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Waffen-SS vs. Einaatzgruppen

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Hummel, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Gore, you don't "really" know do you? I met a few men who served H~O~N~O~R~A~B~L~Y in the Waffen SS-some of these men Recipients of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, and NO-THESE men did NOT earn their KCs by baby-killing, raping, pillaging, brigandage etc, THESE men earned their high awards for bravery in COMBAT. One man in particular, was a good friend of mine (and Pauls) till he passed away years ago. Do NOT use such a blanket statement about the men who served in the Waffen SS or for that matter, in the German Armed Forces in WWII. I and many here, have met many WWII German Vets and also have become friends with many. I for one, am VERY PROUD to have been friends with, actually met in person with, many many WWII German Veterans. Some of these men were in the Waffen SS, but most were either in the Kriegsmarine, and the Army. I am still friends with several WWII German vets and I care for them a lot because they are good friends of mine. I care for them as much as I do our Vets.

    Oh and, one man in particular, was a N~A~Z~I, but he wasnt a Sphincter-Muscle as you wish to blanketly say he is in your VERY misguided statements about WWII German veterans. True, I met one--ONE WWII German Vet that I thought was a prick, thats one out of about 250 or so I have met over the past 12 or more years, just one. Im NOT going to give out the Waffen SS vets name so as to keep someone with the same kind of negative opinions as you have here, cannot dishonor this great person and very fine-Soldier; with wrong and negative words. I knew and met this person in particular, so I know how he was. My good friend Paul has met many many more RKTs than I have and he too knows how these men are and were.

    I was invited to Germany by a group of WWII German vets to be a Guest of Honor at their 9th reunion in Bad Camberg. I was so honored as well as they honored both my travelling friend and I by making us both honorable members of U 181 as well as the Kriegsmarine. I don't care if you will hate my guts because i was so honored? Meeting and being friends with many of these vets, will be something i will always be honored and priviledged to have had the chance to experience. The Waffen SS RKT I speak VERY highly of, is one I easily will place as one of my personal heroes of WWII, some of the others are of course British and AMerican, one being a Recipient of the Victoria Cross, the other being a Medal of Honor Recipient.

    You know, of all the American and British Vets I have ever met and have told them of my German story too, not a one of them ever had a bad thing to say about my experience with these guys and all of them thought it was a great thing. Not a one of them disliked me for having friends who were WWII German Vets-not one. Also, Over the years, I have had the great priviledge to have reunited a WWII American Vet with the German Vet who had been his Captor-and savior-to whom he started a friendship with that lasted through the rest of the war. They lost contact before the end of the war, and on seeing a post I made here on this site about 8 years ago, he contaced me for help in finding his German Vet/Friend.

    Trying to find this guy was strictly a shot in the dark as well as having great luck on my side. After a few months, I found the German Vet, told him about the request of an American vet one whom he had helped save during the war. Well, once I sent the info to the German Vet, he contacted his American friend. These two visited each other at least twice a year till the German vet passed away. The American vet passed away about a year later. They both gave me full credit to having made the rest of their lives a bit happier because in the small way I helped them reunite.

    Ive aso had WWII German vets contact me through their Children and Grandchildren to help them get in touch with former Comrades. One man in particular was Herr Gerhard Kortz. The surviving members of his Uboat crew had long since thought him killed during the war, when in fact, it turned out that he had been captured somewhere and held in a PW camp in Wales-where after the war-he decided to stay where he got married and raised a family. I gave his contact info to three U 181 vets and they all stayed in touch with him till he passed away and they too cept for one-had passed away. These men gave me full credit for their reunion wiht a long thought lost comrade. The children and grandchildren of Herr Korts, gave me full credit for making their Father/Grandfather, a bit happier before he passed away

    Another example of something I was able to participate in and VERY proud to have been given the chance, was when another U 181 vet had his Grandson contact me through this site, and wanted me to send him 1-2 photos I took of his Comrades at theri reunion. I gladly said I would send a photo and actually sent about 30-40 or so pics of the reunion.. This vet was too sick to attend the reunion, and was also going blind. Well, about 3 weeks after he recieved all the photos I took of the reunion, he lost his eyesight and passed away not long after. His Grandson and family thanked me for helping make his final days a bit happier.

