The WAFFEN-SS (German pronunciation: , Armed SS) was the armed wing
Nazi Party 's SS organisation. Its formations included men from
Nazi Germany , along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied
and un-occupied lands.
Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during
World War II
World War II , and served alongside the Heer (regular army),
Ordnungspolizei (uniformed police) and other security units. Prior to
the war, it was under the control of the
SS Führungshauptamt (SS
operational command office) beneath
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by
the High Command of the Armed Forces (OKW), with some units being
Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS (Command Staff
Reichsführer-SS) directly under Himmler's control.
Initially, in keeping with the racial policy of
Nazi Germany ,
membership was only open to people of Germanic origin (so-called Aryan
ancestry ). The rules were partially relaxed in 1940, and later the
formation of units composed largely or solely of foreign volunteers
and conscripts was authorised. These SS units were made up of men
mainly from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite
relaxation of the rules, the
Waffen-SS was still based on the racist
Nazism , and ethnic Poles (who were viewed as subhumans)
were barred specifically from the formations.
At the post-war
Nuremberg trials the
Waffen-SS was judged to be a
criminal organisation due to its connection to the
Nazi Party and
involvement in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity .
Waffen-SS members were denied many of the rights afforded to
the military veterans. An exception was made for
who were exempted because they were not volunteers. About a third of
the total membership were conscripts.
* 1 Origins (1929–39)
World War II
World War II
* 2.1 1939
Invasion of Poland
* 2.1.2 First Divisions
* 2.2 1940
* 2.2.1 France and the Netherlands
* 2.2.2 1940 expansion
* 2.3 1941
* 2.3.2 Soviet Union
* 2.4 1942
* 2.4.1 1942 expansion
* 2.5 1943
* 2.5.1 1943 expansion
Warsaw Ghetto uprising
* 2.5.4 Kursk
* 2.6 1944
* 2.6.1 1944 expansion
Raid on Drvar
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Vistula River line
* 2.6.13 Siege of
* 2.7 1945
* 2.7.1 1945 expansion
East Pomeranian Offensive
Operation Spring Awakening
* 3 Divisions
* 4 Commanders
* 5 Casualties
* 6 Criminality
HIAG mutual aid association
* 8 See also
* 9 Explanatory notes
* 10 References
* 10.1 Citations
* 10.2 Bibliography
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
Parade for the third anniversary of the LSSAH on the barracks'
Sepp Dietrich is at the lectern. May 1935
The origins of the
Waffen-SS can be traced back to the selection of a
group of 120 SS men in March 1933 by
Sepp Dietrich to form the
Sonderkommando Berlin. By November 1933 the formation had 800 men,
and at a commemorative ceremony in Munich for the tenth anniversary of
Munich Putsch the regiment swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler
. The oaths pledged were "Pledging loyalty to him alone" and
"Obedience unto death". The formation was given the title
Leibstandarte (Bodyguard Regiment)
Adolf Hitler (LAH). On 13 April
1934, by order of Himmler, the regiment became known as the
Adolf Hitler (LSSAH).
The Leibstandarte demonstrated their loyalty to Hitler in 1934 during
Night of the Long Knives , when the Nazi regime carried out a
series of political killings and the purge of the
Led by one of Hitler's oldest comrades,
Ernst Röhm , the SA was seen
as a threat by Hitler to his newly gained political power. Hitler also
wanted to conciliate leaders of the
Reichswehr and conservatives of
the country, people whose support Hitler needed to solidify his
position. When Hitler decided to act against the SA, the SS was put in
charge of eliminating Röhm and the other high-ranking SA officers.
Night of the Long Knives occurred between 30 June and 2 July 1934
and saw the killing of up to 200 people. This included almost the
entire SA leadership, effectively ending its power. This action was
largely carried out by SS personnel (including the Leibstandarte), and
In September 1934, Hitler authorized the formation of the military
wing of the
Nazi Party and approved the formation of the
SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), a special service troop under Hitler's
overall command. The SS-VT had to depend on the German Army for its
supply of weapons and military training, and they had control of the
recruiting system through local draft boards responsible for assigning
conscripts to the different branches of the Wehrmacht to meet quotas
set by the German High Command (
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or
German). The SS was given the lowest priority for recruits.
Even with the difficulties presented by the quota system, Heinrich
Himmler formed two new SS regiments, the SS Germania and SS
Deutschland, which together with the Leibstandarte and a
communications unit made up the SS-VT. At the same time Himmler
SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and SS-Junkerschule
Braunschweig for military training of SS officers. Both schools used
regular army training methods and mainly used former army officers as
instructors. The Leibstandarte SS
Adolf Hitler parades in
Himmler initially in 1934 set stringent requirements for recruits.
They were to be German nationals who could prove their Aryan ancestry
back to 1800, unmarried, and without a criminal record. A four-year
commitment was required for the SS-VT and LSSAH. Recruits had to be
between the ages of 17 and 23, at least 1.74 metres (5 ft 9 in) tall
(1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in) for the LSSAH). Concentration camp guards
had to make a one-year commitment, be between the ages of 16 and 23,
and at least 1.72 metres (5 ft 8 in) tall. All recruits were required
to have no dental fillings, 20/20 eyesight and provide a medical
certificate. By 1938 the height restrictions were relaxed, up to six
dental fillings were permitted, and eyeglasses for astigmatism and
mild vision correction were allowed. Once the war commenced, the
physical requirements were no longer strictly enforced, and
essentially any recruit who could pass a basic medical exam was
considered for service. Members of the SS could be of any religion
except Judaism (Jewish), but atheists were not allowed according to
Himmler in 1937.
Bernd Wegner found in his study of officers that a large
majority of the senior officers corps of the
Waffen-SS were from an
upper-middle class background and would have been considered for
commissioning by traditional standards. Among later
approximately six of ten had a "university entrance qualification
(Abitur), and no less than one-fifth a university degree".
In 1936, Himmler selected former Lieutenant General
Paul Hausser to
be Inspector of the SS-VT with the rank of
Brigadefuhrer . Hausser
worked to transform the SS-VT into a credible military force that was
a match for the regular army.
On 17 August 1938, Hitler declared that the SS-VT would have a role
in domestic as well as foreign affairs, which transformed this growing
armed force into the rival that the army had feared. He decreed that
service in the SS-VT qualified to fulfill military service
obligations, although service in the
would not. Some units of the SS-TV would, in the case of war, be used
as reserves for the SS-VT, which did not have its own reserves. For
all its training, the SS-VT was untested in combat. In 1938, a
battalion of the Leibstandarte was chosen to accompany the army troops
Austria during the
Anschluss , and the three regiments of
the SS-VT participated in the occupation of the
October. In both actions no resistance was met.
Recruiting of ethnic Germans from other countries began in April
1940, and units consisting of non-Germanic recruits were formed
beginning in 1942. Non-Germanic units were not considered to be part
of the SS, which still maintained its racial criteria, but rather were
considered to be foreign nationals serving under the command of the
SS. As a general rule, an "SS Division" was made up of Germans or
other Germanic peoples, while a "Division of the SS" was made up of
non-Germanic volunteers and conscripts.
WORLD WAR II
Invasion Of Poland
Einsatzgruppe members murdering Polish civilians in Kórnik
shortly after the outbreak of
World War II
World War II in Europe
Himmler's military formations at the outbreak of the war comprised
several subgroups which would become the basis of the Waffen-SS.
* The Leibstandarte SS
Adolf Hitler (LSSAH), under then
Obergruppenführer Josef "Sepp" Dietrich .
* The Inspectorate of Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), under
Paul Hausser , which commanded the Deutschland,
Germania and Der Führer regiments. The latter was recruited in
Austria after the
Anschluss and was not yet combat-ready.
* The Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, under Gruppenführer
Theodor Eicke , which fielded four infantry and one cavalry
Death\'s-Head Standarten , comprising camp guards of the
SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV). These troops wore the SS-TV skull and
crossbones rather than the SS-VT "SS" runes.
* Police units of
Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei Kurt
Ordnungspolizei , which reported to Himmler in his capacity
as Chief of German Police. These troops used police ranks and insignia
rather than those of the SS.
In August 1939, Hitler placed the Leibstandarte and the SS-VT under
the operational control of the Army High Command (
OKH ). Himmler
retained command of the Totenkopfstandarten, for employment behind the
advancing combat units in what were euphemistically called "special
tasks of a police nature".
In spite of the swift military victory over Poland in September 1939,
the regular army felt that the performance of the SS-VT left much to
be desired; its units took unnecessary risks and had a higher casualty
rate than the army. They also stated that the SS-VT was poorly
trained and its officers unsuitable for combat command. As an example,
OKW noted that the Leibstandarte had to be rescued by an army regiment
after becoming surrounded at
Pabianice by the Poles. In its defence,
the SS insisted that it had been hampered by having to fight piecemeal
instead of as one formation, and was improperly equipped by the army
to carry out its objectives. Himmler insisted that the SS-VT should
be allowed to fight in its own formations under its own commanders,
OKW tried to have the SS-VT disbanded altogether. Hitler
was unwilling to upset either the army or Himmler, and chose a third
path. He ordered that the SS-VT form its own divisions but that the
divisions would be under army command.
Adolf Hitler resisted
Waffen-SS into the army, as it was intended to remain
the armed wing of the Party and to become an elite police force once
the war was won.
During the invasion, war crimes were committed against the Polish
people. The Leibstandarte became notorious for torching villages
without military justification. Members of the Leibstandarte also
committed atrocities in numerous towns, including the murder of 50
Błonie and the massacre of 200 civilians, including
children, who were machine gunned in
Złoczew . Shootings also took
Mława , and
Włocławek . Eicke's SS-TV field forces were not military. "Their
military capabilities were employed instead in terrorizing the
civilian population through acts that included hunting down straggling
Polish soldiers, confiscating agricultural produce and livestock, and
torturing and murdering large numbers of Polish political leaders,
aristocrats, businessmen, priests, intellectuals, and Jews." His
Totenkopfverbände troops were called on to carry out "police and
security measures" in the rear areas. What these measures involved is
demonstrated by the record of SS Totenkopf Standarte "Brandenburg". It
Włocławek on 22 September 1939 and embarked on a four-day
Jewish action" that included the burning of synagogues and the
execution en-masse of the leaders of the
Jewish community. On 29
September the Standarte travelled to
Bydgoszcz to conduct an
"intelligentsia action ".
In October 1939, Deutschland, Germania, and Der Führer regiments
were reorganized into the
SS-Verfügungs-Division . The Leibstandarte
remained independent and was increased in strength to a reinforced
motorized regiment. Hitler authorized the creation of two new
divisions: the SS Totenkopf Division , formed from militarized
Standarten of the
SS-Totenkopfverbände , and the Polizei Division ,
formed from members of the national police force . Almost overnight
the force that the
OKW had tried to disband had increased from 18,000
to over 100,000 men. Hitler next authorized the creation in March
1940 of four Motorized Artillery battalions, one for each division and
the Leibstandarte. The
OKW was supposed to supply these new battalions
with artillery, but was reluctant to hand over guns from its own
arsenal. The weapons arrived only slowly, and by the time of the
Battle of France
Battle of France only the Leibstandarte battalion was up to strength.
France And The Netherlands
The three SS divisions and the Leibstandarte spent the winter of 1939
and the spring of 1940 training and preparing for the coming war in
the west. In May they moved to the front, and the Leibstandarte was
attached to the Army's 227th
Infantry Division . The Der Führer
Regiment was detached from the SS-VT Division and attached to the
Infantry Division . The SS-VT Division minus Der Führer was
Münster awaiting the invasion of The Netherlands.
