Soldiers of Europe: The Men of the Waffen-SS

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume 6, Number 3, Whole Number 33,
January – March 1984

Since a number of „establishment“ historical books written about the Waffen-SS have liberally garnished their hatchet jobs with negative letters attributed to members of the Waffen-SS. we thought that it was high time that the more prevalent positive side of the picture was given some exposure. Hence the various European volunteer letters that will appear in this and future issues of SIEGRUNEN. The letters originally appeared in the SS wartime publication: Aufbruch, Briefe Germanischer Kriegsfreiwilliger, a booklet that was translated into a number of different languages for circulation in the appropriate countries at the time. The letters seem to accurately reflect the most widely held sentiments of the Germanic volunteers and provide an interesting glimpse into the motivating factors that made the Waffen-SS into a truly international army.

Letter from a Swiss Volunteer

Dear Father:

I know that you will be disturbed when you learn that I have crossed over the border into Germany. But I have my course well set in place and my conscience to follow. Haven’t we talked each evening about how Switzerland is virtually the only country that is foregoing its duty to the European lands by not taking its part in the struggle against Bolshevism?

How could I stand aside when the leader of the common struggle against the enemies of Germany calls. We Swiss are of the same blood as the Germans, the same race as the Swabians and Carinthians. Immediately after crossing the border I reported in to the Waffen-SS, was accepted, and enlisted.

Letter from a Danish Volunteer

We are the sons of a people who have conquered the sea since the days of the Vikings. We are the sons of a people that bear a Nordic heritage and have always fought to maintain their place among the Nordic nations.

It is one of the greatest sins of democracy that our youth have not obtained a good knowledge of our Nordic background and culture. Now we must observe and learn the example of the life and work of our ancestors from Germany, and we must prepare those of our blood to return back to that example

Letter from a Dutch Volunteer

(The father mentioned was a bridge attendant who was killed during the German advance into Holland.)

On 26 April 1941 I went into the Waffen-SS. But don’t think that I have forgotten about my father. No day passes that I don’t think of him and often look at my picture of him. It is my conviction that he fell because of the actions of the financiers, led by the Jews, whose goals are not in the interest of the Dutch people. Thank God there are still other men in the world that think not just of money, but who are able to do other things with their lives for the betterment of the social conditions of their people. There is much hostility in Holland, even from my family, over the way we have been treated so offensively (i.e. by the big-money interests), so that I feel I must live for my people and not give up the fight, though one should understand that we are not fighting for our own particular advantage but for the higher ideals that we hold. It is on the Eastern Front that a good many Dutchmen have fallen, and even if I were to die, my last thoughts will be for my father, my wife, my children and above all my people, with the firm conviction that our victory will be for the salvation of Europe, and yes, even for the exploited English and American workers.

Letter from a Swedish Volunteer

I hope to become an officer in the Regiment ‘‘Nordland.” I have enlisted because I believe that our future will be made better by my doing so, and when the war is over we can get married if you will wait that long. As a German SS officer, I will have many, many great opportunities in life that I could not have in Sweden where so many Jews and other ilk carry on with their mischief. It will be a hard school for me, though not impossible —an idealist can accomplish anything. I have signed on only for the duration of the war, however, when it is finished I will remain in Germany and you must come to glorious Germany as my wife. When I become an SS officer it will be the happiest hour of my life.

SS Panzer troops receiving decorations.

Obituary from the Liechtenstein newspaper „Umbruch” (Revolution). 26 January 1942:

He Died For Us All:

SS-Mann Alois Hoop

Killed Before Moscow

On this past Saturday the severely tested parents received the news of the heroic death of their son.

Alois Hoop, born 4 September 1923 in Ruggell, reported in as a volunteer to the Waffen-SS during the previous summer. He followed the idealistic urgings of his heart in leaving our homeland to place himself directly in the battle for our German people. During his training period he very quickly made an impression through his conduct and bearing and became a model for his comrades.

In numerous letters from the front, he showed that he had not lost his spirit or beliefs. Not a complainer, he never wrote about the difficulties and hardships. His vision was always directed forwards. With the clear-seeing eyes of a young fighter he recognized the necessity of this European war for survival. He understood the dangers that threatened Europe from the East and was prepared to enter the struggle, even if it meant that he must die.

Comrade Alois Hoop will become one of the immortal heroes of his people. He gave his young life so that his nation would live and Europe would not go under. His sacrifice is not in vain.

Full of proud grief we gaze upwards toward him. His life and heroic death will be an example for us to emulate. We will walk to his hero’s grave and hold up the bright shield of our comrade with devout hands so that the clear shine will strengthen our grieving souls with the uplifting thought of his heroic memory.

Comrade Hoop, you were one of the greatest men of our homeland.

While we must with difficulty take our leave from you, you will always live on in our hearts.

To your family, our most deep-felt sympathy.

Letter from a Finnish SS volunteer

In a few days we will meet the Russians for the first time with our forces. Our division commander (Felix Steiner) has visited us here and greeted each man with a handshake. We were quite surprised that during his inspection he did not treat us as a superior does an inferior.

He made no fuss over the state of our equipment, but only wanted to make a friendly, get-acquainted visit with the battalion. We got a good impression of this man and he won the men over. Each man says that with this sort of leader to go with —an irreproachable fellow with sympathy for us Finns —we can all do well.

Here behind the front the factories are going again and coal and iron are being mined from deep in the earth. The Ukraine produces much food that the railroads can take directly to Germany (for processing) and then ship to the front with much speed. And this is only the beginning. The new Europe has awakened and no man can prevent it. When the spring comes and the vehicles roll forward again, we must go too; then there will be no more secluded places for us behind the front.

This is now a difficult time in Finland, but if we are to win all must make sacrifices. The Finnish people now bear a great burden, but even if it gets bigger, it can still be dealt with. After the war, Finland will become strong and great but only after we have been hard on ourselves and remained the same against others. Man can only survive with his skill and wisdom. To all of Europe has come a new vision, and our generation will build this new Europe. In this struggle the importance of the individual counts for little; many must desire to fight so that our people can live in a decent future. We live in a great time and it is an honour to offer our assistance for the fulfilment of this great mission.

Everything is going well with me, I am happy that we will soon be allowed to demonstrate in the southern sector of the front how the Finns can fight… .

Letter from a Waffen-SS volunteer from Liechtenstein

My recruit training time is now past and my ardent wish has been fulfilled: I serve as a soldier of the Greater German Reich in the struggle against Bolshevism.

