 and 58, each comprising three companies), the ‘Charlemagne’ was sent to
Pomerania in late February 1945. Poorly equipped, without artillery or air sup
port, it was crushed by the Red Army’s second White Russian front in such places
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
ntoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
were prepared to go one step further and actually ght with the Germans on the
eastern front.¹²
e nature of collaboration
While historians who have studied the military collaboration disagree about the
exact value of the French volunteers’ contribution to Germany’s war eorts, they
ow the concept of ‘accommodation’ from Philippe Burrin,
La France à l’heure allemande,
(Paris: Seuil, 1995), 183.

Giolitto,
Volontaires français
, 74–5.


bid., 392–4.


bid., 77–8, 97–8.
¹

n this point, see Chapter8 in one of the most valuable testimonies written by French
olunteers, Eric Labat’s
Les Places étaient chères
(Paris: La Table Ronde, 1969), 424–526.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

protected as ‘game for the Reich’.
Cultural problems were of a dierent type
at the SS’s ‘Haus Germanien’ school in Hildesheim. e writer and journalist
Saint-Loup, who was there to edit the French SS magazine
Devenir
, reports that
the ocer who was responsible for supervising the volunteers’ publications did not
tolerate the inclusion of humorous texts, especially of cartoons. e SS, according
to him, were teachers in charge of a ‘physical ideal’, and they could not accept the
‘grotesque representation of the human person’ that came with caricatures. Augier
was thus guilty of ‘not understanding the SS spirit’, and more generally of not
realizing that adopting the values of that corps implied giving up French cultural
habits, even highly prized ones like taunting and badgering one another.
Relations
n these acts of indiscipline, see the testimonies of the Bavarian journalist and politician Franz
Schönhuber, who was at Wildecken as a translator (
Ich war dabei
(Munich: Langen Müller, 1981),
117), and of the French volunteer Gilbert Gilles (
Un ancien Waen-SS français raconte
(Clearwater, FL:
Gold Mail International, 1989), vol. 1, 112–19).

Saint-Loup,
Götterdämmerung: ou Rencontre avec la Bête (Témoignage, 1944–1945)

, ‘ree Kinds of Collaboration’, 139–40.

téphane Audoin-Rouzeau, ‘Vers une histoire culturelle de la Première Guerre mondiale’,
Vingtième Siècle

OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
ntoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Russian army, sought to ee. e memoirs, again, oer gripping pictures of the
panic that reigned in north-eastern Germany at the time, as well as of the unlikely
Motivations
George Mosse, in his work on war experience, has asked why people would ‘rush
to the colors’, that is, why they would volunteer to join an army when no conscrip
tion forced them to do so.
is haste to enlist, Müller observes, is especially
rance during World War II.
Indeed,
Germany had for more than one century been viewed in France as the hereditary
enemy, and this enemy was occupying the homeland at the time. Why, then,
would thousands of Frenchmen choose to team up with the Germans, instead, if
they were striving for action, of entering the Resistance or the Free French Forces?
Asking those samequestions, historians of France’s military collaboration have
suggested that the volunteers enlisted for dierent reasons. We do have evidence
that explains this paradox—and provides insights into the role and signicance of
Investigating the LVF, Giolitto submits that members of extremist organizations
such as Doriot’s PPF and Deloncle’s MSR enrolled to assert their political beliefs;
fervent Catholics, to defend Christian civilization; some career soldiers, to show
what the French army was capable of; unemployed or poorly compensated people,
eorge Mosse, ‘Rushing to the Colors: On the History of Volunteers in War’, in Hedva BenIsrael
and Yehoshua Arieli (eds.),
Religion, Ideology, and Nationalism in Europe and America: Essays Presented
in Honor of Yehoshua Arieli

Müller,
An der Seite der Wehrmacht

Giolitto,
Volontaires français
, chapter ‘Des “soldats perdus”’, 61–84.

bid., 339–40, 353–62.
²

OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

political soldiers’ have several representatives among the memoirists, and they tend
to be of the learned type. ey came from Doriot’s PPF and Deloncle’s MSR, but
also from the small, ‘anti-conformist’ parties that had proliferated in France in the
1930s and from recently created organizations, such as Châteaubriant’s
Groupe
Collaboration
Centres Ruraux de la Jeunesse
Milice
. e journalist Alfred Leverrier, for instance, states that as an ‘avowed
fascist’ he felt obligated to ‘put his money where his mouth was’ and go to ght in
the USSR with the LVF.
Similarly, commenting upon his decision and that of his
fellow
Miliciens
to enrol in the Waen-SS, the history professor Léon Gaultier
writes that the point was to make one’s actions agree with one’s beliefs, that is, to
ed Leverrier,
C’était dans l’horreur d’une profonde nuit




aris: Arctic, 2007), 28, 32. is
title, the rst line of the celebrated ‘dream monologue’ in Racine’s
Athalie
, is typical of the way several
French volunteers aunt their cultural background.

aultier,

ierre Rostaing,
Le Prix d’un serment
(Paris: La Table Ronde, 1975), 15.

OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
ntoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
asserts, was to show that the rout of 1940 was an accident, as French soldiers were
ae Victis
ou deux ans dans la LVF
(Paris: La Jeune Parque, 1948), 8.

bid., 130.


ession is Mosse’s, ‘Rushing to the Colors’, 181.

acques Auvray,
Les derniers grognards
(Lyon: Irminsul, 1999), 8.

azière,
Le Rêveur casqué
(Paris: Laont, 1972), 44.

é Bayle,
Des Jeux olympiques à la Waen-SS
(Paris: Lore, 2008), 58.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

erge Mit traces his decision to join the Waen-SS to the lure both of that organ
ization and of Germany generally speaking: ‘What aren’t people standing in line
saying about the Waen-SS? ey kill, they rape, they have the power of life and




. And it will pay dearly.’³ However simplistic,
the reasons the volunteers give for ghting ‘Bolshevism’ are still political, as they
imply the rejection of a system and the attempt to suppress it. In this regard, they
dier from the reasons given by other actors in the war, beginning with some
high-ranking members of the military. German generals such as Guderian and von
Manstein, for instance, as Smelser and Davies point out, focus almost exclusively
on ‘operational questions’ when they relate their campaigns, and they do not
explain how they found themselves in a war ‘of conquest and annihilation’, that is,
in a war that was as political as there ever has been.
As the volunteers use clichés to justify their hostility to the USSR, they explain
their endorsement of a new ‘Europe’ in a language that is equally formulaic: ‘We
are at a turning point of history. I feel European. France must abandon her nation
alism and accept to be integrated into a larger European organization, following
the example of Germany’;
erge Mit,
Carcasse à vendre
(Paris: L’Homme Libre, 2001 [1950]), 9.

Rostaing,
Le Prix

uoted in Michelle Cotta,
La Collaboration
(Paris, Armand Colin, 1964), 107.

onald Smelser and Edward J. Davies,

ierre Rusco,
Stoï: Quarante mois de combat sur le front russe
(Paris: Avalon, 1988), 17.

ierre-Henri Dupont,
Au temps des choix héroïques
(Paris: L’Homme libre, 2002), 189.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
ntoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
inwhich France has a place, with a signicant role to play if she so wants.’
Ladenwith slogans, these statements are nevertheless instructive insofar as they
designate as the enemy not just Communism, but ‘Jewish-American plutocracy’:
the crusade against Bolshevism is also a campaign against ‘Anglo-American liberal
ism’, or more broadly against ‘Westernism,’ as Gutmann puts it in his analysis of

olunteers.

’ objectives exactly com
prised. If the new system could be neither capitalist, nor communist, what would
be its social and economic structure? And how, from a political, administrative
standpoint, would the new Europe be redesigned? e only memoirist to oer a
specic, though admittedly utopian, plan is Saint-Loup, who claims that the
progressivist’ theorists running the SS school at Hildesheim wanted to build a
borderless, decentralized Europe that would extend from the Atlantic to the Urals.
is plan, according to Saint-Loup, eliminated nation-states, replacing them with
uoted in Cotta,
La Collaboration

artin Gutmann, ‘Debunking the Myth of the Volunteers: Transnational Volunteers in the
Nazi Waen-SS Ocer Corps during the Second World War’,
Contemporary European History

Saint-Loup,
Götterdämmerung


Saint-Loup,
Götterdämmerung

hilippe Burrin,
Nazisme, autoritarisme, fascisme
(Paris: Seuil, 2000), 271. On this point, see
Wallonia, Luxembourg, Alsace, Lorraine, as well as the industrial areas of northern and eastern France
(about 50,000 square km) were to be annexed to the Greater German Reich in post-war Europe.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

olvement would not have secured for their country a place in the Nazis’
ne of the several volunteers who mention this statement is Bayle,
Des Jeux olympiques à la
Waen-SS

ophisticated studies of Italians in the SS remain rare. e now dated study by Ricciotti Lazzero,
(Milan: Rizzoli, 1981), is defective and confused. Equally unsatisfactory is an uncritical

e on the history of the RSI is endless. On the partisan war, see: Carlo Gentile,
Wehrmacht
und Waen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943–1945
(Paderborn: Schöningh, 2012).
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
ntoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
istorian Lutz Klinkhammer, the chief characteristic of RSI fascism was a mixture
of a regime of terror and an oer to cooperate with Italian non-fascist nationalists.
Although this second component made it possible to achieve partial consensus
within the bourgeois camp itself, the RSI became largely sustainable by stang
important positions in the administration, police, and army with extremists, who
pushed representatives of the traditional elites to the margins. is was of decisive
importance for the gradual escalation of partisan and civil war, which claimed
Zwischen Bündnis und Besatzung
(Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1993).

Kurze Geschichte des italienischen Faschismus
(Berlin: Wagenbach, 1998), 177f.


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estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

ermans for any personal advantages, but rather out of a sense of duty and
camaraderie. He suggested organizing an ‘information oce’ for the Germans

emite Giovanni Pestalozza, a future ocial in the RSI Interior Ministry’s desk for
Demography and Race, denounced dozens of Jews and Freemasons in September
1943 and volunteered as a liaison ocer to the SS. Even the wife of Benito
Mussolini turned to the German police to have a priest—who had delivered ser
mons against fascism—arrested and deported to Dachau concentration camp.
squadre speciali
—semi-legal
police units—emerged, which, under German leadership and largely freed from
the inuence of Italian state power, conducted operations against the resistance
movement on behalf of the German Security Police and SD. Presenting themselves
as ‘interrogation specialists’, they tortured and killed prisoners, and hunted down
Jews and their property. Two such groups were particularly infamous: the
Banda
Carità
, a division active in Florence (later in Parma and Padua), and the
Squadra
Koch
in Rome (and subsequently in Milan). Both operated within the framework
of the Security Police.
Italians in the Waen-SS
Even before the nal escalation of civil war in northern Italy, hundreds of Italians
had volunteered to ght in the German Wehrmacht and SS on various fronts.
Some of them had a political and ideological anity with the Nazi cause, while
others were selected mainly for their professional training, their special knowledge
and skills, as well as for their experience in servicing military equipment and vehi
cles. We can see this clearly in the example of the Italians who served in the
SS-Panzergrenadierdivision ‘Reichsführer’
, the predecessor of the division that, in
Corsica in the summer of 1943, captured militia soldiers from Florence and took
them on as volunteers. ere they served as lorry drivers and medics, as did Italians
in other divisions. It is worth noting, however, that they were full-status SS men,
SS-Unterscharführer
Giovanni Curnis from
Bergamo or
SS-Sturmmann
Mario Macchiavelli from Firenzuola. A good dozen
undesarchiv-Militärarchiv (BA-MA), RH 26–76/51, Report by Domenico Odasso, 11
September 1943.

stituto friulano per la storia del movimento di liberazione (IFSML), Udine, Fondo III battagli
one SS Polizei Regiment 12, Lagebericht, 9 December 1943.

entile, ‘Intelligence e repressione politica. Appunti per la storia del servizio di informazioni
SD in Italia 1940–1945’, in P. Ferrari and A. Massignani (eds.):
Conoscere il nemico. Apparati di intel
ligence e modelli culturali nella storia contemporanea
(Milan: Angeli, 2010).

vidence of individual cases can be found in Bundesarchiv-Zentralnachweisstelle, RH 7 A/1385,
EK-Verleihung an Italienern 1944–1945. For example, Italians served in the ‘Leibstandarte’, ‘Das
Reich’, ‘Totenkopf’, ‘Polizei’, and ‘Prinz Eugen’ Divisions. Many more Italians can also be shown to
have served in German Order Police units, army and Luftwae.
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Italian SS men can be identied in the records. ey came largely from northern
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
east than on the ‘Germanic’ units of the Waen-SS, i.e. on the model of the SS
units recruited from ‘alien’ volunteers who were in the main ‘unsuitable’ for the SS.
ese units were referred to using the term ‘
Waen-Miliz/Milizia Armata
members wore Italian uniforms with the insignia of the Waen-SS and a red base
colour.
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Turin, and assembled into a volunteer Italian SS legion. It became evident very
early on that the original plans were not realizable and that the goals had to be
scaled back. Owing to manpower shortages, two storm brigades were to be created
but even this goal turned out to be just as impossible, so
that in the end only a single brigade was created, bearing the title
Waen-Grenadier-
Brigade der SS (Italienische Nr. 1)
. e original personnel had declined by more
than half by the autumn of 1944. e recruitment of volunteers proved to be a
failure. In the last autumn of the war, the brigade counted just 4,000 men.
Waen-Grenadier-Division
happened in February 1945) was to extract propaganda value and keep the last
volunteers in line.
e operational history of these units is largely well known. e earliest records
of the participation of Italian SS units in partisan suppression date from
December1943. ese were all minor exercises that were largely conducted by
small units and commandos in support of German forces in Piedmont. e rst
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
police ocers (e.g. the task force under the leadership of Friedrich Noweck, an
SS-Hauptsturmführer
Schutzpolizei
, the Security Police). eir
units had only local signicance, since by this time their troop strength had already
declined considerably. Even in Piedmont their troops represented only one of
many elements out of which the SS and police commanders’ combat forces were
e most important undertakings during this period bore code names such as
‘Bayreuth’, ‘Nachtigall’, and ‘Strasburg’. While the number of troops deployed was
considerable, the dicult terrain favoured their opponents, who could usually
evade the attacks without serious losses. All of these actions caused several hundred
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
In summary, we can say that the Italian SS units developed as back-up troops
and were consistently used as such. Anti-partisan missions were the rule and their
brief deployment to the front south of Rome was the exception. is led to a situ
ation in which numerous disillusioned idealists took their leave. e 1st Italian
Brigade’s operational capacity was not threatened by this development until the
autumn of 1944. However, the Italian SS fought hard against the partisans. ey
tortured and killed captured partisans and terrorized the population. is was par
ticularly the case in Piedmont, where the focal point of their activity lay. However,
with the exception of Balangero and Quota, their area did not see such horric
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
commanders had already served as ocers in the First World War and were old
of the fascist movement. General Piero Mannelli (the inspector of the SS
volunteer recruitment programme in 1944) had participated in the Fiume adven
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
81st Regiment. He survived the war, and spent the summer of 1945 in the infa
mous Coltano POW camp near Pisa.
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
At the beginning of September 1944, two companies of Spanish soldiers left
Königsberg for the Hollabrunn and Stockerau barracks, near Vienna. Shortly
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
‘Spanish National Socialism’, independent of the Falangist Party and of the Franco
regime.
e last Spanish soldiers to serve the ird Reich may be considered a
marginal phenomenon, a group of adventurers that included thieves, murderers,
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
arms and later continued with our work’.
e Basque Falangist José Ignacio
Imaz, who was at that time a medical volunteer at a hospital in Braunschweig, said
in December 1944, while ‘raising my arm’ in a Fascist salute, that he saw in the
National Socialist pages of
Enlace
that ‘there are still true Falangists: long live the
Old Guard!’
ere were even some isolated cases of former Spanish Republican
Army soldiers who, after experiencing French labour camps during 1939–40 and
later years of forced labour in Germany, expressed that they had been convinced by
the ‘social revolutionary orientation’ of National Socialism. us, Adolfo González
Almenara wrote that he saw in the ird Reich the ‘real Fatherland’ of all workers,
in contrast with the disappointment that he felt upon entering France in 1939.
Faith in the ‘Europeanist’ propaganda of the ird Reich, and a belief in the
project of a New Order, seemed to be more than just slogans for many Spanish
volunteers. is was surely the case with David Gómez, who had crossed France
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
All these examples suggest that even the most fanatical Spanish soldiers, who
fought as volunteers in the Wehrmacht and Waen-SS during the nal desperate
months of the war, did it for the same principles that had motivated many of them
eight years before. In fact, some of the volunteers who were subscribers to
Enlace
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
as to request that the Greek authorities dissolve the Organization of National
Socialists in Greece. e Germans were not wrong in supposing that collaboration
with a minority group in essaloniki at this early stage would incite acts of resist
ance. As it happened, the leftist resistance movement in the city made its rst
e National Archives, Public Record Oce (PRO), FO 371/48257/3403: ‘Brief Summary of
Crimes Committed by E.L.A.S. in the Kilkis District’, No. 1. See also Stratos N. Dordanas, ‘I pio
“megali imera” tou katochikou emfyliou polemou stin kentriki Makedonia: I machi tou Kilkis’,
See following section.
Stratos N. Dordanas,
Ellines enantion Ellinon. O Kosmos ton Tagmaton Asfaleias stin Katochiki
(essaloniki: Epikentro Publishers, 2005), 439–514.
Hagen Fleischer,
Stemma kai Svastika. I Ellada tis Katochis kai tis Antistasis, 1941–1944
(Athens:
Papazisis, 1995), vol. 1, 118–25 and in particular 121.
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
attacks against the National Socialist Party’s headquarters and Poulos’s private res
idence in response to his pro-German actions.
In Athens, the National Socialist Patriotic Organization (ESPO), headed by the
medical doctor Spyros Sterodimas, suered a similar fate. ESPO’s founding mem
bers before the war had been anti-Semites and fascists, and, from 1942 onwards,
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 15/11/16, SPi
estern and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece

der to the Greek countryside by having these battalions engage in military oper
ations against the communist resistance ghters and their supporters.¹³²
e Germans partly accepted Rallis’s plan and approved his proposals only for
southern Greece. us, in June 1943, three battalions were equipped by the
Wehrmacht; their members were ardent anti-communists and pledged total obedi
ence to the occupation regime of the collaborationist government of Athens. In
addition, besides the government forces, volunteer units, the infamous Security
Battalions, began to be formed in the Peloponnese, as well as in central and south
ern Greece.
e leaders of these groups requested arms and equipment from the
Germans in order to ght the communist insurgents. Within six months, well over
4,000 men had enlisted to ght the leftist guerrillas of ELAS: 150 men in Euboea,
900 volunteers in Laconia, and 1,000 in Patras (the latter two in the Peloponnese),
and about 2,200 men in the government regiments.¹³
e German High Command had a very specic role for all the dierent types
of armed units referred to above, irrespective of the reasons why each had agreed to
collaborate with the occupiers. According to Alexander Löhr, Commander-in-
Chief of Army Group E (
Heeresgruppe
E) and in charge of operations in Greece,
the aim was for the anti-communist section of the Greek population to take up
arms against ELAS.
eorgios Rallis (ed.),
O Ioannis Rallis omilei ek tou tafou
(Athens: Papanikolaou, 1947), 58–9.