The SS Totenkopf and Polizei Divisions were held in reserve.
On 10 May, the Leibstandarte overcame Dutch border guards to
spearhead the German advance of X.Corps into the Netherlands, north of
the rivers towards the Dutch Grebbeline and subsequently the Amsterdam
region. The neighbouring Der Führer advanced towards the Grebbeline
in the sector of the
Grebbeberg with as a follow-up objective the city
of Utrecht . The battle of the
Grebbeberg lasted three days and took a
toll on Der Führer. On 11 May the SS-VT Division crossed into the
Netherlands south of the rivers and headed towards
Breda . It fought a
series of skirmishes before Germania on 14 May advanced into the Dutch
province Zeeland. The rest of the SS-VT Division joined the northern
front against the forces in
Antwerp . The Leibstandarte on the same
Rotterdam . After the surrender of Rotterdam, the
Leibstandarte left for the
Hague , which they reached on 15 May,
capturing 3,500 Dutch as prisoners of war .
In France the SS Totenkopf was involved in the only Allied tank
attack in the
Battle of France
Battle of France . On 21 May units of the 1st Army Tank
Brigade , supported by the 50th (Northumbrian)
Infantry Division ,
took part in the Battle of Arras . The SS Totenkopf was overrun,
finding their standard anti-tank gun , the
3.7 cm PaK 36 , was no
match for the British Matilda tank .
After the Dutch surrender, the Leibstandarte moved south to France on
24 May. Becoming part of the XIX Panzer Corps under the command of
Heinz Guderian , they took up a position 15 miles south west
Dunkirk along the line of the Aa Canal, facing the Allied defensive
line near Watten. A patrol from the SS-VT Division crossed the canal
Saint-Venant , but was destroyed by British armor. A larger force
from the SS-VT Division then crossed the canal and formed a bridgehead
at Saint-Venant; 30 miles from Dunkirk. That night the
the advance to halt, with the British Expeditionary Force trapped. The
Leibstandarte paused for the night. However, on the following day, in
defiance of Hitler's orders, Dietrich ordered his III Battalion to
cross the canal and take the heights beyond, where British artillery
observers were putting the regiment at risk. They assaulted the
heights and drove the observers off. Instead of being censured for his
act of defiance, Dietrich was awarded the Knight\'s Cross of the Iron
Cross . On that same day, British forces attacked Saint-Venant,
forcing the SS-VT Division to retreat and relinquish ground.
On 26 May the German advance resumed. On 27 May the Deutschland
regiment of the SS-VT Division reached the allied defensive line on
Leie River at Merville . They forced a bridgehead across the river
and waited for the SS Totenkopf Division to arrive to cover their
flank. What arrived first was a unit of British tanks, which
penetrated their position. The SS-VT managed to hold on against the
British tank force, which got to within 15 feet of commander Felix
Steiner 's position. Only the arrival of the Totenkopf Panzerjäger
platoon saved the Deutschland from being destroyed and their
That same day, as the SS Totenkopf Division advanced near Merville,
they encountered stubborn resistance from British Army units which
slowed their advance. The SS Totenkopf 4 Company, then committed the
Le Paradis massacre , where 97 captured men of the 2nd Battalion,
Regiment were machine gunned after surrendering, with
survivors finished off with bayonets . Two men survived.
By 28 May the Leibstandarte had taken the village of
Wormhout , only
ten miles from Dunkirk. After their surrender, soldiers from the 2nd
Battalion, Royal Warwickshire
Regiment , along with some other units
(including French soldiers ) were taken to a barn in La Plaine au Bois
Esquelbecq . It was there that troops of the
Leibstandarte 2nd Battalion committed the
Wormhoudt massacre , where
80 British and French prisoners of war were killed.
By 30 May the British were cornered at
Dunkirk , and the SS divisions
continued the advance into France. The Leibstandarte reached
Saint-Étienne , 250 miles south of Paris, and had advanced further
into France than any other unit. By the next day the fighting was all
but over. German forces arrived in Paris unopposed on 14 June and
France formally surrendered on 25 June. Hitler expressed his pleasure
with the performance of the Leibstandarte in the Netherlands and
France, telling them, "Henceforth it will be an honour for you, who
bear my name, to lead every German attack."
Waffen-SS foreign volunteers and conscripts
Himmler gained approval for the
Waffen-SS to form its own high
command, the Kommandoamt der
Waffen-SS within the SS-Führungshauptamt
, which was created in August 1940. It received command of the SS-VT
(the Leibstandarte and the Verfügungs-Division, renamed Reich) and
the armed SS-TV regiments (the Totenkopf-Division together with
several independent Totenkopf-Standarten).
In 1940 SS chief of staff
Gottlob Berger approached Himmler with a
plan to recruit volunteers in the conquered territories from the
ethnic German and Germanic populations. At first Hitler had doubts
about recruiting foreigners, but he was persuaded by Himmler and
Berger. He gave approval for a new division to be formed from foreign
nationals with German officers. By June 1940, Danish and Norwegian
volunteers had formed the SS
Regiment Nordland , with Dutch and
Flemish volunteers forming the SS
Regiment Westland. The two
regiments, together with Germania (transferred from the Reich
Division), formed the
SS Division Wiking . A sufficient number of
volunteers came forward requiring the SS to open a new training camp
just for foreign volunteers at
Waffen-SS volunteers of the Nordost battalion in Gross Born
Truppenlager in 1941
At the beginning of the new year the Polizei-Division was brought
under FHA administration, although it would not be formally merged
Waffen-SS until 1942. At the same time the
Totenkopf-Standarten, aside from the three constituting the
TK-Division, lost their Death's Head designation and insignia and were
reclassified SS-Infanterie- (or Kavallerie-) Regimente. The 11th Rgt.
was transferred into the Reich Division to replace Germania; the
remainder were grouped into three independent brigades and a battle
group in Norway.
By the spring of 1941 the
Waffen-SS consisted of the equivalent of
six or seven divisions: the Reich , Totenkopf, Polizei, and Wiking
Kampfgruppe (later Division) Nord , and the
Infantry , 2 SS
Infantry , and SS Cavalry
The Leibstandarte SS
Adolf Hitler Division advancing into the
Balkans during 1941
In March 1941, a major Italian counterattack against Greek forces
failed, and Germany came to the aid of its ally. Operation Marita
began on 6 April 1941, with German troops invading
Yugoslavia in an effort to secure its southern flank.
Reich was ordered to leave France and head for
Romania , and the
Leibstandarte was ordered to
Bulgaria . The Leibstandarte, attached to
the XL Panzer Corps , advanced west then south from
Bulgaria into the
mountains, and by 9 April had reached
Prilep in Yugoslavia, 30 miles
from the Greek border. Further north the SS Reich, with the XLI
Panzer Corps , crossed the Romanian border and advanced on
the Yugoslav capital.
Fritz Klingenberg , a company commander in the
Reich, led his men into Belgrade, where a small group in the vanguard
accepted the surrender of the city on 13 April. A few days later the
Royal Yugoslav Army surrendered.
The Leibstandarte had now crossed into Greece, and on 10 April
6th Australian Division in the
Battle of the Klidi Pass .
For 48 hours they fought for control of the heights, often engaging in
hand-to-hand combat, eventually gaining control with the capture of
Height 997, which opened the pass and allowed the German Army to
advance into the Greek interior. This victory gained praise from the
OKW: in the order of the day they were commended for their "unshakable
offensive spirit" and told that "the present victory signifies for the
Leibstandarte a new and imperishable page of honour in its history."
The Leibstandarte continued the advance on 13 May. When the
Reconnaissance Battalion under the command of Kurt Meyer came under
heavy fire from the Greek Army defending the Klisura Pass , they broke
through the defenders and captured 1,000 prisoners of war at the cost
of six dead and nine wounded. The next day, Meyer captured Kastoria
and took another 11,000 prisoners of war. By 20 May the Leibstandarte
had cut off the retreating Greek Army at
Metsovon and accepted the
surrender of the Greek Epirus-Macedonian Army. As a reward, the
Leibstandarte was nominally redesignated as a full motorized division,
although few additional elements had been added by the start of the
Russian campaign and the "Division" remained effectively a reinforced
Operation Barbarossa , the German invasion of the Soviet Union,
started on 22 June 1941, and all the
Waffen-SS formations participated
(including the SS Reich, which was formally renamed to SS Das Reich by
the Fall of 1941). A boy is forced by SS members to view his
murdered family and pose for a photograph before being murdered in
Zboriv , Ukraine, 1941
SS Division Nord in northern
Finland took part in Operation Arctic
Fox with the Finnish Army and fought at the battle of
Salla , where
against strong Soviet forces they suffered 300 killed and 400 wounded
in the first two days of the invasion. Thick forests and heavy smoke
from forest fires disoriented the troops and the division's units
completely fell apart. By the end of 1941, Nord had suffered severe
casualties. Over the winter of 1941–42 it received replacements from
the general pool of
Waffen-SS recruits, who were supposedly younger
and better trained than the SS men of the original formation, which
had been drawn largely from Totenkopfstandarten of Nazi concentration
The rest of the
Waffen-SS divisions and brigades fared better. The SS
Totenkopf and Polizei divisions were attached to
Army Group North ,
with the mission to advance through the
Baltic states and on to
Leningrad . The
SS Division Das Reich was with
Army Group Centre and
Moscow . The
SS Division Wiking and the Leibstandarte
Army Group South
Army Group South , heading for the
Ukraine and the city of
The war in the Soviet Union proceeded well at first, but the cost to
Waffen-SS was extreme: by late October the Leibstandarte was at
half strength due to enemy action and dysentery that swept through the
ranks. Das Reich lost 60% of its strength and was still to take part
in the Battle of
Moscow . The unit was decimated in the following
Soviet offensive. The Der Führer
Regiment was reduced to 35 men out
of the 2,000 that had started the campaign in June. Altogether, the
Waffen-SS had suffered 43,000 casualties.
While the Leibstandarte and the SS divisions were fighting in the
front line, behind the lines it was a different story. The 1 SS
Infantry and 2 SS
Infantry Brigades, which had been formed from
surplus concentration camp guards of the SS-TV, and the SS Cavalry
Brigade moved into the Soviet Union behind the advancing armies. At
first they fought
Soviet partisans and cut off units of the Red Army
in the rear of
Army Group South
Army Group South , capturing 7,000 prisoners of war ,
but from mid-August 1941 until late 1942 they were assigned to the
Reich Main Security Office headed by
Reinhard Heydrich . The
brigades were now used for rear area security and policing, and were
no longer under army or
Waffen-SS command. In the Autumn of 1941, they
left the anti-partisan role to other units and actively took part in
Holocaust . While assisting the
Einsatzgruppen , they participated
in the extermination of the
Jewish population of the Soviet Union,
forming firing parties when required. The three brigades were
responsible for the murder of tens of thousands by the end of 1941.
Cavalrymen of the SS
Brigade . September 1941.
Because it was more mobile and better able to carry out large-scale
operations, the SS
Brigade had 2 regiments with a strength of
3500 men and played a pivotal role in the transition to the wholesale
extermination of the
Jewish population. In the summer of 1941,
Hermann Fegelein to be in charge of both regiments.
On 19 July 1941 Himmler assigned Fegelein's regiments to the general
command of HSSPF
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski for the "systematic
combing" of the Pripyat swamps , an operation designed to round up and
Jews , partisans, and civilians in that area of
Byelorussian SSR .