About that, and what I have seen and lived through here, I cannot write about very well in detail; the experiences you undergo are best described by our SS „PK” [Propaganda Kompanie] men. But I must tell you, that while I had not expected very much from this land [Soviet Union] with its reign of terror, I have now seen and experienced things which I had only previously heard through hearsay and never really believed. I have often wished that the enemies of National Socialism in my Liechtenstein homeland could experience what we have learned about this great disaster and see our prisoners from the so-called Red Army, before their „world revolutionary” culture is brought to the west. I believe with all my might that no enemy can take Germany. I came to the realization that the German soldier in this gigantic struggle is fighting not only for the freedom of the Germanic nations, but also particularly for the culture of all the worthwhile people on this earth.

There is much hardship to bear here, but this is incidental to me. Despite everything I have not the slightest regret over becoming an SS man. I am proud that I am able to make a contribution through the deeds of a German soldier, rather than just as a political fighter.


The Last Days Before the Outbreak of World War II

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume 7, Number 2, Whole Number 38, April – June 1985

By Wulf Schuldes

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.”
George Washington

“Truth does not have to ask anyone’s permission!”
Arthur Schopenhauer


The purpose of this essay is to inform the general public about important events and depict the real forces which altered the course of history. In order to arrive at a more balanced perspective, I have referred to newly published source materials from both sides of the conflict. My essay differs from the old established “black-and-white” picture insofar that it attempts to describe what really happened.


Since World War II was a continuation of World War I, we should reflect upon the outbreak and ending World War I first. The three moving forces which triggered World War I were:

1) The rising Pan-Slavism in Russia and in the smaller Slavic nations.

2) Britain’s unwillingness to meet the German industrial and commercial enterprises on the world market in free competition.

3) France seeking revenge for its lost war of 1870-71, which was started by Napoleon III but won by Prussia. Beginning in 1904, Germany was increasingly surrounded by a number of treaties directed against her. The alliance of France-Russia-Britain was well knit long before the spark was lit in Sarajevo. The Tripple Entente, being aware of their superiority, were very optimistic. For Austria-Germany it was a fight for survival, from the first day on. Austria-Germany had 6.1 million men in uniform, while the Triple Entente had 9.9 million men. Germany’s navy with 1.2 million tons was greatly outnumbered by the 3.3 million tons of Britain, France and Russia.

In 1918, in good faith of Wilson’s “Fourteen Points,” (a propaganda ploy the Western Democracies had no intention of implementing) Germany laid down its arms. Brushing their promises aside, the victors proceeded in taking revenge for the fact that Germany had not been defeated on the battlefield.

At the treaties of Versailles and St. Germain (1919), large portions of German and Austrian territories with their German inhabitants were handed over to the victors. Unstable countries such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created. Poland received a large part of Germany with 2.2 million inhabitants. The area was handed over despite the fact, that 85% of the population voted to stay with the German Reich (30 March 1921). This high percentage is even more remarkable, when we consider that Germany was a defeated country and that Poland employed scare-tactics and outright terrorism to intimidate the voters prior to the election. This terrorism was tolerated and encouraged by the French troops under General LeRonde who was assigned to supervise the elections.1

Taking into account that Poland had received so many minorities at Versailles, the dictators of the treaty felt somehow responsible and forced Poland against her vehement protests to sign a ‘minority protection act.’ As agreed, the League of Nations should have provided effective protection under this act, but failed to do so. The Poles sneered at all agreements.

The effect of one single year of Polish brutality on the native population was devastating. There was a mass exodus of German speaking natives, many of them with Polish family names.

Not being satisfied with the large area Poland had received at the Treaty of Versailles, they also wanted to take over the German colonies.2 Poland considered herself an equal of England and France.

Sensible men like the English Premier Lloyd George and the French Marshall Foch realized the injustice which the Polish ‘corridor’ represented (dissecting Germany). But none of these warnings influence the League of Nations in any way. This assembly saw their raison d’etre solely in the execution of the dictate of Versailles.

Francesco Nitti, the Italian Prime Minister (1919-20) wrote: “But these treaties, born in hatred, almost exclusively by the will of France (Clemenceau), and that will was only to humble Germany, to choke and dissect her.”3

The League of Nations consistently denied Germany equal rights and rejected all six German disarmament recommendations during the period of 1932-35. As a result, Germany introduced military draft service and renounced the Versailles armament limitations on 16 March 1935.

The well-known British historian, A. J. P. Taylor wrote in his monumental book, The Origins of the Second World War: “The French had fired the starting-pistol for the arms race.”4

Hitler made one more offer for arms limitation: ‘This undeniably demonstrates our goodwill and desire to avoid an unlimited race for re-armament.”5

Two Interesting Notes

A Jewish newspaper in Paris (Le Droit de Vivre) admitted in 1937: “Hitler does not want war, but we will force it on him!”

Winthrop Aldrich, General Director of the Chase National Bank announced after returning from a “fact-finding-mission” in Europe: “England will create a political situation which will force Hitler to take up arms.”6

Poland’s Attitude towards her Minorities 1919-39

During the negotiations for the treaty of Versailles, the Poles demanded the use of the German City of Danzig. They claimed, that the Polish foreign trade could not function without the Danzig harbor.

In 1920, Danzig was severed from the German Republic, cynically declared a ‘Free City’ and the harbor facilities handed over to Polish control. In spite of this, Poland enlarged the harbor of Polish Dgingen, thus diverting away 66% of the normal traffic from Danzig. To further bankrupt the economy of Danzig, Poland quadrupled the number of Polish custom personnel in Danzig still on the German payroll.

The City of Danzig was forced to pay 3 million Guilders for a Polish ammunition dump which was built with the blessings of the ‘neutral’ League of Nations.

The large territories which Poland had received in 1919 had only wetted her appetite. Constant cries for more German land were heard: from the schools and public media.

Through ‘Land Reform’ Poland expropriated 750,000 hectares (1.85 million acres) of German land.

Germans were ‘fair game’ and could not find protection by the Policy Police. Murder and torture were common place.7

Between 1919-39, Polish schools, newspapers and radio broadcasts preached twenty years of hatred; a massive Government inspired Polonization effort!8

Manchester Guardian 17 October 1930: ‘The Polish terror in the Ukraine is worse than anything in Europe!”

Manchester Guardian 14 December 1931: “The aim of the Polish politics is the disappearance of the national minorities on paper and in reality.”

Winston Churchill (24 November 1932) in the House of Commons: “If the British Government really wished to act in favour of promoting peace, then she should take over the leadership and should on her side bring up the question of Danzig and the Corridor, as long as the victor nations are still in the superior. If these questions are not solved, no hope for lasting peace can be expected.”

By August 1939, 76,535 Germans had fled Poland. 4,000 had been killed, some of them tortured and mutilated.9 The total figure of German civilian victims prior to and during the Polish campaign is estimated at 20,000 of which 12,500 are confirmed by name.10

Hitler’s consiliatory offers were laughed at and taken as a sign of weakness.

