Germanic SS

The Germanic SS (German: Germanische SS) was the collective name given to Nordic SS groups which arose in occupied Europe between 1939 and 1945. The units were modeled on the Allgemeine SS in Nazi Germany. Such groups existed in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium, whose populations the Nazi ideogues considered to be especially "racially suitable". They typically served as local security police augmenting German units of the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and other departments of the German Reich Main Security Office.

Germanic SS
Schutzstaffel Abzeichen
The Germanic SS were foreign branches of the Allgemeine SS.
Schalburgerblegdamsvej

Headquarters of the Schalburg Corps in Copenhagen, Denmark, c.1943.
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 1939
Dissolved8 May 1945
JurisdictionGermany Germany
Occupied Europe
HeadquartersSS-Hauptamt, Prinz-Albrecht-Straße, Berlin
Employees~35,000 c.1943
Minister responsible
Parent agencyFlag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel

Origins

Before the war, both Denmark and Norway had fascist parties. The Danish National Socialist Workers' Party (Danmarks Nationalsocialistiske Arbejderparti; DNSAP) was founded in 1930, however, only held three seats in parliament by 1939.[1] By 1933, Vidkun Quisling was the leader of a Norwegian political party, Nasjonal Samling (NS, National Unity).[2] However, it was not effective as a political party until the pro-German government took over after Norway was conquered. At that point, its state police, abolished in 1937, was reestablished to assist the Gestapo in Norway. In the Netherlands, the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement; NSB) had greater success before the war. The party had four per cent of the vote in the 1937 national elections. After the occupation in 1940, all these groups worked in their respective countries in support of Nazi Germany and became recruiting grounds for the Waffen-SS.[3]

The Nazi idea behind co-opting additional Germanic people into the SS stems to a certain extent from the völkisch belief that the original Aryan-Germanic homeland rested in Scandinavia and that, in a racial-ideological sense, people from there or the neighbouring northern European regions were a human reservoir of Nordic/Germanic blood.[4] Conquest of Western Europe gave the Germans, and especially the SS, access to these "potential recruits" who were considered part of the wider "Germanic family".[1] Four of these conquered nations were ripe with Germanic peoples according to Nazi estimations (Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Flanders). Himmler referred to people from these lands in terms of their Germanic suitability as, "blutsmässig unerhört wertvolle Kräfte" ("by blood exceptionally highly qualified people").[5] Accordingly, some of them were recruited into the SS and enjoyed the highest privileges as did foreign workers from these regions, to include unrestrained sexual contact with German women.[6] Eager to expand their reach, fanatical Nazis like Chief of the SS Main Office, Gottlob Berger considered the Germanic SS as foundational for a burgeoning German Empire.[7]

Himmler's vision for a Germanic SS started with grouping the Netherlands, Belgium and north-east France together into a western-Germanic state called Burgundia which would be policed by the SS as a security buffer for Germany. In 1940, the first manifestation of the Germanic SS appeared in Flanders as the Allgemeene SS Vlaanderen to be joined two-months later by the Dutch Nederlandsche SS and in May 1941 the Norwegian Norges SS was formed. The final nation to contribute to the Germanic SS was Denmark, whose Germansk Korpet (later called the Schalburg Corps) came into being in April 1943.[8] For the SS, they did not think of their compatriots in terms of national borders but in terms of Germanic racial makeup, known conceptually to them as Deutschtum, a greater idea which transcended traditional political boundaries.[9] While the SS leadership foresaw an imperialistic and semi-autonomous relationship for the Nordic/Germanic countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway as co-bearers of a greater Germanic empire, Hitler refused to grant them the same degree of independence despite ongoing pressure from ranking members of the SS.[10]

Duties

The purpose of the Germanic SS was to enforce Nazi racial doctrine, especially anti-Semitic ideals. They typically served as local security police augmenting German units of the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and other main departments of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). Their principle responsibilities during wartime were to root-out partisans, subversive organizations, and any group opposed to Nazi ideals. In other cases, these foreign units of the SS were employed by major German firms to distribute propaganda for the Nazi cause among their compatriots and to police and control workers.[11] In addition, the inclusion of other Germanic peoples was part of the Nazi attempt to collectively Germanize Europe, and for them, Germanization entailed the creation of an empire ruled by Germanic people at the expense of other races.[12]

