Werwolf (pronounced [ˈveːɐ̯vɔlf], German for "werewolf") was a Nazi plan, which began development in 1944,[2] to create a resistance force which would operate behind enemy lines as the Allies advanced through Germany. Ultimately, Werwolf's propaganda value far outweighed its actual achievements.

Werwolf pennant[1] with the Wolfsangel symbol.


How and by whom the name was chosen is unknown,[3] but it may have alluded to the title of Hermann Löns' novel, Der Wehrwolf, first published in 1910.[4] Set in the Celle region (Lower Saxony) during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the novel concerns a peasant named Harm Wulf. After marauding soldiers kill his family, Wulf organises his neighbours into a militia who pursue the soldiers mercilessly and execute any they capture, while referring to themselves as Wehrwölfe. Löns wrote that the title was a dual reference to the fact that the peasants put up a fighting defence (sich wehren, see "Bundeswehr" – Federal Defense) and to the protagonist's surname of Wulf, but it also had obvious connotations with the word Werwölfe in that Wulf's men came to enjoy killing.[5] While Löns was not himself a Nazi (he died in 1914), his work became popular with the German far right, and the Nazis celebrated it. Indeed, Celle's local newspaper began serialising Der Wehrwolf in January 1945.[6]

In 1942 Adolf Hitler named the OKW and OKH field headquarters, at Vinnytsia in Ukraine, "Werwolf",[7] and Hitler on a number of occasions had used "Wolf" as a pseudonym for himself. (The etymology of the name "Adolf" itself carries connotations of noble (adal; Modern German Adel) wolf, while Hitler referred to his first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters as Wolfsschanze - commonly rendered in English as "Wolf's Lair", literally 'Wolf's Sconce'.)


Hans-Adolf Prützmann
Obergruppenführer Hans-Adolf Prützmann (right) meets with Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, during Himmler's visit of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking in Ukraine, September 1942.

In late summer/early autumn 1944, Heinrich Himmler initiated Unternehmen Werwolf (Operation Werwolf), ordering SS Obergruppenführer Hans-Adolf Prützmann to begin organising an elite troop of volunteer forces to operate secretly behind enemy lines. As initially conceived, these Werwolf units were intended to be legitimate uniformed military formations trained to engage in clandestine operations behind enemy lines in the same manner as Allied Special Forces such as Commandos.[8] Prützmann was named Generalinspekteur für Spezialabwehr (General Inspector of Special Defence) and assigned the task of setting up the force's headquarters in Berlin and organising and instructing the force. Prützmann had studied the guerrilla tactics used by Soviet partisans while stationed in the occupied territories of Ukraine, and the idea was to teach these tactics to the members of Operation Werwolf.[9]


Rumors of a secret Nazi guerrilla organization began to surface soon after the Allied invasion of Normandy. TIME magazine ran an article containing speculation that the Germans would try to prolong the war indefinitely by going underground after their defeat.[10] The January 27, 1945 issue of Collier's Weekly featured a detailed article by Major Edwin Lessner, stating that elite SS and Hitler Youth were being trained to attack Allied forces and opening with a 1944 quote from Joseph Goebbels: "The enemy (invading German territory) will be taken in the rear by the fanatical population, which will ceaselessly worry him, tie down strong forces and allow him no rest or exploitation of any possible success."[11]

On March 23, 1945, Goebbels gave a speech known as the "Werwolf speech", in which he urged every German to fight to the death. The partial dismantling of the organised Werwolf, combined with the effects of the Werwolf speech, caused considerable confusion about which subsequent attacks were carried out by Werwolf members, as opposed to solo acts by fanatical Nazis or small groups of SS.

The Werwolf propaganda station "Radio Werwolf" broadcast from Nauen near Berlin, beginning on 1 April 1945. Broadcasts began with the sound of a wolf howling, and a song featuring the lyrics, "My werewolf teeth bite the enemy / And then he's done and then he's gone / Hoo, hoo hoo."[12] The initial broadcast stated that the Nazi Party was ordering every German to "stand his ground and do or die against the Allied armies, who are preparing to enslave Germans.[13] Every Bolshevik, every Englishman, every American on our soil must be a target for our movement ... Any German, whatever his profession or class, who puts himself at the service of the enemy and collaborates with him will feel the effect of our avenging hand ... A single motto remains for us: 'Conquer or die.' "[14]

British and American newspapers widely reported the text of Radio Werwolf broadcasts, fueling rumors among occupation forces.[15] Armed Forces Radio reminded American soldiers that

Every friendly German civilian is a disguised soldier of hate. Armed with the inner conviction that the Germans are still superior ... [they believe] that one day it will be their destiny to destroy you. Their hatred and their anger ... are deeply buried in their blood. A smile is their weapon by which to disarm you ... In heart, body and spirit every German is Hitler.[16]


Gauleiters were to suggest suitable recruits, who would then be trained at secret locations in the Rhineland and Berlin. The chief training centre in the West was at Hülchrath Castle near Erkelenz, which by early 1945 was training around 200 recruits mostly drawn from the Hitler Youth.[17]

Werwolf originally had about five thousand members recruited from the SS and the Hitler Youth. These recruits were specially trained in guerrilla tactics. Operation Werwolf went so far as to establish front companies to ensure continued fighting in those areas of Germany that were occupied (all of the "front companies" were discovered and shut down within eight months). However, as it became clear that the reputedly impregnable Alpine Fortress, from which operations were to be directed by the Nazi leadership if the rest of Germany was occupied, was yet another delusion, Werwolf was converted into a terrorist organisation in the last few weeks of the war.