A German offer to enter into negotations was answered by Poland with a threat of war.11

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared in his New Year Message (4 January 1939) that the USA will act with: “…methods short of war.” He strengthened the war policy in London and Paris and urged the Poles through his special ambassador William Bullit: “Do not yield an inch!” A very strange attitude for an American president, whom the news media depicted as working toward peace.

Spring of 1939

23 March 1939. Poland had partially mobilized her army.

Hitler reacted calmly in order to avoid driving the Poles into the hands of the British. He did not counter this provocation with a military counter-measure. Hitler refrained from supporting the Ukrainian freedom movement. On the diplomatic front Germany agreed on independent Czech and Polish states and supported neutral and Vatican efforts for peace.

Germany sought an extension of the German-Polish non-aggression pact for an additional 25 years.

26 March 1939. Poland, through Ambassador Lipski rejected German proposals for negotiations and threatened war.

28 March 1939. The Polish army newspaper Polska Zbrijna in an article “We are prepared”: “…that the Poles, different to the Czechs, have no feeling of inferiority towards the powerful nations of the world, the number of foreign divisions does not frighten the Poles…” (Germany had fewer divisions at that time anyway).

The Last Few Days

Poland totally mobilized without a protest from neither Britain nor France (29-30 August).

Musolini proposed an international conference to be held on 5 September 1939.

Colonel Beck, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, did not want any kind of negotiations. He feared that a compromise could have been reached with Hitler. And that England would have forced Poland to accept such a compromise.

Hitler had actually planned his counter-measure on 26 August, but postponed his date in the vain hope that negotiations be given another chance. On 29 August he made his last offer on the diplomatic front, — he demanded:

Freedom for Danzig.

An extra-territorial road-and-rail link through the corridor.

Internationally supervised elections in the ‘corridor’ within a year. Exchange of small pockets of population on an even basis as a result of such an election.

This message was intercepted by Winston Churchill. When Chamberlain finally heard of it through a German radio broad-cast, he expressed in the House of Commons: “This is the first time I heard about it!”12

Hitler bitterly complained to Henderson (British Ambassador in Berlin), that the “British Government does not give a damn whether or nor German civilians are being murdered in Poland.” Lord Halifax on 30 August 1939) finally asked the Poles to stop the persecution. The reaction by Beck: “Without being authorized by the Polish Government…the Polish Foreign Minister forbids the British Government to express views and opinions about Polish problems.”13

31 August 1939

The situation was very tense! During the last weeks Poles had repeatedly fired at German civilian air planes. Pot shots and machine gun fire rang across the border into Danzig.14

Britain had approved of Poland’s general mobilization. Encouraged by England, France, and the United States, Poland ran the risk of war.

Poland had instructed its ambassador in Berlin, Lipski, to ask for ‘talks,’ but under no circumstances should he enter into any realistic conversation. Lipski had no authority to negotiate.

Goering did everything possible in his power to avoid a war. He realized that the generals were afraid of war and that the German economy was in no shape for a war. Since England had rejected Hitler’s plan to send Goering to London, Goering had asked the Swedish industrialist, Birger Dalerus, to act as a go- between. As Dalerus arrived in London, he telephoned Horace Wilson, Chamberlain’s trusted man in the Foreign Office. Dalerus suggested that the British Government should bring the Poles to their senses (down from their arrogance). Wilson answered over the phone: “Shut up!”ls

Waffen-SS anti-tank gunners of SS-Standarte “Germania” move their PaK in Holland, 13 May 1940.

A column of vehicles from the SS “Totenkopf” Panzer Divison move through Joigny, France, 17 June 1940.

At the late hour of 2115 hours, “Radio Germany” broadcasted the much publicized “Final Offer” for the last time.

At 2300 hours “Radio Warsaw” answered by calling it an “insolent proposal,” it rejected any form of negotiations, sneered at the useless waiting by the “New Huns,” and declared that Poland’s answer can only be a military one!

Hitler had swallowed all the humiliations he could possibly take (although some ‘historians’ have argued that he should have shown more patience). The following morning, German troops entered Poland. The Polish cavalry never made it across the border in the direction of Berlin, as they had so often threatened.

2 September 1939

The Polish Marshall Rydz-Smigly realized that the war would be lost and started negotiations at once. But the British Government declared immediately that this must never happen and repeated its determination to help Poland with all its powers.

Germany continued her efforts toward peace. Dr. Fritz Hesse, the German Press Attaché in London, was given full authority to negotiate. He contacted Sir Horace Wilson in the Foreign Office, invited him to Berlin and presented the German proposals.

Germany is willing to withdraw her troops.

Germany will pay for damages.

Both points under the condition that England accepts the role of negotiator and occupies the area to protect the German minority from Polish terror.

Sir Horace, acting with full authority for the British Government, answered:

Too late! France has now shown her willingness to enter the war (the French leaders learned that Italy will remain neutral). Secondly, Winston Churchill had joined the cabinet and thus the switches had been set for war! England cannot tolerate another power on the continent because she would either perish or lose the basis on which her empire and world prestige are built.”

“With this answer, Sir Horace was exceptionally blunt. For Britain, the issue was not whether the German minority in Poland was in the jaws of a vice, but whether Germany was on the verge of becoming a strong military power and an able industrial competitor.”16

At 0900 yours on 3 September 1939, Henderson submitted Britain’s “two-hour ultimatum” in Berlin. At 1130 hours Henderson said to Ribbentrop: “We are now at war!”

When Hitler was informed by Ribbentrop, he was flabbergasted. All he could say was: “Now what?”

The war was made possible by England’s cartel-blanche to Poland, by England’s rejection of Mussolini’s plan for an inter-national conference to be held on 5 September 1939 and by England’s rejection of all German efforts for an immediate cease-fire.

Although there are rumours that English money supported the Polish terrorists before the outbreak of the War, Poland’s army never received as much as a single bullet from Britain.

After the Polish campaign had ended, Hitler made another generous offer: to withdraw the German troops and hold internationally supervised elections in the German areas of Poland. This offer too, was rejected.

It must be noted that when the Soviet Union invaded Poland on 17 September 1939 (as a result of the German-Russian Pact signed on 23 August 1939) England and France were mute on this annexation of Polish territory. Furthermore, Britain and France tolerated the Soviet attack on Finland on 30 November 1939 and the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in the year of 1940. In other words, even though Stalin occupied 450,000 square kilometres of land with a 21 million population by the end of June 1940, a declaration of war was not made by Britain.

A Waffen-SS soldier is decorated at the front lines by his commander.