    I have other stories too that ill not elaborate on, but will end with this, I also met (by phone) another Waffen SS Vet who was also a French Foreign Legion Vet, that the book: Devils Guard, was written about. This vet made me an honorary member Nr 505, of the French Foreign Legion's all German battalion Vets Org. I still have one of two of the cards he sent me, the other I gave to my Waffen SS RKT friend.

    And jsut to keep someone from thinking I dont have much to do with OUR vets-well think again. One was in the 101st Airborne Div, and he made me an honorary member of his PIR. I am just as honored to be a member of his vets org as I am to any of the German Orgs im a member of. Paul, is also a member of certain vets Orgs too.

    In closing, before making such blanket statements about German Vets-like yours from before in this thread, I think you should make an effort to meet a few WWII German Vets and maybe-your opinions of them might change for the better. Thanks to Paul, I met or were in touch with more RKTs, as well as a Gent whom ill always be fond of who was a Victoria Cross Recipient of WWII. Ill not mention his name here in case someone hates Victoria Cross Recipients. I dont want his name slandered either-nor remembering him slurred in any way, shape or form.

    Bye!
     
    Hummel, belasar, PzJgr and 1 other person like this.
  2. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    thanks a lot for that reply.yours was a great one and does make sense that not all are bad or good for that matter.we are all human beings with strengths and faults.
    now that i think about this subject i am sure you are right that some served and didnot commit crimes against humanity but only served as soldiers fighting against other soldiers.i do understand
    that one could be a great soldier being brave,loyal,etc but what about the humanity side of things.you know off the battleground then what was the men like.questions and more questions
    i do have some german friends but i never got to speak to a german soldier or a german waffen ss soldier.i was interested in doing that and learning more of what these guys really thought.
    on my dad's side most of them were killed during WW2 and my dad was in 4 concentration camps.
    i made a big mistake in generalizing the german war machine.i have read some books that showed that at least some german soldiers helped folks out.
    my dad told me a german soldier who guarded one of the camps he was in used to give him bread when no one was looking.
    did he do it cause he was a decent fellow or was it because he felt guilty of his crimes we will never know.
    i have read a bunch of books and watched lots of documentaries on WW2.your post opened my eyes to a new train of thought.
    as i said all the books i read on waffen ss said they killed innocents but if you met some who didnot do that then i have learned something new.
    and i do not dislike you or your comment in any way.i am glad to learn new things.i thought i knew the truth already.

    i am doing an edit on my post here.i have a great idea for C.Evans
    maybe you could write to some of the men you are in touch with and ask them a few personal questions on this subject.then you could post what you found out here.i bet more than me would be interested.
    see if you can write to someone you are in touch with who served in the waffen-ss if possible.ask them if they committed any crimes against humanity or did they witness events ?
    either way this has little to do with serving bravely and standing by your country and mates.there were many brave soldiers in the different countries and many who gave their lives bravely
    and did it without thinking of themselves.many sad stories of young men cut down in their prime.
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    From what you have written, it seems that more research needs to be done before you make any kind of judgement. I have been researching the Waffen SS for over 10 years now and am still finding our new things. I for one believe that we cannot judge these individuals because we did not see what they did and we did not go through what they did. I am not an apologist for those who commited crimes against humanity but I do stick up for those who are labeled as such without deserving. I suggest you research some more prior to making such comments as before. It will save you from having to retract statements and damaging your reputation.

    What kind of question is this to ask any soldier regardless of country of origin? It is tasteless and offensive. I doubt very much if Carl would do such a thing. I see you are new to the forum and thusfar have started out on the wrong foot in my opinion.
     