One of the most notorious groups was in the Netherlands where the Germanic SS was employed to round-up Jews. Of the 140,000 Jews that had lived in the Netherlands prior to 1940, around 24,000 survived the war by hiding.[13] Despite their relatively small numbers, a total of 512 Jews from Oslo were hunted down by the Norwegian Police and the Germanske SS Norge (Norwegian General SS); once caught, they were deported to Auschwitz. More Jews were rounded-up elsewhere, but the total number of Norwegian Jews captured never reached a thousand throughout the course of the war.[14] Similar measures were planned by the SS against Danish Jews who totaled about 6,500 but most of them managed to go into hiding or escape to Sweden before the senior German representative in Denmark, SS-General Werner Best could marshal the SS forces at his disposal and complete his planned raids and deportations.[15][16]

Germanic SS organizations

Vidkun Quisling inspiserer soldater. (8616617246)
Vidkun Quisling inspects the Germanske SS Norge on the Palace Square in Oslo

The following countries raised active Germanic SS detachments:

  • Netherlands: Germaansche SS in Nederland (before 1942: Nederlandsche SS)
  • Flanders (Belgium): Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen (before 1942: Algemeene SS Vlaanderen) was one of the first collaborationist formations to become part of the Germanische SS and, in 1943, became associated with the radical DeVlag political party. Unofficially, Himmler wanted to use the organization to penetrate occupied Belgium, which was under the control of the Wehrmacht military government, not the party or the SS.[17] The SS-Vlaanderen was also used to staff the anti-Jewish units of the German security services with auxiliary staff.[18]
  • Norway: Germanske SS Norge (before 1942: Norges SS) was a paramilitary organization established in Norway in July 1942. GSSN was at the same time a Norwegian branch of Germanic-SS, and a sub organization of Quisling's Nasjonal Samling. Leader of the organization was Jonas Lie, and second-in-command was Sverre Riisnæs. The number of members reached a maximum of about 1,300 in 1944. A large part of the members were recruited from the police, and about fifty percent served in the occupied Soviet Union.[19][20]
  • Denmark: Schalburg Corps, the Danish Germanic-SS, was formed on February 2, 1943. On March 30 the corps was renamed Schalburg Corps. During the summer of 1943, Søren Kam was commander of the Schalburg Corps.[21]

An underground Nazi organization also existed in Switzerland, known as the Germanische SS Schweiz. It had very few members and was considered merely a splinter Nazi group by Swiss authorities.[22]

Post-war

After World War II, many Germanic SS members were tried by their respective countries for treason. Independent war crimes trials (outside the jurisdiction of the Nuremberg Trials) were conducted in several European countries, such as the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, leading to several death sentences, e.g. for the commander of the Schalburg Corps Knud Børge Martinsen.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ a b Weale 2012, p. 265.
  2. ^ Shirer 1990, pp. 676.
  3. ^ Weale 2012, pp. 265–266.
  4. ^ Puschner 2013, pp. 26–27.
  5. ^ Frijtag Drabbe Künzel 2013, p. 93.
  6. ^ Hilberg 1992, p. 209.
  7. ^ Höhne 2001, p. 500.
  8. ^ McNab 2013, p. 105.
  9. ^ Mineau 2011, p. 45.
  10. ^ Höhne 2001, pp. 500–501.
  11. ^ McNab 2013, pp. 105–106.
  12. ^ Frijtag Drabbe Künzel 2013, pp. 83–84.
  13. ^ Bauer 1982, pp. 240–243.
  14. ^ Weale 2012, p. 387.
  15. ^ Bloxham 2009, pp. 241–243.
  16. ^ Weale 2012, p. 387–388.
  17. ^ Bosworth, R. J. B. (2009). The Oxford handbook of fascism. Oxford University Press. p. 483. ISBN 978-0-19-929131-1.
  18. ^ Mikhman, Dan (1998). Belgium and the Holocaust: Jews, Belgians, Germans. Berghahn Books. p. 212. ISBN 978-965-308-068-3.
  19. ^ Sørensen, Øystein (1995). "Germanske SS Norge (GSSN)". In Dahl; Hjeltnes; Nøkleby; Ringdal; Sørensen (eds.). Norsk krigsleksikon 1940–1945 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Cappelen. pp. 133–134. ISBN 82-02-14138-9.
  20. ^ Emberland, Terje; Kott, Matthew (2012). Himmlers Norge. Nordmenn i det storgermanske prosjekt (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. pp. 341–349. ISBN 978-82-03-29308-5.
  21. ^ Høgh-Sørensen, Erik (2013). Drabet på Clemmensen og historien om Søren Kam [The murder of Clemmensen and the story of Søren Kam] (in Danish) (2. revised (after Dansk Dødspatrulje) ed.). People's Press. 223 pages. ISBN 978-87-7137-540-4.
  22. ^ Fink 1985, pp. 72–75.