Dordanas,
Ellines enantion Ellinon
, 40–1.


bid., 39–40.
¹³

agen Fleischer, ‘Deutsche “Ordnung” in Griechenland, 1941–1944’, in Hagen Fleischer and
Loukia Droulia (eds.),
Von Lidice bis Kalavryta. Widerstand und Besatzungsterror. Studien zur
Repressalienpraxis im Zweiten Weltkrieg

aios Kalogrias,
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
prime source of recruitment of armed volunteers who were then placed under
German command and involved in the operations against the ELAS guerrillas.
In northern Greece, the recruitment of nationalist volunteers took on an even
larger dimension. Under the orders of the Salonika–Aegean Military Commander,
Poulos began recruiting men for his volunteer battalion from both urban and rural
areas. e battalion was inducted into the Wehrmacht and wore its uniform. is
particular voluntary unit came under the jurisdiction of military law that protected
the German army against attacks from third parties and any other criminal acts.
Apart from being the only voluntary battalion in Greece that wore the German
uniform, it was also equipped with arms that came directly from the German
military warehouses. e sole purpose of this unit was to ght against the ‘gangs
ofcommunists’, which in essence meant taking part in the German military
anti-resistance operations in the countryside. us, after a short stationing in
essaloniki performing police duties, the ‘Poulos’
Verband
—as they were
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
Why were they ghting against their compatriots on the side of the Nazis, usually
with German weapons, in German uniform, and under German command?
Motivations and scope of armed collaboration: a mass
movementoramarginal phenomenon?
In the autumn and winter of 1943–4, the Turkish-speaking refugee populations of
central and western Macedonia (who had come to Greece in 1922–3 as expellees
from Turkey) formed the Greek Volunteer Army (EES), which numbered some
8,000 men. is formation was equipped with light weapons and participated in
military operations with the German army and the SS. Also with German assist
ance, it armed villages, turning them into forts and creating militias aimed to
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
reatened by arrest and execution by the leftist resistance he ed to Kozani, where
he received support from the Nazis. From the summer of 1943 he became a
ferocious avenger against pro-leftist civilians and a key local auxiliary for the
Germans.
e size of the volunteer formations continued to increase. In Macedonia, by
the summer of 1944, there were thirteen dierent formations of volunteers under
German command consisting of 16,625 ocers and soldiers. Almost half of these
(8,000) were refugees mainly from the rural areas of central and western Macedonia
who had been armed by the Germans specically to ght against ELAS.
In southern Greece the Security Battalions reached a strength of 2,000 ocers
and soldiers, while in central Greece and the Peloponnese, nine
Evzone
Battalions
composed of 5,724 men had been created. Added to these were 3,370 soldiers and
gendarmes who had been organized into ve Gendarmerie Battalions, primarily
operating in the Peloponnese. ese units reached a peak of 25,000–30,000 men,
which was a force not signicantly smaller than that of the ELAS partisans
e already mentioned voluntary ‘Poulos’
Verband
in northern Greece, with a
total of roughly 350 men, was a unique case. More than any other volunteers, who
often tried to advance their own political objectives, Poulos was fanatically devoted
to National Socialism. A fervent anti-communist and anti-Semite, he was fully
committed to ghting for the victory of the Reich until the very end, both inside
and outside Greece. e extent of his fanaticism disturbed the Germans, who
found that it hindered rather than helped their propaganda purposes. e articles
Poulos wrote were so blatant in their praise of Hitler and the ird Reich that the
Germans feared that their publication would in fact produce the exact opposite
Nevertheless, they were very willing to use him in
their operations against the resistance ghters, even though they were taken aback
by the random brutality of his men.
Poulos and Kollaras, in terms of their socio-professional backgrounds, repre
sented two fundamentally dierent types of collaborators, the urban and the rural.
While hatred for communism and communists, fear of German reprisals, or even
revenge for the ELAS oensives, were what pushed many to volunteer, the geo
graphical background made a huge dierence in terms of the volunteers’ proles
and future aspirations.
Urban volunteers often had a professional background in the armed forces,
mainly the army, the police, or the gendarmerie. is group of individuals received
much pressure from the beginning of the Axis occupation from all rival powers,
with limited options to respond freely. As a middle- to high-ranking army or police
On the eve of liberation he was captured and imprisoned by the leftists, only to be liberated by
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
ocer you could only ee to the Middle East (with the danger of being caught and
executed); stay at home (with the danger of being executed by the resistance for not
cooperating with them, or being arrested/executed by the Axis forces as suspected
of working with the resistance); join the leftist or right-wing resistance forces (the
latter—the more obvious choice for many ocers—was not active in all areas, thus
further limiting the options); or join the collaboration forces. is last option was
chosen in many cases by the failure or non-availability of the previous alternatives.
With the escalation of civil war during the occupation, the options further dwin
dled to two: ght either with or against ELAS. As most ocers were staunchly
anti-communist the only way to resist the communist threat was to join their main
rival: the Security Battalions.
Rural volunteers, by contrast, often came from areas with strong religious and
nationalistic beliefs. is group was prevalent in northern Greece, where the future
of the Greek part of Macedonia was their main political concern (the fear of seces
sion was of immense importance for their actions). Often the volunteers had been
refugees from Asia Minor, and notably from Pontus. e coexistence of these peo
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
Strangely enough, as the day of liberation from German occupation approached,
more and more people rushed to take up arms against ELAS, provoking an ever-
escalating cycle of violence. e Germans played a decisive role in these develop
ments. In the last months of the occupation, German propaganda suggested that
the communists would kill anyone whom they considered an enemy. Under this
state of terror and the threat of being arrested or forcibly armed by the Germans,
many were left with little or no choice but to take up arms against the communist
partisans.
Both the volunteer battalions and the government regiments were formed on a
wide basis: anti-communism, fear, a thirst for revenge, politics, anti-Semitic ideol
ogy, as well as personal self-interest. e war had opened up a broad window of
opportunity: increasing one’s wealth by taking a share of the war booty from urban
operations, such as the looting of Jewish properties; at the same time, it was an
adventure and an escape from the reality of hunger and deprivation. Other plausi
ble reasons as to why the Security Battalions attracted volunteers are the provision
of food, clothing, medical care, a regular stipend, and the provision of some kind
of assistance to the volunteers’ families. In addition, the Germans had given rela
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
operational capacity to restore a state of so-called ‘peace’ as they could not eec
tively deal with the rebels, owing largely to a lack of forces and a collapse in morale.
As a way of plugging the gap in ‘order and security’ they in eect had to give
greater powers to the Security Battalions, which automatically resulted in reinforc
ing the cycle of violence that had begun almost a year previously when the rst
signs of the internal Greek conict appeared. Until the end of the foreign occupa
Antoniou, Carrard, Dordanas, Gentile, Hale, Núñez Seixas
managed to become members of parliament and in turn rewarded their supporters
by oering political support and protection where necessary.
e anti-communist semi-democratic regime that prevailed in Greece in the
following years promoted even rank and le collaborators as an integral part of the
para-state mechanism involved in illegal political activities (such as intimidation
and bullying of the pro-leftist citizens) which were the perfect cover for the former
Western and southern Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
toboth expediency and ideology. But while ideological motivation was one impor
tant source for the mobilization of non-Germans within Himmler’s Waen-SS,
opportunism, adventurism, or simply the hope for a place in a German-dominated
post-war Europe also have to be taken into account, thus reecting wider patterns
that can be identied throughout Europe at the time.
e Baltic States
Auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers from Estonia,
Matthew Kott, Arnas Bubnys, and Ülle Kraft
INTRODUCTION
Ever since the days of the original medieval
Drang nach Osten
Baltikum
exerted a strong pull on the imagination of those representatives of Germandom
who saw it as a part of east-central Europe ripe for colonization and annexing to
the German cultural, economic, and political sphere.
During the military occupation by Wilhelmine Germany during World War I,
these visions again gained currency in certain circles. Various plans were formu
lated for the transfer of German colonists to what were viewed as under-utilized
Baltic lands, particularly Courland in western Latvia.
Some of these initiatives
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
Ostministerium
continued to play a limited role in the formulation of race
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
more ‘Polonized’ Lithuanians more generally) or the most politically problematic
groups (such as the nationalist intelligentsia). e remainder (ca. 50 per cent in
Estonia and Latvia, but just 15 per cent in Lithuania) would be ‘Germanized’.
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
e emphasis here is thus not traditional assimilation through the adoption of
German language and culture (
Eindeutschung
ulace into racial Germanics (
Germanisierung
e German occupation regime in the Baltic States recruited by various means
a wide array of dierent military, paramilitary, and policing structures. ese
ranged from full eld divisions of the Waen-SS and units of the auxiliary police
Hilfspolizei
Selbstschutz
), to anti-aircraft
Flakhelfer
batteries—made up from
conscripted boys and girls late in the war—and largely unarmed construction
battalions (
Bau-Bataillone
). Most were created under the auspices of the SS, but
some were part of the Wehrmacht or the Reich Labour Service. ere were local
auxiliary units of the Security Police, some of which, such as the infamous
Sonderkommando
Arjs
, were instrumental in the Holocaust
and other crimes against humanity. Even though the integrational nature of the SS
meant that such murder squads were often eventually incorporated into front-line
Waen-SS units, this chapter will primarily focus on the militarized units of the
Waen-SS proper, and the police battalions that preceded them in combat at the
front. e Holocaust, in which locally recruited units of Baltic nationals have a
prominent place, will thus be dealt with only in passing in this chapter.
MILITARY COLLABORATION: CRUSADE AGAINST
BOLSHEVISM AND NATIONALIST AGENDAS
e idea of a pan-European ‘Crusade against Bolshevism’ under the leadership
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
by subverting the nationalists’ ambitions into serving long-term SS aims for a
racial reordering of eastern Europe as envisioned in the evolving
Generalplan Ost
What local nationalists sought to oer the Germans were soldiers for the ght
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
had distinguished itself in the struggle against partisans and the Red Army. ey
denied any participation in the Holocaust. e
Lithuanian Encyclopaedia
was published in the USA starting in 1953, claimed that the Jews were shot by
German Gestapo agents dressed in Lithuanian police uniforms, former commu
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
varied. ere is no doubt that at least ten battalions were involved. ese battalions
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
Hitler-Jugend
Bund Deutscher Mädel
Umsiedlung
, whereby the Baltic Germans
had been ‘repatriated’ from Estonia and Latvia—conceded by Germany as part of
, the paramilitary wing of the NSDAP.
Ibid., 32.
Cf. recruitment advertisement reproduced in Kadiis (ed.),
Ms apsdzam
Myllyniemi,
Die Neuordnung
, 169–75; Jüngerkes,
Deutsche Besatzungsverwaltung
Bernd Wegner,
Hitlers politische Soldaten: Die Waen-SS 1933–1945. Leitbilder, Struktur und
Funktion einer nationalsozialistischen Elite
, 7th edn (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2006), 40f., 62.
Emberland and Kott,
Himmlers Norge
Freikorps
volunteer units were
active 1918–20 in anti-Bolshevik and anti-non-German combat in Germany, Poland, and the Baltic
region.
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
Estonians or Latvians. Even their use in propaganda aimed at the Baltic peoples
was undesirable, according to Himmler.
In 1943, Kroeger was sent to Paris to head the recruitment oce of the
Waen-SS there. According to Gottlob Berger, this kind of
germanische Arbeit
would help cure him of his ‘Baltic [German] mentality, which apparently every
German from there exhibits’.
higher ideal of pan-Germanism, rather than foster parochial particularism that was
counter to the overall goals of Himmler and his SS.
By 1944, however, the Baltic Germans’ intimate knowledge of the peoples and
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
e recruitment of Latvians during World War II was always seen by various
nationalist political activists as being linked to the restoration of independent
Latvian statehood. is has been discussed at length in the literature, for example
in a long article on collaboration by Andrew Ezergailis.
Herein, Ezergailis lists
some of the key political attempts by Latvian nationalists to harness the question
of military support to the idea of re-establishing a Latvian state, even if as a client
of Nazi Germany. It was sincerely hoped that national Latvian units could repeat
the serendipitous feat of the Latvian Riemen after World War I in winning inde
pendent statehood, as reected in the words of the song popular amongst the men
rglis (ed.),
Latvija nacistisks Vcijas okupcijas var 1941–1945: Starptautisks konferences referti
2003. gada 12.–13. jnijs, Rga/Latvia under Nazi German Occupation 1941–1945: Materials of
anInternational Conference 12–13 June 2003, Riga
(Riga: Latviajs Vesutres institta apg\nds, 2004),
119–40. e following discussion is based on this article, as well as on: Matthew Kott, ‘Towards an
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
ended up in Flossenbürg concentration camp. As an aside, it is worth noting here
Prkonkrusts
was as anti-German as it was anti-Semitic, owing
to the aforementioned role of Baltic Germans in history of Latvia.
In 1943, as the Latvian Legion was being created, Alfr\tds Valdmanis—a former
minister in the Ulmanis government and collaborator in the so-called Latvian Self-
Administration under the Nazis—issued a long memorandum to the German
authorities on the ‘Latvian Question’. Here, he laid out that Latvians would be
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
province of Latgale. A signicant number of these were Old Believers who had
moved to the region in the seventeenth century as a result of religious persecution.
Latvia, particularly Riga, was also a centre of anti-Bolshevik émigré activity in
Europe, if not of the same magnitude as in Paris or Prague.
A number of these felt inclined to volunteer for the aforementioned Latvian
battalions that were formed in 1941–2.
In early 1943, General Vlasov
arrived in Latvia on a propaganda and recruitment campaign for his Russian
Liberation Army.
Additionally, some 600 Russians from Latgale volunteered in
early 1943 for the newly created volunteer formation,
which the Russian-language
propaganda had termed ‘Latvian Legion’ (
) in order to portray it as
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
were raised in spring 1944.
e 283rd and 314th Battalions were made up of
volunteers, while the other units—which later included a reserve battalion, a cav
alry school, sapper battalions, and a logistics unit for the
SS-Truppenübungsplatz
Seelager
at Dundaga in Courland—consisted of conscripts.
e morale of these units varied. e 283rd was deployed in anti-partisan opera
tions in Belarus.
e 314th and 315th Battalions were also used in this manner.
e literature also mentions a ‘Preobrazhenskii’ Battalion that was hastily formed
in 1944–5, and took part in anti-partisan operations and front-line combat in
While the early volunteers seem to have been highly motivated by anti-
communism or Russian nationalism,
the conscripts seem to have been less
willing to ght inGerman uniform. Desertion was a major problem for the Russian
As a result of repressive policies against Russian civilians in
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
Nazi victory. Latvia’s Russians were but tools in the plan for the racial reordering
of eastern Europe. As one volunteer asked a colleague, when looking out over the
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
of the war, as reected in the dairy he kept in Berlin following his evacuation in
e fate of Latvia’s Belarusians was intimately linked to the role foreseen for
them by their Nazi overlords. As in occupied Belarus,
were often manipulated by the SS in order to impose a
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
e relative lack of prominence of such patriotic sentiments in the diaries of the
time (as opposed, say, to expression of love and longing for wives and families) may
have to do with the fact that to die for one’s country was simply a self-evident part
of the overall situational frame of reference for a soldier at the front, and therefore
At the same time, some evidence points to a scepticism regarding the patriotic
duty for ghting in German uniform. As the war went on, and the mobilization
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
runes. Somewhat unfortunately from today’s perspective, the new emblem on the
19th Division’s collar patches was the
ugunskrusts
If patriotism, and, particularly, the desire to re-establish an independent Latvia,
was a motivation that ran counter to the vision of Himmler and the SS, then
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
but it seems that Saulis never ended up in the Latvian units of the SD,
Sonderkommando Arjs
, however, he likely saw
his share of atrocities regardless.
Indeed, the Latvians’ attitude to the atrocities committed on the German side
No NKVD ldz KGB: Politisks prvas Latvij 1940–1986.
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
e main motivating factor—particularly for those who volunteered, but also
for those who decided not to avoid conscription—was connected to the collective
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
were organized according to the principle of guerrilla warfare, i.e. there was no
nationwide organization centre.
e Home Guard was formed largely on the basis of the Defence League
). e Defence League was an apolitical, voluntary, social organization
with public duties for citizens’ self-defence. It had been a part of the defence
system of the Republic of Estonia. Men went into hiding in large numbers and
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
liberated; it had been occupied. For the Germans, this was a calculated move and
a sign of their intention to use to their own advantage the Estonians’ opposition
On 2 August 1941 former partisan groups were summoned again as volunteers
under the name of the Home Guard.
Home Guard district commanders were
formally placed under the police director of the Estonian Self-Administration, but
in reality they were subordinate to the German occupation authorities.
A few
Estonian volunteer groups, companies, and battalions also participated in the oust
ing of the Red Army from Estonia from July to October 1941 under the infantry
divisions of the Wehrmacht. ey were disarmed in autumn 1941.
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
German occupation authorities. e advantage gained by the German army in
winning the trust of the people was quickly lost owing to the occupation policy
dictated from Berlin.
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
to join the German army.
e Estonians (as well as the Latvians and Lithuanians)
who joined the German army fought in the enemy’s army, but they did not ght
), for securing the rear area
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
ere, too, a group of Estonians amounting to a regiment deserted to the Germans
and were released from POW camps in the rst half of 1943 on the condition that
they would voluntarily join the Estonian Legion.
In reality, the Germans did not rush to liberate the Estonians—liberation nally
took place on the initiative of the Estonians and thanks to the eorts of Estonian
ocials. For example, Elmar Tambek, the head of the Centre for the Search and
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
of SS in the name bred distrust in the unit, because the Legion as an SS unit
wasconsidered to be too closely linked to the German police. Also, the appoint
ment of the Austrian Franz Augsberger as commander of the Estonian Legion
didnot please the Estonians. ey were furthermore afraid that they were going
tobe sent far from home and used as cannon fodder. It was common knowledge
that SS units would be used in the most desperate battles. No exceptions were
To increase the number of volunteers,
Germans promised that training would be conducted in Estonia and that Estonians
would not be used in the war against the Western Allies, but only against the
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
of the Estonian Legion’.
is obligation was later extended to Estonian ocers
and NCOs serving in the Estonian Security Police and Security Service.
Nevertheless, Mäe had to admit in June 1943 that there was only one doctor and
‘just a few professional ocers among the 5,000 voluntary ghters in the Estonian
Legion’.
Labour service and the Estonian Legion
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
We were quite taken aback by this at rst. It seemed we didn’t have to take the orders
of the German army that seriously after all. We talked about it for a bit and then
decided that the legionary was telling the truth! at was that—we went and enlisted
in the Estonian SS Legion, voluntarily.
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
Battalion, which consisted of men with battle experience, took part in the defence
battles against the Red Army in Estonia in August and September 1944.
e extension of compulsory military service
On 26 October 1943, all men born in 1925 were subjected to military service
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
talking about the ght for Europe, for individual European nations, and what matters
is their willingness to participate in the ght for freedom and against Bolshevism and
its Anglo-American supporters
erefore, individuals can no longer decide on volunteering, because their nation is
ghting Bolshevism according to its own decision and has for this reason called its
soldiers to arms. us, Estonians are voluntarily defending their own land.
In fact, this quote quite precisely dened everyone’s eective choices during the
German occupation, as well as during wars in general. You can make a choice if
you have options. It was impossible for Estonian men to take part in this war in the
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
army’ and did nothing to obstruct the formation of Lithuanian military units. e
Gestapo was clearly dissatised with this turn of events and with the positionof the
German military leadership. Under pressure from the Gestapo, the German com
manders in Vilnius began to adopt a stricter attitude towards Lithuanian soldiers.
During a visit to military headquarters on 5 July 1941, the commander of
theGerman forces proclaimed that political associations and the formation of a
Lithuanian army would be prohibited. Only local self-defence units led by German
eld commanders and Lithuanian ocers could be established. e German occu
pation forces refused to recognize a Lithuanian state and a Lithuanian army. e
Nazis classied the peoples of Europe as either worthy or unworthy of performing
military service. On the eastern front, the Nazis accepted only Italians, Finns,
Romanians, Hungarians, Slovaks, and Croats as allies. Persons from other eastern
European peoples (including the Lithuanians) were granted only the role of auxil
iary policemen. After they had strengthened their positions behind the front, the
Nazis went about dissolving the newly formed Lithuanian army and transforming
it into police battalions. Starting on 9 July 1941, Lithuanian army units were to
bereferred to as Lithuanian self-defence units.
It should be mentioned that the
names of these police battalions changed frequently. e term ‘Lithuanian Police
Battalions’ was made ocial only in April 1944. On 14 July 1941, Colonel Adolf
Zehnpfennig, eld commander in Vilnius, ordered the formation of a ‘Vilnius
Reconstruction Service’ (VAT) and proclaimed that ‘the Lithuanian army no
longer exists’. is VAT was to be divided into security, constabulary, and labour
services.
On 1 August 1941 the VAT was classied as a self-defence service and
its units became battalions: Security—1st Battalion, Constabulary—2nd Battalion,
Labour—3rd Battalion.
By October of 1941, ve police battalions had been
established in Vilnius. According to records from 24 October, the Vilnius battal
ions consisted of the following: 1st Battalion: ten ocers and 334 enlisted men;
2nd Battalion: eighteen ocers and 450 enlisted men; 3rd Battalion: twenty-four
ocers and 607 enlisted men; 4th Battalion: eight ocers and 253 enlisted men;
5th Battalion: twenty-two ocers and 288 enlisted men. ere was also an add
itional company (ve ocers and twenty enlisted men). During this period the 1st
and 4th Battalions performed guard duty in the city of Vilnius; the 2nd prepared
for its transfer to Lublin to guard the Majdanek extermination camp, and the
5thsecured railway lines in the Vilnius District.
Another important centre where police battalions were established was Kaunas,
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
16–28, Estonia 29–40, Belarus 41–50). In mid-1942 Lithuania was provided with
additional battalion numbers: 251–65 and 301–10. But Lithuanian Police Battalions
260–5 were never established.
According to instructions from Heinrich Himmler
on 25 July 1941 and Kurt Daluege on 6 November 1941, all auxiliary policemen in
the newly occupied eastern territories were to be regarded as members of the
were to be directly or indirectly
subordinated to the HSSPF via the
Kommandeur der Ordnungspolizei
of the Order Police, or KdO). ere were four types of
. First,
there were the
, whose members served as regular policemen or
Stadt-/Landschutzmänner
(urban/rural policemen). ey were subordinate to the
local German police authorities and recruited from members of the previous local
police forces. For Lithuania this meant the general adoption of the existing Lithuanian
police structure into the regular home-beat
. Secondly, there were
in closed formations. ese units stood under the command