Fegelein split the territory to be covered into two sections divided
Pripyat River , with the 1st
Regiment taking the northern half
and the 2nd
Regiment the south. The regiments worked their way from
east to west through their assigned territory, and filed daily reports
on the number of people killed and taken prisoner. By 1 August the SS
Regiment 1 under the command of
Gustav Lombard was responsible
for the death of 800 people; by 6 August, this total had reached 3,000
Jews and partisans". Throughout the following weeks, personnel of SS
Regiment 1 under Lombard's command murdered an estimated
Jews and more than 400 dispersed soldiers of the Red Army.
Thus Fegelein's units were among the first in the
Holocaust to wipe
Jewish communities. Fegelein's final operational report
dated 18 September 1941, states that they killed 14,178 Jews, 1,001
Red Army soldiers, with 830 prisoners taken and losses
of 17 dead, 36 wounded, and 3 missing. Historian Henning Pieper
estimates the actual number of
Jews killed was closer to 23,700.
Offensive of the
Red Army south of Lake Ilmen, 7 January – 21
February 1942, creating the
3rd SS Division on
the Eastern Front
In 1942, the
Waffen-SS was further expanded and a new division was
entered on the rolls in March. By the second half of 1942 an
increasing number of foreigners, many of whom were not volunteers,
began entering the ranks. The 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division
Prinz Eugen was recruited from
Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) drafted
under threat of punishment by the local German leadership from
Hungary , and
Romania and used for anti-partisan
operations in the Balkans. Himmler approved the introduction of
formal compulsory service for the
Volksdeutsche in German occupied
Serbia. Another new division was formed at the same time, when the SS
Brigade was used as the cadre in the formation of the 8th SS
Cavalry Division Florian Geyer .
The front line divisions of the
Waffen-SS that had suffered losses
through the winter of 1941–1942 and during the Soviet
counter-offensive were withdrawn to France to recover and be reformed
Panzergrenadier divisions. Due to the efforts of Himmler and
Paul Hausser , the new commander of the SS Panzer
Corps , the three SS
Panzergrenadier divisions Leibstandarte, Das
Reich, and Totenkopf were to be formed with a full regiment of tanks
rather than only a battalion. This meant that the SS Panzergrenadier
divisions were full-strength Panzer divisions in all but name. They
each received nine Tiger tanks , which were formed into the heavy
panzer companies .
The Soviet offensive of January 1942 trapped a number of German
divisions in the
Demyansk Pocket between February and April 1942; the
3rd SS Totenkopf was one of the divisions encircled by the Red Army.
Red Army liberated
Demyansk on 1 March 1943 with the retreat of
the German troops. "For his excellence in command and the particularly
fierce fighting of the Totenkopf",
Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke
was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight\'s Cross on 20 May 1942.
Propaganda photo of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin
al-Husseini inspecting Bosnian
Waffen-SS recruits, November 1943
Waffen-SS expanded further in 1943: in February the 9th SS Panzer
Division Hohenstaufen and its sister division, the 10th SS Panzer
Division Frundsberg , were formed in France. They were followed in
July by the 11th SS Volunteer
Panzergrenadier Division Nordland
created from Norwegian and Danish volunteers. September saw the
formation of the
12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend using volunteers
Hitler Youth . Himmler and Berger successfully appealed to
Hitler to form a Bosnian
Muslim division, and the 13th Waffen Mountain
Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) , the first non-Germanic
division, was formed, to fight
Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito 's
Yugoslav Partisans .
This was followed by the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st
Galician) formed from volunteers from Galicia in western
Ukraine . The
15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian) was created in
1943, using compulsory military service in the Ostland . The final new
1943 division was the 16th SS
Reichsführer-SS , which was created using the Sturmbrigade
Reichsführer SS as a cadre. By the end of the year, the
increased in size from eight divisions and some brigades to 16
German tanks at Kharkov, 1943
On the Eastern Front, the Germans suffered a devastating defeat when
the 6th Army was defeated during the
Battle of Stalingrad . Hitler
ordered the SS Panzer Corps back to the Eastern Front for a
counter-attack with the city of
Kharkiv as its objective. The SS
Panzer Corps was in full retreat on 19 February, having been attacked
by the Soviet 6th Army , when they received the order to
counter-attack. Disobeying Hitler's order to "stand fast and fight to
the death", Hausser withdrew in front of the Red Army. During Manstein
's counteroffensive, the SS Panzer Corps, without support from the
Luftwaffe or neighbouring German formations, broke through the Soviet
line and advanced on Kharkov. Despite orders to encircle
the north, the SS Panzer Corps directly attacked in the Third Battle
Kharkov on 11 March. This led to four days of house-to-house
Kharkov was recaptured by the SS Division
Leibstandarte on 15 March. Two days later the German forces recaptured
Belgorod , creating the salient that in July 1943 led to the Battle of
Kursk . The German offensive cost the
Red Army an estimated 70,000
casualties but the house-to-house fighting in
Kharkov was particularly
bloody for the SS Panzer Corps, which lost approximately 44% of its
strength by the time operations ended in late March.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Stroop Report original caption: "The leader of the grand
Jürgen Stroop (center) watches housing
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a
Jewish insurgency that arose within
Warsaw Ghetto from 19 April to 16 May, an effort to prevent the
transportation of the remaining population of the ghetto to Treblinka
extermination camp . Units involved from the
Waffen-SS were 821
Waffen-SS Panzergrenadiers from five reserve and training battalions
and one cavalry reserve and training battalion.
Battle of Kursk , the SS Panzer Corps was renamed the II SS
Panzer Corps and was part of the
4th Panzer Army . The II SS Panzer
Corps spearheaded the attack through the Soviet defenses. The attack
penetrated to a depth of 35 kilometres (22 mi) and was then stopped by
the Soviet 1st Tank Army .
The Soviet reserves had been sent south to defend against a German
attack by the
III Panzer Corps . With the loss of their reserves, any
hope they may have had of dealing a major defeat to the SS Panzer
Corps ended. But the German advances now failed – despite appalling
losses, the Soviet tank armies held the line and prevented the II SS
Panzer Corps from making the expected breakthrough. Tiger tank
Company Das Reich during the
Battle of Kursk
The failure to break through the Soviet tactical zone and the need to
break off the assault by the German 9th Army on the northern shoulder
of the Kursk salient due to
Operation Kutuzov contributed to Hitler's
decision to halt the offensive. A parallel attack by the Red Army
against the new 6th Army on the Mius river south of Kharkov
necessitated the withdrawal of reserve forces held to exploit any
success on the southern shoulder of Kursk. The
OKW also had to draw on
some German troops from the Eastern Front to bolster the Mediterranean
theatre following the Anglo-American
Invasion of Sicily . On 17 July
Hitler called off the operation and ordered a withdrawal. The Soviet
Union was not beaten, and the strategic initiative had swung to the
Red Army. The Germans were forced onto the defensive as the Red Army
began the liberation of Western Russia.
The Leibstandarte was thereafter sent to
Italy to help stabilise the
situation there caused by the deposal of
Benito Mussolini by the
Badoglio government and the Allied Sicily invasion, which was the
beginning of the Italian Campaign . The division left behind its
armour and equipment, which was given to Das Reich and Totenkopf.
After the Italian surrender and collapse of 8 September 1943, the
Leibstandarte was ordered to begin disarming nearby Italian units. It
also had the task of guarding vital road and rail junctions in the
Italy and was involved in several skirmishes with partisans.
This went smoothly, with the exception of a brief skirmish with
Italian troops stationed in
Parma on 9 September. By 19 September all
Italian forces in the Po River plain had been disarmed, but the OKW
received reports that elements of the
Italian Fourth Army were
Piedmont , near the French border.
Joachim Peiper 's
mechanised III Battalion, SS
Regiment 2, was sent to
disarm these units. On arriving in the province of
Cuneo , Peiper was
met by an Italian officer who warned that his forces would attack
unless Peiper's unit vacated the province immediately. After Peiper
refused, the Italians attacked. Peiper's battalion defeated the
Italians, and subsequently shelled and burnt down the village of Boves
, killing at least 34 civilians. Peiper's battalion then disarmed the
remaining Italian forces in the area.
While the Leibstandarte was operating in the north, the 16 SS
Reichsführer-SS sent a
Kampfgruppe to contain the Anzio landings in
January 1944. In March, the bulk of the 1st Italienische Freiwilligen
Sturmbrigade (or Brigata d'Assalto, Volontari in Italian) was sent to
the Anzio beachhead, where they fought alongside their German allies,
receiving favourable reports and taking heavy losses. In recognition
of their performance, Himmler declared the unit to be fully integrated
into the Waffen-SS.
After D-Day, the
Indische Legion was transferred from the Heer
Waffen-SS expanded again during 1944. January saw the formation
19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian) , formed
from the two SS
Infantry Brigades as cadre with Latvian conscripts.
20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) was formed
via general conscription in February 1944, around a cadre from the 3
Estonian SS Volunteer
Brigade . The 21st Waffen Mountain Division of
the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian) was formed in March 1944 from
Albanian and Kosovan volunteers, which as with other "eastern
formations" were intended for use against "irregular forces". A
Waffen-SS cavalry division followed in April 1944, the 22nd SS
Cavalry Division Maria Theresia . The bulk of the troops
were Hungarian Army
Volksdeutsche conscripts transferred to the
Waffen-SS following an agreement between Germany and Hungary. The 23rd
SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nederland followed, formed from
the 4th SS Volunteer
Brigade Nederland, but it was
never more than a large brigade. The 24th Waffen Mountain Division of
the SS Karstjäger was another division that was never more than
brigade size, consisting mainly of ethnic German volunteers from Italy
and Yugoslavia, along with volunteers from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia,
and Ukraine. They were primarily involved in fighting partisans in the
Kras region of the
Alps on the frontiers of
Italy , and
Austria , the mountainous terrain requiring specialized mountain
troops and equipment. Two Hungarian divisions followed: the 25th
Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Hunyadi (1st Hungarian) and the
26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Hungarian) . These were
formed under the authority of the Hungarian defense minister, at the
request of Himmler. One regiment from the Hungarian Army was ordered
to join, but they mostly consisted of Hungarian and Romanian
SS Division Langemarck was formed next in October 1944, from
Flemish volunteers added to the 6th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade
Langemarck, but again it was nothing more than a large brigade. The
5th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Wallonien was also upgraded to the SS
Division Wallonien , but it too was never more than a large brigade.
Plans to convert the Kaminnski
Brigade into the 29th Waffen Grenadier
Division of the SS RONA (1st Russian) were dropped after the execution
of their commander,
Bronislav Kaminski ; instead the Waffen Grenadier
Brigade of SS (Italian no. 1) became the 29th Waffen Grenadier
Division of the SS (1st Italian) . The 30th Waffen Grenadier Division
of the SS (2nd Russian) was formed from the Schutzmannschaft-Brigade
Siegling. The final new division of 1944, was the 31st SS Volunteer
Grenadier Division , formed from conscripted Volksdeutsche, mainly
Batschka region of Hungary.
Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket was formed in January 1944 when units of
the 8th Army withdrew to the
Panther-Wotan Line , a defensive position
Dnieper River in Ukraine. Two army corps were left holding a
salient into the Soviet lines extending some 100 kilometres (62 mi).
The Red Army's 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts encircled the pocket.