(1) Max Schwarte: Geschichte des Weltkrieges. Berlin 1932; George Franz-Willing: Der Zweite Weltkrieg, Druffel-Verlag Leoni 1980.

(2) Document on British Foreign Policy 1919-39, Vol. IV Document 189 and 306.

(3) Francesco Nitte: The Decadence of Europe, Rycrson 1923, Toronto.

(4) A.J.P. Taylor: The Origins of the Second World War, Hamish Hamilton, 1961.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Alfred Lueckenhaus: Von Draussen gesehen, Duesseldorf 1955.

(7) Deutsches Weissbuch 1939 (German White Book).

(8) Idid.

(9) Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden, Vertreibungsverluste, p. 285.

(10) Seraphim, Maurach, Wolfrum: Ostwaerts der Oder-Neisse, p. 43.

(11) Deutsches Weisbuch No. 2, p. 208.

(12) British Blue Book, No. 105.

(13) Michael Freund: “Weltgeschichte der Gegenwart in Documenten 1938-1939” Vol. Ill, p. 348, Freiburg 1954-56.

(14) Deutsches Weisbuch No. 2, p. 208.

(15) Document on British Foreign Policy 1919-39, Vol. VII, Ooc. 589.

(16) Fritz Hesse: Das Vorspiel zum Kreige, Druffel-Verlag Leoni, 1979; Hitler and the English, London, 1954.

Who was general Hristo Lukov?

General Hristo Lukov
(06.01.1888 – 13.02.1943)

Hristo Lukov, who was a general in reserve, was born on the 6th of January, 1888, in the town of Varna. Having graduated from His Majesty’s Military Academy in 1907, he was subsequently promoted to the rank of a second lieutenant. During the First World War, he took part in all the military campaigns that the 1st and 2nd divisions participated in, as a commander of detachment. It is now necessary to mention a few words in relation to the considerable feat that he accomplished during that period of time.

The year is 1918. Throughout the last days of the war, communist propaganda materials have succeeded in undermining soldiers’ morale, with a substantial number of soldiers deserting the front, while another fraction proclaiming the so called “Radomir Republic”. Taking advantage of the predicament Bulgaria was experiencing at that time, Serbian infantry begins to advance towards Kjustendil, where the army head quarters are situated, bombarding the almost derelict military positions. The commanders are incapable of repelling the advancing Serbian troops. The only one who is still remaining at the position is Hristo Lukov, with 4 heavy guns at his disposal. At that critical moment, under his command, the heavy guns start firing against the advancing enemy. The advancement of the Serbian troops has been checked.

After a truce had been made, lieutenant-colonel Tomic was willing to congratulate the Bulgarian artillery men who had succeeded in repelling his troops the previous day. Upon expressing his wish, the soldiers pointed at Hristo Lukov, whose face still wore the signs of the artillery fire he had been engaged in. ‘What about the rest,’ Tomic enquired. ‘A bunch of shepherds and goatherds who were handing the shells to him constitute the rest,’ was the reply he received. Upon realizing that his troops had been repelled by a single man assisted by several ordinary peasants in his endeavour, the Serbian lieutenant-colonel instantly shrieked furiously, but immediately managed to control his temper and approached Lukov to congratulate him on the immense feat he had achieved. ‘French history,’ the Serbian lieutenant-colonel continued, ‘also knows of such a person, who remained to defend his fatherland alone. Bulgaria is fortunate to have such officers as her defenders.’

On the 23rd of November, 1935, Hristo Lukov gained the most responsible position within Bulgarian military hierarchy: Minister of War. At that time he was carrying out the modernization of the Bulgarian army, transforming it into a first-class European force. It was precisely in that period that he established relations with Herman Goering and other prominent high-rank German officials. General Lukov held the position of being the Minister of War till the 4th of January, 1938. After his resignation, Hristo Lukov, following his immensely patriotic impulse, became involved in certain nationalist circles. Having arrived at the conclusion that only through systematic nationalist activities can the red menace be effectively opposed, he became the leader of the Union of the Bulgarian National Legions.

‘I remember it so vividly, as if it happened yesterday’, ex-legionary Jordan Hadginonev begins. ‘In November, 1942, a national conference was held in the city of Varna, which General Lukov participated in, accompanied by several members of the general headquarters. After the regulative rules had been established, the presenters at the conference began discussing some important organizational issues. One of the delegates present there raised the following question: “Mr. General, due to Germany’ intervention, that of Adolf Hitler, in particular, we received back the territories of Southern Dobrudga, Macedonia, Thrace, and it is now our moral duty to help our allies by sending troops.” The majority of the delegates supported this notion. After expressing his delight at the people’s readiness to sacrifice their lives for a noble cause, General Lukov made the following statement: “Gentlemen, General Lukov doesn’t have the authority to start raising an army. There is a King and a responsible government for that. In case the government decides to send troops to the Eastern front and assigns the task of commanding them to me, I shall not decline”.’

The year is 1943. The German army is engaged in fighting the Soviet forces on the Eastern front. In Bulgaria, the communist party, by strict orders from Moscow, has been organizing the so-called ‘assault groups’, the aim of which is to murder ‘enemies of the people’. The name of General Lukov is included in the list of those who are to be ‘liquidated’. A specific date for the murder has been chosen: the 13th of February. On that day, at around 8:50pm, the General is heading towards his house. After he opens the front gate, his daughter, having heard of her father’s arrival, appears at the living room’s door to meet him. Due to the circumstances, it is only she who witnesses what takes place immediately afterwards. From her testimony one learns the following: having entered through the front gate, General Lukov turns back, with his face facing the street, to close it. At that moment, a stranger wearing dark, thick glasses suddenly appears and fires at the General’s chest. The daughter shrieks in terror, while her father, though wounded, tries to go inside his house. The murderer follows his victim and fires 3 consecutive shots at him, after which he runs away. The General falls dead on the floor.

This is how General Lukov met his end. His great patriotic deed, however, shall forever serve as a shining example for the future generations of nationalists.

With Knight’s Cross and Combat Boots as Guests of Honour in Berlin

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Vol. 6, No. 3, Number 33,
January – March 1984

Waffen SS front soldiers are visiting Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels in Berlin

In early 1943 our division, the 3rd SS Panzer Div. “Totenkopf,” was situated around Belgorod to the north of Kharkov. In the middle of March, I was summoned to the battalion command post. Our commander. SS-Sturmbannführer Max Seela, told me: ‘‘You are to report to the divisional HQ at 10:00 tomorrow; there you will receive your papers and will travel together with another four men to Berlin!” I stared at him in surprise like a squirrel and the CO and his adjutant, Obersturmführer Wolf, laughed.