ofthe KdO in civilian-administered areas. e units consisted of battalions,
whichwere divided into companies, platoons, and groups. In early 1942 the
strengthof a
’ was used as the
abbreviation.
Generalbezirk
Litauen
lay in the hands of Lucian Wysocki,
SS- und Polizeiführer
(SS and Police
Leader, or SSPF) in Lithuania and
SS-Brigadeführer
Major A. Engel was the com
mander of the Lithuanian Order Police. He was in charge of the entire uniformed
German and Lithuanian constabulary.
On 1 October 1941 the Lithuanian lead
ership of the police battalions was transferred to the general sta of the Lithuanian
Self-Defence Units (LSD), which called itself the
LSD-Inspektorenstab
, starting on
3 October. e
Führer
above-mentioned Lieutenant Colonel A. Špokevi
ius. On 24 October 1941 four
districts were established: Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, and Panev\fys. Each district
had its own sta headquarters. e
LSD-Inspektorenstab
had its headquarters in
Kaunas. e head of the LSD sta was Antanas Rklaitis, a colonel of the general
Members of the
battalions were paid out of Reich funds by the
KdO administration. e German administration supplied
withrations, weapons, and uniforms. However, these supplies frequently proved to
Ibid., 119–20.
Stang,
Kollaboration und Massenmord
G. Tessin,
Die Stäbe und Truppeneinheiten der Ordnungspolizei
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
e excessive demands being made on Germany’s war potential could also be
battalions grew. In February
1942 a decision was made to form a total of fteen battalions. In September of
1942 there were nearly 16,700
men in Lithuania: 8,757 regular home-
During this period,
twenty battalions were assembled in Lithuania.
battalions were frequently deployed outside their homeland. Aside from
guarding POWs and securing important sites,
battalions were used for
mass executions of Jews and communists as well as for ghting partisans. e rst
units were sent to Belarus as early as the summer of 1941: in
late July, two Lithuanian
battalions were sent to Grodno and Lida, and
one company was sent to Maladzyechna.
In late August 1941, the 2nd
Battalion (no. 12 from February 1942)
was formed in Kaunas. Major of the general sta Antanas Impulevi
in1897) was appointed commander of the battalion (he held this position until
On 3 October 1941 the 2nd Battalion received an order from
Major Franz Lechthaler, commander of the reserve police battalion, to advance
into the Minsk–Borizov–Slutsk area in order to ‘purge the area of the remains of
theBolshevist army and Bolshevist partisans’.
Starting from the moment oftheir
decampment, the 2nd Battalion, in which twenty-three ocers and 464 non-
commissioned ocers and enlisted men served, answered directly to Major
F.Lechthaler.
e battalion sta was based in Minsk and battalion members
frequently went on ‘ocial trips’, as stated in orders to the battalions. According to
FranzLechthaler, 7 August 1941.
Order No. 42 to 2nd Hilfspolizeidienstbataillon, 6 October 1941, LCVA, f. R-1444, ap. 1, b. 3,
Ibid.
Sentence against Major A. Impulevi
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
under the command of Juozas Gruodis, the battalion, with its fteen ocers,
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
e 252nd Lithuanian Battalion under Major Bronius Bajer
in May 1942.
In late 1942 the battalion’s three companies, consisting of
thirteen
commissioned ocers, fty-nine NCOs, and 286 enlisted men, travelled to
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
battalions were killed in combat against partisans and the Red Army. e number
of injured and POWs is unknown. Furthermore, six Lithuanian construction
battalions were assembled in 1943 and were active behind the lines of Army
GroupNorth.
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
that the Lithuanian people were the most racially mixed of all eastern European
peoples and that they were an utterly unwarlike people. eir underdeveloped
sense of community, their lack of interest in public matters, and their general
cultural backwardness had made the Lithuanians into a people of takers and
notofgivers throughout the centuries. us Lithuanians were virtuosos when it
came to taking, sneaking personal advantages, and avoiding public duties and
devotion.
A report by the Security Police and SD stated that the average Lithuanian did
not regard armed SS forces as regular Wehrmacht troops, but rather as a sort of
police unit that was largely concerned with defending the interests of the Nazi
Party. Already during independence, Lithuanian military ocers had looked down
on police ocers with a certain contempt. ey wanted to be ‘soldiers’ and
‘Wehrmacht members’ who served in the army, not in the police.
Starting in the
summer of 1943, after the failure of the German attempt to persuade Lithuanians
to serve in their forces, the Germans focused their eorts on recruiting Lithuanian
workers for war industries in the Reich itself.
Confronted with the Red Army’s military advance, the mood of the Lithuanian
population began to shift at the end of 1943. ere was a widespread view that a
German defeat would lead to a new occupation of Lithuania by the Bolsheviks and
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
a certain degree of popularity among the Lithuanian public. A general sta
wasformed under Colonel Oskaras Urbonas to support him in his duties. e
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
military units until the very end of the war. According to a report by the
Ostministerium
, in January 1945 5,400 Lithuanians were serving in the Wehrmacht,
12,000 in the Luftwae, 3,000 in the police, 400 in the
Reichsarbeitsdienst
Reich Labour Service), 15,000 in the Todt Organization and 1,000 in the Speer
Organization.
CONCLUSIONS
Despite the fact that the case studies discussed in this chapter represent a range
ofgroups in the SS’s racial hierarchy—privileged ‘Germanic’ Baltic Germans;
potentially ‘Germanizable’ Estonians and Latvians (and, to a lesser extent,
Lithuanians), and ‘undesirable’ Slavic Russians—certain similarities can be
observed. Firstly, locally based nationalist elites and political entrepreneurs saw
military collaboration as a means to achieving greater autonomy vis-à-vis other
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
experience of SS recruitment in occupied Latvia, especially from 1943, not suggest
that racial ideology and Himmler’s
Ordensgedanke
religious–military order, were discarded for reasons of military expediency and
e Baltic States: auxiliaries and Waen-SS soldiers
begiven the task of leading
battalions of Ingrians, with the purpose
ofawakening the latter people’s Finnishness (and hence, Germanic-ness) through
combat, thus overcoming the harmful inuences of contact with Slavs and the
Kott, Bubnys, Kraft
attempts to use military collaboration as a means of achieving their ambitions, it
was favourably disposed to channelling individuals’ ambitions into military service
by oering the chance of personal gain within the racial reorganization of eastern
Europe.
dokumentu krjums
, vol. 5 (Stockholm: Daugavas Vanagu Centr\nl\n valde, 1977), 218–19. Sincere
Eastern Europe
Belarusian auxiliaries, Ukrainian Waen-SS soldiers
andthespecial case of the Polish ‘Blue Police’
Jacek Andrzej Mynarczyk, Leonid Rein, Andrii Bolianovskyi,
and Oleg Romanko
e political situation for the population in eastern Europe on the eve of the
Second World War diered greatly from that for the inhabitants of the western and
southern regions of the continent. While the Poles had achieved their long-desired
independence and fought to create their own state, the Belarusians and Ukrainians
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
and,particularly in relations with the Ukrainian population, fomented a spiral
us it is not surprising that, following Hitler’s seizure of power in Germany
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be mustered from among this people. In 1939, in the so-called incorporated areas,
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
only in the autumn of 1944, after they had released both political leaders from the
concentration camp. However, owing to the brevity of its existence, this initiative
achieved little signicance.
On Belarusian territory, however, the attempt to establish a Belarusian delega
tion developed on the initiative of
SS-Gruppenführer
Curt von Gottberg, the
general commissar. On his initiative, the Belarusian Central Council was created
in late December 1943 under the leadership of Radasla
Astro
ski. It remained
active until the end of the war.
e formation of auxiliary military and police units, which were to be recruited
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every stone and continually sought to eliminate new class enemies. It also had to
do with the lack of consent for integration into the Stalinist, multinational com
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
remain in service and keep their weapons. Upon an appeal from City President
Starzyski, the Polish police ocers decided to remain in the city and pursue their
daily duties under the supervision of the German occupiers. ey justied their
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the supervision of the German Order Police.
On the level of the entire General
Government, the PPwas subordinated to the BdOs (Commanders of the Order
Police), which transmitted its orders through the Polish liaison ocer (Group
Captain Roman Sztaba). e same solution was also applied at county level, where
liaisons to the respective BdOs were introduced. roughout the entire General
Government, forty-one county oces and seven municipal oces were established
in the districts of Warsaw, Radom, Kraków, and Lublin. In practice, the PP depart
ments were subordinated to the German constabulary at the district and county
level.
In the district of Galicia, which was annexed to the General Government
Krakau am 19 January 1940, in Werner Präg and Wolfgang Jacobmeyer (eds.),
Das Diensttagebuch des
deutschen Generalgouverneurs in Polen 1939–1945
(Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1975), 94.
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
months and training approximately 3,000 candidates. Moreover, a number of
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Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
citizens in order to extort and persecute them for their own purposes. In one of the
underground reports from Warsaw in October 1942, we read that: ‘Despite the
suspension of the mass hunts, several cases of small manhunts have been registered,
which have been conducted in the evenings by the Dark Blue Police (some police
men go hunting individually).’
One phenomenon, namely the participation of Polish policemen in executions
and terrorist actions against the subject population, can be regarded as a clear case
of collaboration. Such executions rst occurred in Warsaw in early 1941: on 12
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the PP under its command, should make the autonomous murder of Jewish escap
ees standard practice among the police units on patrol in the district of Warsaw.
e Dark Blue Police was also frequently deployed during Operation ‘Reinhard’,
when Jewish residential districts were dissolved across the General Government
and their inhabitants were either shot on the spot by German police forces or else
were transported to the German extermination camps (such as Belzec, Sobibor,
Treblinka, and Majdanek) and murdered there. Among other actions, the PP was
deployed in deportation missions in the following General Government towns:
Jaslo, Jordanow, Miechow, Mielec, Przemysl, Radomysl Wielki, Reichshof, Tarnow,
Wieliczka, Wolbrom, Zmigrod in the district of Kraków;
Jedrzejow, Kielce,
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
Immediately after the deportations, the entire German police force was ordered
to launch a manhunt for escaped Jews. e PP were also deployed to carry out
these measures, which are known to historians by the contemporary term ‘Jew
hunts’. On 13 March 1943, in the district of Warsaw, Ferdinand von Sammern-
Frankenegg, the local
SS- und Polizeiführer
(SS and Police Leader, or SSPF),
published a circular on the liquidation of the Jews hiding there: ‘For this task,
primarily special services, Polish Police, and whatever informers that are available
are to be recruited.’
Similar directives were also issued in other districts so that,
essentially, throughout the General Government the PP was obliged to pursue Jews
and shoot them on the spot. In the district of Lublin, so-called constabulary raid
ing parties were formed in order to seek out Jews hiding in the area.
hunting squad in the county of Miechow in Kraków district earned a particularly
dark reputation. It was formally under the command of constabulary Lieutenant
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German gures, the PP were particularly likely to die while performing their
duties: in 1942 alone, one Polish policeman was killed every four days in the
General Government. e surviving statistics illustrate that over a mere three-
month period in 1944, 186 policemen were shot dead and another seventy-three
were injured.
On the other hand, it must be emphasized that a great many Polish policemen
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
Benelux they arrested all sixty-nine of Warsaw’s PP ocers and sent them to vari
ous prisons or to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Reports multiplied from
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All of these factors led to a situation where the population of the General
Government regarded the PP, as an institution, with hatred and fear. Out of all the
police bodies in the General Government, it also registered the greatest losses dur
ing the performance of its duties. It is furthermore extremely dicult to arrive at a
quantitative assessment of the degree of collaboration among Polish policemen.
According to Adam Hempel, relying on information from the Polish resistance, up
to 10 per cent of the Dark Blue Police and the Polish criminal police may have
been collaborators. In the literature, scholars have assumed that collaborative
behaviour occurred much less frequently among professional policemen. However,
many new recruits were guided purely by egoistical motives. Inuenced as they
were by the lower standard of morals resulting from the daily grind of surviving
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
end of August, all Belarusian territory found itself under German occupation.
e initiative for creating institutions of local administration and local auxiliary
police came from the German military administration. Until September 1941, all
of Belarusian territory was under German military administration. e eld and
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Weißruthenien
), as the new administrative unit became known, was part of the
‘Ostland’ Reich Commissariat (
Reichskommissariat Ostland
the three Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
All the police forces in
the General Commissariat for White Ruthenia were subordinated to the SSPF
inWhite Ruthenia,
who, in turn, was initially subordinated to the HSSPF in
‘Ostland’ (HSSPF-Ost), and later (from October 1942), to the Supreme SS and
Police Commander for Central Russia.
e Belarusian police in the area under civilian administration were renamed
‘guarding troops’ (
) and were subordinated to the commander
of the German Order Police in White Ruthenia. Like the indigenous police forces
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
the Supreme SS and Police Commander for Central Russia. e order and combat
police, OD III and OD IV, remained subordinated to the German military author
As with the civilian administration area, in the rear area of Army Group
Centre, local auxiliary policemen served in police stations spread throughout the
area. e number of policemen who served in these stations was small. According
to the guidelines of the military administration issued during the early stages of the
occupation, there were supposed to be a maximum of 300 local policemen in each
district and in each city. e exceptions were for the larger cities such as Mogilev
and Gomel, where there were supposed to be up to 500 auxiliary policemen.
In
practice, however, the numbers of police ocers serving in various districts were
even smaller.
e quantitative and qualitative expansion of the partisan movement in Belarus
that started in mid-1942, and the scarcity of German forces to combat this
movement eectively, led to the expansion of the indigenous police forces and the
formation of additional security forces, such as peasant militias (composed of aux
iliary order service—
Hilfs-OD
—and village police) in the military administration
area
and the ‘Free Corps of Belarusian Self-Defence’ in the civilian administra
tion area.
In the Belarusian area under civilian administration, the total number
of auxiliary policemen almost doubled, increasing from about 4,000 to roughly
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served in the police alongside Communist Party and Komsomol (Communist
youth organization) members.
Initially, all of the local policemen were volunteers. On 18 August 1942, Hitler
issued War Directive No. 46, which sought to intensify anti-partisan warfare and
allowed for the extension of the local auxiliary forces.
Even though Hitler’s direc
tive spoke explicitly about the reinforcement of local auxiliary forces by volunteers,
it was clear that doing it on a voluntary basis alone would not bring the desired
results—so in many cases, forcible recruitment was implemented.
Even though the local policemen were supposed to be of military age (or only
slightly under/over), in reality there were dierences in the age structure of local
both a cover for their clandestine activities and military training, and even an
opportunity to supply Home Army units with weapons and munitions. us, for
M. Cooper,
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
example, the chief of the Novaya Mysh district police, Henryk Zaprucki, was
simultaneously the commander of a Polish clandestine unit and was aliated with
the AK. Many of the policemen in the same district pledged an oath of allegiance
to General Wadysaw Sikorski, the head of the Polish government-in-exile.
Germans themselves regarded the Polish minority with a great deal of mistrust and
spared no eort to force the Poles out of the auxiliary police and to substitute them
with more reliable Belarusians.
A portion of the people who joined the Belarusian police believed that they
wereparticipating in the construction of a Belarusian state. Many of the district
police chiefs (e.g. Dzmitry Kasmovi, the rst commandant of the Minsk police,
one of his deputies, Mikhal Vituška, and one of his successors, Yulyan Sakovi)
were members of the clandestine Belarusian Independence Party (
Belaruskaya
Nezalenitskaya Partya
), which was organized in 1942 and proclaimed as its goal
‘obtaining and securing for the independence of the future Belarus’.
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of them did not hesitate to abuse this power. us, members of the company of the
13th Belarusian Auxiliary Police Battalion of the SD, performing their guard duties
at the Koldychevo labour camp, near Baranavii, committed the most heinous
atrocities against the camp inmates.
e vast majority of local policemen, however, joined the auxiliary police for
very mundane reasons. Police service meant a paid job under an occupation regime
in which jobs were dicult to nd. e families of policemen killed in action
could hope to receive compensation. Peasants were also attracted by promises on
the part of the German authorities to distribute additional land.
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
old-fashioned items of service clothing or repaired clothes of the new fashion
suitable for service’.
It was the German authorities’ fear of armed indigenous auxiliaries in these
territories one day turning their weapons against the Germans that led to the slug
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created under the aegis of Eduard Strauch, the commander of the
Sicherheitspolizei
and SD in the General Commissariat of White Ruthenia, and was intended to be
an elite force for anti-partisan warfare. Members of this unit were well equipped,
well armed with German weapons, and well supplied. e battalion’s soldiers per
formed admirably from the German point of view in ghting against partisans in
the western and central parts of Belarus.
Nazi racial ideology expressed itself most fully when it came to the wages and
compensations received by the policemen serving in auxiliary police battalions on
Belarusian territory. e salaries of members of these battalions as well as damage
compensation, or compensation received by the families of policemen fallen in
battle against partisans, depended on the place they occupied on the racial scale
developed by Himmler. Racially more valuable Baltic peoples occupied the top
positions on this scale, while Belarusians and Ukrainians were at the bottom. us,
while the daily wage of Belarusian auxiliaries serving in police battalions was
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
ravines where they were shot and, in a number of cases, pulled the trigger
themselves. In small places in the countryside, where German rule was less compre
hensive, mass shootings of Jews were carried out primarily by local policemen with
regarded their participation in murder operations as a kind of entertainment.
us, according to an eyewitness, during the massacre of Jews in Mir in western
Belarus, local policemen ‘behaved as if they were celebrating a wedding’.
Undoubtedly, Jewish property provided an important incentive for the eager
participation of local auxiliary policemen in murder operations. e head of the
of the shot Jews’.
Furthermore, the auxiliary police in Belarus were also made use of to act
againstother categories in the population marked by occupation authorities as
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‘undesirables’. us, the Germans were eager to exploit anti-Polish sentiments
among Belarusians in the former Polish
Kresy Wschodnie
(‘Eastern Borderlands’).
e German authorities suspected the Polish minority of intending to restore the
Polish state and so, by the second half of 1941, the purge of the local Polish auxil
iary police and their substitution by Belarusians or Ukrainians throughout the
General Commissariat of White Ruthenia had begun. In 1942, waves of mass
arrests and executions of members of the Polish intelligentsia and of Catholic
priests were carried out in the western part of Belarus.
Belarusian auxiliary police
units played an active part in these anti-Polish repressions.
In response,
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
e fact that local auxiliary police forces were at the forefront of anti-partisan
ghting made their members vulnerable to attacks from the guerrillas. e
Germans, who regarded local policemen as expendable, did little to protect them.
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military counter-intelligence, in Dallwitz, eastern Prussia. Students of this school
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
imposed upon recruitment to the BKA. e obsessive German fear of large-scale
indigenous armed formations expressed itself in von Gottberg’s order of 23February
1944 regarding the formation of the Home Guard. According to this order, only
500 men were to be mobilized into the BKA in each district of the General
Commissariat for White Ruthenia.
Moreover, mobilization was to be carried
out in only eight of the eleven districts of the General Commissariat for White
Ruthenia. Lida district, which was the centre of activities of the Polish Home
Army in Belarus, was excluded from the mobilization drive,
as were the Pripyat
area in the south and the areas controlled by the partisans, where it was impossible
to carry out recruitment to the BKA. Also excluded from mobilization were the
heads of the local administration, auxiliary policemen, peasants in the ‘defensive
villages’,
some physicians and agronomists, railway engineers, employees of
themilitary factories, pupils and teachers of secondary schools, as well as physically
and mentally disabled people, and fathers with many children.
Up to May 1944, thirty-nine infantry and six engineer battalions with a total
strength of about 30,000 people were recruited.
e infantry battalions of the
BKA were formally subordinated to the sta of the Belarusian Home Guard
headed by the former Polish ocer Major Franz (Francišak) Kushal. According to
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Home Guard were drafted. us, in this case it is dicult to discern the multitude
of factors that inuenced people to join the BKA. Given the fact that mobilization
was compulsory and death sentences were threatened to those trying to evade it,
it appears that recruits did not have much choice. Still, it is undeniable that the
population in many districts responded enthusiastically to the call to arms.
efact that mobilization was carried out by Belarusians themselves, that use of
the Belarusian white–red–white colours, of the national
Pahonya
coat of arms, and
Yaryla
cross was allowed, combined with the opening of a BKA
ocer school in Minsk in June 1944, provided the people with the impression that
the Belarusian Home Guard was indeed going to be a national Belarusian army
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
the BKA with an anti-Polish spirit. According to his orders, Poles were excluded
from the four-week BKA ocer-training course, and even the singing of Polish
songs by Home Guard soldiers was forbidden.
Among those who joined the Belarusian Home Guard were also people who had
defected from the partisans. On 14 March 1944, Kushal issued a special order
according to which any partisans who decided to come out of the forest and wanted
to join the Home Guard were to serve in special units consisting solely of such
deserters. ey were also to be under the constant control of the SD.
Kushal had
soldiers in infantry battalions received the green uniforms of the German police,
while those serving in engineer battalions received the uniforms of Wehrmacht
What distinguished members of the BKA from the military and
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100Italian ries, i.e. one rie for every ve to six persons. Only when, in late April
1944, they grasped that, armed in such a way, the force could not be eective in
combat against partisans did the Germans supply them with additional weapons.
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
e BKA experienced a particularly acute lack of NCOs and ocers for combat
support troops, such as engineers, communication and reconnaissance personnel,
along with military lawyers and propagandists.
e training of the Home Guard soldiers suered from a lack of uniformity and
left much to be desired. e textbooks used for this training were mostly abridged
Battalion of the Home Guard in the anti-guerrilla operation in early June 1944
and many of the battalion soldiers who were to be transported to their place of
assignment by train started to disperse just before boarding. Kushal himself was
compelled to dispatch his deputy, Captain Vitaly Mikula, to Sto
btsy to restore
order and to prevent the battalion from falling apart.
Similar to the Belarusian auxiliary police, the eectiveness of Home Guard units
as a ghting force depended, to a large degree, on the level of their armament and
training. ere were some units that performed admirably from the German point
of view. us, in April–May 1944, the Haradziša Battalion of the Home Guard
commanded by Lieutenant
Ǔsevalad
Rodzka participated as part of
Kampfgruppe
Ibid., lists 10–11.