Trapped in the pocket were a total of six German divisions, including
the 5 SS Wiking, with the attached 5th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade
Wallonien , and the Estonian SS Battalion Narwa. The Germans broke
out in coordination with other German forces from the outside,
1 SS Leibstandarte. Roughly two out of three encircled
men successfully escaped the pocket.
Raid On Drvar
Raid on Drvar , codenamed Operation Rösselsprung, was an attack
Luftwaffe on the command structure of the
Yugoslav partisans. Their objective was the elimination of the
partisan-controlled Supreme Headquarters and the capture of Tito. The
offensive took place in April and May 1944. The
involved were the
500th SS Parachute Battalion and the 7 SS Prinz
The assault started when a small group parachuted into
secure landing grounds for the following glider force. The 500th SS
Parachute Battalion fought their way to Tito's cave headquarters and
exchanged heavy gunfire resulting in numerous casualties on both
sides. By the time German forces had penetrated into the cave, Tito
had already escaped. At the end of the battle only 200 men of the
500th SS Parachute Battalion remained unwounded.
In Estonia the Battle of Narva started in February. The battle can be
divided into two phases: the
Battle for Narva Bridgehead
Battle for Narva Bridgehead from February
to July and the
Battle of Tannenberg Line from July to September. A
number of volunteer and conscript
Waffen-SS units from Norway,
Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Estonia fought in Narva. The
units were all part of the
III SS (Germanic) Panzer Corps in Army
Group North , which consisted of the 11th SS
Nordland, the 4th SS Volunteer
Brigade Nederland, the
5th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Wallonien, the 6th SS Volunteer
Sturmbrigade Langemarck, and the conscript 20th Waffen Grenadier
Division of the SS (1st Estonian), under the command of
Felix Steiner .
Army Group North was the
VI SS Corps , which consisted of the
15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian) and the 19th
Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian) . Latvian Waffen SS
and German army units held out in the
Courland Pocket until the end of
The starting lines of
Operation Spring ,
identified are the 1 SS, 9 SS, 10 SS, 12 SS Divisions and the 101 and
102 SS Heavy Panzer Battalions
Operation Overlord , the Allied "D-Day" landings in
Normandy , took
place on 6 June 1944. In preparation for the expected landings the I
SS Panzer Corps Leibstandarte SS
Adolf Hitler was moved to
the west of Paris in April 1944. The Corps had the
1 SS Leibstandarte
SS Adolf Hitler, 12 SS Hitlerjugend, the 17 SS Götz von Berlichingen
and the Army's
Panzer-Lehr-Division divisions assigned to it. The
Corps was to form a part of General
Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg 's
Panzer Group West , the Western theatre's armoured reserve. The Corps
was restructured on 4 July 1944 and only the
1 SS Leibstandarte and
the 12 SS Hitlerjugend remained at strength.
After the landings, the first
Waffen-SS unit in action was the 12 SS
Hitlerjugend, which arrived at the invasion front on 7 June, in the
Caen area. The same day they committed the
Ardenne Abbey massacre .
The next unit to arrive was the 17 SS Götz von Berlichingen on 11
June, which came into contact with the 10
1st Airborne Division . The
SS Heavy Panzer Battalion 101 arrived next to protect the left wing of
the I SS Panzer Corps. The
1 SS Leibstandarte arrived towards the end
of the month with lead elements becoming embroiled in the British
Operation Epsom .
The only other
Waffen-SS unit in France at this time was the 2 SS Das
Montauban , north of
Toulouse . They were ordered north to
the landing beaches and on 9 June were responsible for the Tulle
massacre , where 99 men were murdered. The next day they reached
Oradour-sur-Glane and massacred 642 French civilians.
II SS Panzer Corps consisting of the 9th SS Hohenstaufen and 10th
SS Frundsberg divisions and the
SS Heavy Panzer Battalion 102 was
transferred from the Eastern Front to spearhead an offensive to
destroy the Allied beachhead. However, the British launched Operation
Epsom and the two divisions were fed piecemeal into the battle, and
launched several counterattacks over the following days. German
counterattacks against Canadian-Polish positions on 20 August 1944
Without any further reinforcements in men or materiel, the Waffen-SS
divisions could not stop the Allied advance.
1 SS Leibstandarte and 2
SS Das Reich took part in the failed
Operation Lüttich in early
August. The end came in mid August when the German Army was encircled
and trapped in the
Falaise pocket , including the
1 SS Leibstandarte,
10 SS Frundsberg and 12 SS Hitlerjugend and the 17 SS Götz von
Berlichingen, while the 2 SS Das Reich and the 9 SS Hohenstaufen were
ordered to attack
Hill 262 from the outside in order to keep the gap
open. By 22 August the
Falaise pocket had been closed, and all German
forces west of the Allied lines were dead or in captivity. In the
Hill 262 alone, casualties totalled 2,000 killed and
5,000 taken prisoner. The 12 SS Hitlerjugend had lost 94 per cent of
its armour, nearly all of its artillery, and 70 per cent of its
vehicles. The division had close to 20,000 men and 150 tanks before
the campaign started, and was now reduced to 300 men and 10 tanks.
Waffen-SS troops taken prisoner in
With the German Army in full retreat, two further Waffen-SS
formations entered the battle in France, the SS Panzergrenadier
Brigade 49 and the SS
Brigade 51 . Both had been
formed in June 1944 from staff and students at the
They were stationed in Denmark to allow the garrison there to move
into France, but were brought forward at the beginning of August to
the area south and east of Paris. Both Brigades were tasked to hold
crossings over the
Seine River allowing the Army to retreat.
Eventually they were forced back and then withdrew, the surviving
troops being incorporated into the 17 SS Götz von Berlichingen.
While the bulk of the
Waffen-SS was now on the Eastern Front or in
Normandy, the 4th SS Polizei
Panzergrenadier Division was stationed in
Greece on internal security duties and anti-partisan operations. On 10
June they committed the
Distomo massacre , when over a period of two
hours they went door to door and massacred Greek civilians, reportedly
in revenge for a
Greek Resistance attack. In total, 218 men, women and
children were killed. According to survivors, the SS forces "bayoneted
babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the
On the Italian Front the 1
6 SS Reichsführer-SS, conducting
anti-partisan operations, is remembered more for the atrocities it
perpetrated than its fighting ability: it committed the Sant\'Anna di
Stazzema massacre in August 1944 and the
Marzabotto massacre between
September and October 1944.
In Finland, the
6 SS Nord had held its lines during the Soviet summer
offensive until it was ordered to withdraw from
Finland upon the
conclusion of an armistice between
Finland and the Soviet Union in
September 1944. They then formed the rear guard for the three German
corps withdrawing from
Finland in Operation Birch , and from September
to November 1944 marched 1,600 kilometres to
Mo i Rana , Norway, where
it entrained for the southern end of the country, crossing the
Skagerrak to Denmark.
Arnhem And Operation Market Garden
In early September 1944, the
II SS Panzer Corps (9 SS Hohenstaufen
and 10 SS Frundberg) were pulled out of the line and sent to the
Arnhem area in the Netherlands. Upon arrival they began the task of
refitting, and the majority of the remaining armoured vehicles were
loaded onto trains in preparation for transport to repair depots in
Germany. On Sunday 17 September 1944 the Allies launched Operation
Market Garden , and the British
1st Airborne Division was dropped in
Oosterbeek , to the west of Arnhem. Realizing the threat, Wilhelm
Bittrich , commander of II SS Panzer Corps, ordered Hohenstaufen and
Frundsberg to ready themselves for combat. Also in the area was the
Training and Reserve Battalion, 16th SS Division Reichsführer-SS. The
Allied airborne operation was a failure, and
Arnhem was not liberated
until 14 April 1945.
Ruins of Warsaw's old town market square . In total, eighty-five
percent of the city was destroyed and nearly 200,000 civilians killed.
At the other end of Europe, the
Waffen-SS was dealing with the Warsaw
Uprising . Between August and October 1944, the Dirlewanger Brigade
(recruited from criminals and the mentally ill throughout Germany) and
S.S. Sturmbrigade R.O.N.A. Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Narodnaya
Armiya (Russian National Liberation Army) which was made up of ethnic
Russian collaborators were both sent to
Warsaw to put down the
uprising. During the battle, the Dirlewanger behaved atrociously,
raping, looting, and killing citizens of
Warsaw regardless of whether
they belonged to the Polish resistance or not; the unit commander
Oskar Dirlewanger encouraged their excesses. The unit's
behavior was reportedly so bestial and indiscriminate that Himmler was
forced to send a battalion of SS military police to ensure the
Dirlewanger convicts did not turn their aggressions against the
leadership of the brigade or other nearby German units. At the same
time they were encouraged by Himmler to terrorize freely, take no
prisoners, and generally indulge their perverse tendencies. Favoured
tactics of the Dirlewanger men during the siege reportedly included
the ubiquitous gang rape of female Poles, both women and children;
playing "bayonet catch" with live babies; and torturing captives to
death by hacking off their arms, dousing them with gasoline, and
setting them alight to run armless and flaming down the street. The
Dirlewanger brigade committed almost non-stop atrocities during this
period, in particular the four-day
Wola massacre . Photo taken by
the Polish Underground showing the bodies of women and children
murdered by SS troops in
Warsaw Uprising, August 1944
The other unit, Waffen-Sturm-
Brigade R.O.N.A. was tasked with
Ochota district in
Warsaw that was defended by members of
the Polish Home Army . Their attack was planned for the morning of 5
August, but when the time came, the RONA unit could not be found;
after some searching by the SS military police, members of the unit
were found looting abandoned houses in the rear of the German column.
Later, thousands of Polish civilians were killed by the RONA SS men
during the events known as
Ochota massacre ; many victims were also
raped. In following weeks, the RONA unit was moved south to the Wola
district, but it fared no better in combat there than it did in
Ochota; in one incident a sub-unit of the RONA brigade advanced to
loot a captured building on the front line , but was subsequently cut
off from the rest of the SS formation and wiped out by the Poles.
Following the fiasco, SS-
Brigadeführer Bronislav Vladislavovich
Kaminski , the unit's commander, was called to
Łódź to attend a SS
leadership conference. He never arrived; official Nazi sources blamed
Polish partisans for an alleged ambush that killed the RONA commander.
But according to various other sources he was arrested and tried by
the SS, or simply shot on the spot by the
Gestapo . The behaviour of
the RONA during the battle was an embarrassment even to the SS, and
the alleged rape and murder of two German
Strength Through Joy girls
may have played a part in the eventual execution of the brigade's
Vistula River Line
In late August 1944, 5 SS Wiking was ordered back to Modlin on the
Vistula River line near Warsaw, where it was to join the newly formed
Army Group Vistula . Fighting alongside the Luftwaffe's
Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring , they annihilated the
Soviet 3rd Tank Corps. The advent of the
Warsaw Uprising brought the
Soviet offensive to a halt, and relative peace fell on the front line.
The division remained in the Modlin area for the rest of the year,
grouped with the 3 SS Totenkopf in the
IV SS Panzer Corps . Heavy
defensive battles around Modlin followed for the rest of the year.
Together they helped force the
Red Army out of
Warsaw and back across
the Vistula River, where the Front stabilized until January 1945.
Kampfgruppe Knittel 's troops on the road to
Stavelot to support
Ardennes Offensive or "Battle of the Bulge", between 16 December
1944 and 25 January 1945, was a major German offensive through the
Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium. The
6th Panzer Army under
Sepp Dietrich . Created on 26
October 1944, it incorporated the
I SS Panzer Corps (1 SS
Leibstandarte, the 12 SS Hitlerjugend and the SS Heavy Panzer
Battalion 101 ). It also had the
II SS Panzer Corps (2 SS Das Reich
and the 9 SS Hohenstaufen). Another unit involved was
Otto Skorzeny 's
SS Panzer Brigade 150 .