  4. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    i am sorry for my comments.i am new to here and although i have some WW2 knowledge i am by no means an expert.
    i guess my question was tasteless.i should think before i leap as they say.i sometimes will not think a thing through the way i should.
    please except my apology.i do want to learn more.
    there is a lot i do not know of.
    i would like to get books or a good book to research the subject.
    can anyone suggest some good books to read.i buy books from amazon a lot.
    i will read and then i will maybe even learn something about the waffen-ss
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Unlike some of my esteemed collegues, I am not willing to so easily throw my hands in the air and shout the "victim" card in regards to the Baltic states. Yes, they found themselves in a tough place and yes they might have very well volunteered to fight against the Soviets as it was them who they considered the enemy, however; IMO, what can not be disputed is that after Germany "liberated" the Baltic States the Gypsy, Jewish and Russian populations began to be targeted by the killing squads.... The massacres and mass deportations which occured almost immediately in these countries could not have been accomplished (at least not in such an organised and speady fashion) with out the direct envolvment from these countries leaders and more than a few sympathizers.

    An interesting link:
    THE NAZI PERIOD IN THE BALTIC STATES

    And lets not forget Arajs Kommando.

    Me thinks, that life in the Baltic States became worse in 1946 than it had been in 1940. Stalin did have a way of dealing with "enemies of the state".
     
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  7. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    thanks a lot for the book links.i will go thru them tonight.
    suggest to me waffen-ss books as i have enough books on einsatzgruppen topic.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    "The Blood Soaked Soil: Battles of the Waffen SS", "Waffen SS: The Ilustrated History", "The 12th SS: History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division", "Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Times of Sepp Dietrich", "Hitler's Vikings: History of the Scandanavian Waffen SS" are books that I have. Of course there may be some biased writings from those who were there but looking at various sources gives you a good outlook.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think it´s a known fact that in some countries the locals did the dirty job for the Germans, as well as the Germans provoked them to do so, meaning the jews among others. Also in the Baltics the Germans had much easier to conquer the land in 1941 as the locals fought the Red Army away beforehand, however the Germans never meant to give them their independence. Still, these countries were putsched three times as the rule changed during WW2. That does not change either.
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    True enough Kai, especially in the Balkans.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  12. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    i thank you for the book suggestions.i am going to buy some on the waffen-ss and learn more.
    i also know that as Kai-Petri said the germans would use the local population to do dirty work.
    i read a bunch of stuff on the einsatzgruppen and i know they would use locals.
    they also would promise that the locals would get independence when all along they never really meant it.
    i just bought a book on the foreign volunteers in the waffen-ss so i can learn more.
    WW2 is a complex subject that is for sure.
     
  13. Pelekys

    Pelekys Member

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    The first thing anyone can do is to try to get as much as possible information in order to have an opinion based in this information.

    I would like to recommend some books in this subject, as below:
    Agte Patrick, Europa's Freiwillige der Waffen SS, Munich Verlag 2000
    Quarrie Bruce, Burn J., Waffen SS soldier, Osprey UK 1993
    Degrelle Leon, The story of Waffen SS
    Fey W., Armour Battles of Waffen SS 1943-45, Stackpole Books 2003
    Gilbert Adrian, Waffen SS, An Illustrated History Guild Publishing 1989
    Hart D.S. & R., Weapons and Fighting Tactics of Waffen SS Brown PAckaging Books 1999
    Irwing D., Hitler's war
    Luck von Hans, Panzer Commander, The Memoirs of Colonel HAns von Luck
    Sharpe M. Davis B, Leibstandarte Hitler's Elite Bodyguard Ian Allan Pubblishing 2002
    Stein George, Waffen SS Hitler's elite Guard at war 1939-1945 Cornell NY 1966
    Ulrich Karl, Like a cliff in the ocean, the History of the 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf, JJ Fedorowitz publishing 2002
    Windrow M., Waffen SS Stackpole Books 1992
    Williamson G. The SS Hitler 's instrument of Terror MBI publishing 1994

    WW2 was a very cruel fight and speaking about German atrocities i think it is not fair to speak about or to compare only Einaatzgruppen and Waffen SS. In my opinion Wermacht also should be at same side with Waffen SS.
    Einaatzgruppen were a gang of killers, sadists and criminals. I believe the instructions and directions from Himmler, Heyndrich and Eichman and Hitler were just an excuse for them to satisfy the animal instinct they had. I cannot see any human characteristic in cold blood murderers of children and families.
    I know that they got help in many ways like supplies from Wermacht or Waffen SS but I do not have any clue that servicing in Einaatzgruppen was same like servicing in Waffen SS.
    I believe that the Waffen SS members who 'served' in Einaatzgruppen were sent there as a penalty for discipline offences or common crime offences. For sure some of the Waffen SS troopers were from the same kind of the Einaatzgruppen members and joined them (or stayed in their units) but i believe these were only a minority.
    In my calculations less than 2.000 Waffen SS men "served" in Einaatzgruppen while appr. 500.000 men served generally at Waffen SS. So it is not fair to equalize everything.
    Also having in mind that there were 38 Waffen SS Battalions and additional around 12 smaller units (Indians, Kozacs, Romanians etc.) I think that we must separate the elite Waffen SS soldiers from other SS police units and from creatures like Kaminski's and Dirlavager's gangs.
     