Ibid., list 13.

Ibid., lists 13–15.
Ya. Malezki,
Pad Znakam Pahoni
(Toronto: Pahonya, 1976), 131–2.
J. Turonek,
Bialoru pod okupacj niemieck
(Warsaw: Ksi\tka i Wiedza, 1993), 215–16.
‘Belarusian Home Defence. 1944’, NARB, 382-1-3, lists 165, 374, 626.
Kushal,
Sproby
Eastern Europe
von Gottberg
in the anti-partisan operation ‘Spring Festival’ (
Frühlingsfest
) in the
Polotsk-Ushachi area of eastern Belarus. German commanders of this operation
commended the Belarusian Home Guard soldiers who participated in this opera
tion. Battalion Commander Rodzka was awarded the Iron Cross, while company
commanders and many of the battalion’s NCOs and rank and le soldiers were
awarded the ‘Medal for Gallantry and Merit of the Eastern Peoples’.
Overall, however, just as in the case of the Belarusian auxiliary police, the fact
that the BKA soldiers were outgunned by the partisans did not enhance the com
bat eectiveness of the Home Guard as a body. e German perception of the
Belarusian Home Guard was not that of a Belarusian army, but that of a mere
auxiliary force, which strongly contributed to damping the initial enthusiasm of
BKA recruits.
Already in March–April 1944, the sta of the Home
Guard reported numerous cases of desertions of whole units of BKA to the
partisans.
e participation of various BKA units in anti-partisan operations also made
them into a tool of Nazi terror. As has been noted above (in the section dealing
with the Belarusian auxiliary police), the large-scale anti-guerrilla operation
claimed the lives of numerous victims who had little or nothing to do with the
partisans. us, Operation ‘Spring Festival’, in which the Haradziša BKA battal
ion took part, claimed the lives of about 7,000 people. Around 11,000 able-bodied
persons were shipped to forced labour in Germany in the course of the same
On 23 June 1944, the Red Army launched a large-scale operation named after
Pyotr Bagration, a hero of the anti-Napoleonic war. is operation ended in the
destruction of the German Army Group Centre and the liquidation of the General
Commissariat of White Ruthenia. e Germans did not have any coherent plans
for evacuating the Home Guard units; the fate of the BKA battalions was decided
by the commanders themselves. ey often confronted their soldiers with a choice:
to leave westwards, or to stay at home. Many voted for the latter option. us, out
of 700 soldiers from the Baranavii Battalion of the Home Guard, only about
twodozen, mostly NCOs, left for the west, while the rest dispersed to their
At least one BKA battalion participated in combat against the Red Army
and was crushed. Most of the Home Guard battalions were disbanded by their
S. Yorsh,
sevalad Rodzka. Pravadyr Belaruskikh Natsyyanalista
(Minsk: Holas Krayu, 2005), 10.
‘Bedritzkis Schreiben an den Polizeikommandanten d. Gb. Baranowitsche Major Moche’,
undated, Barch, R.90/159.
See the data in Gerlach,
Kalkulierte Morde
Turonek,
Bialoru pod okupacj niemieck
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
Eastern Europe
Kubiiovych, who tried to defend the Ukrainians from the German terror in the
General Government
and supported the idea of creating a Ukrainian division.
He headed the Ukrainian Central Committee (UCC), a non-political auxiliary
organization and quasi-representative body of Ukrainians founded in 1940.
In
his discussions with the German organizers of the division, Kubiiovych was able
toobtain certain promises. Among them, the most important were: freedom of
religious practice—Ukrainian chaplains would be admitted into the division to
provide religious services; the division would be utilized strictly on the eastern
front against communist forces; the division would not be utilized for any of
Germany’s internal security needs (for example guarding factories, war plants,
information, and, at an opportune time, to transfer to the UPA their weapons,
equipment, and ammunition so that they could be formed as a cadre for a massive
resistance war against the USSR.
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
just obedience to Hitler, but also recognition of Hitler as Commander-in-Chief of
the German Armed Forces in the struggle against Bolshevism.
e transformation of the ird Reich’s attitudes towards Ukrainian national
aspirations is evident in the division’s ocial names. Until 30 July 1943 it was SS
‘Galicia’ Volunteer Division (
SS-Freiwilligen-Division ‘Galizien’
); on 22 October
1943 it became 14th SS Galician Volunteer Division (
14. Galizische SS-Freiwilligen-
) and again on 27 June 1944 it was changed to 14th Grenadier Division of
the Waen-SS (Galician No. 1) (
14. Waen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische
Nr. 1)
With the outcome of the war becoming all the more evident, and as was
the case with other foreign Waen-SS divisions, the term ‘voluntary’ was replaced
by ‘Waen-’ because the former did not encourage volunteers to enlist; and in June
1944, the occupation authorities resorted to mobilizing the male population
Eastern Europe
around 25,000 were t for military service and 13,245 passed medical examina
tions and reported for duty; 1,487 from the military training camps were released
owing to illness. In total, there were 11,758 volunteers in the training camps,
acommission, as well as military ocials up to the age of 45. ese Ukrainians
hadbeen in the Russian imperial army, the army of the Ukrainian National
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
From 20 October 1943 until the end of the war, the divisional commander was
SS-Oberführer
Fritz Freitag, later promoted to
SS-Brigadeführer
, a classic ‘Prussian’
with front-line experience.
e shortage of good German NCOs and ocers,
however, was a serious handicap. Tensions along national, political, and linguistic
grounds were quite frequent since the few German police NCOs and ocers
available were unable to understand the very dierent mentality of Ukrainians.
Eastern Europe
within the ‘Northern Ukraine’ Army Group (AG). e division was placed in the
second front line (the ‘Prinz Eugen’ defensive line) and ordered to accelerate
theconstruction of its defensive positions and man them as quickly as possible.
However, owing to a shortage of tanks, heavy artillery, and assault planes, the divi
sional units were not ready for a full-scale front-line battle. On 15 July, it was
stated in a report to Field Marshal Walther Model, Commander-in-Chief of
‘Northern Ukraine’ AG: ‘Now the 14th SS “Galicia” Volunteer Division and the
18th SS Volunteer Division’s Battle Group are ready to take part in the battle, only
at reduced size.’
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
Main Command, the arms and ammunition supplied by the divisional ocers and
Eastern Europe
Battalion No. 31, also known as the Ukrainian Self-Defence Legion, comprised of
four companies—600 men in all—arrived outside Maribor, Styria, where it was
dispersed throughout the division shortly afterwards.
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
Eastern Europe
according to the only slightly modied police instructions and directives of the
Second Polish Republic.
For although the occupiers originally conceived of the PP as an organization
that would be almost exclusively devoted to routine police tasks, as time went on
it—like all other collaborating units in the occupied east—became increasingly
involved in German persecution and terror activities aimed not only at minorities
tion for minimal investment. At the same time, the Germans were eager to use
local auxiliaries as a means of carrying out their policies of terror and as cannon
fodder in anti-partisan combat. With the prevalence of such attitudes, it is hardly
surprising that auxiliary policemen, many if not the majority of whom joined the
police for highly mundane motives, nally succumbed to anti-German propaganda
and shifted sides during the course of the war.
e creation of the Belarusian Home Guard was a direct result of the poor and
Mynarczyk, Rein, Bolianovskyi, Romanko
their inability, even at the latest stages of the occupation period, to overcome their
racial-ideological prejudices and their obsessive fear of, and deep mistrust towards,
large-scale armed formations consisting of ‘eastern people’. Little wonder that ulti
mately such attitudes caused many Belarusians, who initially might have believed
in the slogans of ghting for the Belarusian cause, to feel disillusionment and
consider shifting sides in the war that raged throughout their country.
In contrast to the aforementioned eastern European police units, the 14th
Volksdeutsche
A case study from south-eastern Europe
omas Casagrande, Michal Schvarc, Norbert Spannenberger,
and Ottmar Trac
INTRODUCTION
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
is distribution, which was viewed without regard to the diversity of the individ
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
e mood expressed here would further intensify after the First World War and
come to encompass further portions of the German-language population in south-
east Europe, for the outcome of this war had grave consequences for these people.
For Hungary, the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire meant the loss of
the majority of its southern regions to Romania and the newly-created Yugoslavia,
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Popular Education Association (
Volksbildungsverein
Magyar state, but was nevertheless by and large neglected. From 1938 onwards,
the People’s League (
Volksbund
) stood for a more radicalized representation of
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
e introduction of ‘uniform attire’
solve existing dierences and display unity towards the outside. ese measures
culminated in the deployment of armed ‘shock troops’—predecessors of the later
Deutsche Mannschaft
(DM)—and the introduction of the ‘German salute’.
When the Habsburg Monarchy dissolved in 1918, the Germans in Upper
Hungary were practically assimilated. ey lived in isolated linguistic islands and
they possessed no common identity, no uniform political representation, and their
middle class almost exclusively endeavoured to be included in Hungary. However,
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Stabsleiter
of the National Labour Front in Romania in October
1939, made an immediate eort to persuade as many young Romanian Germans
as possible to allow themselves to be recruited by the Waen-SS. Over the longer
term—in coordination with his future father-in-law, Gottlob Berger, who was
head of the
SS-Hauptamt
, and
Reichsführer-SS
Heinrich Himmler—he intended to
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Wehrmacht and Waen-SS units. is was ocially refused with reference to
Romania’s national sovereignty and the likely weakening of its military potential.
Moreover, in February 1941 the Romanian government had already resolved to
Nr. 104/41 g.Kdos. an den Oberkommando des Heeres–Genst. d. H.–(Op. Abt.) vom 14.02.1941,
gez. Erik Hansen.
Barch, NS 19, Persönlicher Stab des Reichsführers SS -/3517, fol. 236–41: Bericht des Stabsführers
der Deutschen Volksgruppe in Rum
nien, Andreas Rührig, an den Leiter der Volksdeutschen
Mittelstelle SS-Obergruppenführer Werner Lorenz vom 01.02.1941; NS 19, Persönlicher Stab des
Reichsführers SS-/2724, fol. 2: Situationsbericht des Volksgruppenführers Andreas Schmidt vom
Barch, NS 19/3517, fol. 240–1: Bericht des Stabsführers der DVR Andreas Rührig, an den
Leiter der VoMi, Werner Lorenz, vom 01.02.1941.
Barch, NS 19, Persönlicher Stab des Reichsführers SS -/3517, fol. 54–7: Vorsprache des Stabsführers
Andreas Rührig im Begleitung von Amtsleiter Otto Liess beim Deutschen Gesandten Manfred
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Gottlob Berger, the DVR now focused on illegal measures to achieve its objective,
and, with the help of German military units stationed in Romania, it promoted
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Germans known as the
Volksbund
was not approved until November 1938.
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
and who should be ordered to the Reich for ‘re-education’. ey also recruited
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Despite repeated complaints to the Reich leadership by the Romanian author
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
desert.us the Foreign Oce outlined the only two options as it saw them in
1) e Reich government shall conclude an agreement with Romania on the perfor
mance of military service by Romanian Germans in the Wehrmacht (including the
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
development and space, sped along by the shared experience of our fateful struggle,
is among the wonders of our time.’
Successes in the Baka and the Banat clearly
showed the
SS-Hauptamt
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
condition that their loss of Hungarian citizenship be compensated by the granting
of German citizenship.
e Budapest government was all too happy to oer
20,000 Hungarian Germans in order to prevent the deployment of 200,000
Honvéd
soldiers to the eastern front.
In addition, the Hungarian government
regarded this step as an opportunity to remove troublesome elements from the
Volksbund
. As the Hungarian
Honvéd
minister Károly Bartha stated openly, in his
opinion ‘an expulsion of what are essentially centrifugal forces’ was a prospect to
bewelcomed.
For the ird Reich and the
Reichsführer-SS
mentation of the recruitment campaign had top priority.
As in August 1940,
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
in Neusatz (Banat) alone, and the UFA lm company diligently lmed the event.
SS-Obersturmbannführer
Nageler informed the embassy with evident satisfaction
Honvéd
supported the action loyally and optimally, which contributed
He himself received the Middle Cross of the
Hungarian Order of Merit, while his two sta members received the Silver Medal
of Merit of Hungary.
Otto Binder, a district leader from Wudersch (known in Hungarian as Budaörs),
summed up the volunteers’ motivation as follows: ‘We are ghting so that we will
no longer be dirty Swabians in the Hungarian
Honvéd
and so that we will no
longer be deployed to the front lines solely because we are Germans.’
According
to notes made by Helmut Triska, a department head in the Foreign Oce, in Baka
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Honvéd
. In Bácsordas, two 70-year-old men, who were unt for the SS, were also
forced to join the
Honvéd
e lower ranks of the
Volksbund
, in particular, were
frequently stuck into
Honvéd
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
press simply could not hide the fact that it was the true loser in the Waen-SS
campaign. According to the Reich interior ministry, the campaign caused the
Volksbund
to ‘lose its entire able-bodied youth’, which, to a large extent, brought
the organization to its knees at the local level.
Another problem was also raised in Berlin: upon an enquiry from the Reich
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
German minority—such as crop reductions resulting from loss of agricultural
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
for every 1,000 volunteers. Even non-members
Volksbund
could be recruited.
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
like its neighbours, would join the war on the side of the Axis powers and thus
automatically be allied with the German Reich. e subsequent coup and the for
mation of a pro-Allied government that renounced the nation’s accession to the
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
rtigen Amtes und der Waen-SS, M
rz 1942. Cf. also Janko,
Weg und Ende
PAAAB, Inland II geheim, vol. 17d/1767, doc. no. 129707: Ribbentrop an die Gesandten in
Budapest und Belgrad, 04.02.1942; Barch, NS 19/1728: see Schreiben Himmlers an HSSPF August
Meyszner (01.1942).
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
us, the recruitment appeal directly addressed the hopes of the Banat Swabians to
secure their homeland:
In our country as well, the Bolshevist enemy has attempted in recent months and
weeks
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Reichsmark
for 500 volunteers.
Tuka’s
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
old on 1 April 1943, and it did so on a voluntary basis. In order to join up, the
recruits had to submit a written declaration to the enlistment centres of the DVR
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
campaign proceeded smoothly overall and the Reich leadership regarded it as a
In early 1944, the SS leadership, bowing to the pressure of constant personnel
and material losses, decided to launch a new recruitment campaign among the
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
aected persons organized signature campaigns against the recruitment and
Honvéd
ministry.
At the regional leader conference on 27 July 1944,
SS-Sturmbannführer
Heermann from
Ersatzkommando Südost
reported on the recruitment campaign.
According to his comments, 75,000 men were mustered and registered, 50 per
cent of whom were older than 40 years of age ‘since the previous volunteer cam
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
previously, violence was also used against those unwilling to enlist,
that by this time at the latest it is impossible to speak of comprehensive voluntary
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
In most cases, conscription orders were not accepted, were torn up or were sent
Ergänzungsamt
. e aected men openly criticized the agreement and
publicly declared that they would not join the Waen-SS. ey also refused to
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
was opened on 21 October 1944.
Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland
(VDA) was responsible for the ‘psychological support’ of these ‘new’ recruits.
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
e Romanian Germans who were recruited to the Waen-SS fought on nearly
all the fronts of the Second World War, particularly on the eastern front, which
explains the high losses that were suered among their ranks. Of the Romanian
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
and Jewish resistance ghters as a threat to the ‘camaraderie of arms’ that now
prevailed in the Baka and the Banat. Denunciations of Jewish and Serb compatriots
began to pile up as early as mid-April.
e Star of David badge was introduced
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Essentially no more combat had taken place in the Banat region since 1941,
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
on a rotating basis, mostly in the
4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division
the eastern front or in the Balkans.
ose who were suitable for the SS were sent
‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’
‘Das Reich’
remainder ended up in second- and third-class units of the Waen-SS. A portion
Casagrande, Schvarc, Spannenberger, Trac
Slovakia and in Europe as a whole. Tough sentences were passed only in exceptional
Volksdeutsche:
a case study from south-eastern Europe
period of improvised clandestine and also illegal recruitment across the region.
Towards the end of the war, the disastrous course of events on the eastern front led
to a third phase of intensied forced recruitment, although these last desperate
eorts did nothing to turn the tide.
Muslim SS units in the Balkans
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
oatia (of which Bosnia was a part), conducted genocidal campaigns against
‘non-
C
oats’ and was hence responsible for the bulk of the atrocities. However, it
C
D
afer Kulenovi, became deputy prime minister
N
vember 1941; the Grand Mufti (
Reis-ul-ulema
) of Bosnia, Fehim Spaho,
supported the regime as well (although his position remained somewhat ambiva
lent). Muslims were awarded a few representative posts within the government and
some pro-Muslim measures were introduced, like attempts to reverse anti-Muslim
agrarian reforms from the year 1919. But in general the
Ustaša
political promises it had made regarding the position of Muslims in the new state.
In contrast to their political under-representation, tens of thousands of Muslims
served in
C
oatian armies, militias, and police units. For instance, about a third of
C
oatian legion who perished at Stalingrad in January 1943
were Muslims.¹
By 1942, Bosnian Muslims were under increasing pressure from various sides.
Muslim–Serb antagonism worsened, and anti-Muslim violence escalated in eastern
Bosnia. Bosnian Muslims realized that the
Ustaša
state was unable to protect them.
At the same time, Muslim vigilante groups that operated in parts of Bosnia con
C
nation. is soon led to conicts among the German decision-makers.
From the very beginning, the German ambassador in
C
oatia, Siegfried Kasche,
opposed the strategy to foster Muslim particularism, because he wanted to prevent
the SS from intervening in
oatian matters. But the SS proved to be more skilful
and stronger in that eld.
German ocers and Bosnian Muslim troops
ebruary 1943, Adolf Hitler signed a decree creating the
Kroatische
SS-Freiwilligen-Division
C
oatian
D
Volunteers), which would
ree days later, Heinrich Himmler ordered
SS-Obergruppenführer
N
alcolm,
Bosnia: A Short History
N
w York:
N
w York University Press, 1996), 224.