The next day began with a ride in a motorcycle sidecar to the divisional HQ. There I, as a representative of the SS Engineer Bn. 3, joined Hstuf. Masairie, the CO of the recce detachment, an Oberscharführer from SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 5 and a Hauptscharführer from the artillery regiment, for a conclave of Demyansk veterans in Berlin. Somewhat later a fifth man joined up with us. He was large and slender, with Knight’s Cross and combat boots, and full of drive and energy. It was our Unterschar- führer Hans Hirning from SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 6, who had been awarded the Knight’s Cross as a Rottenführer during his time in the Demyansk pocket.

We attempted to find an airplane that was going to Germany so that we could get there faster. At the Kharkov airfield we had some luck. A Lieutenant who had flown “Junkers” into Demyansk packed us into his machine and took us first to Dnepropetrovsk. I was happy, as were the others, to get out of that plane. The Lieutenant flew like the devil heading down: we often just missed brushing the treetops. We flew on to Lemberg and Breslau in our old “Ju.” In Berlin we reported in to the garrison commander. There we got our leave passes in hand and we were allowed to go home. After 14 days we all got back together and reported into the hotel “Russian Manor” in Berlin.

Here the gathering of “Demyansk fighters” was held. Each division that had served there had sent 5 or 6 men for a total of 50 to 60 men. A Major Benzin led this delegation. We were guests of honour of the city of Berlin. Arrangements for the course of our stay were handled by the city and the propaganda ministry.

Hans Hirning and 1 shared a room. The elevator was much used and appreciated. During breakfast we each charted a “plan of action” for visits and excursions during our allotted time here. In these 14 days in Berlin we visited all the sightseeing spots, many theatres and review shows, the Berlin Zoo and other places. Each time we went into a theatre or a show the director, before the performance began, would come out on the stage and greet us in this way: “Today we are especially honoured to have in our midst, guests of honour of the city of Berlin and the Reich Propaganda Ministry; permit me to introduce the “fighters’ from the cauldron at Demyansk . . . etc., etc.” The crowd would applaud and we would stand up to acknowledge their recognition.

We also visited the Reich National Memorial and the factory in which the new “Panther” tanks were being made. We toured the avenues towards Potsdam in two busses, visiting, among other things, the Sanssouci Palace, the Garrison Church, the City Palace,- and the grave of Friedrich the Great. In a boathouse on the Havel we stopped for coffee and the well-known bandmaster Herms Niels of the RAD (Labour Service) led a concert for us.

Hans Hirning was noticed everywhere we went since it was a curiosity to see an Unterscharführer with the Knight’s Cross. He kept getting asked: “How did you get that decoration?” And he always answered: “I had good luck.” Unfortunately his luck would run out shortly before the end of the war.

We were then guests of the Mayor of Berlin in the city hall. The Mayor wore a “Pour le mérite” (“Blue Max”), and gave us a speech. The Waffen-SS general Kurt Knoblauch, formerly the chief-of-staff of our division, was also in attendance. He was happy to speak with us and learn about what had been happening with the division. Then lunch began.

We were surprised at the enormous table. It was built in a U-shape and had on it the best porcelain and heavy silverware as well as a sea of flowers, liquor, wine and wine glasses. Many guests besides us were served. The General sat next to a private, and highly ranked guests were found next to NCOs. The waiters passed before and behind us, continually bringing and serving food. After the meal some artist-entertainers who sang and danced appeared. It was beautifully simple; everything was very sincere and open and there was no forced merriment.

Then came the day in which we went to the Reich Propaganda Ministry. On the first floor we entered a huge lobby. There were massive curtains on the windows as well as tapestries and parquet flooring. In our combat and riding boots we felt as though we were walking on ice. After a while the door opened and in came our large and energetic former divisional commander (my former regimental CO), Max Simon. He had heard that the Demyansk “fighters” were here including a few from the “T”- Division. At the time he had been staying in a Berlin hospital. It made us very happy to see him.

Representatives of each different division presented a war report of their combat activities in the Demyansk pocket and a proposal was made for a “Demyansk Shield” decoration. This was the hour when the “Demyansk Shield” originated Later on every soldier who fought in the Demyansk cauldron would wear this decoration on the upper left sleeve.

Next we received yet another leave pass for 14 days, which each man was to spend in his hometown. Then the longest and most beautiful leave we were ever going to get came to an end. Trains and airplanes took us back to our old bunch near Kharkov.

— A Former Member of the SS-“Totenkopf” Division

Death in Poland. The Fate of the Ethnic Germans

by Edwin Erich Dwinger


Translation of “Der Tod in Polen. Die volksdeutsche Passion” by Edwin Erich Dwinger.

Original published by Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena, © 1940.

This translation by Heather Clary-Smith, © 2004 The Scriptorium. All rights reserved.

The deportation and expulsion and the mass murder of the ethnic Germans before and at the beginning of the war in Poland was by no means confined to the “Bloody Sunday of Bromberg”, which is only too often downplayed or even denied outright today. In this book the reader experiences almost first-hand the terrible fate of tens of thousands of ethnic Germans in Poland at the outbreak of the war in 1939. This English translation, published here for the first time in 2004, commemorates the 65th anniversary of these events that are an eternal stain on the family bibles of all subsequent Polish generations!

The SS-Postschutz (Postal Guard)

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Vol. 7, No. 5, Number 42,
January – March 1987

The SS-Postschutz was a formation of distinctly confused character, part of and yet separate from the Allgemeine and Waffen-SS. Its indistinct status can be blamed to a large extent on bureaucratic and political infighting and the strong wills of Dr. Ing. Ohnesorge, the Minister of Posts and SS-Ogruf. Gottlob Berger, head of the SS Main Personnel Office.

In 1933, the new National-Socialist German government appointed Dr. Ohnesorge as Minister of Posts (Reichspost­minister). Ohnesorge had served as a communications advisor to Gen. Ludendorff in WWI, and was quite an inventor and innovator, holding no fewer than 42 patents for devices of his own creation. One of his first acts upon assuming office was the creation of a voluntary „Postschutzes“ (Postal Guard), to guarantee the security of the mail along with telegram, telephone and radio communications, all of which came under Ohnesorge’s charge. Previously functions of this nature had been carried out in part by the German Railway Service.

Postal Guard members were recruited from among Army veterans who had joined the Postal Service. To handle the military functions of the Guard, some 15 major „protective districts“ were set up throughout Ger­many, each jointly run by a postal official and a protective police (Schutzpolizei) Major. Once this arrangement was in place, Ohnesorge used members of the Guard to help him set up a pet project: a special research bureau in Prague. This bureau was effectively a laboratory where Dr. Ohnesorge carried out his own experiments in listening devices, laser-like light beams, and methods for photo­graphing objects through obstructions like clouds.