  14. Paul Errass

    Paul Errass Member

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    Some Estonians would appear to have been complicit in the Execution of Jews and prisoners at Klooga in September 1944 and there were a number of Concentration camps with Vaivara being the main one but the reasoning of most Estonians who fought in the Waffen SS was certainly not to be involved in atrocities against anyone one but to defend Estonia against what they perceived as the greater threat to their long term goal of independance. What revenge they may have taken for the conduct of the Red Army occupation of Estonia or the conduct of the Destruction Battalions in 1941 i'll have to look up.

    The 8th Estonian Rifle Corps also fought as part of the Red Army and the subject of Foreign volunteers fighting with the Germans especially in the Baltic states is a complicated subject in itself , i think we have discussed this in other threads before.

    The title of the thread is a very , very complicated subject alongside the role of the Waffen SS and the Concentration camps. Men from the Fighting SS were involved in combat but also in the camps , Mengele is probably the best known example but that would include many of the Totenkopfverbande as well and some will have been involved with the Einsatzgruppen but in general a majority of Waffen SS soldiers were Frontkampfer and not involved in either organisation.

    It is certainly wrong and completely historically inaccurate to state that all members of the Waffen SS were involved in atrocities.

    I've never read them but i believe the books , The Camp Men and the Field men explain a lot on this subject.
     
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  15. Pelekys

    Pelekys Member

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    We must have in mind that the government's (Hitler's) policy encouraged the Einaatzgruppen's action.
    So i think that most probably Waffen SS actually did less atrocities than what suppose to have done as an organisation fully faith to the Nazi's ideas.
    The evidences shows that the Nazis, members of Nsdap, Allgemeine SS, SA troops, Hitler's Youth etc. were joined the Wermacht, the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe basically.
    That is why many war crimes were executed from the normal military units. In my country the 4Th SS division Polizei was responsible for the village Distomo massacre (218 dead, men, women, children) but in Crete, village Kandanos was not eliminated by SS, also village Kalavryta was massacred (500 people) by 117 Light Jaeger Mountain Division and at village Komeno (317 dead-between them 74 children under 10 years old) was massacred by 1st Mountain Division of Wermacht.
    So i see differences in action and attitude between the 38 Waffen SS divisions. The actual fighting units were too busy to support the weakest sector of the frontline while the divisions which had more military policing duties could involved in war crimes because they were involved with the civilian population. Without the Waffen SS divisions, i think that war would be earlier finished so i consider the clear soldier's duties as their basic duties.
    The main duty of Einaatzgruppen was to kill, to eliminate the race enemies of the Reich, Jews, Roma, Slaves, etc, the so called 'Untermench'.
    At least in organisation level, in structure targeting, this was not a Waffen SS target. I believe the treatment of the POWs was not human, i know the Kommisarbefehl, the generally racist courses every unit was obligatory watch, i know that the Waffen SS members were witnesses of the atrocities of Einaatzgruppen, they support their actions, some of them were guards at concentration camps and they take part in Einaatzgrupen as a penalty for offences but they were a totally different part of the German war machine. We cannot equalize with Einaatzgrupen at all.
    For the application of the cruel and criminal policy of the occupied areas, responsible were the 'Hoheren SS' and 'Polizei Fuhrer' commandaturs. These were the organizers of the atrocities of the Einaatzgrupen and their local coordinators. These units were undertaken the anti partizan fighting, the actions of retaliation against the non combat population and the mass executions of Reich's race enemies. Usually in cooperation with the second class Waffen SS units and with local people units. And usually the fight ability of Einaatzgrupen and the others was low and the operations they undertook were partial only successful.
    The most important historical memory of the Waffen SS is their extraordinary performance in combat, in the defending fighting in the Eastern and Western Frontline.
    For sure they made war crimes (i count at least 15 major cases of war crimes from the first class units). Most of them against POW's or soldiers only a few against population.
    There is not any excuse for these, neither the amazing performance or the bravery can be any extenuating circumstance. But the differences between Einaatzgrupen and Waffen SS are obvious.
     