The purpose of the attack was to split the British and American line
in half, capture
Antwerp , and encircle and destroy four Allied
armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty on
terms favorable to the Axis Powers . However, advancing through the
forests and wooded hills of the
Ardennes proved difficult in the
winter weather. Initially the Germans made good progress in the
northern end of its advance. However, they ran into unexpectedly
strong resistance by the U.S. 2nd and 99th
Infantry Divisions. By 23
December, weather conditions started improving, allowing the Allied
air forces, which had been grounded, to attack. In increasingly
difficult conditions, the German advance slowed. The attack was
ultimately a failure. Despite the efforts of the
Waffen-SS and the
German Army, the fuel shortages, stiff American resistance, including
in and around the town of Bastogne and Allied air-assaults on German
supply columns proved too much, costing the Germans 700 tanks and most
of their remaining mobile forces in the west. Hitler's failed
counteroffensive had used most of Germany's remaining reserves of
manpower and materiel, which could not be replaced. Aftermath of
During the battle,
Kampfgruppe Peiper, part of the 1 SS
Leibstandarte, left a path of destruction, which included Waffen-SS
men murdering American POWs and unarmed Belgian civilians. It is
infamous for the
Malmedy massacre , in which approximately 90 unarmed
American prisoners of war were murdered on 17 December 1944. Also
during this battle, 3./SS-PzAA1 LSSAH captured and shot eleven
African-American soldiers from the American 333rd Artillery Battalion
in the hamlet of Wereth. Their remains were found by Allied troops two
months later. The soldiers had their fingers cut off and legs broken,
and one was shot while trying to bandage a comrade's wounds.
Siege Of Budapest
In late December 1944, the Axis forces, including IX Waffen Mountain
Corps of the SS (Croatian), defending
Budapest , were encircled in the
Budapest . The
IV SS Panzer Corps (3 SS Totenkopf and 5 SS
Wiking) was ordered south to join
Hermann Balck 's 6th Army (Army
Group Balck), which was mustering for a relief effort code named
Operation Konrad .
As a part of
Operation Konrad I, the
IV SS Panzer Corps was committed
to action on 1 January 1945, near Tata , with the advance columns of
Wiking slamming into the Soviet 4th Guards Army . A heavy battle
ensued, with the 5 SS Wiking and 3 SS Totenkopf destroying many of the
Soviet tanks. In three days their panzer spearheads had driven 45
kilometres, over half the distance from the start point to Budapest.
Red Army maneuvered forces to block the advance, halting them at
Bicske , 28 kilometres (17 mi) from Budapest. Two further attacks,
Operations Konrad II and III, also failed.
Hungarian Third Army was besieged in
Budapest along with the IX
Waffen Mountain Corps of the SS (Croatian) (8 SS Florian Geyer and 22
SS Maria Theresia). The siege lasted from 29 December 1944 until the
city surrendered unconditionally on 13 February 1945. Only 170 men of
the 22 SS Maria Theresia made it back to the German lines.
Waffen-SS continued to expand in 1945. January saw the 32nd SS
Volunteer Grenadier Division 30 Januar formed from the remnants of
other units and staff from the SS-Junkerschules. In February the
Brigade der SS "Charlemagne" was upgraded to a
division and became known as the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the
SS Charlemagne (1st French) . At this time it had a strength of 7,340
men. The SS Volunteer Grenadier-
Brigade Landstorm Nederland was
upgraded to the 34th SS Volunteer Grenadier Division Landstorm
Nederland . The second SS Police division followed when the 35th SS
and Police Grenadier Division was formed from SS Police units that had
been transferred to the Waffen-SS. The
Dirlewanger Brigade was
reformed as the
36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS . There was
now a real shortage of
Waffen-SS volunteers and conscripts, so units
from the Army were attached to bring it up to strength. The third SS
Cavalry division 37th SS Volunteer
Cavalry Division Lützow was formed
from the remnants of the 8 SS Florian Geyer and 22 SS Maria Theresia,
which had both been virtually destroyed. The last
38th SS Division Nibelungen , which was also formed from
students and staff from the SS-Junkerschule, but consisted of only
around 6,000 men, the strength of a normal brigade.
The XV SS Cossack
Cavalry Corps , which contained the
1 SS Cossack
Division , was transferred to the
Waffen-SS on 1 February 1945.
Despite the refusal of its commander, General von Pannwitz, to enter
the SS, the corps was placed under SS administration and all Cossacks
became formally part of the Waffen-SS.
Operation Nordwind was the last major German offensive on the Western
Front. It began on 1 January 1945 in
Alsace and Lorraine in
north-eastern France, and it ended on 25 January. The initial attack
was conducted by three Corps of the 1st Army. By 15 January at least
17 German divisions (including units in the
Colmar Pocket ) were
engaged, including the
XIII SS Army Corps (17 SS Götz von
Berlichingen and 38 SS Nibelungen) and the
6 SS Nord and 10 SS
Frundsberg. At the same time, the
Luftwaffe mounted a large offensive
over the skies of France. Some 240 fighters were lost and just as many
pilots. It was the 'last gasp' attempt for the
Luftwaffe to take back
air supremacy from the western allies.
Operation Solstice , or the "Stargard Tank Battle" (February 1945)
was one of the last armoured offensive operations on the Eastern
Front. It was a limited counter-attack by the three Corps of the
Eleventh SS Panzer Army , which was being assembled in
against the spearheads of the 1st Belorussian Front. Originally
planned as a major offensive, it was executed as a more limited
attack. It was repulsed by the Red Army, but helped to convince the
Soviet High Command to postpone the planned attack on
Initially the attack achieved a total surprise, reaching the banks of
Ina River and, on 17 January,
Arnswalde . Strong Soviet
counter-attacks halted the advance, and the operation was called off.
The III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps, was pulled back to the Stargard
Stettin on the northern
Oder River .
East Pomeranian Offensive
East Pomeranian Offensive lasted from 24 February to 4 April, in
West Prussia . The
Waffen-SS units involved were the 11
SS Nordland, 20 SS Estonian, 23 SS Nederland, 27 SS Langemark, 28 SS
Wallonien, all in the
III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps , and the X SS
Corps , which did not command any SS units.
In March 1945, the
X SS Corps was encircled by the 1st Guards Tank
Army , 3rd Shock Army , and the Polish 1st Army in the area of
Dramburg . This pocket was destroyed by the
Red Army on 7 March 1945.
On 8 March 1945, the Soviet forces announced the capture of General
Krappe and 8,000 men of the X SS Corps.
Operation Spring Awakening
German units during the
Lake Balaton Offensive, March 1945
Ardennes offensive failed, in Hitler’s estimation, the
Nagykanizsa oilfields southwest of
Lake Balaton were the most
strategically valuable reserves on the Eastern Front. The SS
Divisions were pulled out and refitted in Germany in preparation for
Operation Spring Awakening (Frühlingserwachsen). Hitler ordered
Dietrich’s 6th SS Panzer Army to take the lead and move to Hungary
in order to protect the oilfields and refineries there. The 6th SS
Panzer Army was made up of the
I SS Panzer Corps (
1 SS Leibstandarte
and 12 SS Hitlerjugend) and the
II SS Panzer Corps (2 SS Das Reich and
the 10 SS Frundsberg). Also present but not part of the 6th SS Panzer
Army was the
IV SS Panzer Corps (3 SS Totenkopf and 5 SS Wiking).
This final German offensive in the east began on 6 March. The German
forces attacked near
Lake Balaton with the Sixth SS Panzer Army
advancing northwards towards
Budapest and the 2nd Panzer Army moving
eastwards and south. Dietrich's army made "good progress" at first,
but as they drew near the Danube, the combination of the muddy terrain
and strong resistance of the Soviet forces ground them to a halt. The
overwhelming numerical superiority of the
Red Army made any defense
impossible, yet Hitler somehow had believed victory was attainable.
Operation Spring Awakening, the 6th SS Panzer Army withdrew
Vienna and was involved what became known as the Vienna
Offensive . The only major force to face the attacking
Red Army was
II SS Panzer Corps (2 SS Das Reich and 3 SS Totenkopf), under the
Wilhelm Bittrich , along with ad hoc forces made up of
garrison and anti-aircraft units.
Vienna fell to the Soviet forces on
13 April. Bittrich's
II SS Panzer Corps had pulled out to the west
that evening to avoid encirclement. The LSSAH retreated westward with
less than 1,600 men and 16 tanks remaining.
This failure is famous for the "armband order" that followed. The
order was issued to the Sixth SS Panzer Army commander Sepp Dietrich
by Adolf Hitler, who claimed that the troops, and more importantly,
1 SS Leibstandarte, "did not fight as the situation demanded." As
a mark of disgrace, the
Waffen-SS units involved in the battle were
ordered to remove their distinctive cuff titles . Dietrich did not
relay the order to his troops.
Army Group Vistula was formed in 1945 to protect
Berlin from the
advancing Red Army. It fought in the Battle of the Seelow Heights
(16–19 April) and the
Battle of Halbe (21 April – 1 May), both
part of the Battle of
Berlin . The
Waffen-SS was represented by the
III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps.
On 23 April,
Wilhelm Mohnke was appointed by Hitler as
Battle Commander for the centre government district (Zitadelle
sector), which included the
Reich Chancellery and
Mohnke's command post was in the bunkers under the Reich Chancellery.
Kampfgruppe Mohnke (Battle Group Mohnke), divided into two
weak regiments. It was made up of the LSSAH Flak Company, replacements
from LSSAH Training and Reserve Battalion from Spreenhagan (under
Standartenfuhrer Anhalt), 600 men from the Begleit-Bataillon
Reichsführer-SS , the Führer-Begleit-Company, and the core
group—800 men of the LSSAH Guard Battalion assigned to guard the
Reich Chancellery on 23 April ordered
Krukenberg to proceed to the capital with his men, who were
reorganized as Sturmbataillon ("assault battalion") "Charlemagne".
Between 320 and 330 French troops arrived in
Berlin on 24 April after
a long detour to avoid Soviet advance columns. Krukenberg was also
appointed the commander of (Berlin) Defence Sector C. This included
the Nordland Division, whose previous commander,
Joachim Ziegler , was
relieved of his command the same day. On 27 April, after a futile
defence, the remnants of Nordland were pushed back into the centre
government district (Zitadelle sector) in Defence sector Z. There
Krukenberg's Nordland headquarters was a carriage in the Stadtmitte
U-Bahn station. The men of Nordland were now under Mohnke's overall
command. Among the men were French, Latvian, and Scandinavian
Heavy artillery bombardment of the centre government district had
begun on 20 April 1945 and lasted until the end of hostilities. Under
the intense shelling, the SS troops put up stiff resistance which led
to bitter and bloody street fighting with the Soviet
Red Army forces.
By 26 April, the Nordland defenders were pushed back into the
Reichstag and Reich Chancellery. There over the next few days, the
survivors (mainly French SS troops from the former
33 SS Charlemagne)
fought in vain against the Soviet army forces. Himmler's corpse
after his suicide, May 1945
On 30 April, after receiving news of Hitler's suicide, orders were
issued that those who could do so were to break out. Prior to the
breakout Mohnke briefed all commanders that could be reached within
the Zitadelle sector about Hitler's death and the planned breakout.