Commencing in the autumn of 1935, the Postal Guard developed a working relationship with the Wehrmacht (Reichswehr) and as of 13 March 1936, was structured firmly on military lines and regulations. Adolf Hitler was personally unaware of Ohnesorge’s Postal Guard for some time, and when he finally did learn about it he was mildly amused, stating: „Everyone has to have their own uniform, everyone has to have their own Army!“ Actually, to help train and equip his private army, Ohne­sorge had quietly secured three obsolete paramilitary training schools that had been abandoned when the 100,000 German Army once again began to expand, and he had managed to covertly build up first-class sources of supplies and equipment for his men.

At the outbreak of WWII, the Army High Command (OKW) banned the wearing of all field-gray uniforms by all „non-combatants “, including the Postal and Railroad Guards. The only way to get around this directive was to subordinate the outfit directly to the Army, which indeed happened with the Railroad Guard. Doctor Ohnesorge, however, did not want this intrusion into his own domain, and he resisted this approach and began looking around for support elsewhere. He quickly found out that various police agencies were most eager to take over the Postal Guard, but this posed an ethical problem, since subordination of the Guard to a police agency would compromise the privacy of mails and communications. For this reason, Ohnesorge opposed the police takeover efforts and he was supported in this by Adolf Hitler, who now owed a special debt to him. With the help of his research facilities and Postal Guard, Ohnesorge had developed a special listening post in Holland which was able to eavesdrop on all of the secret Transatlantic tele­phone conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt, the texts of which all reached the Fuehrer within 24 hours via a special Postal Guard courier.

In any event, Dr. Ohnesorge was able to keep the Postal Guard functioning as an independent military force. In 1940 he linked the Guard to the Waffen-SS for support and administrative purposes, while maintaining full control over it. This eliminated the threat of Army or Police takeover. But by 1942, with the war in full swing, it was clear that the Postal Guard had become a „combative force “. While protecting mail busses in frontier areas or occupied territories (South Steiermark, Croatia, South East Prussia, Poland), Guardsmen had increasingly come under terrorist attack with resultant high casualties. It was clear that the military role of the Postal Guard had to be expanded, and among other things, Dr. Ohnesorge wanted Guardsmen to arm and train all postal employees, who voluntarily sought such assistance, so that they would not be vulnerable targets.

In order to assume its increased duties, the Guard had to be reorganized and needed to obtain additional armaments and support services. To achieve this, it had to become a part of the SS organization proper, and Dr. Ohnesorge gave increased jurisdiction over it to Ogruf. Berger at the SS Main Office. In return for more control of the Guard, Berger saw to it that new carbines, machine-pistols, automatic weapons and machine guns were distributed to Guard troops as needed. The Guard also adopted Waffen-SS uniforms and its title was officially changed to SS-Postschutz.

For all that, the exact status of the organization re­mained unclear. Doctor Ohnesorge was still the overall commander, and most of the Guard members never joined any branch of the SS, although quite a few of them were members of the Allgemeine or General SS. To further complicate matters, two sub-units of the Postal Guard were, however, considered official formations of the Waffen-SS on the grounds that they were entirely composed of Postal Guardsmen who had volunteered for duty with the Waffen-SS. These units were:

  1. „Fronthilfe Deutsche Reichspost“ – SS-Kraftfahrstaffel (SS Motor Vehicle Staff).
  2. „SS-Sicherungs-Bataillon Deutsches Reichspost“ (a security battalion with four companies).

SS-Ogruf. Gottlob Berger.

SS-Postschutz (Postal Guard] on parade before the Reich Postminister Wilhelm Ohnesorge.

The „Fronthilfe Deutsche Reichspost“ consisted of Postal Service volunteers who conveyed replacement soldiers and wounded ones to and from the frontlines in postal vehicles, and the Postal Service volunteers who were also members of the Waffen-SS served in their own special unit.

On 14 February 1945, Reichsführer-SS Himmler certi­fied that only members of the above two mentioned sub-units of the Postal Guard came under SS and Police jurisdiction, however, the Postal Guard was considered a „Police Auxiliary for Special Purposes,“ and disciplinary cases could be handled by the SS and Police, although in actuality few, if any, ever were. Towards the end of the war Postal Guard members were simply incorporated into local Volkssturm (Home Guard) units.

It should be noted that on at least one occasion, SS-Ogruf. Berger used his nominal control of the Postal Guard to benefit one of his longtime friends and comrades, Staf. Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger. When Dirlewanger’s SS Penal Rgt. was being reformed in 1944, Berger saw to it that radio communications specialists from the Postal Guard were transferred into it to form a signals unit. Given the poor reputation of Dirlewanger’s Regiment it was probably not an assignment that they relished!

Reich Postminister Ohnesorge with Ogruf. Berger at the ceremony marking the transfer of the Postal Guard to the Waffen-SS.

SS Flak Detachment 16 – 16th SS Division ‘‘Reichsführer-SS”

On 11 September 1942 around 300 officers, NCOs and men from the SS Flak Replacement Detachment in Arolsen were shipped off to Zhitomir where they were to form the SS Flak Detachment of the Command Staff of the Reichsführer-SS (Himmler). This was the largest sendoff of troops from Arolsen since the “Ger­mania” SS Rgt. left the town at the beginning of World War Two. The Flak troops were accompanied to the railroad station by a military band and large numbers of local well-wishers turned out as well. As a final touch, the troop train was decked out in bouquets of flowers.

The rail journey took the SS men through Saxony and Silesia to Cracow in the Generalgovernment, a trip that took five days to accomplish. On 20 September, Zhitomir was reached and the Flak troops were quartered in a barracks that formerly was utilized by Soviet officer cadets. At this time, the command struc­ture of the embryonic unit stood as follows:

Commander: Hstuf. Fend
Adjutants and Ordnance Officers: Ustuf. Stern, Ustuf. Allenstein
Battery Commander: Hstuf. Hieber
Platoon Leaders: Ustuf. Gullasch, Ustuf. Weber

In Zhitomir the unit continued its training and formation process. On 2 November 1942, it was sent by rail back to Rasten­burg in East Prussia, where it was situated in the vicinity of the Führer’s HQ. Extensive weapons drills and infantry train­ing now took place. In December 1942, a “Flak Combat Troop” was formed from the detachment under Hstuf. Hieber and was sent to the Eastern Front for deployment.

In the meantime, 75 NCOs from the Police Escort Battalion “Heinrich” [a Himmler bodyguard unit?], were attached to what was left of the Flak detachment for Flak training purposes. Ustuf. Stern supervised general and heavy Flak training while the light Flak gun training came under Ustuf. Gullasch. Many more Police officers and NCOs were eventually sent to the unit for instruction. Supplementary training was provided by Luft­waffe Flak units stationed in East Prussia.