Bibliography

  • Bauer, Yehuda (1982). A History of the Holocaust. New York: Franklin Watts. ISBN 9780531056417.
  • Bloxham, Donald (2009). The Final Solution: A Genocide. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19955-034-0.
  • Fink, Jürg (1985). Die Schweiz aus der Sicht des Dritten Reiches 1933-1945 (in German). Zürich: Schulthess. ISBN 3-7255-2430-0.
  • Frijtag Drabbe Künzel, Geraldien von (2013). "Germanic Brothers: The Dutch and the Germanization of the Occupied East". In Anton Weiss-Wendt; Rory Yeomans (eds.). Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938–1945. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-80324-605-8.
  • Hilberg, Raul (1992). Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe, 1933–1945. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-8419-0910-5.
  • Höhne, Heinz (2001). The Order of the Death’s Head: The Story of Hitler’s SS. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0-14139-012-3.
  • McNab, Chris (2013). Hitler's Elite: The SS 1939–45. Oxford and New York: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-78200-088-4.
  • Mineau, André (2011). SS Thinking and the Holocaust. New York: Editions Rodopi. ISBN 978- 9401207829.
  • Page-Taylor, Hugh (2002). "History of the Norwegian political SS". Historical Research Unit (H.R.U.), London. H.R.U. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
  • Puschner, Uwe (2013). "The Notions Völkisch and Nordic: A Conceptual Approximation". In Horst Junginger; Andreas Åkerlund (eds.). Nordic Ideology between Religion and Scholarship. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH. ISBN 978-3-63164-487-4.
  • Shirer, William (1990). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: MJF Books. ISBN 978-1-56731-163-1.
  • Weale, Adrian (2012). Army of Evil: A History of the SS. New York: Caliber Printing. ISBN 978-0-451-23791-0.
103rd SS Heavy Panzer Battalion

103rd Heavy SS Panzer Battalion (German: "schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 103) was a German heavy tank battalion of the Waffen-SS during World War II.

27th SS Volunteer Division Langemarck

The Flemish Legion (Dutch: Vlaams Legioen) was a collaborationist military formation recruited among Dutch-speaking volunteers from German-occupied Belgium, notably from Flanders. It fought on the Eastern Front during World War II. The Flemish Legion was notionally an independent formation attached to the Waffen SS until May 1943 when it was disbanded and reformed as the SS-Sturmbrigade Langemarck within the Waffen SS itself. It was subsequently reorganised on several occasions and was officially designated as a division in September 1944, though the unit never expanded beyond brigade-strength.

From the outset, the Flemish Legion was closely associated with the Vlaams Nationaal Verbond (VNV), a collaborationist and Flemish nationalist political party in Belgium.

Allgemeine SS

The Allgemeine SS (General SS) was a major branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany, and it was managed by the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt). The Allgemeine SS was officially established in the autumn of 1934 to distinguish its members from the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS Dispositional Troops or SS-VT), which later became the Waffen-SS, and the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS Death's Head Units or SS-TV), which were in charge of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, where millions were killed.

Starting in 1939, foreign units of the Allgemeine SS were raised in occupied countries. From 1940 they were consolidated into the Directorate of the Germanic-SS (Leitstelle der germanischen SS). When the war first began, the vast majority of SS members belonged to the Allgemeine SS, but this proportion changed during the later years of the war after the Waffen-SS opened up membership to ethnic Germans and non-Germans.

Army Detachment Steiner

Army Detachment Steiner (Armeeabteilung Steiner) was a temporary military unit, something more than a corps but less than an army, created on paper by German dictator Adolf Hitler on 21 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, and placed under the command of SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner.

Army Group Vistula

Army Group Vistula (German: Heeresgruppe Weichsel) was an Army Group of the Wehrmacht, formed on 24 January 1945. It was put together from elements of Army Group A (shattered in the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive), Army Group Centre (similarly largely destroyed in the East Prussian Offensive), and a variety of new or ad hoc formations. It was formed to protect Berlin from the Soviet armies advancing from the Vistula River.