The break out started at 2300 hours on 1 May. There were ten main
groups that attempted to head northwest towards Mecklenburg. Fierce
fighting continued all around, especially in the Weidendammer Bridge
area. What was left of the 1
1 SS Nordland under Brigadeführer
Krukenberg fought hard in that area, but the Soviet artillery,
anti-tank guns and tanks destroyed the groups. Several very small
groups managed to reach the Americans at the
Elbe 's west bank, but
most, including Mohnke's group, could not make it through the Soviet
Reichsführer-SS Himmler, he attempted to go into hiding.
Using a forged paybook under the name of Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger,
he fled south on 11 May to
Friedrichskoog . On 21 May, Himmler and two
aides were detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet POWs and
then handed over to the British Army. On 23 May, after admitting his
real identity, a doctor attempted to examine him. However, Himmler bit
into a hidden cyanide pill and collapsed onto the floor. He was dead
within 15 minutes.
List of Waffen SS units
All divisions in the
Waffen-SS were ordered in a single series of
numbers as formed, regardless of type. A total of 38 in all were
formed, beginning with the initial three in 1933 and ramping up to
nine alone in 1945. Those tagged with nationalities were at least
nominally recruited from those nationalities. Many of the late-formed
higher-numbered units were in fact small battlegroups (Kampfgruppen ),
and divisions in name only.
* Josef "Sepp" Dietrich , a former Army sergeant with a peasant
background, commanded the forerunner of the Waffen-SS, the
Sonderkommando Berlin. He would command the Leibstandarte SS Adolf
Hitler from its inception to regiment , brigade , and division . He
was then given command of the
I SS Panzer Corps and by the end of the
war was the commander of the 6th SS Panzer Army .
Paul Hausser , a former general in the regular army, was chosen by
Himmler to transform the SS-VT into a credible military organisation.
He was the first divisional commander of the
Waffen-SS when the SS-VT
was formed into a division for the
Battle of France
Battle of France . He went on to
II SS Panzer Corps and the 7th Army .
Artur Phleps , a former Romanian general who joined the Waffen-SS,
raised and commanded the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz
Eugen then rose to command the
V SS Mountain Corps which fought the
Yugoslav Partisans .
Felix Steiner , another former army officer and veteran of World
War I . He was given command of the SS
Regiment Deutschland. He is
credited with the creation of small mobile battle groups . He armed
his men with submachine guns and grenades instead of rifles and issued
camouflage clothing. He commanded the
SS Division Wiking and the III
(Germanic) SS Panzer Corps .
Rüdiger Overmans estimates that the Waffen-SS
suffered 314,000 dead. Casualty rates were not significantly higher
than in the Wehrmacht overall and were comparative to those among the
Heer armoured divisions and the
Luftwaffe paratroop formations.
Photograph from the
Stroop Report , prepared for
Allgemeine SS was responsible for the administration of both the
concentration and extermination camps . Many members of it and the
SS-Totenkopfverbände subsequently became members of the Waffen-SS,
forming the initial core of the 3rd SS Totenkopf Division . A number
of SS medical personnel who were members of the
convicted of crimes during the "Doctors\' trials " in Nuremberg, held
between 1946 and 1947 for the
Nazi human experimentation they
performed at the camps.
According to the Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and
Document Collection, the
Waffen-SS had played a "paramount role" in
the ideological war of extermination (Vernichtungskrieg), and not just
as frontline or rear area security formations: a third of the
Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) members which were responsible
for mass murder especially of
Jews and communists, had been recruited
Waffen-SS personnel prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union.
Waffen-SS members and units were responsible for war crimes
against civilians and allied servicemen. After the war the SS
organisation as a whole was held to be a criminal organization by the
post-war German government. Formations such as the Dirlewanger and
Kaminski Brigades were singled out, and many others participated in
large-scale massacres or smaller-scale killings such as murder of 34
captured allied servicemen ordered by
Josef Kieffer during Operation
Bulbasket in 1944, the Houtman affair, or murders perpetrated by
Heinrich Boere . The listed
Waffen-SS units were responsible for the
following massacres: Burned out cars and buildings still litter
the remains of the original village in
Oradour-sur-Glane , as left by
Das Reich SS division
Wormhoudt massacre by SS Leibstandarte
Adolf Hitler , 1940, France
Le Paradis massacre by
SS Division Totenkopf , 1940, France
Pripyat swamps (punitive operation) by the SS
Tulle massacre by
SS Division Das Reich , 1944, France
Oradour-sur-Glane massacre by SS Division Das Reich, 1944, France
Ochota massacre by SS Kaminski
Brigade , 1944, Poland
Wola massacre by
SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger , 1944, Poland
Huta Pieniacka massacre by SS Division Galicia 1944, Poland
* Graignes Massacre by
SS Division Götz von Berlichingen , 1944,
Maillé massacre , also by SS Division Götz von Berlichingen,
Marzabotto massacre by 16th SS
Reichsführer-SS , 1944, Italy
Malmedy massacre by
Kampfgruppe Peiper , part of 1st SS Panzer
Division, 1944, Belgium
Ardeatine massacre by two SS officers, 1944, Italy
Distomo massacre by
4th SS Polizei Division , 1944,
* Sant\'Anna di Stazzema massacre by 16th SS Panzergrenadier
Reichsführer-SS , 1944, Italy
Ardenne Abbey massacre by
12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend ,
The linking of the SS-VT with the
SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) in
1938 raised important questions about
Waffen-SS criminality, since
the SS-TV were already responsible for imprisonment, torture, and
Jews and other political opponents through providing the
personnel for manning the concentration camps. Their leader, Theodor
Eicke , who was the commandant of Dachau, inspector of the camps, and
Ernst Röhm , later became the commander of the 3rd SS
Totenkopf Division. With the invasion of Poland, the
Totenkopfverbände troops were called on to carry out so-called
"police and security measures" in rear areas. What these measures
entailed is demonstrated by the record of SS Totenkopf Standarte
Brandenburg. It arrived in
Włocławek on 22 September 1939 and
embarked on a four-day "
Jewish action" that included the burning of
synagogues and the execution en masse of the leaders of the Jewish
community. On 29 September the Standarte travelled to
conduct an "intelligentsia action". Approximately 800 Polish civilians
and what the
Sicherheitsdienst (SD) termed "potential resistance
leaders" were killed. Later the formation became the 3rd SS Panzer
Division Totenkopf, but from the start they were among the first
executors of a policy of systematic extermination. Belgian
civilians killed by German units during the
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
Waffen-SS formations were found guilty of war crimes, especially in
the opening and closing phases of the war. In addition to documented
Waffen-SS units assisted in rounding up Eastern European
Jews for deportation and utilised scorched earth tactics during rear
security operations. Some
Waffen-SS personnel convalesced at
concentration camps, from which they were drawn, by serving guard
duties. Other members of the
Waffen-SS were more directly involved in
The end of the war saw a number of war crime trials, including the
Malmedy massacre trial . The counts of indictment related to the
massacre of more than 300 American prisoners in the vicinity of
Malmedy , between 16 December 1944 and 13 January 1945, and the
massacre of 100 Belgian civilians mainly in the vicinity of
Nuremberg Trials , the
Waffen-SS was declared a criminal
organisation, except conscripts from 1943 onward, who were exempted
from that judgement as they had been forced to join.
HIAG MUTUAL AID ASSOCIATION
HIAG (German : HIlfsgemeinschaft Auf Gegenseitigkeit der Angehörigen
der ehemaligen Waffen-SS, literally "Mutual aid association of former
Waffen-SS members") was a lobby group and a revisionist veterans'
organisation founded by former high-ranking
Waffen-SS personnel in
West Germany in 1951. It campaigned for the legal, economic and
historical rehabilitation of the Waffen-SS, using contacts with
political parties to manipulate them for its purposes.
HIAG's historical revisionism encompassed multi-prong propaganda
efforts , including periodicals, books and public speeches, alongside
a publishing house that served as a platform for its publicity aims.
This extensive body of work – 57 book titles and more than 50 years
of monthly periodicals – have been described by historians as
revisionist apologia : "chorus of self-justification"; "crucible of
historical revisionism"; "false" and "outrageous" claims; "most
important works of apologist literature" (in reference to books by
Hausser and Steiner); and "exculpating multi-volume chronicle" (in
reference to the history of the SS Division Leibstandarte).
Given the connection with its Nazi past,
HIAG was a subject of
significant controversy, both in
West Germany and abroad. The
organisation moved into right-wing extremism in its later history. It
was disbanded in 1992 at the federal level, but local groups, along
with the organisation's monthly periodical, continued to exist at
least into the 2000s.
HIAG leadership only partially achieved the goals of legal
and economic rehabilitation of Waffen-SS, falling short of their
"extravagant fantasies about past and future", HIAG's propaganda
efforts have led to a reshaping of the image of
Waffen-SS in popular
culture . The results are still felt, with scholarly treatments being
drowned out by a "veritable avalanche of titles", including amateur
historical studies, memoirs, picture books, websites, and wargames.
German war crimes
* Glossary of
* List of Knight\'s Cross recipients of the
List of SS personnel
List of Waffen-SS units
Signal Corps of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS
SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers
SS and Police Leader
Table of ranks and insignia of the Waffen-SS
* Uniforms and insignia of the
* ^ Equivalent to a full general. The independence of the LSSAH can
be partly explained by Dietrich's rank, as well as his personal
friendship with Hitler.
* ^ "
Adolf Hitler is not interested in further existence of Warsaw
... the whole population shall be executed and all buildings blown
up." Madajczyk 1972 , p. 390.
* ^ According to the evidence of
Erich von dem Bach in Nürnberg ,
Himmler's order (issued on the strength of an order of Hitler), read
as follows: "1. Caught razed insurgents shall be killed despite
whether they fight in accordance with the
Hague Convention or they
infringe it. 2. Non-fighting part of population, women, children,
shall also be killed. 3. All the city shall be razed to the ground,
i.e. buildings, streets, facilities in that city, and everything which
is within its borders." Wroniszewski 1970 , pp. 128–129.
* ^ Neitzel & Welzer 2012 , p. 290.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. xxiv, xxv, 150, 153.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 23.
* ^ The Nazi Holocaust. Part 3: The "Final Solution": The
Implementation of Mass Murder. Volume 2, p. 459,
De Gruyter , 1989
* ^ Stackelberg 2002 , p. 116.
* ^ Langer & Rudowski 2008 , p. 263.
* ^ Król 2006 , pp. 452, 545.
* ^ W. Borodziej, Ruch oporu w Polsce w świetle tajnych akt
niemieckich, Część IX, Kierunki 1985, nr 16.
* ^ Polska i Polacy w propagandzie narodowego socjalizmu w
Niemczech 1919-1945 Eugeniusz Cezary Król Instytut Studiów
Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 2006, page 452
* ^ Terror i polityka: policja niemiecka a polski ruch oporu w GG
1939-1944 Włodzimierz Borodziej Instytut Wydawniczy Pax, 1985, p. 86.
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings , Volume 22, September 1946
* ^ Laar, Mart (2005). "Battles in Estonia in 1944". Estonia in
World War II. Tallinn: Grenamder. pp. 32–59.
* ^ McDonald, Gabrielle Kirk; Swaak-Goldman, Olivia (2000).
Substantive and Procedural Aspects of International Criminal Law: The
Experience of International and National Courts: Materials. BRILL. p.
* ^ A B C D E Flaherty 2004 , p. 144.
* ^ A B Cook & Bender 1994 , pp. 17, 19.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 306–313.
