german antinazis in french army

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Mannet
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german antinazis in french army

Post by Mannet » 06 Mar 2020 09:59

hi, I'm searching informations about Germans and Austrians (former members of Schutzbund, Reichsbanner Schwarz Rot Gold), that were serving in French army, foreign legion or resistance.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: german antinazis in french army

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Mar 2020 17:48

Cant answer that directly. What I can say is the French separated the German nationals, & former German nationals and confined them to separate units restricted to non combat roles & placed well away from the front. German nationals not in the French military were rounded up and confined to internment camps. Some in the same camps refugees from Spain were being sent to. There were exceptions & it would be interesting knowing some statistics on this subject.

Mannet
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Re: german antinazis in french army

Post by Mannet » 09 Mar 2020 08:34

but what with French Foreign Legion? I heared, that there were many ex- Thälemann Brigade members, and other resistance volunteers. Is it known, how many Germans served in FFL on allied side?

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Loïc
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Re: German antinazis in French Army

Post by Loïc » 09 Mar 2020 17:47

There is already a thread opened concerning your query about German Legionnaries in the usual overestimated-romanticized-hollywoodian-telenovela-beau geste-myths-and-legends folkore about the Foreign Legion, was very far to be a place for antinazis and antifascists only

Germans in the Foreign Legion:
viewtopic.php?f=112&t=87447

now for the rest :

For very obvious reasons the French authorities and military, then French Resistance and the French people as a whole were very reluctant to see Germans in their soil or in the ranks of their Army, and even until the labour prestataires companies raised for all foreign refugees in 1939

it is estimated that around 50 000 Germans and Austrians refugees (mostly jews) were in France c.1939, the exact number remained unknown because many Austrians jews entered clandestinely by the Italian border, and add to that the may 1940 major Exodus taking place in Northern France, as from Netherlands and Belgium came an other flow of refugees from both countries, e.g. of the 13 500 interned German from Belgium (from 25 000 living there) crossing the French border, the half has evaporated on the way

their status was different from Spanish republicans refugees, first because these ones were not at all mainly in the wartime camps, they have been largely evacuated (except brigadistes and others anarcho-syndicalists) at this time joining the labour companies or simply having a job in the French economy, agriculture, industry... and second - abyssal difference - unlike the Germans and Austrians the Spanish-Republicans were not considered as enemy aliens even if their country was perceveid as hostile and allied to the nazis

About the ~50 000 Austro-Germans, in september 1939 were interned around 12 to 14 000 Germans and 5000 Austrians as belonging to an enemy nationality, not counting 1200 brigadists already interned,
a great number remained free (e.g. Dept. of Maritimes Alpes : 500 to 800 interned vs 1500 remaining frees) and actually many of the interned were totally released in the following weeks and months

the French Army didn't wish them in the ranks as the Foreign Legion had enough germans (9 000), and can't or didn't want to use germans against germans, even the Compagnies de Travailleurs Etrangers (CTE) of the Army didn't admit them in their ranks as enemy aliens

however there were volunteers in the newly raised RMVE and REI like the 12e REI said to have around 30% of german-speaking jews (see above mentionned thread)

in May 1940 with their compatriots invading France and fifth column paranoia, the 12th may it was decided in emergency to intern or re-intern them (as they have been largely released during the phoney war)
this time the French authorities considered enough possible to put (part of) them in the labour prestataires companies, new Compagnies de Travailleurs Etrangers of the French Army were raised for around 5300 men of the 46 000 planned until july1940 (I have identified around 18 companies numbered in the serie 300, including german-speaking brigadists in the 258th coy) as some further foreign labour companies for the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps of the British Expeditionnary Force

in july 1940 inspecting the camps in southern free zone the germans commissions found around only 7500 interned germans (of which 5000 jews) but it seems there was concealment from French military or civilian authorities as many were antinazis jews, however some of them asked help, preferring to back home rather than remain in the camps or in the chaos

Then came the period of Nazi German occupation, and for some of them the Resistance in a country occupied by their compatriots, in such complicated position it is estimated that around 1000 participated in the Resistance

under PCF - MOI was organized the «T.A.» Travail Allemand or Travail Antifasciste/Antinazi Allemand (Otto Niebergal of the Freies Deutschland CALPO/KFDW, Artur London, Langer) with antinazi propaganda and demoralisation of the Occupation troops, periodicals Soldat im Western and Soldat am Mittelmeer (Hans Zipper, and the Austrians Franz Marek, Oskar Grossmann as chief editors) as well as use groups of youngs girls to do any antinazi infiltration
there is also the tragic case of Austrians volunteers to be free workers under a false nationality to back home in Austria in order to organize the Resistance there, they were nearly all identified and killed

The T.A. had established regular contacts with 70 units or services of the Wehrmacht in France,
the T.A. was for the Austrians in particular their most important underground network, and their antinazi undermining judged so serious that a specialized team was sent from Vienna to Paris to identify them

in the southern, former free, zone after november 1942 came the time of the Maquis,
it existed one group of 25 to 30 Freies Österreich with the Maquis of the Armagnac,
but most known it is the case of Otto Künhe's Brigade Montaigne topic of a book Un Maquis d'Antifascistes Allemands en France 1942-1944 in the Maquis of Lozère with around 30 Austro-Germans partisans
also individual cases such as two Austrian interpreters, Roger Kerber of the Saint Cloud Kommandantur, informing the Resistance, or Fritz Meznik in Etampes passing to the Resistance after two years of regulars contacts with it
in 1944 there was an aborted attempt to raise a german regiment Corps Franc Ferdinand von Schill

Regards
Loïc L.

Mannet
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Re: german antinazis in french army

Post by Mannet » 29 Mar 2020 13:05

and how about Germans in french Resistance? I've read, that there were quite a lot of them...

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Loïc
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Re: German antinazis in French Army

Post by Loïc » 29 Mar 2020 13:59

A lot...??....do you have read above and below
Loïc wrote:
09 Mar 2020 17:47
the period of Nazi German occupation, and for some of them the Resistance in a country occupied by their compatriots, in such complicated position it is estimated that around 1000 participated in the Resistance

under PCF - MOI was organized the «T.A.» Travail Allemand or Travail Antifasciste/Antinazi Allemand (Otto Niebergal of the Freies Deutschland CALPO/KFDW, Artur London, Langer) with antinazi propaganda and demoralisation of the Occupation troops, periodicals Soldat im Western and Soldat am Mittelmeer (Hans Zipper, and the Austrians Franz Marek, Oskar Grossmann as chief editors) as well as use groups of youngs girls to do any antinazi infiltration
there is also the tragic case of Austrians volunteers to be free workers under a false nationality to back home in Austria in order to organize the Resistance there, they were nearly all identified and killed

The T.A. had established regular contacts with 70 units or services of the Wehrmacht in France,
the T.A. was for the Austrians in particular their most important underground network, and their antinazi undermining judged so serious that a specialized team was sent from Vienna to Paris to identify them

in the southern, former free, zone after november 1942 came the time of the Maquis,
it existed one group of 25 to 30 Freies Österreich with the Maquis of the Armagnac,
but most known it is the case of Otto Künhe's Brigade Montaigne topic of a book Un Maquis d'Antifascistes Allemands en France 1942-1944 in the Maquis of Lozère with around 30 Austro-Germans partisans
also individual cases such as two Austrian interpreters, Roger Kerber of the Saint Cloud Kommandantur, informing the Resistance, or Fritz Meznik in Etampes passing to the Resistance after two years of regulars contacts with it
in 1944 there was an aborted attempt to raise a german regiment Corps Franc Ferdinand von Schill

Regards
Loïc L.

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