Austrian SS

The Austrian SS was that portion of the Schutzstaffel (SS) membership from Austria. The term and title was used unofficially. They were never officially recognized as a separate branch of the SS. Austrian SS members were seen as regular personnel and they served in every branch of the SS.

Felix Steiner

Felix Martin Julius Steiner (23 May 1896 – 12 May 1966) was a German SS commander during the Nazi era. During World War II, he served in the Waffen-SS, the combat branch of the SS, and commanded several SS divisions and corps. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Together with Paul Hausser, he contributed significantly to the development and transformation of the Waffen-SS into a combat force made up of volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands.Steiner was chosen by Heinrich Himmler to oversee the creation of and then command the SS Division Wiking. In 1943, he was promoted to the command of the III SS Panzer Corps. On 28 January 1945, Steiner was placed in command of the 11th SS Panzer Army, which formed part of a new Army Group Vistula, an ad-hoc formation to defend Berlin from the Soviet armies advancing from the Vistula River.

On 21 April, during the Battle for Berlin, Steiner was placed in command of Army Detachment Steiner, while Adolf Hitler ordered Steiner to envelop the 1st Belorussian Front through a pincer movement, advancing from the north of the city. However, as his unit was outnumbered by ten to one, Steiner made it clear that he did not have the capacity for a counter-attack on 22 April during the daily situation conference in the Führerbunker.After the capitulation of Germany, Steiner was imprisoned and investigated for war crimes. He faced charges at the Nuremberg Trials, but they were dropped and he was released in 1948. Along with other former high-ranking Waffen-SS personnel, Steiner was a founding member of HIAG, a lobby group of negationistic apologists formed in 1951 to campaign for the legal, economic and historical rehabilitation of the Waffen-SS. He died in 1966.

German heavy tank battalion

A German heavy tank battalion (German: "schwere Panzerabteilung", short: "s PzAbt") was an elite battalion-sized World War II tank unit of the German Army (1935–1945), equipped with Tiger I, and later Tiger II, heavy tanks. Originally intended to fight on the offensive during breakthrough operations, the German late-war realities required it to be used in a defensive posture by providing heavy fire support and counter-attacking enemy armored breakthroughs, often organised into ad hoc Kampfgruppen.

The German heavy tank battalions destroyed the total number of 9,850 enemy tanks for the loss of only 1,715 of their own, a kill/loss ratio of 5.74. The 1,715 German losses also include non-combat tank write-offs.

Hans Eng

Hans Eng (22 March 1907 – 18 May 1995) was a Norwegian physician and Nazi collaborator during World War II.

III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps

The III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps (III. (germanisches) SS-Panzerkorps) was a German Waffen-SS armoured corps which saw action on the Eastern Front during World War II. The (germanische) (lit. Germanic) part of its designation was granted as it was composed primarily of foreign volunteer formations.

Narva Offensive (15–28 February 1944)

This is a sub-article to Battle of Narva (1944).

The Narva Offensive (15–28 February 1944) was a campaign fought between the German army detachment "Narwa" and the Soviet Leningrad Front for the strategically important Narva Isthmus. At the time of the operation, Stalin was personally interested in taking Estonia, viewing it as a precondition for forcing Finland out of the war. The 2nd Shock Army expanded the bridgehead in the Krivasoo swamp south of Narva, temporally cutting the railway behind the Sponheimer Group. Army General Leonid Govorov was unable to take advantage of the opportunity of encircling the smaller German army group which called in reinforcements. These came mostly from the newly mobilised Estonians who were motivated to resist the looming Soviet re-occupation. The Soviet 30th Guards Rifle Corps and the 124th Rifle Corps, which resumed the Soviet operation, were exhausted by the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps in ferocious battles. The offensive was halted on 20 February. Symbolically coinciding with the Estonian Independence Day on 24 February, the fresh 45th and 46th SS Waffen Grenadier Regiments (1st and 2nd Estonian), destroyed the Soviet Riigiküla bridgehead north of Narva.

Panzer corps

A panzer corps (German: Panzerkorps) was an armoured corps type in Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II. The name was introduced in 1941, when the motorised corps (Armeekorps (mot) or AK(mot)) were renamed to panzer corps. Panzer corps were created throughout the war, and existed in the Army, the Waffen-SS and even the Luftwaffe. Those renamed from ordinary motorised corps retained their numbering.