* ^ Kershaw 2008 , pp. 309–313.
* ^ A B C D Flaherty 2004 , p. 145.
* ^ Weale 2012 , p. 202.
* ^ Weale 2012 , pp. 201–204.
* ^ Weale 2010 , p. 204.
* ^ Longerich 2012 , p. 220.
* ^ Wegner 1990 , pp. 240 - table 14.2, 243–244, 247, 248 - table
14.4, 261, 262.
* ^ A B C Flaherty 2004 , p. 146.
* ^ A B C D E Windrow Böhler, Jochen (2016). The Waffen-SS: A
European History. Oxford University Press. p. 200. ISBN 9780192507822
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 4–8, 27.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I Flaherty 2004 , p. 149.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 27, 28, 33, 34.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. xxii, 35, 36.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 24.
* ^ Reitlinger 1989 , p. 84.
* ^ Butler 2001 , p. 45.
* ^ Rossino 2003 , pp. 114, 159–161.
* ^ Sydnor 1990 , p. 37.
* ^ Maria Wardzyńska (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej
policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce.
Intelligenzaktion (PDF file, direct
download 2.56 MB) (in Polish).
Institute of National Remembrance , IPN
Portal edukacyjny Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej). 8-10/356. ISBN
978-83-7629-063-8 . Oblicza się, że akcja „Inteligencja”
pochłonęła ponad 100 tys. ofiar. Translation: It is estimated that
Intelligenzaktion took the lives of 100,000 Poles.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , pp. 149–150.
* ^ A B Flaherty 2004 , p. 150.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , p. 151.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , p. 152.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 62–64.
* ^ A B C D E Flaherty 2004 , p. 154.
* ^ Harman 1980 , p. 100.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , pp. 143, 154.
* ^ A B Flaherty 2004 , p. 155.
* ^ Cooper, D. (22 February 2004). "WW2 People\'s War: Le Paradis:
The murder of 97 soldiers in a French field on the 26/27th May 1940".
BBC Online . Retrieved 28 February 2016.
* ^ Jackson 2001 , pp. 285–288.
* ^ Butler 2001 , pp. 81–83.
* ^ A B Weale 2012 , pp. 251–253.
* ^ A B Flaherty 2004 , p. 143.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , p. 156.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 102.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 7, 103–106.
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 150, 153.
* ^ A B Flaherty 2004 , pp. 160, 161.
* ^ Evans 2008 , p. 153.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , p. 163.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , pp. 162, 163.
* ^ Weale 2012 , p. 297.
* ^ A B C D Flaherty 2004 , p. 165.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 104.
* ^ A B C D Windrow & Burn 1992 , p. 9.
* ^ A B C Flaherty 2004 , p. 166.
* ^ A B C Flaherty 2004 , p. 168.
* ^ A B Hannes & Naumann 2000 , p. 136.
* ^ Browning 2007 , p. 279.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , pp. 52–53.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , pp. 62, 80.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , p. 81.
* ^ Browning 2007 , p. 280.
* ^ Cuppers 2006 , p. 279.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , pp. 86, 88–89.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , pp. 119–120.
* ^ Miller 2006 , p. 310.
* ^ Pieper 2015 , p. 120.
* ^ A B C Stein 1984 , p. 171.
* ^ Mitcham 2007 , p. 148.
* ^ A B Reynolds 1997 , p. 9.
* ^ Fellgiebel 2000 , p. 59.
* ^ A B Flaherty 2004 , p. 173.
* ^ Flaherty 2004 , pp. 173–174.
* ^ Margry 2001 , p. 20.
* ^ Reynolds 1997 , p. 10.
* ^ Stroop 1943 .
Holocaust Memorial Museum .
* ^ Bergstrom 2007 , p. 81.
* ^ Fritz 2011 , p. 350.
* ^ Evans 2008 , pp. 488–489.
* ^ McNab 2009 , pp. 68, 70.
* ^ A B C D Reynolds 1997 , p. 15.
* ^ Bishop & Williams 2003 , p. 98.
* ^ Thomson 2004 .
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 184, 185, 194.
* ^ Williamson & Andrew 2004 , p. 4.
* ^ Williamson & Andrew 2004 , pp. 5–6.
* ^ Zetterling & Frankson 2008 , p. 335.
* ^ Nash 2002 , p. 366.
* ^ Eyre 2006 , pp. 343–376.
* ^ Mitcham 2001 , pp. 261–262.
* ^ A B Reynolds 1997 , p. 131.
* ^ Reynolds 1997 , p. 145.
* ^ Latimer 2001 .
* ^ Götz von Berlichingen Diary .
* ^ Fey 2003 , p. 145.
* ^ Jarymowycz 2001 , p. 196.
* ^ Hastings 2006 , p. 306.
* ^ McGilvray 2005 , p. 54.
* ^ A B Bercuson 2004 , p. 233.
* ^ BBC News 2003 .
Jewish Virtual Library, Sant\'Anna massacre .
* ^ BBC News 2007 .
* ^ Harclerode 2005 , pp. 455–456.
* ^ Ellis 2004 , pp. 313–315.
* ^ http://www.warsawuprising.com/paper/rona.htm
* ^ A B Bell 1966 , pp. 89–91.
* ^ Conot 1984 , pp. 278–281.
* ^ Kirchmayer 1978 , p. 367.
* ^ United States History .
* ^ Weinberg 1994 , p. 767.
* ^ Weinberg 1994 , pp. 767–769.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 232.
* ^ Murray & Millett 2001 , p. 468.
* ^ Reynolds 2003 .
* ^ US Memorial Wereth .
* ^ Zwack 1999 .
* ^ Littlejohn 1987 , pp. 170, 172.
* ^ Michaelis 2006 , p. 36.
* ^ 100th Division .
* ^ Beevor 2002 , p. 91.
* ^ Raus 2005 , pp. 324–332.
* ^ Tessin 1973 , p. 164.
* ^ Ustinow 1981 , p. 179.
* ^ Schramm 1982 , p. 1156.
* ^ Duffy 2002 , p. 293.
* ^ Seaton 1971 , p. 537.
* ^ Duffy 2002 , p. 294.
* ^ A B Stein 1984 , p. 238.
* ^ Ziemke 1968 , p. 450.
* ^ Ustinow 1981 , pp. 238–239.
* ^ Gosztony 1978 , p. 262.
* ^ McNab 2013 , p. 280.
* ^ Dollinger 1967 , p. 198.
* ^ A B C Fischer 2008 , pp. 42–43.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 162.
* ^ Forbes 2010 , pp. 396–398.
* ^ Beevor 2002 , p. 301.
* ^ Beevor 2002 , p. 323.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 246.
* ^ McNab 2013 , pp. 328, 330, 338.
* ^ Beevor 2002 , pp. 365–367, 372.
* ^ Weale 2012 , p. 407.
* ^ A B Fischer 2008 , p. 49.
* ^ Bend Bulletin 1945 .
* ^ Longerich 2012 , pp. 1–3.
* ^ George H. Stein (1984). "Operation Barbarossa". The Waffen SS:
Hitler\'s Elite Guard at War, 1939-1945. Cornell University Press. pp.
119–120. ISBN 0801492750 .
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 210.
* ^ Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg.
Oldenbourg 2000. ISBN 3-486-56531-1 Page 266
* ^ Neitzel & Welzer 2012 , p. 300.
* ^ Bartrop & Jacobs 2014 , p. 1424.
* ^ Zimmermann 2004 .
* ^ Stein 1984 , pp. 75–76.
* ^ Miller 2006 , pp. 309, 310.
* ^ Stein 1984 , p. 276.
* ^ A B Stein 1984 , p. 277.
* ^ A B Stein 1984 , p. 251.
* ^ WBSTV 2007 .
* ^ US War Department 1948 .
* ^ A B Large 1987 .
* ^ A B
Der Spiegel 2011 .
* ^ A B MacKenzie 1997 , pp. 135–141.
* ^ Wilke 2011 , pp. 398–399.
* ^ MacKenzie 1997 , p. 137.
* ^ Picaper 2014 .
* ^ Diehl 1993 , p. 225.
* ^ Sydnor 1990 , p. 319.
* ^ Parker 2014 , p. 217.
* ^ Werther & Hurd 2014 .
* ^ Levenda 2014 , p. 167.
* ^ Diehl 1993 , p. 236.
* ^ Large 1987 , p. 111–112.
* ^ Wegner 1990 , p. 1.
* ^ Smelser -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">
* Ailsby, Christopher (2004). Hitler's Renegades: Foreign Nationals
in the Service of the Third Reich. Brasseys. ISBN 1-57488-838-2 .
* Bartrop, Paul R.; Jacobs, Leonard, eds. (2014). Modern Genocide:
The Definitive Resource and Document Collection. 1. Santa Barbara,
Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-363-9 .
* "Battle of the Buldge". Retrieved 2 June 2013.
* Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin: The Downfall 1945. Viking-Penguin
Books . ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5 .
* Bell, Bowyer J (1966). Besieged: Seven Cities Under Siege.
* Bercuson, David (2004) . Maple Leaf Against the Axis. Red Deer
Press. ISBN 0-88995-305-8 .
* Bergstrom, Christopher (2007). Kursk – The Air Battle: July
1943. Chervron/Ian Allen. ISBN 978-1-903223-88-8 .
* Bishop, Chris; Williams, Michael (2003). SS: Hell on the Western
Front. St Paul, Minn: MBI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7603-1402-9 .
* Browning, Christopher (2007). The Origins of the Final Solution:
The Evolution of Nazi
Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942.
University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-5979-4 .
* Butler, Rupert (2001). SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First
SS Division, 1934–45. Spellmount.
* Conot, Robert E. (1984). Justice at Nuremberg. Carrol & Graf.
* Cook, Stan; Bender, Roger James (1994). Leibstandarte SS Adolf
Hitler: Uniforms, Organization, & History. San Jose, CA: R. James
Bender. ISBN 978-0-912138-55-8 .
* Cuppers, Martin (2006). Vorreiter der Shoah, Ein Vergleich der
Einsätze der beiden SS-Kavallerieregimenter im August 1941 (in
German). Meidenbauer Martin Verlag. ISBN 3-89975-080-2 .
* Diehl, James M. (1993). Thanks of the Fatherland: German Veterans
After the Second World War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-2077-3 .
* Dollinger, Hans (1967) . The Decline and Fall of
Nazi Germany and
Imperial Japan. New York: Bonanza. ISBN 978-0-517-01313-7 .
* Duffy, Christopher (2002). Red Storm on the Reich: The Soviet
March on Germany, 1945. Edison, NJ: Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1624-0 .
* Ellis, L.F. (2004) . Butler, J. R. M. , ed. Victory in the West,
Volume II: The Defeat of Germany. History of the Second World War
United Kingdom Military Series. Naval & Military Press. ISBN
* Evans, Richard J. (2008). The Third Reich at War. New York:
Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-311671-4 .
* Eyre, Wayne (2006). "Operation RÖSSELSPRUNG and The Elimination
of Tito, May 25, 1944: A Failure in Planning and Intelligence
Support". Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Routledge, part of the
Taylor & Francis Group. 19 (2): 343–376. doi
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des
Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945. Wölfersheim-Berstadt, Germany:
Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5 .
* Fey, William (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS. Stackpole.
ISBN 978-0-8117-2905-5 .
* Fischer, Thomas (2008). Soldiers of the Leibstandarte. J.J.
Fedorowicz Publishing . ISBN 978-0-921991-91-5 .