bid., 380.


bid., 220.
²

is the slightly bent dagger used by the
O
.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

tur Phleps, commander of the 7th SS ‘Prinz Eugen’
D
M
ountain
Z
eb under the responsibility of
SS-Obersturmführer
Karl von
Krempler, an ocer of the ‘Prinz Eugen’
D
erbo-
oatian and
kish. Krempler soon came into conict with the
C
ities for acting without coordinating with them and refusing
C
atholic volunteers.
epresentatives of the Independent State of
C
oatia and the SS
C
C
oatian ocers from the
C
army and would recruit Muslim and
atholic volunteers from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In the weeks that followed, Karl von Krempler was removed from the situation and
C
authorities remained high.
In addition to recruiting individuals, in May 1943 the Waen-SS incorporated
Muhamed Hadiefendi’s
Domobranska dobrovoljaka pukovnija
R
olunteers’
R
eable Muslim militia based in the
egion; how
ever, some of its ocers refused to join the Waen-SS and joined the partisans
C
oatian authorities, and on 11 July 1943 a new
agreement was reached, whereby the Waen-SS took on two-thirds of the Muslim
recruits born in 1924 and 1925. In addition, it was authorized to take from the
oatian army the men it needed for its Muslim division. us, the voluntary
principle was abandoned and the ‘Handar’
D
uitment became a problem again when the ‘Handar’
D
oatia in February 1944 and had to compensate
forlosses resulting from combat casualties and desertion. e division again
attempted to recruit volunteers and incorporate various Muslim militias, such as
the ‘Green
C
adre’ (
Zeleni kadar
) commanded by
N
success waslimited. In the sector that it occupied in north-eastern Bosnia-
Herzegovina, however, it rounded up eligible men and, in summer 1944, even
ordered the

D
eport by the Yugoslav
C
ommission for the Establishment of War
C
mated that 60 per cent of the members of this division were Muslim and 40 per cent
were German. In leadership positions, the proportion of Germans increased to
eorge Lepre,
Himmler’s Bosnian Division. e Waen-SS Handschar Division 1943–1945
(Atglen, PA: Schier, 1997), 19–43.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
NCO
²²
oatian authorities, the ‘Handar’
D
tain number of
atholic
C
oats. However, following the mutiny of the pioneer battalion in
Villefranche-de-
R
rance) on 17 September 1943, in which sev
eral mutiny leaders were
atholic, Heinrich Himmler reassigned most of the
atholics to the German police in
C
e ‘Handar’
D
uslims, who would later join the 21st SS ‘Skanderbeg’
w). e troops of the ‘Handar’ were therefore mainly Muslims
from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
It has often been suggested that this division recruited mainly Muslim refugees
whom Serbian
C
D
ere recruited in diverse ways. In spring 1943, for example, the SS had evidently
C
prohibited them from signing up for the Waen-SS because they feared this would
seriously disrupt mine production. Likewise, many combatants of the tragically
famous ‘Black Legion’ (
Crna legija
D
mobilized new troops in its sector in north-eastern
Bosnia, and most new recruits thus came from this region.
e ocer corps was mainly German despite the presence of a few
C
Muslim ocers who had served in the Austro-Hungarian or Yugoslav armies.
More precisely, when the ‘Handar’
D
eated in 1943, it had many
C
oatia, Serbia,
R
ungary, some of
whom had served in the ‘Prinz Eugen’
D
ut the mutiny at Villefranche-
R
e too, as Heinrich Himmler decided to
strengthen the ocer corps by assigning young ocers and
NCO
om other SS
divisions hardened by experience on the eastern front, notably the 6th SS ‘
N
d’
Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo (ABiH),
ollection
KU
Z
, reports, box 6, doc. 60, 1: State
ommission for the Establishment of War
C
R
t on the 13th SS ‘Handar’
D
arch 1947.

irko Grmek and Louise Lambrichs,
Les Révoltés de Villefranche. Mutinerie d’un bataillon de
Waen-SS (septembre 1943)
(Paris: Seuil, 1998).

O
uanih Snaga [Archives of the Armed Forces], Belgrade (A
S),
C
ollection
NO
408 A, le 6, doc. 39: 3rd Army
C
orps to Supreme Headquarters, 13 July 1944.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

NCO
t the same time, a generation of Muslim
ved up from the division’s ranks.
Islam as a cohesive factor?
How motivated were members of the 13th SS ‘Handar’
ere, too, we
oatian army or incorporated by force following round-ups or anti-partisan
actions. ose recruited by force were probably not very motivated, especially
those recruited in 1944; they were also the fastest to desert. Among volunteers,
ideological motivation played a role in a minority of individuals, mainly for volun
Ustaša
units to join the Waen-SS.
O
olunteers were probably
motivated by the desire for revenge against, or protection from,
C
O
NCO
-
C
ommission for the Establishment of War
C
eveal that most
ocers of the ‘Handar’ joined the
N
S
D
’ (the ‘old guard’, who joined the
N
S
D
AP before 1933) were few and far
N
efore assigned
great importance to dening the place of Islam within the division and, on 19 May
N
ideology must not be forced on Muslim soldiers, but that Islam and
N
n June 1943, the ‘Black Legion’ committed large-scale massacres against the Serbian population
of Srebrenica. e
C
oatian military justice chose, in an unexpected move, to open an investigation,
but quickly noticed that a large number of the suspects had left the ‘Black Legion’ to join the
Waen-SS, and were thus out of the reach of
C
oatian investigators.

taatsarchiv
N
C
ollection Kriegsverbrecherprozesse, doc.
NO
4842:
C
all to Join the
oat
D
Volunteers, 11 May 1943.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
N
ere
they supposed to lead religious life (celebration of the main religious holidays,
O
division r
imam Halim Malko convinced some of the mutineers to turn against
the mutiny’s leaders.
e mutiny in Villefranche-de-
R
NCO
ere employees or workers. is resulted in paternalistic and
contemptuous attitudes towards the Muslims, as exemplied by the use of the term
‘Mujos’ to refer to the division’s Muslims.
O
cers and
NCO
om the
R
C
atholic
C
C
atholics in his unit.³¹
nstitut für
Z
unich,
R
FSS—Pers. Stab,
ottlob Berger,
‘Weltanschaulich-geistige Erziehung der muselmanischen SS-
D
’, 19 May 1943.
T
kkehard Wangemann, former head of the propaganda department of the 13th SS
Himmler’s Bosnian Division
, 183–4; X. Bougarel, interview with Fuad Mujaki,
D
ay 2010.
²

o Jelenek, ‘
O
herojskoj pobuni bataljona prinudno mobiliziranih Hrvata u Vilfranšu’,
unpublished manuscript, X. Bougarel, personal archives.

ujo’ is a diminutive of the Muslim name Mohamed, but is often used to designate
Muslims from Bosnia-Herzegovina in a contemptuous or mocking way.

undesarchiv Berlin (Barch), Berlin
D
C
entre (B
DC
), Fadil Siro’s personnel
record.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

Anti-partisan warfare and nal collapse
oatia in February 1944, the 13th SS
‘Handar’
D
estern Syrmia, driving the
partisans out of the swampy woodland of the Bosut area and committing large-
scale massacres in the villages of Sremska
R
and Jamena (seventy). In March and April 1944, it crossed the Sava river and took
D
S
Z
e (260 victims), Lopare (220), and
va (seventy). In the following
months, the ‘Handar’ stayed mostly within its own
Befriedungsraum
also took part in anti-partisan operations further to the south, around Šekovii and
Vlasenica. Within its
Befriedungsraum
, the division occupied the main towns and
some strategic points, but delegated control of the countryside to the Serbian
C
adre’. It also attempted, fairly unsuccessfully, to
take control of economic life and increase farm production.
In post-war trials, ocers of the ‘Handar’
D
es committed by this unit to Muslim soldiers’ ‘desire for revenge’ to or
oatia—a position that was equivalent to
Höherer SS- und
Polizeiführer
(HSSPF) in other regions. In their depositions at the Yugoslav mili
tary tribunals, some former soldiers of the ‘Handar’ stated that the massacres were
committed on orders from German ocers, and soldiers refusing these orders
C
oatian authorities and was abandoned
See,
, testimony by Ibrahim Muminovi, Asim Bajramovi, and Alaga \rorali in Arhiv
Jugoslavije, Belgrade (AJ),
C
ollection
D
KU
Z
, box 544, le 5540.

e is based on traditional depictions of Balkan atrocities and was used by the
Wehrmacht to ‘explain’ mass violence without analysing its own role. It partly entered into historiog
raphy after the war; see Alexander Korb,
Im Schatten des Weltkriegs. Massengewalt der Ustaša gegen
Serben, Juden und Roma in Kroatien 1941–1945
(Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2013), 17–19.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
wing to recruitment diculties. e ‘Handar’
D
wed growing signs of collapse, with desertions rising from around 200 in April–
June 1944 to 2,000 in the rst twenty days of September. Some group desertions
involved several hundred combatants and resembled small mutinies. us, the
decision was made to partially disarm the division, and in
O
uslim members of the ‘Handar’
R
ungary as part of the
Kampfgruppe
(ghting group) led
by Hans Hanke, joining the
C
oatian armed forces, or going to work in Germany.
A few thousand Muslim soldiers chose to continue to ght alongside their German
comrades. It is important to note that group desertions were most often organized
by Muslim
NCO
w eld imams also deserted or opposed the departure to the
eastern front, but most of them followed Hanke’s
Kampfgruppe
to Hungary, then
to Austria, where it surrendered to British troops on 8 May 1945.
LBA
N
IA
SS leaders join forces with clan chiefs
e recruitment of Muslims in the Waen-SS started later in Albania, Kosovo,
andthe Sandak region than in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the
Waen-
Gebirgs-Division der SS
‘Skanderbeg’

Later, as
SS- und Polizeiführer
(SSPF)
ce’s envoy to south-eastern Europe, Hermann
about 4,000 Albanians served in the ‘Handar’
D
were then redeployed to the 21st SS ‘Skanderbeg’
D
the war, former Bosnian SS men stated that Albanians shot unarmed civilians and
their warfare was very brutal.
In addition to von Krempler, two other
SS-Gruppenführer
Artur Phleps and
SS-Gruppenführer
August von
Meyszner, HSSPF of Serbia—were key gures in the recruitment of Albanian
Muslims into the Waen-SS.
kanderbeg is Albania’s chief national hero; he lived in the fteenth century and
O
³

olitisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes Berlin/Bonn (PAAAB),
R
100998: Hermann
oreign
O
ce, 25 September 1943. However, considering that there was only one
Albanian battalion in the ‘Handar’
D
N
’s estimate seems overly high.

abina Ferhadbegovi, ‘Vor Gericht.
D
oldaten der Handschar-
D
Südostforschungen
, 69–70 (2010–11), 228–51, here 239.

arch,
N
S 19/2601, 2: Heinrich Himmler to Artur Phleps, 13 February 1943.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

Among the Albanians, the
C
ommittee for the
D
osovo and later
theSecond League of Prizren
were the most powerful factors for the recruit
mentof Albanian Muslims into both the Waen-SS and the Wehrmacht. ese
organizations united the clan chiefs of the territory of Greater Albania and the
Sandak; the League even managed to build its own apparatus parallel to Albanian
state institutions. ree of the chiefs, Bedri Pejani, Xhaver
D
a, and
R
itrovica,assumed a leading role in negotiations with the SS leaders, rst with
von Krempler and later with
SS-Brigadeführer
Josef Fitzthum, HSSPF of Albania,
SS-Standartenführer
August Schmidhuber, divisional commander of the
‘Skanderbeg’.
e Second League of Prizren was founded on 20 September 1943 by
D
Pejani with the support of Franz von Scheiger, a German diplomat. Its aim was to
defend Greater Albania, and especially Kosovo, from Serbian, Montenegrin, and
Bulgarian assaults.
D
D
Albanisch-Muselmanische
SS-Freiwilligen-Legion
, the Germans had sent their own men and the recruitment
rates had been quite high. However, with the changing war situation in 1944, the
bargaining position of the clan chiefs became stronger. United in the Second
efers to the League of Prizren, 1878–81.

arch,
N
S 19/2071, 7–8: Second League of Prizren to Heinrich Himmler, 29 March 1944.

undesarchiv-Militärarchiv (BA-MA),
S 3–21/1, 3–4: August Schmidhuber,
Z
ericht’, 2
O


arch,
N
S 19/2071, 7–8: Second League of Prizren to Heinrich Himmler, 29 March 1944.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
N
, who described Pejani as ‘insane’,
om oce in June 1944.
e new chairman of the
Second League became
a who, combining this role with that of as minister of
the interior, became the hub for the recruitment of the ‘Skanderbeg’
D
O
pril 1944 the Italians noted that the creation of this division ‘is the work ofthe
minister of the interior, condant of the Germans’.
Accounts report thatthere was
D
a and Fitzthum. Fitzthum himself stated how vital
the right-wing and anti-Serbian politician was for the German recruitment eorts.
D
a was excluded from the government in summer 1944, Fitzthum was
afraid that without him as statesman the ‘Skanderbeg’
D
osper,
and a separation of the Kosovo region from Albania proper would occur.
D
I
and ideological training, i.e. ‘
weltanschauliche Schulung
’, was to be
avoided entirely, because the Germans were afraid that such instruction would
alkan campaign in April 1941, Albanian irregulars had already
fought alongside German forces in the Kosovo region against Yugoslav troops,
explaining why recruitments were planned as early as the end of 1941.
R
t Elsie,
Historical Dictionary of Kosovo
D
: Scarecrow Press, 2004), 252.

chivio Storico
D
inisterio degli Aari Esteri,
R
D
), Albania, box 51,
le Alb. 1/1, 2: Italian Ministry of Foreign Aairs, 19 April 1944.

AAAB,
R
27305: Hermann
N
artin Schliep, 6 March 1944.

arch,
N
S 19/1488, 1: Josef Fitzthum to Heinrich Himmler, undated.

arch,
N
S 31/444, 28: Julius Kaesdorf, ‘Erfahrungen mit albanischen Soldaten’, undated.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

olunteer battalions were projected, and up to this point, a few thou
sandmen had volunteered. For want of Albanian ocers and
NCO
from ‘
O
’ were incorporated; German sources deny that anti-Italian
Albanians were favoured.
Italian reports attest forced recruitments under German
command. e total male Muslim population of northern Kosovo and Sandak
N
vi Pazar regions were to form a free regiment under Wehrmacht command,
but they were later relocated to SS authority.
O
Albanian Muslim volunteers.
German diplomat Felix Benzler was convinced
that ‘the formation of a Muslim corps would pacify the Albanian Muslims and
increase the inux [of volunteers]. It is very likely that even volunteers from the
neighbouring areas of the former Yugoslav federation would sign up.’
In con
D
, expected only 4,000 recruits.
a,
was involved in the recruitment of volunteers supervised by the
HSSPF of Serbia, August Meyszner.
Karl von Krempler, the supervisor of recruitments in Kosovo and the Sandak
R
inistry of Foreign Aairs, reported
30,000 Muslims having ed the Albanian borderlands into the Independent State
C
As an incentive Albanian recruits were promised that they would be
part of the future military of a ‘Free Albania’, as
on Pistor, former intendant
of the ‘Skanderbeg’
D
AAAB, Altes Amt,
T
esandtschaft
T
uswärtiges Amt (AA), 13
N
vember
O
’ means the territory of the Albanian state from 1919 to 1941 (Balkan campaign).

D
, 1923–1943, AG Serbia 54, box 1492: Governor of Albania to AA, 7
D


AAAB,
R
100998: Gottlob Berger to AA, 9 April 1943.

bid.: Felix Benzler to AA, 13 April 1943.


bid.: Gerhart Feine to AA, 18 May 1943.

bid.: Felix Benzler to AA, 13 April 1943.


bid.: Gerhart Feine to AA, 18 May 1943.

bid.: Felix Benzler to AA, 31 March 1943; ibid.: Felix Benzler to AA, 13 April 1943.

S,
C
ollection ird
R
x 9, le 6, doc. 10: Karl von Krempler to Kasim Sijari, 1943
(date unreadable).

AAAB,
R
100998: Eberhard
R
pril 1943.


N
756/182b:
on Pistor to Wolfgang Vopersal, undated. Wolfgang Vopersal was
‘archivist’ of the
Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der Angehörigen der ehemaligen Waen-SS
(HIAG),
a ‘self-help organization’ of former Waen-SS soldiers after World War II.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
tillery. Schmidhuber, commander of the ‘Skanderbeg’
D
would not only waste German arms and ammunition but also act in a
fearful and disobedient manner: ‘With a light mortar you can basically chase him
[the Albanian] around the world.
D
O
itzthum. He was responsible
not only for the deployment of the 21st SS ‘Skanderbeg’
D
eation of a new Albanian police and gendarmerie, and he complained to Hitler
personally: ‘For the currently existing Albanian formations an alteration in the
future cannot be expected to be brought about even by thorough training. ey
will never become a serious and employable troop.’
Fitzthum went as far as
Albanian soldier is undisciplined and cowardly’.³
In summer 1944, only a few months after the deployment of the ‘Skanderbeg’
tions were already a daily occurrence. ey should mainly be seen
as a response to the German defeats and to a severe lack of food and equipment.
Furthermore, ‘the permanent overy of the positions by heavy American squad
rons’, enemy propaganda, and the approaching end of German control of the
Balkans undermined the morale of the Albanian soldiers.
D
eral hundred of them would frequently disappear. And it was not only enlisted
men who went absent without ocial leave; ocers in the higher ranks also
wentmissing.
O
D
’ from 18 to 28 July 1944 more
than400 men were reported as ‘missing’.
ese were the precursors of the mass
tions that took place in autumn 1944 in the ‘Skanderbeg’ and its sister
arch,
N
S 31/444: Julius Kaesdorf, ‘Erfahrungen mit albanischen Soldaten’, undated.

R
S 3–21/1, 2: August Schmidhuber, ‘
Z
ericht’, 2
O


D
,
R
SI, AP, box 51:
D
m Geiste Skanderbegs’,
Donauzeitung
, 26 July 1944.

arch,
N
S 31/444, 26: Julius Kaesdorf, ‘Erfahrungen mit albanischen Soldaten’, undated.

arch,
N
S 19/2071, 15: Josef Fitzthum to Heinrich Himmler, 23 May 1944.


bid., 14.


S,
ollection ird
box 72A, le 34, doc. 1a:
d of Interrogation of Alfred Schrader.

Ibid.

Schmider,
Partisanenkrieg in Jugoslawien 1941–1944
(Hamburg: Mittler und Sohn,
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

andar’. In September the number of desertions rose rapidly. is
was due to three factors. First of all the capitulation of
R
fuelled beliefs that an Allied victory was close at hand; secondly
amnesty to anyone who deserted before 15 September 1944; and thirdly the
Albanian communists issued an ultimatum demanding that men volunteer to
serve in the
N
ront by 22 September or fteen days thereafter.
is ultimatum was accompanied by the prospect of leniency for those who
responded to the appeal and by the threat of punishment if these instructions
werenot followed. e threatened sanctions resembled the traditional blood
revenge.
When later interrogated as a P
O
SS-Obersturmbannführer
Alfred Graf put
onrecord that the ‘Skanderbeg’
D
O
a high number of Albanians had already left the division on their own
initiative.
D
esented impressive data:
e direct consequence of the political and military crisis in the Balkans consisted
NCO
n the end even the 697 men of the former
Albanian Battalion of the ‘Handar’
D
battalion that had been shifted to the ‘Skanderbeg’ in order to stabilize the newly
D
om April to
O
tions were reported—in other words, more than half of the division.
In autumn
1944 the main SS leaders in Greater Albania, like Schmidhuber, Fitzthum, and
von Krempler, still could not understand why Albanian SS soldiers were loyal to
their clan chiefs rather than to their German ocers.
Hubert
Widerstand und Kollaboration in Albanien 1939–1944
(Wiesbaden:
Harrassowitz, 2008), 208–9.