Weaponry and tactics

Werwolf agents were supposed to have at their disposal a vast assortment of weapons, from fire-proof coats to silenced Walther pistols but in reality, this was merely on paper; Werwolf never actually had the necessary equipment, organisation, morale or coordination.[18] Given the dire supply situation German forces were facing in 1945, the commanding officers of existing Wehrmacht and SS units were unwilling to turn over what little equipment they still had for the sake of an organization whose actual strategic value was doubtful.

Attempts were made to bury explosives, ammunition and weapons around the country (mainly in the pre-1939 German–Polish border region) to be used by Werwolf in resistance fighting after the defeat of Germany, but not only were the quantities of material to be buried very low, by that point the movement itself was so disorganised that few actual members or leaders knew where the materials were. A large portion of these "depots" were found by the Russians, and little of the material was actually used by Werwolf.[19]

The tactics available to the organisation included sniping attacks, arson, sabotage, and assassination. Training was to cover such topics as the production of home-made explosives, manufacturing detonators from everyday articles such as pencils and "a can of soup", and every member was to be trained in how to jump into a guard tower and strangle a sentry in one swift movement, using only a metre of string.

In the early months of 1945, SS Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny was involved in training recruits for the Werwolfs, but he soon discovered that the number of Werwolf cells had been greatly exaggerated and that they would be ineffective as a fighting force. Knowing, like many other Nazi leaders, that the war was lost, he decided that the Werwolfs would instead be used as part of a Nazi "underground railroad," facilitating travel along escape routes called "ratlines" that allowed thousands of SS officers and other Nazis to flee Germany after the fall of the Third Reich.[20]

Wartime capture of Werwolf personnel

On April 28, 1945, Staff Sergeant Ib Melchior of the US Counter-Intelligence Corps captured six German officers and 25 enlisted men dressed in civilian clothes, who claimed to constitute a Werwolf cell under the command of Colonel Paul Krüger, operating in Schönsee, Bavaria. The group was captured while hiding in a tunnel network which contained communications equipment, weapons, explosives and several months' food supplies. Two vehicles were hidden in the forest nearby. Documents discovered in the tunnels listed US military commanders as targets for assassination, including General Dwight D. Eisenhower.[21][22] Krüger stated that in 1943 a school was created in Poland to train men in guerrilla warfare. On 16 September 1944, it was relocated to the town of Thürenberg, Czechoslovakia.[23] Krüger claimed that a total of 1,200 men completed Werwolf training in the school in less than two years. On 1 April 1945, the school was moved to Schönsee and a subterranean base was constructed. The students were instructed to "stay behind, evade capture, and then harass and destroy supply lines of United States troops ... Special emphasis was put on gasoline and oil supplies."[24] According to the G-2 report:

Operations were to begin three or four weeks after being overrun by US troops. The plan was for each unit to receive designated targets from the headquarters. Bands of from 10 to 20 men were then to be sent out to destroy the target and to return immediately to their unit. No targets were to be located nearer than fifteen kilometers to the unit. Secrecy and camouflage were relied upon for security and all personnel had strict orders to conceal themselves if US troops came into their area and under no circumstances to open fire in the bivouac area. No routes of escape had been planned. Members of the unit usually wore the Wehrmacht uniform, but a few members disguised themselves as foresters and were used as outposts to report any approaching danger. Their ordnance supplies consisted of mortars, machine guns, sub-machine guns, rifles, and various types of side arms. Each man was issued a Liliput pistol which could be very easily concealed on the person. The ammunition supply for each type weapon was ample for four months of ordinary operations. The unit had one civilian type sedan and one Wehrmacht motorcycle which were well hidden in the woods, and 120 horses which were dispersed on farms throughout the vicinity. Food consisting of canned meat, biscuits, crackers, chocolate, and canned vegetables was sufficient for over four months. Additional food supplies such as bread, potatoes, fresh vegetables, and smoked sausages were obtained from local sources. The unit was supplied with water by a brook passing through the area. Dugouts were constructed in such a manner as not to destroy the live trees around them. The dugouts were located on the slope of a hill which was densely covered with fir trees ... The entrance to the dugout was a hole approximately 24 inches in diameter and four to five feet deep. Approximately two feet down, this hole extended horizontally to a length of eight to ten feet. The dugout has a capacity of three men and has a wooden floor and a drainage ditch. Walls and roof are reinforced with lumber.[24]

The following day a CIC unit led by Captain Oscar M. Grimes of the 97th Infantry Division captured about two hundred Gestapo officers and men in hiding near Hof, Bavaria. They were in possession of American army uniforms and equipment but had decided to surrender.[25][26][27]

In May 1945 CIC Major John Schwartzwalder arrested members of a Werwolf cell in Bremen whose leader had fled. Schwartzwalder believed that the Werwolf never constituted a threat to Allied personnel:

...the Bremen group of the Jugend had received its orders to organize as a Werwolf cell only about four days before the fall of the city. By that time the Wehrmacht had taken all but the halt and the lame, and the Volkssturm had taken most of the rest. Nevertheless an organization had been started using the younger boys but it had not progressed to accumulating either weapons or supplies before the entry of the Allied troops...The only remaining fraction of the Werwolf that was of any importance was a residue of veterans of the last war who were physically ineligible for service in this one and who had weapons concealed here and there. These were not too hard to dispose of.[28]


Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J31305, Auszeichnung des Hitlerjungen Willi Hübner
9 March 1945: Goebbels awards a 16-year-old Hitler Youth, Willi Hübner, the Iron Cross for the defence of Lauban

After it became clear, by March 1945, that the remaining German forces had no chance of stopping the Allied advance, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels seized upon the idea of Werwolf, and began to foster the notion, primarily through radio broadcasts, that Werwolf was a clandestine guerrilla organization comprising irregular German partisans, similar to the many insurgency groups which the Germans had encountered in the nations they occupied during the war. Despite such propaganda, however, this was never the actual nature of Werwolf, which in reality was always intended to be a commando unit comprising uniformed troops. Another popular myth about Werwolf is that it was intended to continue fighting underground even after the surrender of the Nazi government and the German military.