  16. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    I am looking at my book Hitler's White Russians by Antonio Munoz.in it is listed a lot on occupation and einsatzgruppen in byelorussia
    men who made up einsatz or assisted them
    1.german law enforcement such as order police,rural police,state secret police,ss security and sd service and it should be noted that these organizations made up the bulk of the einsatzgruppen
    2.in addition were the german army field police and secret field police gfp for short.the gfp had 83 units by 1942 on eastern front
    3.in addition to the german ss and police forces auxilliary units made up of native volunteers

    example for you of Einsatzgruppe A
    990 men split up from
    waffen ss 340
    gestapo 89
    criminal police 41
    SD men 35
    order police 133
    auxilliary police volunteers 133
    drivers 172
    interpreters 51
    support personnel 42

    in the book for the other einsatzgruppen it doesnot list waffen-ss but it does list the men i listed above minus waffen-ss
    my typing is really slow so i think i will end this.it will take me to long to try and type slowly and read thru these thick books.
    so far it appears that einsatzgruppen A had a large amount of waffen-ss but the others didnot.
    and also i might add that at times assistance was needed to carry out the tasks of kiliing so you might find german army or waffen-ss supporting the actions and someone who knows more can elaborate on this fact.
    i think it may have been voluntarilly but not sure on this point
    i think that not to many waffen-ss or army were used at one time in these killing actions but maybe small amounts just to assist.

    if someone is more knowledgable on the subject they could add on to this or correct me.
     
  17. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    It is documented that German army units did assist in gathering and desposing of Jews using shooting squads. I would guess it is because of the small size of the einzatgruppen at the beginning of Barbarossa. My Grandfather documented how he was sent to Minsk along with other officers as representatives of the SS and witness the shootings to ensure that they were performed 'properly'. He signed a document to that effect. This was the only time he performed such a task. So you are correct up to a point.
     
  18. gorehound

    gorehound Member

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    do you know if the german army or waffen-ss that had to act in a support mechanism for these actions was of a order to do it or did they ask for volunteers
    in the "UNIT" that was needed for the support ?? i think i read that it was a volunteer job but i am definately not sure on that.
    yes i am tryingto learn the correct facts.i now have 4 books on waffen-ss all on the way thru postage so i can learn more.
    it does appear from the book that only Einsatzgruppen A actually had waffen-ss actually in the unit and all the other Einsatzgruppen did not have them in
    the unit full time.
    at least i am getting stuff right in my history knowledge.
    there is a good documentary i watched which can be found on torrent as it is not on DVD.
    national geographic hitler's hidden holocaust
     
  19. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    From what I have read, they were more like orders. We cannot make any judgement on those who were there because of the circumstances at that time. The German people were in fear because of the Nazi police state they lived in. Majority of soldiers were conscripted and did what they had to do else they end up against the wall. They did not have the option to question or report any orders given to them they thought to be unethhical.
     
  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    We should be carefull that we do not veer to close too rocky ground here. Who knew what, and who did what and when they did so has been passionately debated before, leaving more than a few ruffled feathers in its wake. Unfortunely the Reich was not terribly selective in who they asked/ordered to commit atrocities in areas of occupation. Units tasked with the 'Final Solution' and aggressive anti-partisan operations sooner or later found themselfs acting as line combat units and line combat units found themselves carring out reprisals and race policy actions. I am not all together sure the Reich command had a complete handle on who was doing what when.

    I understan both the idea of lumping them all together in reguards to responcability and trying to be fair and not tarnish the innocent with the guilty. Nazi Germany's chaotic history, especially in the last 3 years of its existence makes it a challenge to seperate the wheat from the chaff.
     

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