S,
C
ollection ird
R
x 72, le 32, doc. 2:
R
d of interrogation of Alfred Graf.

R
S 3–21/1, 7: August Schmidhuber, ‘
Z
ericht’, 2
O


bid.


bid.


bid.


Ibid.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
T UN
I
ON
enewed attempts to accelerate the integration
ofMuslims into the Waen-SS by establishing new units. At that time the 13th
SS‘Handar’
D
ere at their training camp in
N
, where their
deployment was deemed a success despite the mutiny in Villefranche-de-
R
bergruppenführer
Berger blamed on the
C
atholic members of the
e for the renewed eorts came from Major Andreas Mayer-
Mader
of the Wehrmacht who, with the help of the
Abwehr
D
ds, the unit and its commander, Mayer-Mader, were used as the
Kaukasisch-Mohammedanische Legion
C
aucasian-Mohammedan
Legion) within the
Ostlegionen
(eastern legions) of the Wehrmacht. Later he was
kestani) Infantry
D
deployed in
Ukraine. ere he was meant to support the establishment of new
Ostlegionen
Army Group South.
But while Mayer-Mader was a highly experienced specialist, he was of a dicult
character, seemingly obsessed with the idea of starting a guerrilla war against the
Army from the rear; he intended to accomplish this with the aid of non-

R
N
yment to Ukraine,
he had clashed with the majority of the Wehrmacht over his ideas and the fact that
they had been implemented by using non-Germans to ll most of the ocer and
positions in his units. He saw no chance to realize his plans within the
Wehrmacht and thus gratefully took the opportunity to present his ideas to the SS.
C
depart
R
SHA, who had initiated a similar but unsuccessful unit for
O

Z
’ (U
Z
, from its German initials), in early
O
ayer-Mader
N
prisingly, Gräfe was excited and promised Mayer-Mader 300 trained members
ofthe U
Z
for the new unit. Gottlob Berger followed this positive evaluation of
theundertaking and asked Himmler to approve a ‘Mohammedan
D
kic people’.
As Berger explained, this ‘East-Mohammedan
D
be the perfect complement to the ‘West-Mohammedan
D
’—referring to
ayer-Mader had fought in World War I with
C
hiang Kai
C
Asian languages. See Joachim Homann,
Die Ostlegionen 1941–1943. Turkotataren, Kaukasier und
Wolgannen im deutschen Heer
(Freiburg:
R


ts commander,
O
R
itter von
N
er, had failed to accomplish his mission in
Afghanistan of provoking a ‘holy war’ against the British empire during World War I. As an expert on
R
k.) Inf.
D
See Hans-Ulrich Seidt,
Berlin, Kabul, Moskau: Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer und Deutschlands
Geopolitik
(Munich: Universitas, 2002).

arch,
N
S 31/43, 12: Gottlob Berger to Heinrich Himmler, 15
O
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

‘Handar’
Z
, chief of the General
Sta of the army, for the transfer of Mayer-Mader and his men from the Wehrmacht
to the Waen-SS.
Z
’s doubts delayed the plans until January 1944.
In the
meantime, Mayer-Mader, who was anxious to start his project with the Waen-SS,
began discussing his plans with the SSHA. e idea which Berger and the SS had
approved, of destabilizing parts of the eastern front using non-
R
units of
deserters from the
R
, was only the beginning of Mayer-Mader’s ambitious
plans. He wanted to establish bases for his planned command unit in Iraq, Iran, and
Azerbaijan, unite all anti-Bolshevists in these countries, and form a provisional
government of
kmenistan from the men among their ranks.
kic emigrants and their
Verbindungsstellen
(liaison departments) or later
Nationalkomitees
which had been granted status as protégés
in Berlin. Instead, Emil Herrmann from the SSHA recommended consultation with
the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. With his help, and religious and intellectual leadership,
the new division would put ‘eastern Islam into motion’, he thought.
In the same
week Mayer-Mader and three
D
ayer-Mader and his
ocers, he continued, had asked for the new division to be treated similarly to the
‘Handar’.²
D
wing weeks, recruitment for the new division, named
N
T
kestan’, had the highest priority. Initially,
Turk-Battalion 450
, Mayer-Mader’s
Turk-Battalion I/94
were to build up the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment
Nr. 1
in Poniatowa near Lublin in Poland as the core unit for the new division.
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
e Wehrmacht was unwilling to support Mayer-Mader and the SS. Ernst August
Köstring, the
General der Freiwilligenverbände
(volunteer units) in the Supreme
High
C
ommand of the army (
O
KH), gave orders to restrict transfers to
Turk-
Battalion 450
recruitment from P
O
Ostarbeiter
bid., 16: Gottlob Berger to Werner Grothmann, 24
N
vember 1943.

bid., 17: Heinrich Himmler to Kurt
Z
,
N
vember 1943, and Ibid., 18: Gottlob Berger to
Heinz Hellmich, 2
D


R
S 3/39-1, 250: Emil Herrmann, ‘
k-
D
’, 14
D


or the history of the
Nationalkomitees
, see Patrick von zur Mühlen,
Zwischen Hakenkreuz und
D
f:
D
oste,
1971).


R
S 3/39–1, 251: Emil Herrmann, ‘
k-
D
’, 14
D


arch,
N
S 31/43, 52–3 and
N
S 31/44, 53: al-Husseini to Berger, 15
D
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
ome of the non-German ocers he had worked with since his days
with the
Ostlegionen
were sent to the camps of their old Wehrmacht units where,
despite the risk of provoking a serious conict with the Wehrmacht, they were to
try and recruit as many
kmen soldiers from the Wehrmacht as possible.
Interestingly, Mayer-Mader requested 200 ‘Handar’ uniforms and 300 ‘Handar’
collar tabs from the SSHA, as he expected that the use of these uniforms and insig
nia would strengthen the standing of his recruiters. And indeed, the promises
oered by Mayer-Mader’s men—such as improved chances of advancement, fewer
German ocers, uniforms and service grades equal to those of the Germans, and
O
KH, asked Himmler directly if he had authorized such
.
N
all these intrigues, the numbers of volunteers remained far too low
forthe deployment of the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
months of 1944. Even the most unlikely ideas were considered in order to increase
numbers of troops.
SS-Obersturmführer
Emil Herrmann suggested that Berger,
with the help of Himmler, should convince Hitler to start a general appeal to all
Muslims within the German sphere of inuence. After they had issued this procla
mation and proceeded to collection points, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem would
then convince them to apply to the Waen-SS instead of the Wehrmacht.
e even greater success, Herrmann suggested the Grand Mufti should use the
‘Handar’ and ‘Skanderbeg’ divisions and the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
as illustration and propaganda material,
for during the rst weeks after the estab
lishment of the new Muslim SS division, ‘Handar’ and even ‘Skanderbeg’ were
seen in Berlin as successful examples to be emulated by the new division and as
propaganda material for the recruitment of new volunteers.
Besides the lack of recruits, the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
another serious problem. e promised equipment and equal uniforms for both
German and non-German soldiers did not materialize owing to the general state of
R
H 53/23-52, 24: Ernecke, ‘Auswirkungen der Aufstellung der muselmanischen
D
’, 26
N
vember 1944.

R
S 3/39-1, 165:
C
laus Schenk Graf von Stauenberg to Heinrich Himmler, 18 January
1944, and Barch,
N
S 31/43, 65: SSHA/A I, ‘SS-
D
N
T
kestan’, 17 January 1944.

N
S 31/42, 6–7: Emil Herrmann to Gottlob Berger, 28 February 1944.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

oblems with German supply lines. Existing uniforms were in such
bad condition that they were useless; therefore uniforms and equipment for 1,000
people were re-ordered.
D
ery, however, was delayed, several times, for weeks.
eational items, such as musical instruments, games, radios or cameras, simi
larly did not reach the camp in Poniatowa. Finally, the low number of available
weapons severely limited the deployment and training of the SS regiment so that
original plans for simultaneous training and combat missions could not be imple-
mented. At the end of January 1944 the unit owned only fty ries.
O
ordered from and promised by the SSHA, only 100 existed; and those had to
be picked up at army depots far away. e supply of heavy weapons was even
worse. All that Berger was able to organize were a few anti-tank guns and some
mortars with 250 pieces of ammunition. At the end of 1944, only every
fourth member owned a rie and one out of 156 had a pistol.
oblems, establishment and training of the regiment’s three
battalions began. e leader of the rst battalion, the Kyrgyz
SS-Untersturmführer
Asankulow, started to form four companies with a total of 250 men. e Azerbaijani
SS-Hauptsturmführer
R
SHA, who was the only German battalion leader, had arrived with
his men from U
Z
in Poniatowa and started by establishing an ocers’ course.
O
wing
to the absence of Mayer-Mader, who was travelling in search of weapons, equipment,
and new recruits, and the lack of experienced German ocers, discipline dropped
alarmingly.
O
anuary 1944, some members of the unit tried to rape Polish
forced labourers held captive in a nearby SS labour camp in Poniatowa. is resulted
in the grotesque situation whereby some of the
ds, notorious for their
atrocities, defended Polish women against sexual assault. e
’ German
ocers were unable to defuse the situation and were threatened by the
kestans.
Such developments could no longer be ignored and caused the SSHA to initiate an
ocial investigation.
Mayer-Mader was deposed by Gottlob Berger and assigned to
D
wanger’s penal unit, where all trace of him is lost.
SS-Hauptsturmführer
Emil Herrmann and the new commander,
C
aptain Heinz Billig from the Wehrmacht,
who was ordered to join the SS regiment along with his men of
Turk-Battalion I/94
tried to re-establish order. For this purpose it was deemed necessary to eliminate
those in leading positions of the unit who had been close to Mayer-Mader. Accused
of plotting a conspiracy, they were arrested, court-martialled, and subsequently
executed by ring squad. But instead of calming the situation, uncertainty and fear
of further repressive measures and punishments escalated among the men. Shortly
thereafter Billig had to cable to Berlin that two company commanders, two other
ocers, and forty-nine men with all their weapons had defected to the partisans.
A couple of days later another 129 men followed them.
ee BA-MA,
R
S 3/39-1, 168–71: Interrogation
R
ts of Wladimir Prystupa and other
ds.


arch,
N
S 31/45, 17: Billig to Gottlob Berger, 24 March 1944.

bid.,
N
S 31/43, 159:
C
t von Gottberg to Gottlob Berger, 12 April 1944.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
C
aptain Billig seems to have been
overwhelmed.
C
omplaints accumulated that Billig was drunk before noon and
mistreated his subordinates violently. With his removal in April–May 1944 the
unit lost its second commander within the space of just a few months.
From the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
Osttürkische
Waenverband der SS
e plan for a Muslim SS ‘
T
kestan’
D
Ostmuselmanische
SS-Regiment Nr. 1
as its basis now seemed seriously compromised. Until a new
attempt at re-formation could be made, the remaining soldiers were temporarily
assigned as a disciplinary measure to the command of
O
D
infamously brutal unit on April 26.
D
wanger’s command.
Before the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
could be used for anti-partisan
operations by
D
wanger—
wanger ordered the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
from Bia\fystok to
Warsaw as back-up. Before they arrived
D
wanger and his unit carried out
es in Warsaw’s western Wola borough on 4 August. By 5 August, when the
violence died down slightly, an estimated 15,000–50,000 persons had been killed.
According to all accounts, the remnants of the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment
Nr. 1
had been delayed and thus were not part of
D
wanger’s attack group at this
time. When
wanger made inquiries on 9 August, it was discovered that the
troop transport had erroneously been sent to Hungary, after which they were dis
patched to Warsaw, eventually arriving on 14 August.
used for back-up tasks in the area of the city palace and the second battalion at the
eatre Square and later in the Mokotów district. eir reliability was considered
so low that Military
ommand Warsaw reported its strong doubts to Erich
vondem Bach-
Z
eir deployment during the harsh conditions of the
ee
N
D
Aufstand der Verlorenen. Der Kampf um Warschau 1944
(Munich:
D
Knaur, 2004), 290–1.

R
Z
, ‘1.
O
R
’, 23 August 1944.

Korpsgruppe
Bach, with which
D
See BA-MA,
R
H 20–9/213: Korpsgruppe v.d. Bach, daily report to Armee
O
High
C
ommand, A
K) 9.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

arsaw uprising, their subordination under
D
wanger’s command, and their
ill-treatment by some of his ocers motivated regiment commander Alimow to
send a written appeal against their deployment at the beginning of September
1944. Even though
D
wanger was close friends with Gottlob Berger, Berger
forced him to withdraw all units until accusations of ill-treatment of troops by his
ocers were claried. e accusations proved correct and on 10
, after the
Polish ghters in Warsaw had surrendered, the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr.
was ordered from the ‘
D
wanger’ unit in Warsaw to Slovakia. After some losses
in Warsaw
² the regiment had twelve ocers, 113
NCO
In Slovakia, a new attempt to create a Muslim SS division began to take shape:
even after the disaster with Mayer-Mader, which had prevented the formation
ofthe SS ‘
N
T
kestan’
SS authorities had never given up this goal.
Asuitable successor for Mayer-Mader seemed to be the German convert Harun
R
aschid. El-
R
aschid, born Wilhelm Hintersatz, had served as a German ocer
O
irst World War. After the attack on the
R
aschid had served as the contact man of the
R
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. From the standpoint of the SS, el-
R
the necessary military and cultural experience but also a close connection with the
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was still envisioned as the division’s spiritual leader.
is selection was pleasing to the Grand Mufti, and the two men immediately
beganto outline their plans. In their opinion Bosnia-Herzegovina was the ideal
deployment area.
N
pro-German sentiments, but the opportunity to cooperate with the ‘Handar’
was expected to have a positive eect on attitude and training. In addition,
the troops would be on Muslim territory, where mosques and imams could strengthen
their faith and Islamic identity. Although Berger did not agree with the idea of gar
risoning the division in Bosnia, he supported el-
R
aschid as the new commander. As
a consequence of the Mayer-Mader aair months before, el-
R
experienced German or Germanic ocers from non-German units. A
auptsturmführer
, Quintus de Veer, who had already served with
D
SS-Untersturmführer
Körber from the 5th SS
Mountain
C
orps, which oversaw, among others, the ‘Handar’ and ‘Skanderbeg’
Gerd Schulte, who later became the adjutant of Abt. IIa, was also
enlisted because of his experience in ‘Skanderbeg’;
SS-Sturmbannführer
Franz
Liebermann, later temporary rst general sta ocer (Abt. Ia), came from ‘Handar’,
where he had gained experience as commander of the
1. Gebirgs-Jägerregiment 27
N
NCO
ty-nine soldiers dead; nine ocers, thirty-two
NCO
ee Barch,
N
S 31/44, 121.

O
en were non-German, three German, and two from ‘
D
wanger’.
O
en were non-German, twenty-ve German, and one from ‘
D
wanger’.
O
ere non-German, seven German, and two from ‘
D
wanger’. See Barch,
N
S 31/44, 122:
R
bt. Ia, ‘Stärke des
O
R
N
r. 1’, 19
September 1944.

arch,
N
S 31/49, 6–7: Harun el-
R
aschid to Blume, 27 September 1944.

bid. ‘Abt. IIa’ was the department responsible for personnel matters; ‘Abt. Ia’ was a department
led by the rst general sta ocer of a division.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
O
immler to give the order for the
deployment of the new division, which had been renamed the
Osttürkische
Waenverband der SS
OT
; East
kic Armed Unit of the SS). At its head was
the division headquarters with el-
R
aschid as its commander. ree groups of
Waengruppen
—‘Volga-
T
’ (‘Idel-Ural’ in

C
’, and
kestan’—were meant to train several battalions each. But the reality was dier
ent. e available vehicles were mostly out of order and the only armaments were
the defective weapons of the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
e groups
grew only slowly; the largest section was the former
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment
Nr. 1
Waengruppe
kestan’.
OT
Vienna, we can derive some basic data about a group of 1,183 non-German
ese people were recruited or transferred through Vienna to the
T
O
D
names and birthdays, the lists mention their nationality, profession, current status,
and the place from where they had come to the
OT
. Most of them (48 per
cent) came from other SS units like the former
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr.
Waen-Gebirgs-Brigade der SS (Tatarische Nr. 1)
second largest group (42 per cent) came from P
O
talag II A
in
enty-six people), Stalag XI B in Fallingbostel (eighty-two)
N
way (256).
O
w (6 per cent) were recruited
from Wehrmacht units like the Volga-
T
tar Legion (eight-four people) or from
Ostarbeiter
tars (31 per
cent) and Volga-
T
tars (22 per cent) or from Azerbaijan (18 per cent) and
Uzbekistan (17 per cent). A minority was from Kazakhstan (6 per cent) or other
regions like
kmenistan (twenty-ve people), Kirghizia (eighteen) or
e most common professions were in the eld of agronomy (35 per cent),
followed by people described as workers (14 per cent). Students, pupils, and teach
ers made up 12 per cent of the recruits. Surprisingly large was the proportion of
drivers and chaueurs with 7 per cent.
and engineers amounted to only 5 per cent; similarly, commercial
vocations like accountants and merchants represented only 3 per cent. e rest—
24 per cent of the recruits—were a diverse mixture of many professional groups.
arch,
N
S 31/44, 177–9: Harun el-
R
aschid to Hermann Höe, 5
N
vember 1944.
O
N
vember 1944, the
OT
ty-seven ocers, 308
NCO
ee Barch,
N
S 31/44, 177–8.


wing statistics are based on several recruitment lists. See Barch,
N
S 31/47, 52–9,
N
S
31/48, 80–91,
N
S 31/51, 21–8, and
N
S 31/57, 185–202.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

W
R
riv
O
Ostmuselmanische
SS-Regiment Nr. 1
Waen-Gebirgs-Brigade der SS (Tatarische Nr. 1)
their majority of Azerbaijani,
C
tar, Uzbek, and Kazakh soldiers. e
numbers of Volga-
T
tars were lower than those of P
O
oportion arrived in the
OT
om the Volga-
T
tar Legion.
D
entre in the German Federal Archives in Berlin are from SS ocers, so they were
of little use in obtaining further biographical information about the non-German
O
D
arch 1917 in Simferopol; he joined the
OT
D
was later promoted to
Oberscharführer
e personal les of the other,
Michail Abbaskulujew, were somewhat more extensive because of his relationship
with a German woman who became pregnant. ey tried to marry and so had to
C
where in 1941 he joined the German forces and reached the rank of
SS-Oberscharführer
. He fought with the
Ostmuselmanische SS-Regiment Nr. 1
Warsaw uprising, where he was wounded on 17 August 1944. For this he earned
the Iron
C
oss 1st
C
lass.¹
w levels of recruitment and the soldiers’ inadequate training and
equipment, the rudimentary units of the
OT
ere used without hesitation in
anti-partisan missions. Some of these were violent, as in
N
vember 1944, when
arch, B
DC
, Eskender
D
’s personnel record.

bid., Michail Abbaskulujew’s personnel record.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
T
patrols.
In other missions in the area south of Myjava around the same time, the patrols
reported only the arrest of suspects.
onstant attacks on police stations and
OT
was devastating. e climax was reached when Alimow, the commander of
Waengruppe
kestan’, deserted to join the partisans the night after
C
hristmas,
T
’, which had also seen several
desertions, was disarmed and sent back to a P
O
. El-
R
increase the number of German ocers and—much as in the case of the ‘Handar’
ecommended the transfer of the
T
‘into an area where they can’t
communicate [with the local population]’. In this case, he proposed as suitable ‘the
R
that the other key factor for loyalty was religious faith. us the unreliability of the
Volga-
T
tars was considered to be the result of their low religiosity. For el-
R
aschid
the unication of the East
kics into a functioning military unit could only be
OT
Ostlegionen
, we will see that they were con
ceived as a mixture of propagandist and religious advisor—much more than their
role at the beginning. At that time non-German propagandists were trained in the
Ostlegionen
separately in courses given by the Wehrmacht’s propaganda depart
ment in Berlin and Potsdam.
In 1942 and 1943 the tasks of Wehrmacht imams were mainly religious, such as
leading communal Friday prayers, funerals, and pastoral care.
ey wore a tur
ban and a half-moon badge as special insignia and were excused military service in
order that they might carry out their duties. We can infer from the organizational
structure of the 162nd (
kestani) Infantry
D
yed the
Ostlegionen
in Army Group South, that every battalion in the
Ostlegionen
atleast one imam and above him a supervising legion imam. e head was the
arch,
N
S 31/44, 190: Situation
R
t, 7
N
vember 1944.

bid., 176, 178, and 181: Situation
R
ts 4–6
N
vember 1944.

arch,
N
S 31/44, 39–43: Harun el-
R
aschid to German commander in Slovakia,
Obergruppenführer
Hermann Höe, 26
D
¹

arch,
N
S 31/29, 187–90, here 190:
R
t by Harun el-
R
aschid.


bid., 189.
¹

n this they were similar to the German army chaplains, whose duties were limited to pastoral care
for fear that they might exert an unwelcome inuence in other areas. See ‘
R
ichtlinien für die
chführung der Feldseelsorge’ [Guidelines for Pastoral
C
are], 24 May 1942, in Albrecht Schübel,
Jahre evangelische Soldatenseelsorge
(Munich: Evangelischer Presseverband für Bayern, 1964), 100–1.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

esides their religious duties they counselled the German ocers
and commanders in religious questions and resolved possible problems and ten
C
the privileges of the imams were abolished with the result that they now had to
serve as ghting clerics.
Wehrmacht had for a long time been rather ad hoc
and anyone who seemed to have some experience or training in the eld was
selected and employed as a teacher. is procedure nally changed when the
Waen-SS established the ‘Handar’
D
D
t of the propaganda eort from the very beginning, so that they were subordi
nated to Abt. VI (the department for ideological education,
Weltanschauliche
Erziehung
). As mentioned previously, in July 1943 the rst of the SS’s future imams
arrived in Berlin for a course of several weeks to be taught by the Grand Mufti of
Jerusalem,¹
with training eorts subsequently expanded with the establishment
of the SS Imam Institute in Guben in April 1944.
kic soldiers, which opened in
N
vember 1944,
subsequent continuation of these policies. But despite great eorts to fully equip
the school, only two classes were taught before it was destroyed in the aerial bom
bardment of
D
esden on 14 February 1945.¹¹¹
T
was transferred one last time—to northern
Italy.¹¹²
O
wing to the limited number of les in the archives, it is dicult to recon
struct its last weeks. According to a report by HSSPF Italy,
SS-Obergruppenführer
Karl Wolf, the
OT
9April 1945 in Bergamo, but this number had shrunk to 650 men in Brixen, near
ONC
LUSI
ON
S
uslim involvement in the Second World War was shaped by a mix of global
andlocal factors, and cannot therefore be reduced to single-causal explanations,
C
opies of Spuler’s reports on six courses from June to
Joachim Homann. See BA-MA, MSG2-18277, 51–70.