No officially recognized effort was ever made by the Nazi leadership to develop an insurgency to continue fighting in the event of defeat, in no small measure because Adolf Hitler, as well as other Nazi leaders, regarded anyone who even discussed the possibility as defeatists and traitors. As a result, no contingency plans to deal with defeat were ever authorized in the official, public record. However, as a result of Goebbels' efforts, Werwolf had, and in many cases continues to have, a mythological reputation as having been an underground Nazi resistance movement, with some even claiming that Werwolf attacks continued for months, or even years, after the end of the war—-in particular, sources cited by West Coast radio broadcaster Dave Emory, for instance in this archived program on audio, following a brief first segment. Its perceived influence went far beyond its actual operations, especially after the dissolution of the Nazi regime.[9]

Assessment by historians

Historians Antony Beevor and Earl F. Ziemke have argued that Werwolf never amounted to a serious threat, and furthermore propose that the plan barely existed. According to a study by former Ambassador James Dobbins and a team of RAND Corporation researchers, there were no American combat casualties after the German surrender.[29]

German historian Golo Mann, in his The History of Germany Since 1789 (1984) also states that "The [Germans'] readiness to work with the victors, to carry out their orders, to accept their advice and their help was genuine; of the resistance which the Allies had expected in the way of 'werwolf' units and nocturnal guerrilla activities, there was no sign."[30]

Perry Biddiscombe has offered a somewhat different view. In his books Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944–1946 (1998)[9] and The Last Nazis: SS Werwolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe, 1944–1947 (2000), Biddiscombe asserts that after retreating to the Black Forest and the Harz mountains, the Werwolf continued resisting the occupation until at least 1947, possibly until 1949–50. However, he characterizes German post-surrender resistance as "minor",[31] and calls the post-war Werwolfs "desperadoes"[32] and "fanatics living in forest huts".[33] He further cites U.S. Army intelligence reports that characterized Nazi partisans as "nomad bands"[34] and judged them as less serious threats than attacks by foreign slave laborers[35] and considered their sabotage and subversive activities to be insignificant.[36] He also notes that: "The Americans and British concluded, even in the summer of 1945, that, as a nationwide network, the original Werwolf was irrevocably destroyed, and that it no longer posed a threat to the occupation."[37]

Biddiscombe also says that Werwolf violence failed to mobilize a spirit of popular national resistance, that the group was poorly led, armed, and organized, and that it was doomed to failure given the war-weariness of the populace and the hesitancy of young Germans to sacrifice themselves on the funeral pyre of the former Nazi regime. He concludes that the only significant achievement of the Werwolfs was to spark distrust of the German populace in the Allies as they occupied Germany, which caused them in some cases to act more repressively than they might have done otherwise, which in turn fostered resentments that helped to enable far right ideas to survive in Germany, at least in pockets, into the post-war era.[9]

Nevertheless, says Biddiscombe, "The Werewolves were no bit players";[38] they caused tens of millions of dollars of property damage at a time when the European economies were in an already desperate state, and they were responsible for the killing of thousands of people.[38]

Alleged Werwolf actions

A number of instances of resistance have been attributed to Werwolf activity:

  • 25 March 1945 – Under the code name, Unternehmen Karneval, Franz Oppenhoff, the newly appointed mayor of Aachen, was assassinated outside his home by an SS unit which was composed of Werwolf trainees from Hülchrath Castle, including Ilse Hirsch. They were flown in at the order of Heinrich Himmler.[39]
  • 28 March 1945 – The mayor of the eastern Ruhr town of Meschede was assassinated, even though Meschede was still behind German lines and was not overrun until mid-April. Werwolf Radio later announced that the assassination had been carried out by Werwolf agents.[40]
  • 30 March 1945 – Radio Werwolf claimed responsibility for the death of Major General Maurice Rose, commander of the US 3rd Armored Division,[41] who was in reality killed in action by troops of the 507th Heavy Panzer Battalion.[42]
  • 21 April 1945 – Major John Poston, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's liaison officer was ambushed and killed by unidentified assailants shortly before Germany's surrender; in reality Poston died in an ambush by regular troops.[43]
  • 22 April 1945 – Radio Werwolf claimed that a Werwolf unit composed of German citizens from Leuna and Merseburg had entered the Leuna synthetic petroleum factory and set off explosives, destroying four factory buildings and rendering it inoperable.[44]
  • 28 April 1945 – The Penzberg Murders: Werwolf operatives were allegedly responsible for the murder of the mayor of Penzberg, Bavaria, and fourteen others, because of their actions in freeing prisoners and preventing the destruction of property.
  • 5 June 1945 – It has been claimed that the destruction of the United States Military Government police headquarters in Bremen by two explosions which resulted in 44 deaths[45] was a Werwolf-related attack. There is, however, no proof that it was due to Werwolf actions rather than to unexploded bombs or delayed-action ordnance.
  • 16 June 1945 – Colonel-General Nikolai Berzarin, Soviet commandant of Berlin is often claimed to have been assassinated by Werwolfs, but actually died in a motorcycle accident.[46]
  • 31 July 1945 – An ammunition dump in Ústí nad Labem (Aussig an der Elbe), a largely ethnic German city in northern Bohemia ("Sudetenland") exploded, killing 26 or 27 people and injuring dozens.[47] The explosion was blamed on the Werwolf organization and resulted in the "Ústí massacre" of ethnic Germans.