2./SS Flak Det. 16/“RF-SS” in Corsica.

In January 1943 the nascent detachment was once again transferred, this time to Welhau, East Prussia, which it reached via road and rail. Here, more Waffen-SS recruits from Bruenn and Warsaw were trained. The arming and equipping of the unit was also now fully completed. The Police Flak training course was terminated at the end of February 1943 and the Police troops were given equivalent ranks in the Waffen-SS and simply kept on with the detachment. In the course of February, the unit was broken down into the following elements for future deployment:

  1. SS Flak Detachment Command Staff I/“RF-SS” under Hstuf. Hallman.
  2. SS Flak Detachment Command Staff II/“RF-SS” under Hstuf. Dr. Frank.
  3. Flak unit of the Sturmbrigade (Assigned to the new SS- Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” and later the nucleus for SS Flak Detachment 16 “RF-SS”).

On 28 February 1943, a heavy Flak battery from the desig­nated SS Flak Detachment Command Staff I under Ustuf. Stern was sent by rail to join the Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” in the Loudeac region of western France. On the way there it had a 12-hour stopover in Berlin and the soldiers were let out on leave — “on their honor” — for that period of time.

This battery reported in to the Sturmbrigade commander, Stubaf. Gesele on 8 March 1943 and its quarters were estab­lished in La Cheze. For the Flak troops, infantry training and instruction in the use of their weapons in ground fighting, now went on at a rapid clip. Special commandos were set up to secure the needed supplies and equipment for the Flak detachment and the first halftrack trucks used to pull the Flak guns arrived, which permitted the drivers to begin their training. Hstuf. Dr. Warninghoff soon arrived from the SS Main Office in Berlin to take over the heavy battery and in the course of March it was shifted to the town of La Motte in the same general area.

In May 1943 all members of the Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” took part in marksmanship exercises at the troop training grounds near Rennes, which were reviewed by Gen. Marcks, commander of the 82nd Army Corps. On 20 June 1943 the Sturmbrigade was placed on emergency alert and then mobilized for action. It was rushed by express train through France to Italy, crossing the frontier on the 22nd. The disembarkation area for most of the “RF-SS” Flak detachment was around Massa and Livorno, while the heavy battery was unloaded in the early morning of 22 June in St. Stefano to the south of La Spezia.

“RF-SS” Flak battery being transported in Corsica.

At the beginning of July 1943 the Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” began to expand and as a consequence the Flak unit was also enlarged. The new detachment consisted of three heavy and one light Flak batteries under the overall command of Hstuf. Hieber. One of the heavy Flak batteries was sent to the island of Corsica on 1 July 1943. The men went by air in Ju 52’s from the airfield at Casalecchio while the equipment, supplies and weapons were transported on the ship “Champagne.”

The ”88” gun battery was put into position to the south of Bastia where it maintained contacts with an Italian 7.5 cm medium Flak battery. A second ”88” battery was later sent to Zerubia in the middle of mountainous country, where it proved nearly impossible to deploy for the job required of it. However, on the basis of orders issued by the Italian commandant of Corsica, most elements of the Sturmbirgade were eventually removed from the interior of the island. On 8 August 1943, 2nd Battery was relocated to Bonifacio to cover the harbor on the southern tip of the island and the channel to Sardinia.

The battery’s firing positions were located upon a steep cliff (about 70 meters above the sea), due east of the city. Third Battery, led by Ostuf. Fuersniss, was also now sent to Bonifacio from its initial positions on the Gulf of Portoveccio. The mission of both these heavy Flak batteries was to guard the harbor against sea and air attack and keep open a secure passage for the 90th Panzergrenadier Div. which had to be pulled back from Sardinia to Corsica following the Italian capitulation.

Second Battery/“RF-SS” Flak disarmed three Italian Flak batteries that were located near its positions. From 18 to 20 August 1943, Stubaf. Otto Skorzeny included members of the “RF-SS” Flak Detachment in the planning for his first Musso­lini rescue attempt. However, these plans were scuttled when it was learned that the Duce had been moved by his captors. Skor­zeny then carried out the successful Gran Sasso mission in September.

September 9, 1943 was a memorable day for the Waffen-SS Flak arm. On this day two Italian destroyers fired on the German transport ships that were ferrying members of the 90th Pz.Gr. Div. from Sardinia to Corsica. The gunners from 2./SS Flak “RF-SS” fired back and when the smoke and flames died down on the next day one Italian destroyer and been sunk and the other damaged beyond repair (this one would be scuttled). This unique achievement subsequently received mention in the Wehrmacht war communique.

On 11 September a large number of Italian Air Force planes that were en route to Sicily attempted an overflight of Corsica. The light Flak platoons from 2nd and 3rd Batteries/Flak “RF- SS” opened fire and immediately knocked five of the Italian planes out of the sky and followed up with a sixth one soon afterwards. The other planes of the air wing rapidly dispersed! On 15 September, the “RF-SS” heavy Flak batteries gave up their positions to units coming in from Sardinia. In the morning the entire Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” went into readiness for an attack against the hold-out Italian garrison in Bastia.

Supported by light, vehicle-mounted Flak, assault guns and close support artillery, the two “RF-SS” infantry battalions secured Bastia in a whirlwind assault. Afterwards a defensive perimeter had to be built up around the town as large numbers of Italian troops had been dispersed into the interior of the island. The “RF-SS Flak Detachment deployed a 2-cm battery in the Bastia harbor, a 3.7 cam battery at the airport and its 2nd and3rd Heavy Batteries to the north and south of the city. Several enemy air attacks on the harbor, city and airfield ensued but were driven off.

Late in September the evacuation of Corsica began. Sturm- brigade “RF-SS” was the last German unit to leave, moving out from all of its positions by 4 October 1943. The troop transport ships came under weak enemy air attacks but no damage or losses transpired. Second Battery/“RF-SS” Flak was then sent to Trieste for reformation while the Staff Battery and 1st Battery were moved into billets at Russi near Ravenna. In the course of October, 2nd Battery was sent from Trieste to Imola. On 6 October the superlative performance of the Strumbrigade “RF- SS” under the leadership of Stubaf. Gesele was specifically praised in the Wehrmacht communique.

In November 1943 the “RF-SS” Flak Detachment was sent in a motorized convoy from the east coast of Italy to Teramo and from there through the Apennine Mountains to Tivoli near Rome. Third Battery was assigned to defend a nearby air base for a fighter wing. Late in the month all motorized elements of the Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” were assembled in Rome for a last parade march past the brigade commander before the dissolu­tion of the unit and its conversion into the “RF-SS” Division.