Lepre,
Himmler’s Bosnian Division
, 71 and pictures of the participants, 73–7.

D
ullah-Kurse der Waen-SS’, in Gerhard Höpp and Brigitte
R
remdeinsätze. Afrikaner und Asiaten in den europäischen Kriegen, 1914–1945
(Berlin:
D
Arabische B
uch, 2000), 182.
¹¹

bid., 183–4.


bid., 186.
¹¹²

arch,
N
S 31/44, 300: Harun el-
R
aschid to SSFHA, 28 February 1945.

arch,
R
70/1, 14 (Italien), 11: HSSPF Italien, ‘Waenverbände der SS’, undated.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi
D
otadel has pointed out, the Germans
made the mistake of seeing Muslims as a homogenous mass, thus underestimating
N
O
ere formed across
C
oatia, where the German embassy sided with the
C
C
aucasus. Intense recruit
ment was limited to regions within Europe and under direct German control. In
regions like
th Africa, in independent allies like Bulgaria, and in neutral coun
key it was very limited. e SS managed to recruit Muslims in great
numbers and to establish Muslim SS divisions in the regions covered by this chap
ter. But was their existence a military success for the SS in particular and for the
Germans in general? e SS succeeded in entering a new eld of policy with global
implications and thus increased its relevance in the eld of ideology and foreign
policy. It also skilfully outplayed the German embassies, the
R
inistry for the
Motadel,
slam and Nazi Germany’s War
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 16/11/16, SPi

uslim partners of the Germans. e SS leadership and the German
ocers did not trust their Muslim soldiers and did not treat them as equals. e
Germans could not keep the promises they had made regarding religious and polit
wards the end of 1944, most Muslim units
were defunct, and many of their former recruits fought within the ranks of units
which were on the side of the victors and which would soon vanquish
N
ermany and its multinational SS empire—an empire that had proven to be a trap
rather than a promise for Europe’s Muslims.
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Gerald Steinacher, Immo Rebitschek, Mats Deland,
Sabina Ferhadbegovi, and Frank Seberechts
is chapter sheds new light on the post-war fate of non-German SS members.
Although it is practically impossible to present the entire spectrum of post-war
experiences in just a few pages, a selection of national and biographical case studies
will at least hint at the vast range of experiences these men had in Eastern and
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
for mutual political communication, thus drawing the boundaries of future bloc
confrontation. e prosecution of German war criminals was informed by these
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
after the end of the war, outraged protests in their home region forced the French
central government to grant the men an amnesty.
In East Germany, the Ministry
for State Security (MfS or ‘Stasi’) recruited former SS soldiers and NSDAP mem
bers. e new regime capitalized on their dubious fraught biographies and oered
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
the so-called ‘Hitler system’.
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
threat potential was also the actual purpose of the procedures, whereby ultimately
‘an individual working for a German kitchen could go under the same article as
someone serving in the German police’.
e fact that the accused normally pleaded guilty before the end of the trial ts
into this picture. Of course, the scant material available to historians casts doubt
on these ‘confessions’. But this does not mean that the majority of those caught up
in the mills of justice were non-participants. ey illustrate that, under pressure
from the war (and from Stalin’s personal attitude), a fast tempo, harshness, and
political zeal were required when dealing with ‘traitors’—and not a criminal
investigation.
is led to a familiar problem for the authorities. In the big show trials like that
SS-Sonderkommando 10a
, Moscow prescribed the
verdicts. But o the big stage and out in the front-line areas—where there were
hardly any legally trained personnel—it occurred all too often that supporters of
the Red Army were accused and executed while many actual SS ghters got lost in
e leading senior justice ocials worked on ne-tuning legal provisions in
order to limit this severe problem (some ocials spoke of a 38 per cent ‘error
ratio’).
Against this backdrop, the decree of 19 April 1943 was intended to
expedite trials and to ‘lter out’ all Germans and collaborators accused of acts of
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
the big stage the dictator’s demise had grave consequences for the evaluation of
‘counter-revolutionary’ crimes.
For the rst time, the power vacuum in the Politburo and the immense political
and economic pressure of an uneconomical forced labour empire (the Gulag)
smoothed the way for reorganization of the penal system. e situation made the
political leadership take an overall more critical (internal) approach towards
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
against all Gulag internees. In these cases, legal proceedings could simply be halted,
since it took little eort just to leave these prisoners in their camps. Added to this,
the thick investigation les over-challenged the still rudimentary legal knowledge
e result was a practice whereby the ‘counter-revolutionary’ cases were treated
as non-political. is meant that commission statistics had to give a uniform
impression: ‘stability of judgements’ was the name given to this in regular criminal
justice. is was intended to highlight the uniformity of criminal procedures and
to give the idea of a consistent political line. But this practice did not translate into
a re-examination of all cases of collaboration. e party authorities demanded a
quick and simple solution. erefore older cases, in which the sentence had already
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
In this way, hundreds of commissions bought time for the regime until Moscow
theform of an amnesty in September 1955. Explicitly, all those who had been
convicted under the articles concerning treason, with the exception of violent
criminals, were released from the camps. No rehabilitation was oered. From an
administrative standpoint, the commissions treated former collaborators from the
perspective of their violent acts. e social risk potential of these prisoners was no
which the commissions laboured. Nevertheless, the biographical scenario presented
Anatoly Podolsky, ‘Collaboration in Ukraine during the Holocaust: Aspects of Historiography
and Research’, in Roni Stauber (ed.),
Collaboration with the Nazis. Public Discourse after the Holocaust
(London and New York: Routledge, 2011), 48.
A vivid impression is provided in Azhdar A. Kurtov, ‘Pravovaya otsenka initsiativy po reabilitatsii
rukovoditelei ROA’, in
Kollaboratsionizm i predatelstvo vo Vtoroi Mirovoi voine. Vlasov i vlasovshchina
(Moskva: RISI, 2010), 179.
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
below is wholly imaginable from start to nish, and clearly illustrates the conditions
Records show that Vasily Bazilevich
was the son of Ukrainian farmers and
thathe was born on the Polish side of the Carpathian foothills in 1920.
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
occupied by the Finnish army, and among POWs doing slave labour in the north
of Norway and in Finland.
Prosecuting ‘war crimes’ and ‘treason’ in Norway
During the rst hours after the German capitulation in Norway
on 7 May 1945,
Wilhelm Rediess, the Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) in Norway, urged
allGerman Security Police ocers to take advantage of the initial confusion to
tryto hide themselves among the regular German forces. Rediess himself commit
Reichskommissar
Terboven outside
Oslo.Terboven followed his example the following night.
Further suicides would
occur during the next few days. Among them was the last head of the German-
controlled Norwegian Security Police, Henrik Rogstad.
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
be brought before the court at all (rather than face summary execution without
trial). Nils Quensel, president of the Stockholm Secondary Administrative Court
Kammarrättspresident
) and consultative member of the Swedish government both
during and after the war, relates in his memoirs a private lunch discussion with
Norwegian Minister of Justice Trygve Lie in November 1944: ‘He said that he
recommended that up to 5,000 persons, who gured on blacklists, should imme
diately be executed over a single night. Among them were the leading politicians
in Quisling’s government and a number of those active in the
Nasjonal Samling
.’
Only after sharp protests from Quensel had Lie conceded that ‘in the particular
moment maybe he would refrain from being so bloodthirsty’.
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
not only with prison terms and nes, but also by having part of their property
conscated in a national restitution campaign, and by deprivation of civil rights.
eir radical core, the militant ‘Hirden’ wing (the paramilitary branch of NS) and
the Waen-SS volunteers, were hit even harder. One reason for this was that
Norway claimed it had been at war with Germany without interruption, which
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Case study: the Rinnan gang
also known as
Sonderabteilung
(Special Branch) Lola. is group was part of KdS
Trondheim and specialized in torture and liquidations. Its fty members were
responsible for around eighty deaths, and, after the war, forty-one of them were
arrested and sentenced. Ten were executed (including the group’s leader, Henry
Oliver Rinnan) and eleven received life-long prison terms.
Rinnan was captured in a joint search with the Swedish authorities before he
could escape to Sweden. His trial caused some consternation in Sweden, since he
claimed that Swedish ocers had collaborated with the SD in Trondheim.
One
of his closest aliates, Arnt Torp, was hunted under dramatic circumstances in
January 1946, and Norwegian police suspected that after his escape from the Ilebu
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Denmark, unlike Norway, never became a signatory to the St James Declaration,
nor were there any declarations whatsoever with any judicial value as to the treat
ment of Danish national traitors and war criminals—nor that of Germans, for that
matter. It was not until 1 June 1945 that the reconvened parliament decided on a
law, which, among other things, reintroduced the death penalty. e law was,
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
soup and, apart from that, they did not have any rights. When any such Jew could no
longer work because of weakness or illness, he was beaten to death by rie butts and
thrown into a mass grave that was not covered over but was always kept open for
future needs.
In contrast to Norway, no one was punished in Denmark for membership of the
collaborating party, the DNSAP, or of any of the smaller Nazi parties that had
existed. At 14,493, the number of persons punished was also much lower than in
Norway (with a similarly sized population). On the other hand, the number of
death sentences was much higher: 112 were condemned to death, although only
forty-six of these judgements were enforced (thirty-seven in Norway).
None of
executed was German.
e number of liquidations carried out by the resistance movement was
substantially greater in Denmark than in Norway. About 400 persons, including
forty-six German and Norwegian agents, were killed (forty-seven agents were
alsokilled in the British air raid on the Gestapo main oce in Copenhagen on
21March 1945). is reduced the number of post-war executions.
Only seventy-two war crimes trials against Germans were held in Denmark. All
of the ve death sentences pronounced were commuted to prison terms. Seventeen
Germans received prison sentences. e Danish death sentences overwhelmingly
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
former SS volunteer, Hans Kaspar Kreuger, and obtained work as a dishwasher at
helped him escape to Spain. Later, Kam moved to Munich, where he was able to
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Most of Lynge-Nielsen’s, Stenander’s, and Kam’s colleagues who were arrested at
the end of the war were executed. Lynge-Nielsen and Kam, at least, would probably
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
e following section focuses on other ‘domestic traitors’ and ‘enemies of
thepeople’. In 1945 they were mainly the
Ustaša
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
signals were they sending through their resolutions? e AVNOJ based its claim to
power on the fact that the Partisans had emerged from the people as a resistance
movement and had united in their organization liberation movements from all
theYugoslav nations. ey basically presented themselves as the embodiment of
At the same time, they denounced their opponents as ‘helpers to the
occupiers’ and ‘war criminals’. According to the AVNOJ’s resolutions, those who
fought on Hitler’s side, those who supported the government-in-exile along with
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Bosnian land commission was founded on 1 July 1944. e signicance of these
commissions is evident in the fact that they maintained representatives at every
organizational level on the people’s liberation committees. Nevertheless, the land
commissions were chronically understaed and overwhelmed. e Bosnian land
commission, for example, suered greatly from a shortage of qualied personnel. In
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
there were only scattered legal regulations, and the dispensation of justice was
institutionally anchored in people’s liberation committees and military courts. e
boundary with mob law was often uid, and extra-judicial repression frequently
impacted the innocent and uninvolved.
Unstructured procedures were also the rule when it came to the criminal prose
cution of war crimes. e way these oences were punished depended on local
conditions and on which persons bore military responsibility at the time.
Formally, the intention was to create military courts as early as December 1941
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
‘enemies of the people’ and ‘war crimes’ vanished from the legal text, even if it still
contained specic formulations from the Directive on Military Courts. enceforth,
the term ‘violation of state protection’ served as a foundation. With its vague
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Moreover, the narrative of seduction ts seamlessly into the narrative of immature,
unenlightened peasants who were now being rescued, educated as political human
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
the opportunity to begin a new life and, with their work and participation in the
reconstruction of our ravaged country, to justify the grand gesture of our supreme
state representatives and thus wipe away their shame.’
While the AVNOJ released
former collaborators in vast numbers and explained away their guilt with the
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Case studies: Kasim Maši and Husein Ðozo
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Gestapo. He diligently passed on what he
learned to the soldiers.’ Just what he taught, and what illegal actions the soldiers
performed, are not mentioned in the document. e OZNA assumed that these
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
against the Yugoslav people and they expected the sinner to display remorse. Maši
had ruined his chance of being granted mitigating circumstances by remaining in
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
the Serbs.
We do not know what he did in the interim and we know even less
about the motivations behind his induction into the ‘Hand\far’ Division. When he
appeared before the military court he defended himself by claiming that he had
been ordered to join the division and had therefore had no choice but to do so.
e court rejected his defence and emphasized that it was well known that the
volunteers who had joined the German SS division were committed fascists who
had placed themselves in the service of the German occupiers. ‘As an intellectual—
the representative of a religion—the accused Husein Ðozo could not have been
forced to join the SS units, but rather entered of his own will.’
expresses the notion that intellectuals and educated representatives of the Islamic
faith community such as Ðozo had the choice of rejecting the ocial policy of the
Islamic community and were under no compulsion to obey the demands of the
Ulema
. Unlike Maši, Ðozo was convicted on only two counts, for serving as
theimam of the 28th Regiment of the 13th Waen-SS Division and for raising the
morale of enemy units through his work. Moreover, from July to December 1944
he had worked as the director of the imam school in Guben, where imams were
prepared for anti-nationalist assignments within the SS. According to this verdict,
he had committed crimes in accordance with Article 14 of the Directive on Military
Courts and as an ‘enemy of the people’ he was sentenced to ve years in prison and
deprivation of civil rights for a period of ve years.
Notable here is that the military court based its verdict on the defendant’s con
fession. And it is also remarkable that \nozo admitted only to the bare minimum.
e conviction contains not a single word about his outstanding position among
the imams, reported by Zvonimir Bernwald and George Lepre.
Nothing was
SS-Hauptsturmführer
, nor about his relationship
to Grand Mufti al-Husayni. Was this not known—along with the fact that, as
Bernwald mentioned, he had served for a time as the division imam?
If Ðozo
did, in fact, regard joining the SS division as a task that was thrust upon him and
that he could not refuse, it is undeniable that he knew whose uniform he was wear
ing. And he stood out from the crowd: an article for the division magazine, describ
ing the tasks of an SS man, was published under his name. Its wording suggests
that the text had come from the division’s propaganda platoon, along with the
In the Resolution of Sarajevo (12 October 1941), 108 Muslim citizens of Sarajevo protested against
the persecution of Serbs. ey claimed that the
Ustaša
were dressing ‘criminals’ in the fez to make victims
believe that their attackers were Muslims, and they appealed to Muslims to defend all citizens, of all
religions. For further information see Emily Greble,
Sarajevo 1941–1945: Muslims, Christians, and
Jews in Hitler’s Europe
(Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2011). For more on the
Resolution, see Muhamed Had\fijahi,
Muslimanske rezolucije iz 1941. g. Istorija naroda Bosne i
Hercegovine
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
speech Ðozo delivered to the division on the occasion of
Eid ul-Fitr
, the feast to
mark the end of Ramadan. e actions of Muslim Bosnians during the Second
World War are examined elsewhere in this book (see Chapter8). Here we are
mainly concerned with the question of how the Yugoslav Communists judged
them after the war and what consequences Ðozo’s service in the ‘Hand\far’ Division
had on his life in Communist post-war Yugoslavia. In view of his outstanding
position among the imams, and of the fact that the military courts pronounced
harsher sentences for much lesser oences, his sentence must be regarded as mild.
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Following the horrors of the Second World War, the absence of direct and armed
military conict meant a secure and stable peace, and the Communists saw them
selves as the guarantors of this peace. e party saw no use in re-opening discussion
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Itis within this context that they made use of the memory of the ‘Hand\far’
Division, which shows us the weakness of the Communist rulers in late 1970s
Bosnia and the real strength of the group around Ðozo and
Preporod
BELGIUM: FLEMISH VOLUNTEERS ON TRIAL, AND
POSTWAR ORGANIZATION
At the end of the Second World War, several thousand Flemish volunteers in the
German army found themselves caught up in the apocalypse of the ird Reich.
e nal resistance against the Russian army had decimated what was left of the
27. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzer-Grenadier-Division ‘Langemarck’
Flemish volunteers. Flemish soldiers in other German units, for instance in the SS
‘Das Reich’ and ‘Wiking’ Divisions, suered the same fate. Many of them suc
ceeded in reaching the Western front line, where they could surrender to British or
American troops. But as the eastern war zone moved westwards, not everyone was
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
their SS uniforms served as evidence. Generally, the facts of the cases were not
As most proceedings were concluded early in the post-war puri
cation period, they often resulted in heavy punishment. In about 4,000 cases of
military and paramilitary defendants, the death penalty or life imprisonment
wasimposed. Bearing arms was an element in the indictment of 175 out of 242
collaborators who were executed. Of course, this was mostly the case with people
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Waen-SS members and sympathizers sentenced before October 1945 received
ranging from ve years’ imprisonment to the death penalty. After 1945, criminal
penalties dropped to 42 per cent of cases. Shortly after liberation, many Flemish
volunteers—who were still ghting on the eastern front or had ed to Germany—
were sentenced
. It is known that judgements
were much
stricter than those handed down in the presence of the accused: generally the max
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Post-war organization
At the beginning of the 1950s the rst convicted volunteers were released. Before
long, they were planning the establishment of an association of former eastern
front ghters. eir rst goal was to support their comrades in need. For many
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
often unemployed and could not prot from existing social welfare laws. Many
families of ex-combatants were in great distress. e association collected money
to help those in need. Furthermore, members sent parcels to their comrades who
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
resistance groups such as the uprising in Warsaw. And they were treated as well as the
rebel Polish soldiers. Since European volunteers are innocent with regard to the Jewish
people, we believe that we must continue to ght against all the nonsense that was
written and said about us, confronting the injustice.
Most of the former volunteers did not feel at all guilty. It was not abnormal for
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
e escape of Waen-SS soldiers and Nazi collaborators
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
by the Delegation of the International Red Cross in Rome or Genoa, for the most
part with no real screening or background checks. Based on the ICRC principle of
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
ICRC travel papers and entry visas to foreign countries. ere was close collabora
knowingly helped Nazis, SS members, and war criminals to ee from Europe.
Anti-communism and a strong notion of forgiveness seem to have played a major
role in their motivation.
Both the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany,
but also the Vatican, were strongly opposed to the Nuremberg Trials, denazica
tion courts, and extradition of Nazi collaborators. Pope Pius XII was an early ‘Cold
War warrior’ and was opposed to anything that could weaken Germany in the face
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
service list.
At the end of the war he was interned in British custody in a POW
camp and was released in the summer of 1945. A year later he presented himself
asa Displaced Person to the Allied authorities. To qualify as such, and to be eligible
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
Prosecution and trajectories after 1945
after the end of the war, captured collaborators were often peremptorily executed.
War crimes were investigated and prosecuted at great expense. e new Communist
rulers were uncompromising in their claims to power, but were also farsighted
Steinacher, Rebitschek, Deland, Ferhadbegovi, Seberechts
framework for the international prosecution of war criminals of German origin,
war criminals, stateless persons, and collaborators were merely a part of the victo
rious powers’ bargaining chips. Moscow vehemently demanded the extradition
Hurd, Werther
enjoyed the general amnesty and admiration awarded all who had fought in what
Finns term ‘the Continuation War’. At the other end of the spectrum were volun
Hurd, Werther
Waen-SS VAs and troop comradeships by resurgent neo-Nazis. While many
comradeships welcomed this new blood, the German national HIAG refused to
Hurd, Werther
CONTROVERSY OVER MEMORY
Hurd, Werther
Given the history of the SS in eastern Europe, it may seem, at rst glance, very
Hurd, Werther
Hurd, Werther
monies were lacking, and ‘the Call of Ulrichsberg’ (as
Der Freiwillige
likes to term
it) had been supplanted, it seemed, by a new call—that of the east.
e east, in fact, proved fertile territory. Here, those who fought Stalin were
Hurd, Werther
moral ideals.
Ocial songs, slogans, ags, marches, and speeches sacralize both
place and participants; they heighten the bodily sensation and thus the ‘reality’ of
both ceremony and community. e standard outline of reports on Waen-SS war
dead commemorations—no matter how small and how private—reect their
strongly ritual nature. Speeches, music, the laying of wreaths, marches, ags—all
are solemn and ceremonial, all equally important.
Much of the music, for instance, evokes the comradeship that, then as now, is
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi
urd, Werther
Monuments soon followed. In 2002, a stone depicting an Estonian Waen-SS
soldier—dedicated ‘to all Estonian soldiers who fell in the Second World War to
liberate their homeland and to free Europe’—was erected by Leo
t of a privately-funded Estonian SS Legion Museum.
Government protests
ensued. e monument was removed, altered, re-erected, and again removed.
ere were mass marches of Estonian and
R
1943. ese w

Steiner
R
. It is interesting, here, to look at how this celebration was conducted, in
order to understand the importance of the spaces and rituals of public memory
ulf, ‘e Struggle for Ocial
R
’, 224, 228.


bid., 231.