Allied reprisals

According to Biddiscombe "the threat of Nazi partisan warfare had a generally unhealthy effect on broad issues of policy among the occupying powers. As well, it prompted the development of draconian reprisal measures that resulted in the destruction of much German property and the deaths of thousands of civilians and soldiers".[48] Ian Kershaw states that fear of Werwolf activities may have motivated atrocities against German civilians by Allied troops during and immediately after the war.[49]

The German resistance movement was successfully suppressed in 1945.[50] However, collective punishment for acts of resistance, such as fines and curfews, was still being imposed as late as 1948.[51] Biddiscombe estimates the total death toll as a direct result of Werewolf actions and the resulting reprisals as 3,000–5,000.[52]

Soviet reprisals

In the Soviet occupation zone, thousands of youths were arrested as "Werwolves".[53][54] Evidently, arrests were arbitrary and in part based on denunciations.[53] The arrested boys were either "shot at dawn" or interned in NKVD special camps.[53] On 22 June 1945, Deputy Commissar of the NKVD Ivan Serov reported to the head of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria the arrest of "more than 600" alleged Werwolf members,[55] mostly aged 15 to 17 years.[56]

The report, though referring to incidents where Soviet units came under fire from the woods,[55] asserts that most of the arrested had not been involved in any action against the Soviets, which Serov explained with interrogation results allegedly showing that the boys had been "waiting" for the right moment and in the meantime focused on attracting new members.[56] In October 1945, Beria reported to Joseph Stalin the "liquidation" of 359 alleged Werwolf groups.[53] Of those, 92 groups with 1,192 members were "liquidated" in Saxony alone.[53] On 5 August 1946, Soviet minister for internal affairs Sergei Nikiforovich Kruglov reported that in the Soviet occupation zone, 332 "terrorist diversion groups and underground organizations" had been disclosed and "liquidated".[53] A total of about 10,000 youths were interned in NKVD special camps, half of whom did not return.[54] Parents as well as the East German administration and political parties, installed by the Soviets, were denied any information on the whereabouts of the arrested youths.[53] The Red Army's torching of Demmin, which resulted in the suicide of hundreds of people, was blamed on alleged preceding Werwolf activities by the East German regime.[57]

US Army reprisals

Eisenhower believed he would be faced with extensive guerrilla warfare, based on the Alpine Redoubt.[48] The fear of Werwolf activity believed to be mustering around Berchtesgaden in the Alps also led to the switch in U.S. operational targets in the middle of March 1945 away from the drive towards Berlin and instead shifted the thrust towards the south and on linking up with the Russians first.[58] An intelligence report stated "We should ... be prepared to undertake operations in Southern Germany in order to overcome rapidly any organised resistance by the German Armed Forces or by guerrilla movements which may have retreated to the inner zone and to this redoubt".[58] On March 31 Eisenhower told Roosevelt, "I am hopeful of launching operations that should partially prevent a guerrilla control of any large area such as the southern mountain bastions".[58]

Eisenhower had previously also requested that the occupation directive JCS 1067 not make him responsible for maintaining living conditions in Germany under the expected circumstances; "... probably guerrilla fighting and possibly even civil war in certain districts ... If conditions in Germany turn out as described, it will be utterly impossible effectively to control or save the economic structure of the country ... and we feel we should not assume the responsibility for its support and control."[48] The British were "mortified by such a suggestion", but the War Department took considerable account of Eisenhower's wishes.[59]

British reprisals

In April 1945 Churchill announced that the Allies would incarcerate all captured German officers for as long as a guerrilla threat existed.[59] Hundreds of thousands of German last-ditch troops were kept in the makeshift Rheinwiesenlager for months, "mainly to prevent Werwolf activity".[59] In addition, civilians held by the U.S. climbed from 1000 in late March to 30,000 in late June, and more than 100,000 by the end of 1945.[60] Conditions were often poor in the camps for civilians.[60]

Prior to the occupation SHAEF investigated the reprisal techniques the Germans had used in order to maintain control over occupied territories since they felt the Germans had had good success.[61] Directives were loosely defined and implementation of reprisal was largely left to the preferences of the various armies, with the British seeming uncomfortable with those involving bloodshed.[61] Rear-Admiral H.T. Baillie Grohman for example stated that killing hostages was "not in accordance with our usual methods".[61] Thanks to feelings such as this, and relative light guerrilla activity in their area, relatively few reprisals took place in the UK zone of operations.[61]

Similar organizations

Within Germany

From 1946 onward, Allied intelligence officials noted resistance activities by an organisation which had appropriated the name of the anti-Nazi resistance group, the Edelweiss Piraten (Edelweiss Pirates). The group was reported to be composed mainly of former members and officers of Hitler Youth units, ex-soldiers and drifters, and was described by an intelligence report as "a sentimental, adventurous, and romantically anti-social [movement]". It was regarded as a more serious menace to order than the Werwolf by US officials.[16]

A raid in March 1946 captured 80 former German officers who were members, and who possessed a list of 400 persons to be liquidated, including Wilhelm Hoegner, the prime minister of Bavaria. Further members of the group were seized with caches of ammunition and even anti-tank rockets. In late 1946 reports of activities gradually died away.[16]

Within Denmark

In 2015 Danish police uncovered files in their archives outlining the Danish part of Operation Werwolf under the command of Horst Paul Issel who was caught in Germany in 1949 before being handed over to Denmark.[62] A total of 130 stashes of weapons and explosives were placed around Denmark and personnel were inserted into strategically important parts of society.

Within Yugoslavia

The remains of some military organizations which collaborated with Axis forces continued with raid activities like Crusaders (guerrilla) (until 1950), Balli Kombëtar (until 1947) and Chetniks (until 1946).