Political decorations of the Nazi Party

Political decorations of the Nazi Party were medals and awards issued by the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) between 1920 and 1945. Political awards were authorized for wear on any paramilitary uniform of Nazi Germany, as well as civilian attire, but were generally frowned upon for display (but not actually forbidden) on active duty military uniforms of the Wehrmacht. The one exception to this were the uniforms of the Waffen-SS, which freely mixed political awards and military decorations.

SA Sports Badge

The SA Sports Badge was a decoration of Nazi Germany that was issued between the years 1933 and 1945. It was a political version of the much more generic German Sports Badge, which was also issued in great numbers by the Nazis. At its center was a 57mm high Roman broad sword, superimposed over a Nazi swastika. It was encircled by an wreath of oak leaves. It was a pin-back badge. There was a cloth version, as well.The SA Sports Badge was instituted on 28 November 1933 by then SA chief Ernst Röhm. It was originally only issued in bronze through the year 1935. The on 15 February 1935, Hitler decreed that the badge be officially recognized. It was thereafter issued in three grades (bronze, silver, and gold). No longer was the physical fitness badge to be awarded only to SA members, but to youth of all German military and paramilitary organizations. Originally the badge grade was awarded on degrees of "proficiency". Then in 1936, a points system was established. In 1937, the requirement for the holder of the award was upgraded. Each recipient had to pass an annual proficiency test to retain the badge.On 19 January 1939, Hitler changed the name of the badge from SA-Sportabzeichen (SA Sports Badge) to SA-Wehrabzeichen (SA-Defence Badge). Hitler challenged all able-bodied boys age 16 and up to compete for the award. Older military men were also encouraged to obtain it. The badge was one of the few political decorations that the armed forces allowed to freely be displayed on a military uniform. By December 1936, one million had been awarded. Then by the end of 1943, over 2.5 million had been awarded.The physical fitness programme was divided into three sections, gymnastics, defensive sports and agricultural service. The badge was to be worn on the left breast, under the Iron Cross.By 1943, a similar sports badge had been created for non-Germans who were part of the Germanic-SS and Waffen-SS. Known as the Germanic Proficiency Runes, this award was issued in two grades (bronze and silver) with similar physical tests as those required for the SA Sports Badge.

Uniforms and insignia of the Schutzstaffel

The uniforms and insignia of the Schutzstaffel were paramilitary ranks and uniforms used by the Schutzstaffel (SS) between 1925 and 1945 to differentiate that organization from the regular German armed forces, the German state, and the Nazi Party.

Waffen-SS

The Waffen-SS (German pronunciation: [ˈvafn̩ʔɛsˌʔɛs], Armed SS) was the armed wing of the Nazi Party's SS organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands.The Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, and served alongside the Heer (regular army), Ordnungspolizei (uniformed police) and other security units. Originally, it was under the control of the SS Führungshauptamt (SS operational command office) beneath Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by the High Command of the Armed Forces (OKW), with some units being subordinated to Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS (Command Staff Reichsführer-SS) directly under Himmler's control.Initially, in keeping with the racial policy of Nazi Germany, membership was open only to people of Germanic origin (so-called Aryan ancestry). The rules were partially relaxed in 1940, and later the formation of units composed largely or solely of foreign volunteers and conscripts was authorised. These SS units were made up of men mainly from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite relaxation of the rules, the Waffen-SS was still based on the racist ideology of Nazism, and ethnic Poles (who were viewed as subhumans) were specifically barred from the formations.Members of the Waffen-SS were involved in numerous atrocities. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was judged to be a criminal organisation due to its connection to the Nazi Party and direct involvement in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Former Waffen-SS members, with the exception of conscripts, who comprised about one third of the membership, were denied many of the rights afforded to military veterans.

Willem Aantjes

Willem "Wim" Aantjes (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləm ˈʋɪm ˈaːɲcəs]; 16 January 1923 – 22 October 2015) was a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

Aantjes a jurist by occupation, was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 26 May 1959 after the general election of 1959. He served as the Parliamentary leader of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in the House of Representatives from 22 June 1971 until 30 November 1972, during the period when Barend Biesheuvel the Leader of the Anti-Revolutionary Party served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Aantjes became Leader of the Anti-Revolutionary Party and Parliamentary leader on 7 March 1973 and served until 25 May 1977 when the became the Parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands from 19 December 1977 until 7 November 1978 when he resigned both his positions.

XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps

The XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps was a cavalry corps in the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.

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