R
ichard Landwehr,
Narva 1944: e Waen-SS and the Battle for Europe
(Silver Spring,
MD: Bibliophile Legion Books, 1981).

Wiedersehen in Elva/Estland’,
Der Freiwillige
, November 1993; ‘Neuer Skandal bei der
Bundeswehr’,
Das Erste
, 15 January 1998: http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/1998/erste7110.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi

anywher
ocess, great casualties of their own.
R
President Lennart Meri and
of Government Mart Laar from attending as
H
the dear comrades of the Wiking/Narva Battalion and the former 20th Division, who




ol, and
H
y.
From all parts of Europe, Meyer maintained, volunteers were ready to ght, to
suer, and to die for ‘their homelands, for their Fatherlands, for a free Europe’.
R
erlin, at the Oder, and the Elbe. ey would have—were it
not for these soldierly eorts—rammed through to the
R
hine, to the Seine, to the
altin, ‘50 Jahre danach

.

.

.

Der Freiwillige
, July 1995.


Ibid.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi
urd, Werther
Atlantic. en there would no longer have existed any space in which the ideals of
R
ather,




R
places one can still, today, see traces of the ghts and the remnants of the trenches
and bunkers.’ Finally, there was a bonre, another speech by another minister, and
communal singing of ‘old soldier songs’, in both German and Estonian, before
theerection of further memory sites. Over the next decade, indeed, the original
R
eiled its stone in 1996, for instance,




ears ago’,
the sacrices of ‘warriors and victims’ had laid the basis for ‘freedom for us all’).
Vello Kärsten, mayor of the small Estonian town of Vaivara, unveiled the monu




t is a reminder of their [the Norwegians’]
uncompromising will to remain free, and to help Estonians remain free, also.³
Ibid.

n this, see, e.g.,
H
R
om 28. Juli – 2. August 2011’,
Ein Fähnlein
, rst edition, January 2012, 6.

altin, ‘50 Jahre danach

.

.

.’

Quotes:
Folk og Land
H
d, ‘Go East, Old Man’.

nsere diesjährige Estland-Fahrt’,
Neues vom Kameradenwerk Korps Steiner
, 1996 (Jahrgang 8,
Ausgabe 16); SNO archives 2014: Lage Søgaard, ‘Sinimäe—Vaivara Vlaubergen, Estland 14. Juli 1996’,
December 1996.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi

A r
H




ood comrades, comrades in arms and broth
H
e you fought, you have made the greatest sacrice. Over your
graves shines our old motto:
Meine Ehre heißt Treue.
If this is true, it is somewhat startling.
tion directly to the SS. Usually it is avoided, even if the SS’s anthem, the
Treuelied
always included. e 1996 unveiling of the Norwegian stone was, for this and other
reasons—wrote Søgaard—‘a gripping and worthy commemoration’.
H
ermans’
treat this time, he wrote. Such conviviality, it seems, often rounded o the moving
sentiments of the ceremony itself.
R
sized the sensation and importance of being at the
H
e fought the peoples of Europe’. Waen-SS men who had been killed
chives 2014: ‘Album’, at http://www.sno.no/les/documents/115817.pdf; ‘Unsere dies
jährige Estland-Fahrt’,
Neues vom Kameradenwerk Korps Steiner
, 1996 (Jahrgang 8, Ausgabe 16). e
quotation of the SS slogan occurs only in the version of the speech sent to German comrades.

http://www.sno.no/les/documents/115817.pdf.
H

Ibid.

tur
R
., ‘
ommeren 1998’: http://www.sno.no/les/documents/117870.pdf.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi
urd, Werther
elsewhere could be included, as they, also, had fought for Europe—and thus
e Estonian and Waen-SS European narrative had become one. By
2001, fty-two placards were in place, including a very prominent Norwegian
placard, several Danish ones, and at least one from Sweden; plans were afoot for an
additional sixty.
In 2006, stones for the Dutch and Walloon
SS-Sturmbrigade
were added. A brass band accompanied a ceremony ‘which will remain anchored
in the memory of all participants




eam fullled for the surviving comrades’.
It was not survivors, whoever, who had raised the Dutch stone; the prime mover
H
AG.
After all, how many ‘surviving comrades’ could be
left, at this point? It was time for the next generation to assume the burden—or
privilege—of the Waen-SS’s memory work.
Passing on the torch: youth and rituals of the dead
H
IAG’s leader
oop comradeships, by contrast, were
often more open, pleading, in the 1980s, the necessity of ‘continuing the care of
tradition beyond the generation of experience’.
As we have seen, by the 1990s
money accompanied young blood. When the troop comradeships
arranged contacts with, e.g., the Narva authorities, they used monies provided by
esmuren Narva!’,
Folk og Land
, March 2002; ‘Minnelund i Estland’,
Folk og Land
, June 2000
and March 2001.

http://www.web.archive.org/web/20110819103137/http://www.info14.com/2005-08-02-

enkmal für die Freiwilligen der Sturmbrigade “Wallonien” eingeweiht’,
Kriegsgräberstiftung—
Wenn alle Brüder schweigen, Mitteilungsblatt
, 4 (December 2006) (in the private collections of the
authors). For Lambert and MI
H
AG, see ‘
kassy-
T
een’,
Der Freiwillige
, March 2004.

ilgaard Johnsen, ‘Blod og ære’.

Wilke,
Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi

ermans’ younger-generation ‘When All Brothers Are Silent’ War Memorial
Foundation.
R
eports themselves always made special mention
of the presence of ‘younger supporters’.
Descriptions of Waen-SS ceremonies
abound, likewise, in the younger generation’s
Ein Fähnlein
(‘A Banner’—the name
refers to a strophe in the
Treuelied

w publication dedicated to ‘Old
New Volunteers’ (their emphasis).
H
Freiwillige
ähnlein’
spaces’
provide essential arenas for international social movements to
re-remember, make visible, and share stories of violent exclusion. Assmann’s examples
are on the left; but the same goes, of course, for marginalized right-wing move
H
e, transnational publications—ranging from
Der Freiwillige
through
beadded
websites celebrating the Waen-SS, which unite collectors, historical revisionists,
war-bus, would-be Nazis, and modern racist activists in narratives, pictures, and
er Freiwillige
, January 2000.



Assmann and Sebastian Conrad (eds.),
Memory in a Global Age. Discourses, Practices and
Trajectories
H
algrave, 2010).
R
Smelser and Edward Davies,

ee, e.g., http://www.facebook.com/myhonorwasloyalty; http://www.feldgrau.com, http://
www.axishistory.com and, of course, the neo-Nazi
Stormfront
, https://www.stormfront.org/forum/.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi
urd, Werther
y work, in ritualized, solemnized, emotional ceremonies, played out on
itual, Durkheimian scholars remind us, gives emotional energy. It reinforces
R
river, otherwise a strong
advocate of liberation ritual, is eloquent on this. e ‘aggressive impulses in human
beings are accompanied by very few restraints’; and so rituals, in particular, are
‘fraught with the possibility that aggressions usually held in check by social pres
sure may come free’. is is particularly true of rituals—such as those performed
by military, nationalist, or sports groups—that conrm both hostility and friend
ship. Just as stimulating ‘energies hostile to an adversary’ often reinforces ‘feelings
of friendship towards members of one’s own performance group’, so might rituals
that promote loyalty towards one’s group intensify feelings of hostility towards
Among far-right extremists, indeed, one might assume that rituals do
Commemorations of the dead, in particular, can lead to us–them hostility. In
times of contested memory, bodily remains, burial sites, and monuments—the
latter often treated as extensions of bodies—become particularly fraught.
Anthropologist Katherine Verdery has described how memories of the dead form
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Memory in a Global Age.

rika Summers-Eer, ‘e Micro Potential for Social Change: Emotion, Consciousness, and
Social Movement Formation’,
Sociological eory
, 20 (1) (March 2002), 54; see http://www3.nd.
edu/~eeer/papers/Micro_Potential_for_Social_Change.pdf.

avid Kertzer,
Ritual, Politics and Power
(New
H
en, C
T
niversity Press, 1988), p. 129.

Driver,
Liberating Rites
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi

par
H
zegovina, has shown just how sacralized remains
and their monuments can incite hostility.
H
esent when Serbian locals
blewup a memorial marking a mass grave of Croatian World War II victims.
‘Wekilled the dead because they were keeping them alive’, a local explained
toBax.
H
es in the memories of his comrades, is not dead. Only those who are forgotten
e maintained faith in them. We now maintain it in you




ure Ehre war und
bliebt Treue.
A younger member of the audience seconds this, calling on the young to be
H
AG expressed
erdery,
e Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Post-Socialist Change
(New
k: Columbia University Press, 1999), 25; Chapter1 in general.

art Bax, ‘Mass Graves, Stagnating Identication, and Violence: A Case Study of the Local
Sources of “e War” in Bosnia
H
cegovina’,
Anthropological Quarterly
, 70 (1) (January 1997), 11.

hrenhain der Division “Wiking”’,
Der Freiwillige
, March 1998.


kassy-
T
een’,
Der Freiwillige
, March 2004.


Ibid.
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi
urd, Werther
t, are nding inspiration at Waen-SS commemorative
Social media, indeed, have fostered an explosion of information on
younger-generation attendance. On
T
ing Waen-SS monuments and participating in Waen-SS rituals. In 2007, a
young participant was happy to report from the annual Budapest celebration that
H
and brought back to life the European spirit of the troops in black [the
In 2014, the (youth-dominated) Dutch faction of the right-wing Blood and
H
oes’ in
sselsteyn; the year before, a number of Dutch neo-Nazis had marched across the
graveyard, carrying an SS ag.¹

epeated again and again, promote emotional intensity—and, it
seems, the hate which fuels neo-Nazi radicalism. Commemorating the dead can
take on urgent modern political (and violent) meaning. For, as a 1997
Freiwillige



long as our strength allows us, to call into being the consciousness that
Mitteleuropa



no sign that he is, necessarily, a good deal over 80 years old




o



H
to free Sweden from the foreign occupiers and explains that we Aryans will die if
er Ulrichsberg ruft’,
Ein Fähnlein
H
ahrestreen des Kameradenwerkes “Korps Steiner”’,
Das Fähnlein

.meidling-forum.at/forum/viewtopic.php?p=20627&sid=

f8adaa0465a45f571c010f
6d3d8d4d6.


H

ee, e.g., ‘Under blå himmel i de blå bergen’ (https://web.archive.org/web/20130605051301/
http://www.info14.com/2006-08-01-under_bla_himmel_i_de_bla_bergen.html), ‘Semesterreportage
från Estland’ (https://web.archive.org/web/20101124151124/http://info14.com/2008-08-02-semes
OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 14/11/16, SPi

d gaze softens a little at the thought of the perishing of
e young sympathizer is handed the torch from an awesome authority. e
ONCLUSION
TR
ANSNA
IONALISM
O
R
XENOP
OBIA
e end this piece with some speculation on the Waen-SS counter-European narra
tive. Is it really strong enough—even when reinforced by the transnational public
sphere, and the rituals honouring the martyrs to a transnational ‘European’ ghting
Ibid.

er Anders
R
efended Ukraine”: e 14. Waen-Grenadier-Division der SS
(Galizische Nr. 1)
R
e Journal of Slavic Military Studies
Index
Adamkus, Valdas
‘Adolf Hitler’ Leibstandarte
1.SS-Panzerdivision
Malmédy massacre, France
Slovak Germans
Aktion Reinhard see
Reinhard
Operation
Albania Waen-SS recruitment
Index
Bayersdor Battle Group (
Kampfgruppe
Bayersdor
Bayle, André
Bazilevich, Vasily Andreyevich
Bedritskiy, Pavel
Belarus
German rural police/constabulary
Gendarmerie
German urban police (
Schutzpolizei
Belarusian auxiliary police
13th (SD) Battalion
49th Battalion
administrative hierarchy
anti-partisan warfare
arms and weapons
combat police (OD IV)
Communist Party
desertions
dierences in the age structure of local
Jewish mass murder
Komsomol
order police (OD III)
Polish
Kresy Wschodnie
(‘Eastern Borderlands’)
Polish ocers
Belarusian Independence Party (
Belaruskaya
Nezalenitskaya Partya
Belarusian National Republic
Belgium:
enlistment motives and reasons
German occupation
Belgium, Flemish Waen-SS volunteers on trial
‘amnesty’
judicial treatment
Flanders, Waen-SS recruitment;
Flemish legion
Belgrade
Belzec extermination camp
Benoist-Méchin, Jacques
Bergamo
‘Bergamo’ Infantry Division
Berger, Gottlob
and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Muslim recruitment
Romanian
Volksdeutsche
recruitment to the
Waen-SS
Slovak Germans
Berlin
Bernwald, Zvonimir
Biaystok
Bilgoraj
Binder, Otto
Binz, Siegfried
‘Black Legion’ (
Crna legija
Blackshirt Legion 201st (‘Egea’)
Index
Brody, Battle of
Brotherhood of Former Soldiers of the
Index
Denmark:
enlistment requirements and numbers
Jews
Landsforening af 6 maj
(National
Associationof 6 May)
‘peace occupation’
reaction to ‘
Barbarossa’
Waen-SS units and training schools
German–Arab
Training Department
Deutsche Mannschaft
(DM), Bannat
Deutsche Partei
(DP), Slovakia
German Party,
Slovakia
Deutsche Volksgruppe in Rumänien
(DV)
German Population Group, Romania
Deva, Xhaver
Díaz, Santiago Montero
Diebitsch, Karl
Dieckmann, Christoph
Index
Finnish army, 200th Infantry Regiment
German Order Police, White Ruthenia
German Party (
Deutsche Partei
Slovakia
German Population Group, Romania
DeutscheVolksgruppe in Rumänien
DVR)
Index
Greece, Waen-SS volunteers and
recruitment
formation of Security Battalions in the north
motivations and scope of armed
rural volunteers
urban volunteers
Greek Civil War (1946–49)
Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS)
Greek Volunteer Army (EES)
‘Green Cadre’ (
Zeleni kadar
Grodno
Index
opposition to new Baltic states
‘pan-Germanism’
partisans in Yugoslavia
Polish state a mortal enemy
relations with Poland (late 1930s)
Romanian forces on the Eastern front
and the Slavic-Russian peoples
Waen-SS recruitment in Finland
War Directive N. 46 (August, 1942)
Wehrbauern
Wehrmacht recruitment in the
Germaniccountries
‘Hitlerjugend’
12. SS-Panzerdivision
Høelte SS School
Höe, Hermann
‘Hohenstaufen’
9. SS-Panzerdivision
Holocaust
Arab inuences on Nazi thinking
Baka and Banat
Baranavii massacre of Jews, Belarus
Belarus
Belarusian auxiliary police
Borisov Jews, Belarus
Mir massacre, Belarus
Muslim Waen-SS units involvement
in Poland
Index
‘Kampfgruppe Binz
Kant, Edgar
Karelia
Karmasin, Franz
Kärsten, Vello
348, 349
Kasche, Siegfried
Kasmovi, Dzmitry
Fort VII
25
Kehren, Paul
Keitel, Wilhelm
19, 39
Kersten, Felix
Kertzer, David
Kharkiv
Index
Kriminalpolizei
(Criminal
Police)
Lithuanian Order Police
(auxiliary police)
3rd
Belarus
Holocaust
Lithuanian Waen-SS Legion
Litzmann, Karl Siegmund
Lochmüller, Rolf
Index
Mussert, Anton
Mussolini, Benito
Nageler, Viktor
224, 225
Narva Battalion
Narva, Battle of (1944)
Nasielowice
Nasjonal Samling
(NS), Norway
National
Unity, Norway
Nationaal Front
Index
Ossola Partisan Republic (
Repubblica Partigiana
della Val d’Ossola
), Italy
Östling, Johan
Ostministerium
Otok massacre, Split
Index
Revolutionary Social Movement (
Mouvement
Social Révolutionnaire
MSR), France
Rexist Party (
Parti Rexiste
), Belgium
Ribbentrop, Joachim von
Riegler, Heinz
Rinnan, Henry Oliver
‘Rinnan gang’, Norway
Rodzka,
sevalad
Rogstad, Henrik
Rollkommando
Hamann
‘Hamann’
Rollkommando
Roma:
in Poland
Romania
amnesty decrees for
Volksdeutsche
deserters
armies at Stalingrad
Index
Carpathian Germans (
recruitment to the SS
Carpathian Germans (
recruitment to the SS (1943–44)
(Special Branch) Lola, Norway
‘Rinnan gang’, Norway
Soodla, Johannes
Sorensen, Per
Sørlie, Sigurd
Index
Taganrog massacre, Ukraine
Tallinn
Tambek, Elmar
Tammiksaar, Leo
Tarnow (Tarnów)
Tartu
Tella, Manuel Díaz
Tensfeld, Willi
Terboven, Josef
Ternopil’
Teutonic Order
‘ousand Man Operation’
Tiso, Jozef
Tito, Josip Broz
partisans
Todt Organization
in Belarus
Index
Vlasov, General Andrey Andreevich
Völkermarkt (Velicovec)
völkisch
racial theory
Volksbildungsverein
, Hungary
Popular
Education Association, Hungary
Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge
Association for the Care of
GermanWar Graves
Volksbund
volunteers and recruitment,
Hungary
Volksdeutsche
Index
Yalta Conference (1945)
Yugoslav Commission for the Establishment of
War Crimes
Yugoslav Communists
Yugoslavia, after 1945
Case studies: Kasim Maši and Husein
Dozo
courts

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