The “RF-SS” Flak batteries were put into position around Bracchiano and were then held in readiness for ground attacks near Cerceteri and Civitavecchio. Following this interval the batteries were transported by rail from Rome to Poncedera and were then situated near Livorno and Viareggio. The American air activity was quite lively here and many planes were shot down.

In December 1943 the entire Sturmbrigade “RF-SS” was transported to Laibach (Slovenia) for transformation into the 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division. The Flak Detachment “RF-SS” was to be utilized as the nucleus for the new SS Flak Det. 16 and the 14th Flak Companies of the 35th and 36th SS Panzergren­adier Regiments. The latter two companies were organized to contain a strength of two officers/36 NCOs/160 men, but each of them frequently exceeded their limits. They were both armed with twelve 2 cm light Flak guns propelled by Italian vehicles.

2 cm Flak in ground fighting.

”88” Flak in ground fighting.

The 14./SS Pz.Gr.Rgt. 35 was commanded by Hstuf. Hipp while 14./SS Pz.Gr.Rgt. 36 had the following command structure:

Commander: Hstuf. Debus
Company Troop Leader: Uscha. Reiss
Platoon Leaders: Ustuf. Schiffman, Oscha. Kuestner, Oscha. Steiblmüller, Ustuf. Hirschfeld, Oscha. Dietz, Oscha. Reiske, Oscha. Boehnke, Ustuf. Schinner

From February 1944 until May 1945 these Flak companies saw continuous ground and air action.

During the first phase of the 16th SS Division’s formation, 1st and 2nd Batteries/SS Flak Det. 16 were placed into firing posi­tions around a key bridge on the outskirts of Laibach which was continuously being threatened by the enemy. They promptly shot down three bombers and the pressure eased up. A 2-cm light Flak battery under Ustuf. Gullasch was attached to the SS Pz.Gr.Rgt. 36 which was sent in battle-group form to the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead in Italy in February 1944. It was promptly involved in heavy fighting.

On 8 March 1944 the rest of the “RF-SS” Flak Detachment was sent via rail to the Wiener Neustadt-Baden area near Vienna, and there the assembled officers were given a briefing on what was expected of them by the divisional commander, Gruf. Max Simon. On 29 March part of the “RF-SS” Division, including the 3rd and 4th Flak Batteries, was sent to Pyspukladeny in Hungary, to continue training.

The entire 16th SS Div. was sent back to Italy on troop trains on 20 May 1944. SS Flak Det. 16 was next deployed in the area east of Livorno and worked in conjunction with the Luftwaffe Flak Det. 264. The SS range finders helped the Luftwaffe gun­ners shoot down several bombers. There was a significant amount of enemy air activity here, mostly directed at the Pisa Bridge. Despite continuous “Thunderbolt” attacks, little damage was sustained by the bridge and the light Flak platoons shot down quite a few planes without taking any losses.

In July 1944 the “RF-SS” Div. was at the Cecina Front, with the SS Recce Det. 16 and the SS Pz.Gr.Rgt. 35 deployed for action in the frontlines. The SS Flak companies remained around Pisa and Massa and provided cover for the “Gothic Line.” Third Battery was used to protect vital factories. A number of “Jabo” attacks on its positions caused little damage and a few planes were brought down.

RF-SS Division emblem.

On 2nd September 1944 an advance detachment from the Flak detachment travelled through partisan country to the new divi­sional sector at San Marcello. Some personnel and material losses were caused by terrorist ambushes. Flak firing posi­tions were then assumed near Poretta Terme with 3rd Battery going to Vergato. The detachment was now deployed along with SS Artillery Rgt. 16 for ground-support action. Numerous losses were taken to a vicious communist band known as the “Stella Rossa” (“Red Star”) Brigade, which was subsequently wiped out by Stubaf. Reder’s SS Recce Det. 16.

In October and November 1944 the Flak detachment guarded numerous sites around Sasso-Marconi and protected another important bridge from “Jabo” attacks. There were also several ground support actions, positional changes and bridge destruc­tion operations for the unit. Part of a Luftwaffe Flak detachment was subordinated to the “RF-SS” Flak during this time.

On 18 December 1944 the “RF-SS” Div. relocated to the Lake Comaccio region and the Flak detachment was sent to Argenta and Conselice. In January 1945, 14./SS Pz.Gr.Rgt. 36 received a consignment of six 7.5 cm anti-tank guns and was converted into the “heavy weapons” company for the regiment. The com­pany’s strength stood at two officers, 40 NCOs and 190 men.

In February 1945 the “RF-SS” Div. was pulled out of the front sector between Ravenna and Ferrara and began a motorized march back to and across the Po River. Enemy airplanes carried out persistent harassing attacks that led to heavy losses in men and material. North of the Po the men of the 16th SS Div. were loaded onto trains bound for Hungary where they would come under the jurisdiction of Sepp Dietrich’s 6th SS Panzer Army. For the benefit of “Allied” intelligence, the “RF-SS” Div. was disguised as the “Formation Staff and Replenishment Group for the 13th SS Division,” during the course of the transfer operation. The division was soon caught up in the bloody retro­grade fighting from Hungary back into Austria along the course of the Mur River.

2 cm self-propelled Flak.

In May 1945, after destroying all heavy weapons and equip­ment, SS Flak Det. 16 marched back through the Klangenfurt- Judenburg area in Austria, headed for the “Allied” lines. It was intercepted in the small village of St. Andra by a partisan group of unknown derivation which proceeded to divest the men of their remaining sidearms. After that the SS men were released and they went into British captivity near Klangenfurt. Part of the unit was then sent to a POW camp in Sicily.

In the course of its history, SS Flak Det. 16 “RF-SS” was credited with shooting down 48 airplanes (Liberators, Light­nings, Thunderbolts and scout planes). It also sunk two de­stroyers, the only Flak element in the German armed forces known to have accomplished that feat! The command structure of SS Flak Det. 16 was as follows:

Commanders: Hstuf. Dr. Warninghoff
Commanders: Hstuf. Hieber
Adjutants: Ostuf. Krasowski
Adjutants: Ostuf. Rieck
Medical Officers: Ostuf. Dr. Vellguth
Medical Officers: Ostuf. Dr. Vetter
Motor Vehicle-Transport Officer: Ustuf. Thennhausen
IVa: Ostuf. Kujath
Staff Battery: Ostuf. Ertl
1st Battery (3.7 cm): Ostuf. Wirges
2nd Battery (8.8 cm): Hstuf. Dr. Warninghoff
2nd Battery (8.8 cm): Ostuf. Vysek
2nd Battery (8.8 cm): Ostuf. Stern
3rd Battery (8.8 cm): Hstuf. Fuerniss
4th Battery (8.8 cm): Ostuf. Lebsanft
Light Artillery Column: Ostuf. Hossfeld