Second Iraq War

The history of Werwolf was compared to the Iraqi insurgency by the Bush Administration and other Iraq War supporters.[63][64] In speeches given on 25 August 2003 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld parallels were drawn between the problems faced by the coalition's occupation forces in Iraq to those encountered by occupation forces in post-World War II Germany, asserting that the Iraqi insurgency would ultimately prove to be as futile in realizing its objectives as had the Werwolfs.[65]

Former Clinton-era National Security Council staffer Daniel Benjamin published a riposte in Slate magazine on 29 August 2003, entitled "Condi's Phony History: Sorry, Dr. Rice, postwar Germany was nothing like Iraq"[66] in which he took Rice and Rumsfeld to task for mentioning Werwolf, writing that the reality of postwar Germany bore no resemblance to the occupation of Iraq, and made reference to Antony Beevor's Berlin: The Downfall 1945 and the US Army's official history, The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944–1946,[67] where the Werwolf were only mentioned twice in passing.[68] This did not prevent his political opponents from disagreeing with him, using Biddiscombe's book as a source.[69]

In popular culture

The 2008 alternate history novel The Man with the Iron Heart by American author Harry Turtledove depicts a Werwolf operation under the successful command of Reinhard Heydrich (in this scenario he's survived the attempt on his life by British-trained Czech partisans). With the aid of a strong peace movement arising in the US angry at the rising casualties after the war's official end, the US and Britain withdraw occupation troops from Germany, even after Heydrich is killed, leaving it open for a takeover again by the Nazi Party.

See also



  1. ^ Rundschau; Deutsches Schneiderfachblatt für das Gesamte Schneidergewerbe
  2. ^ Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe, at 546 (The Penguin Press 2008)
  3. ^ Taylor, Frederick (2012-03-01). Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781408822128.
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony (2002). The Fall of Berlin 1945. Penguin. p. 173. ISBN 0-14-200280-1.
  5. ^ Watt, Roderick H. (October 1992). "Wehrwolf or Werwolf? Literature, Legend, or Lexical Error into Nazi Propaganda?". The Modern Language Review. The Modern Language Review, Vol. 87, No. 4. 87 (4): 879–895. doi:10.2307/3731426. JSTOR 3731426.
  6. ^ Neumann, Klaus (2000). Shifting Memories: The Nazi Past in the New Germany. University of Michigan Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-472-08710-X.
  7. ^ Warlimont, Walter (1964). Inside Hitler's Headquarters, 1939–45. F.A. Praeger. p. 246.
  8. ^ Klemperer, Victor; Roderick H. Watt (1997). An Annotated Edition of Victor Klemperer's LTI, Notizbuch eines Philologen. E. Mellen Press. p. 305. ISBN 0-7734-8681-X.
  9. ^ a b c d (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 464)
  10. ^ Foreign News: War Without End? TIME 28 August 1944
  11. ^ Major Erwin Lessner, "Hitler's Final V Weapon: The Nazis are carefully building a program for a guerrilla blitzkrieg," Collier's Weekly, January 27, 1945, p. 14.
  12. ^ "Hoo, Hoo, Hoo,' Lily the Werewolf Sings on Radio," The Washington Post, Apr 6, 1945; p. 1.
  13. ^ "NAZI UNDERGROUND IN ACTION, FOE SAYS: German Radio Asserts It Is Fighting in Occupied Areas, Issues 'Do or Die Order,'" The New York Times, Apr 2, 1945; p. 7.
  14. ^ "Werwolf and Colonel Biu Tin: lessons in the psychological aspects of war." Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006.
  15. ^ "Werewolves' Nuisance Value May Be Great," The Washington Post, Apr 10, 1945; p. 2.
  16. ^ a b c Fritz, Stephen G. (2004). Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 218&nbsp, – 219. ISBN 0-8131-2325-9.
  17. ^ Dearn, Alan; Elizabeth Sharp (2006). The Hitler Youth 1933–45. Osprey Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 1-84176-874-X.
  18. ^ Gilbert, James L., John P. Finnegan and Ann Bray. In the Shadow of the Sphynx: A History of Army Counterintelligence, History Office, Office of Strategic Management and Information, US Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Dec 2005; p. 63. ISBN 1234461366 (This file might take time to load.)
  19. ^ Beevor, Antony (2002). The Fall of Berlin 1945. Viking. p. 490. ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5.
  20. ^ "Rob Vest, "Otto Skorzeny: The Scar-Faced Commando."". Archived from the original on 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  21. ^ George Dyer, XII Corps: Spearhead of Patton's Third Army, XII Corps History Association, 1947; Chapter 16, section 4.
  22. ^ Melchior, Ib. Case by Case: A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II. Presidio, 1993; Chapter 8, pp. 135–153.
  23. ^ Counter Intelligence Corps History and Mission in WWII, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA (undated); p. 51.
  24. ^ a b "G-2 Periodic Report No. 262, 3 May 1945, XII Corps HQ," reproduced in full in Order of Battle: Hitler's Werewolves, by Ib Melchior, epilogue, pp. 900–917..
  25. ^ Kurt Frank Korf, quoted in Patricia Kollander, I Must be a Part of this War: A German American's Fight against Hitler and Nazism, Fordham University Press, 2005; ISBN 0-8232-2528-3; p. 109.
  26. ^ "Obituary: Oscar M. "Mel" Grimes Jr., 80, Catonsville Times, 14 May, 2001". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  27. ^ "Bemedaled Ex-Nazi Youth Home from Europe Wars," The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 July 1945, p. 6.
  28. ^ John Schwartzwalder, We Caught Spies: Adventures of an American Counter Intelligence Agent in Europe. Duell, Sloan & Pierce, Inc. New York, 1946; pp. 262-63.
  29. ^ Dobbins, James; McGinn, John G.; Crane, Keith; Jones, Seth G.; Lal, Rollie; Rathmell, Andrew; Swanger, Rachel M.; Timilsina, Anga. "America's Role in Nation-Building From Germany to Iraq" (PDF). RAND Corporation. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  30. ^ Mann, Golo (1984). The History of Germany Since 1789. Vintage/Ebury. p. 560. ISBN 978-0-7011-1346-9.
  31. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 275)
  32. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 151)
  33. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 80)
  34. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 197)
  35. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 152)
  36. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 115)
  37. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 51)
  38. ^ a b Biddiscombe, The Last Nazis, p. 8.
  39. ^ Rempel, Gerhard (1989). Hitler's Children: The Hitler Youth and the SS. UNC Press. p. 244. ISBN 0-8078-4299-0.
  40. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 40)
  41. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 139)
  42. ^ Miller, Edward G. (2007). Nothing Less Than Full Victory. Naval Institute Press. p. 254. ISBN 1-59114-494-9.
  43. ^ Whiting, Charles (2002). Monty's Greatest Victory. Leo Cooper. p. 83.
  44. ^ "Hitler Admits His Western Armies Have Been Reduced to Guerrillas," The New York Times, Apr 23, 1945; p. 1.
  45. ^ Roehner, Bertrand M. "Relations between allied forces and the population of germany" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  46. ^ "Voice of Russia: Commandant of Berlin". Retrieved 2007-08-03.
  47. ^ The Blast at the munitions depot in Brezno and the massacre of the German population, 31 July 1945. Massacre description in Czech by Vladimír Kaiser.
  48. ^ a b c (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 252)
  49. ^ Kershaw, Ian. The End: Hitler's Germany 1944-45, Allen Lane, 2011. ISBN 0-7139-9716-8
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  52. ^ (Biddiscombe 1998, p. 276)
  53. ^ a b c d e f g Weber, Petra (2000). Justiz und Diktatur: Justizverwaltung und politische Strafjustiz in Thüringen 1945–1961. Veröffentlichungen zur SBZ-/DDR -Forschung im Institut für Zeitgeschichte. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 99. ISBN 3-486-56463-3.
  54. ^ a b Fruth, Pia (7 May 2010). "Die Lüge vom Werwolf. Warum Tausende Jugendliche in sowjetischen Lagern landeten" (PDF). Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk 2 (in German). Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  55. ^ a b Reif-Spirek, Peter; Ritscher, Bodo (1999). Speziallager in der SBZ (in German). Ch. Links Verlag. p. 138. ISBN 3-86153-193-3.
  56. ^ a b Reif-Spirek, Peter; Ritscher, Bodo (1999). Speziallager in der SBZ (in German). Ch. Links Verlag. p. 139. ISBN 3-86153-193-3.
  57. ^ Vernier, Robert (1995-05-08). "Tragödie an der Peene" (in German). Focus. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
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  62. ^ Varulvene – et uhyggeligt netværk under Anden Verdenskrig
  63. ^ Rumsfeld, Donald H (2006-07-19). "DefenseLink Speech: Veterans of Foreign Wars". Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence. US Department of Defence. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  64. ^ Rice, Condoleezza (2003-08-25). "National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Remarks to Veterans of Foreign Wars". Office of the Press Secretary. White House. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  65. ^ Carafano, James (September 23, 2003). "A Phony "Phony History"". Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  66. ^ Benjamin, Daniel (2003-08-29). "Condi Rice's phony history". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
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  69. ^ Marek, Ed (September 1, 2003). "The occupation of Germany, the occupation of Iraq, many parallels". Talking Proud!. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-08.

