The French Charlemagne SS were the last defenders of Hitler’s Führerbunker, remaining at the bunker until 2 May to prevent the Soviets from capturing it on May Day.
Reduced from 7,340 to approximately thirty able men, most members of the Sturmbataillon had been killed or captured or had escaped Berlin either on their own, or in groups. Most of those who made it to France were denounced and sent to Allied prisons and camps.
Hauptsturmführer Henri Joseph Fenet (1919 in Ceyzériat – 2002), one of the last recipients of the Knight’s Cross, was sentenced to 20 years of forced labour, and was released from prison in 1959. Others were shot upon capture by French authorities.
General Leclerc was presented with a defiant group of 11-12 captured Charlemagne Division men.
The Free French General immediately asked them why they wore a German uniform, to which one of them replied by asking the General why he wore an American one (the Free French wore modified US army uniforms).
The group of French Waffen-SS men was later executed without any form of due process.