* Flaherty, T. H. (2004) . The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life. ISBN
* Forbes, Robert (2010) . For Europe: The French Volunteers of the
Waffen-SS. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3581-0 .
* Fritz, Stephen (2011). Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in
the East. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN
* Gosztony, Peter (1978). Endkampf an der Donau 1944/45 (in German).
Vienna: Molden Taschenbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-217-05126-2 .
* "Götz von Berlichingen Diary". Retrieved 24 May 2013.
* "Greeks lose Nazi massacre claim". BBC News. 26 June 2003.
Retrieved 2 June 2013.
* Hannes, Heer; Naumann, Klaus (2000). War of Extermination: The
German Military in
World War II
World War II 1941–1944. Berghahn. ISBN
* Harclerode, Peter (2005). Wings Of War – Airborne Warfare
1918–1945. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-304-36730-6 .
* Harman, Nicholas (1980). Dunkirk: The Necessary Myth. Hodder and
Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-24299-X .
* Hastings, Max (2006) . Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for
Normandy. Vintage. ISBN 0-307-27571-X .
* Hastings , Max (2013). Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer
Division through France, June 1944. Minneapolis USA: Zenith Press.
ISBN 978-0-7603-4491-0 .
Italy convicts Nazis of massacre". BBC News. 13 January 2007.
Retrieved 2 June 2013.
* Jackson, Julian (2001). The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of
1940. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280550-9 .
* Jarymowycz, Roman (2001). Tank Tactics: From
Normandy to Lorraine.
Lynne Rienner. ISBN 1-55587-950-0 .
* Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton &
Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6 .
* Kirchmayer, Jerzy (1978). Powstanie Warszawskie (in Polish).
Książka i Wiedza. ISBN 83-05-11080-X .
* Król, Eugeniusz C. (2006). Polska i Polacy w propagandzie
narodowego socjalizmu w Niemczech 1919–1945 (in Polish). Warsaw:
Instytut Studiów Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk. ISBN
* Langer, Howard J.; Rudowski, Marek (2008). Księga
najważniejszych postaci II wojny światowej (in Polish). Warsaw:
Bellona. ISBN 978-83-11-11111-0 .
* Large, David C. (1987). "Reckoning without the Past: The
Waffen-SS and the Politics of Rehabilitation in the Bonn Republic,
1950–1961". The Journal of Modern History. University of Chicago
Press. 59 (1): 79–113.
JSTOR 1880378 . doi :10.1086/243161 .
* Latimer, Jon (2001). "World War II: 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer
Division Fought in Normandy".
World War II
World War II (July). Retrieved 16
* Levenda, Peter (2014). The Hitler Legacy: The Nazi Cult in
Diaspora: How it was Organized, How it was Funded, and Why it Remains
a Threat to Global Security in the Age of Terrorism. Lake Worth, Fla.:
Ibis Press. ISBN 978-0-89254-210-9 .
* "Lawrenceville Man Admits Training Concentration Camp Attack
Dogs". Cox Media Group. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
* Leland, Anne; Oboroceanu, Mari–Jana (2010). "American War and
Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics" (PDF).
Congressional Research Service.
* Littlejohn, David (1987). Foreign Legions of the Third Reich Vol.
1 Norway, Denmark, France. Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-0912138176 .
* Longerich, Peter (2012). Heinrich Himmler: A Life. Oxford; New
York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959232-6 .
* MacKenzie, S.P. (1997). Revolutionary Armies in the Modern Era: A
Revisionist Approach. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415096904 .
* Madajczyk, Czesław (1972). Polityka III Rzeszy w okupowanej
Polsce (in Polish). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.
* Margry, Karel (2001). The Four Battles for Kharkov. Battle of
OCLC 254320761 .
* McGilvray, Evan (2005). The Black Devil's March – A Doomed
Odyssey: The 1st Polish Armoured Division 1939–1945. Helion &
Company. ISBN 1-874622-42-6 .
* McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books. ISBN
* McNab, Chris (2013). Hitler's Elite: The SS 1939–45. Osprey.
ISBN 978-1-78200-088-4 .
* Michaelis, Rolf (2006). Die Waffen-SS. Mythos und Wirklichkeit (in
German). Berlin: Michaelis-Verlag.
* Miller, Michael (2006). Leaders of the SS and German Police, Vol.
1. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender. ISBN 978-93-297-0037-2 .
* Mitcham, Samuel (2001). The Panzer Legions: A Guide to the German
Army Tank Divisions of
World War II
World War II and Their Commanders. Greenwood.
ISBN 0-313-31640-6 .
* Mitcham, Samuel (2007). German Order of Battle, Volume 3.
Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3438-2 .
* Murray, Williamson ; Millett, Allan R. (2001). A War To Be Won:
Fighting the Second World War. Harvard University Press. ISBN
* Nash, Douglas E. (2002). Hell's Gate: The Battle of the Cherkassy
Pocket, January–February 1944. Southbury, Connecticut: RZM
Publishing. ISBN 0-9657584-3-5 .
* Staff (24 May 1945).
border:inherit; padding:inherit;">url= value (help ). Bend Bulletin.
Retrieved 4 March 2016.
* War Crimes Office (1948). "Nazi Crimes on Trial: The Dachau
Trials. Trials by U.S. Army Courts in Europe 1945 – 1948". U.S. Army
Trial Reviews and Recommendations. United States War Department.
Retrieved 3 June 2013.
* Neitzel, Sönke ; Welzer, Harald (2012). Soldaten: On Fighting,
Killing and Dying. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84983-949-5 .
Operation Nordwind in the Low Vosges 1–7 January 1945".
Retrieved 2 June 2013.
* Overmans, Rűdiger (2000). Deutsche militärische Verluste im
Zweiten Weltkrieg (in German). Munich: Oldenbourg. ISBN 3-486-56531-1
* Parker, Danny S. (2014). Hitler\'s Warrior: The Life and Wars of
SS Colonel Jochen Peiper. Boston: Da Capo Press. ISBN
* Picaper, Jean-Paul (2014). Les Ombres d'Oradour: 10 Juin 1944 (in
French). Paris: Éditions l'Archipel. ISBN 978-2-8098-1467-5 .
* Pieper, Henning (2015). Fegelein's Horsemen and Genocidal Warfare:
Brigade in the Soviet Union. Houndmills, Basingstoke,
Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-45631-1 .
* Raus, Erhard (2005). Panzer Operations. The Eastern Front Memoir
of General Raus, 1941–1945. DeCapo.
* Reitlinger, Gerald (1989). The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922–1945.
Da Capo. ISBN 978-0-306-80351-2 .
* "Remembering the invisible soldiers of the Battle of the Bulge".
U.S. Wereth Memorial. 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
* Reynolds, Michael (1997). Steel Inferno:
I SS Panzer Corps in
Normandy. Spellmount. ISBN 1-873376-90-1 .
* Reynolds, Michael (February 2003). "Massacre At Malmédy During
the Battle of the Bulge".
World War II
World War II Magazine.
* Ripley, Tim (2004). The
Waffen-SS at War: Hitler's Praetorians
1925–1945. Zenith Imprint. ISBN 0-7603-2068-3 .
* "The Sant\'Anna di Stazzema Massacre (August 1944)". Jewish
Virtual Library. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
* Rossino, Alexander B. (2003). Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg,
Ideology, and Atrocity. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
ISBN 0-7006-1234-3 .
* Schramm, Percy E. (1982). Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der
Wehrmacht 1944–1945 Teilband II (in German). Herrsching: Manfred
* Seaton, Albert (1971). The Russo-German War, 1941–45. New York:
Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-0-21376-478-4 .
* Smelser, Ronald; Davies, Edward J. (2008). The Myth of the Eastern
Front : The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture. New York:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83365-3 .
* "The Brown Bluff: How Waffen SS Veterans Exploited Postwar
Der Spiegel . 2011. Archived from the original on
2015-12-01. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
* Stackelberg, Roderick (2002). Hitler's Germany: Origins,
Interpretations, Legacies. London; New York: Taylor & Francis. ISBN
* Stein, George (1984) . The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War
1939–1945. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN
* Stroop, Jürgen (1943). "The Stroop Report: The
Warsaw Ghetto Is
Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
* Sydnor, Charles W. (1990) . Soldiers of Destruction: The SS
Death\'s Head Division, 1933–1945. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-00853-0 . Retrieved 2016-01-08.
* Tessin, Georg (1973). Verbände und Truppen der deutschen
Waffen-SS 1939–1945, Volumes II and III (in German).
* Thomson, Mike (23 September 2004). "Hitler\'s secret Indian army".
BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
Jewish Uprisings in Ghettos and Camps, 1941–1944: Resistance in
Ghettos". United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 28 May
* Ustinow, D. F (1981). Geschichte des zweiten Weltkrieges
1939–1945 (in German). X. Berlin: Militärverlag der Deutschen
* Weale, Adrian (2010). The SS: A New History. Little, Brown. ISBN
* Weale, Adrian (2012). Army of Evil: A History of the SS. New York:
Caliber Printing. ISBN 978-0-451-23791-0 .
* Wegner, Bernd (1990). The Waffen-SS: Organization, Ideology and
Function. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-14073-5 .
* Weinberg, Gerhard (1994). A World at Arms: A Global History of
World War II. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN
* Werther, Steffen; Hurd, Madeleine (2014). "Go East Old Man: The
Ritual Spaces of SS Veteran\'s Memory Work" (PDF). Culture Unbound.
Journal of Current Cultural Research. 6: 327–359. doi
:10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327 . Archived (PDF) from the original on 2
* Williamson, Gordon; Andrew, Stephan (2004). The
Waffen-SS (4): 24.
To 38. Divisions, & Volunteer Legions. Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-589-9 .
* Windrow, Martin; Burn, Cristopher (1992). The Waffen-SS, Edition
2. Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-425-5 .
* Wroniszewski, Józef (1970).
Ochota 1944 (in Polish). Warsaw:
Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej.
* Zetterling, Niklas; Frankson, Anders (2008). The Korsun Pocket:
The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944.
Philadelphia: Casemate. ISBN 978-1-932033-88-5 .
* Ziemke, Earl F. (1968). Stalingrad to Berlin: The German Defeat in
the East. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History – U.S.
Army. ASIN B002E5VBSE .
* Zimmermann, Elizabeth (21 January 2004). "Former SS member faces
trial for war crimes in the Netherlands". World Socialist Web Site.
International Committee of the Fourth International. Retrieved 3 June
* Zwack, Peter (1999). "World War II: Siege of Budapest". Quarterly
Journal of Military History.
* Clark, Lloyd (2004). Operation Epsom. Battle Zone Normandy.
History Press. ISBN 0-7509-3008-X .
* Lasik, Aleksander (2007). Sztafety Ochronne w systemie niemieckich
obozów koncentracyjnych. Rozwój organizacyjny, ewolucja zadań i
struktur oraz socjologiczny obraz obozowych załóg SS (in Polish).
Auschwitz-Birkenau: Państwowe Muzeum. ISBN 83-60210-32-2 .
* Wiesenthal, Simon ; Wechsberg, Joseph (1967). The Murderers Among
Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs. McGraw-Hill. LCN 67-13204.
* Wilke, Karsten (2011). Die "Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit"
(HIAG) 1950–1990: Veteranen der
Waffen-SS in der Bundesrepublik (in
German). Paderborn: Schoeningh Ferdinand GmbH. ISBN 978-3-506-77235-0
* Media related to
Waffen-SS at Wikimedia Commons
* SS Panzer
SS Panzer Brigade 150
* 4th SS Volunteer