Further reading

  • Hellmuth Auerbach, Die Organisation des "Werwolf"
  • Arno Rose, Werwolf, 1944–1945
  • Klaus-Dietmar Henke, Die amerikanische Besetzung Deutschlands
  • Charles Whiting, Hitler's Werewolves
  • James Lucas, Kommando (part 4)


  • Biddiscombe, Perry (2004). The Last Nazis: SS Werewolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe 1944-1947. Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2967-1.
  • Biddiscombe, Perry (1998). Werwolf!: The History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement, 1944–1946. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-0862-6.

External links


A Beerwolf (Bärwolf, Werwolf) is a German folk-tale monster commonly known as a werewolf.

Beerwolf is a concept introduced by Martin Luther (in a 1539 debate) that Luther uses to describe the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. In the context of resistance theory, a "Beerwolf", "in contrast to a mere tyrant, not only broke the law, but overturned the entire moral order upon which it is based. All the subjects of such a ruler ... had the right to resist and even to kill him and all his supporters".The significance of the term lies in the fact that, for most of his life, Luther held that no subject could actively resist his secular ruler, an issue of obvious significance in a time when many rulers in the German lands and their respective subjects held competing religious beliefs. The concept of Beerwolf marked Luther's final, and most extreme, position on resistance theory, as it relied on natural law (specifically, in a similar manner to what would later be called Hobbes' right to self-preservation) instead of earlier and more limited rights to resistance that Luther had accepted as flowing from German constitutional law.Lurid histories of Vlad the Impaler were popular in Germany at the time of Luther, who was familiar with the terror of his rule. However, during the debate Luther did not specifically say he was referring to Vlad the Impaler.

The 1550 Magdeburg Confession included a Beerwolf clause that had to be fulfilled before an evil ruler could be resisted by the lesser magistrates.The concept of just rebellion that the term Beerwolf introduced was subsequently developed by fellow Protestants who faced a similar situation in France, the Huguenot Monarchomachs.

Captain Lorrington "Gimlet" King

Captain Lorrington "Gimlet" King is a character created by the British author W.E. Johns, best known as the creator of Biggles and Worrals. The name 'Gimlet' is derived from a sharp implement resulting in a term for someone with keen eyesight. Johns is thought to have been inspired by Major 'Gimlet' Champion, one of his commanding officers during his flying career. The rest of the name may have been inspired by South African soldier and adventurer William Lorraine King who died shortly before the first novel was published.

The books which were published during and after World War II, are about the adventures of explorer-soldier "Gimlet" King, and his intrepid band of followers. His regular colleagues are Corporal Albert Edward Collson, nicknamed "Copper" (he is an ex-policeman), Private "Trapper" Troublay, and Nigel Norman Peters, nicknamed "Cub". "Gimlet" and his team of commandos were designed to represent the multiple ethnicities of the British Empire; along with the English characters, French-Canadian, Scots, and European-educated Asians, co-operate for the good of Britain.

Several of the novels are set during World War II, especially in occupied Europe. The other books in the series revolve around treasure, and the post-war struggles in Britain's colonies and former colonies. In general the storylines of the books focus on actions behind enemy lines, or in foreign lands. During one of the books, Gimlet and his team go into occupied France to rescue British slave labourers from a Renault plant which is about to be bombed. In later stories, Gimlet seeks treasure, and must work as both predator and prey when Werwolf terrorists begin trying and executing British "war criminals". Although less popular than Biggles as a character, Gimlet remains an enduring legacy of W.E. Johns and British adventure fiction.

Christian Morgenstern

Christian Otto Josef Wolfgang Morgenstern (6 May 1871 – 31 March 1914) was a German author and poet from Munich. Morgenstern married Margareta Gosebruch von Liechtenstern on 7 March 1910. He worked for a while as a journalist in Berlin, but spent much of his life traveling through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, primarily in a vain attempt to recover his health. His travels, though they failed to restore him to health, allowed him to meet many of the foremost literary and philosophical figures of his time in central Europe.

Morgenstern's poetry, much of which was inspired by English literary nonsense, is immensely popular, even though he enjoyed very little success during his lifetime. He made fun of scholasticism, e.g. literary criticism in "Drei Hasen", grammar in "Der Werwolf", narrow-mindedness in "Der Gaul", and symbolism in "Der Wasseresel". In "Scholastikerprobleme" he discussed how many angels could sit on a needle. Still many Germans know some of his poems and quotations by heart, e.g. the following line from "The Impossible Fact" ("Die unmögliche Tatsache", 1910):

Weil, so schließt er messerscharf / Nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf.

"For, he reasons pointedly / That which must not, can not be."Embedded in his humorous poetry is a subtle metaphysical streak, as e.g. in "Vice Versa", (1905):

Gerolf Steiner's mock-scientific book about the fictitious animal order Rhinogradentia (1961), inspired by Morgenstern's nonsense poem Das Nasobēm, is testament to his enduring popularity.

Morgenstern was a member of the General Anthroposophical Society. Dr. Rudolf Steiner called him 'a true representative of Anthroposophy'.

Morgenstern died in 1914 of tuberculosis, which he had contracted from his mother, who died in 1881.

Der Wehrwolf

Der Wehrwolf (English: Werewolf; a portmanteau combining the words for "defence" and "wolf" to Wehrwolf in the German language - c.f. Werwolf, "werewolf", usually translated into English as Warwolf) is a novel by journalist Hermann Löns, first published in 1910.

Einstossflammenwerfer 46

The Einstossflammenwerfer 46 was a hand held single shot flamethrower designed in Germany during the second half of World War II and introduced in 1944; it was engineered to be both cheap and easily mass-produced. The disposable weapon fired a half-second burst of flame of up to 27 metres (89 ft).

It was issued to the Volkssturm or the Werwolf movement, but also used by the Fallschirmjäger (German paratroopers).

Hans-Adolf Prützmann

Hans-Adolf Prützmann (31 August 1901 – 21 May 1945, Lüneburg) was a high-ranking German SS official during the Nazi era. From June to November 1941, he served as the Higher SS and Police Leader in the Army Group North Rear Area in the occupied Soviet Union. In this capacity, he oversaw the activities of the Einsatzgruppen detachments that perpetrated The Holocaust in the Baltic States.

Hate Me!

"Hate Me!" is a song by Finnish heavy metal band Children of Bodom, the song is released as the demo version of a song from their third album from Follow the Reaper. The single managed to sell platinum. There was also a Yellow 7" single released by Nuclear Blast with the same track listing. An acoustic version was played during the end of the Chaos Ridden Years documentary by Alexi Laiho with Finnish lyrics. The demo version is slightly different from the album version from Follow the Reaper. The Werwolf from Satanic Warmaster did backup vocals on the original single version.

Ilse Hirsch

Ilse Hirsch (born 1922) was a German Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) Hauptgruppenführerin (Captain) famous as part of the six-person team that participated in Unternehmen Karneval (Operation Carnival) in 1945.

List of number-one hits of 2015 (Austria)

This is a list of the Austrian number-one singles and albums of 2015 as compiled by Ö3 Austria Top 40, the official chart provider of Austria.

Satanic Warmaster

Satanic Warmaster is a Finnish black metal project from Lappeenranta consisting of the sole musician "Werwolf" (real name Lauri Penttilä). Penttilä began recording under this name in 1998. Satanic Warmaster has sold tens of thousands of albums worldwide without the support of any major distribution companies or record labels. The band has toured around the world in countries such as Finland, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan and Italy. In November 2014, Satanic Warmaster's album "Fimbulwinter" reached the Finnish official chart on place #14 and the Rumba specialized stores' chart on place #2.

Silver Fame

Silver Fame (foaled 1939) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1951 Cheltenham Gold Cup. After beginning his racing career in Ireland he moved to England and became one of the leading steeplechasers of his time. He won races at the Cheltenham Festival in 1948 and 1950 and ran twice in the Grand National, falling when favourite for the race in 1948. Despite running extremely well at Cheltenham he did not contest the Gold Cup until 1951 when he won the race in record time. He was also the oldest winner of the race up to that time, and remains one of only two horses to win the race at the age of twelve. He spent his retirement as a hunter.

The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories

The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories is a short story collection by American science fiction author Gene Wolfe.The title story of the collection is "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories", which recounts the fantasies of a dreamy young boy who is reading a lurid pulp science fiction novel modeled after The Island of Doctor Moreau. The collection also includes "The Death of Dr. Island" and "The Doctor of Death Island". Also included are "The Eyeflash Miracles" and "Seven American Nights", two stories which were nominated for Nebulas. Among the remaining stories were "Tracking Song", "Alien Stones", "The Hero as Werwolf" [sic], "Feather Tigers", and "The Toy Theater".

The Man with the Iron Heart

The Man with the Iron Heart is an alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. Published in 2008, it takes as its premise the survival by Reinhard Heydrich of his 1942 assassination in Czechoslovakia and his subsequent leadership of the postwar Werwolf insurgency in occupied Germany, which Turtledove depicts as growing into a far more formidable force than was the case historically.

This novel follows the typical format of Turtledove novels, following events from multiple points of view. These include the historical figure of Heydrich, a Soviet counter-intelligence NKVD officer, and several Americans: another counter-intelligence officer, a soldier, a Congressman, a newspaper reporter, and a housewife who leads a movement to withdraw American forces from Germany. Much of the inspiration for the developments of the novel are drawn from the American occupation in Iraq and the reaction to it back in the United States.


Verboten! is a 1959 film written, produced and directed by Samuel Fuller and starring James Best, Susan Cummings, Tom Pittman, and Harold Daye. It was the last film of the influential but troubled RKO studio, which co-produced it with Fuller's own Globe Enterprises. It was filmed at the RKO Forty Acres backlot. Distribution was handled by Columbia Pictures.

Verboten! was the first of Samuel Fuller's films to be set during World War II, of which he was a veteran. He had previously drawn on his war experience to make movies about the Korean War and the French Indochina War. Raymond Harvey was the film's technical adviser; he had previously worked with Fuller on his Fixed Bayonets! (1951).

Viktoria (Marduk album)

Viktoria is the fourteenth studio album by Swedish black metal band Marduk. It was released on June 22, 2018. The album's lyrics follow in a similar vein to some of their previous albums, focusing on historical World War II lyrical themes.


In folklore, a werewolf (Old English: werwulf, "man-wolf") or occasionally lycanthrope (Greek: λυκάνθρωπος lukánthrōpos, "wolf-person") is a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf (or, especially in modern film, a therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature), either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (often a bite or scratch from another werewolf) and especially on the night of a full moon. Early sources for belief in this ability or affliction, called lycanthropy , are Petronius (27–66) and Gervase of Tilbury (1150–1228).

The werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore, existing in many variants, which are related by a common development of a Christian interpretation of underlying European folklore developed during the medieval period. From the early modern period, werewolf beliefs also spread to the New World with colonialism. Belief in werewolves developed in parallel to the belief in witches, in the course of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Like the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland (especially the Valais and Vaud) in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.

The persecution of werewolves and the associated folklore is an integral part of the "witch-hunt" phenomenon, albeit a marginal one, accusations of lycanthropy being involved in only a small fraction of witchcraft trials. During the early period, accusations of lycanthropy (transformation into a wolf) were mixed with accusations of wolf-riding or wolf-charming. The case of Peter Stumpp (1589) led to a significant peak in both interest in and persecution of supposed werewolves, primarily in French-speaking and German-speaking Europe. The phenomenon persisted longest in Bavaria and Austria, with persecution of wolf-charmers recorded until well after 1650, the final cases taking place in the early 18th century in Carinthia and Styria.After the end of the witch-trials, the werewolf became of interest in folklore studies and in the emerging Gothic horror genre; werewolf fiction as a genre has pre-modern precedents in medieval romances (e.g. Bisclavret and Guillaume de Palerme) and developed in the 18th century out of the "semi-fictional" chap book tradition. The trappings of horror literature in the 20th century became part of the horror and fantasy genre of modern popular culture.

Werwolf (Wehrmacht headquarters)

Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename used for one of Adolf Hitler's World War II Eastern Front military headquarters located in a pine forest about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of Vinnytsia, in Ukraine, which was used between 1942 and 1943. It was one of a number of Führer Headquarters throughout Europe, and the most easterly ever used by Hitler in person.

Wer’wolf MKII

The Wer’wolf MK2 is a Namibian designed and built MRAP vehicle that offers protection against small arms fire and land mines. The vehicle uses a MAN chassis, axles and engine. The Wer'Wolf MK2 is a modular vehicle. It is built with a crew compartment that seats three people plus a driver and a rear flatbed configuration. The flat bed configuration allows for different modules to be fitted. It is suited for rough terrain, in APC configuration the Wer'Wolf MK2 can carry up to 10 passengers plus the driver. Designed and built in 1998 it was the first Mine Protected Vehicle manufactured by Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik after it was bought by Government of Namibia.

Wolf's Lair

Wolf's Lair (German: Wolfsschanze; Polish: Wilczy Szaniec) was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which became one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) in various parts of Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union – in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian woods about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now in Gierłoż, Kętrzyn County, Poland). Three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer's bunker was located. These were guarded by personnel from the SS Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht's armoured Führerbegleitbrigade. Despite the security, the most notable assassination attempt against Hitler was made at the Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3½-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In mid-1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf's Lair original buildings. The work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in late 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces.

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