Religion in the Waffen-SS

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harry palmer
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Religion in the Waffen-SS

Post by harry palmer » 15 Jul 2002 13:47

http://www.reenactor.net/kb/articles/schonhuber.htm

Franz Schönhuber’s account of basic training for SS-Leibstandarte in July 1942;

“One Unterscharführer was particularly mean to those soldiers who continued to attend church. The Prussian instructors were tolerant, but this particular Uscha was Viennese. For those soldiers who insisted on attending church, Franz included, Sunday afternoons were spent in the courtyard, knees bent, rifle held in outstretched arms, hopping around on the Uscha’s command. The Unterscharführer would stand in front of a shallow ditch, full of mud. On his command, Franz and his Catholic friends would have to crawl the 20 meters forward, from head to toe covered in mud. This later cost them hours spent cleaning their uniforms and equipment. Once the soldiers were through cleaning their equipment, the Uscha would enter the barracks, yell “Gas!” and with this command the men put on their gas masks. “So now you’ll sing for me! Sing ‘Es ist so schön ein Soldat zu sein’.” From underneath the gas masks came the muffled cords of the song. Some of the men tried to catch some fresh air by placing a wooden match stick between the gas mask and their chins, but the Uscha took note of everything. The worst punishment the Uscha could give out was “Pumpen.” He would order, “5 for the Pope…and now 5 for the Holy Ghost…and 5 for the Virgin Mary…” and so on. Later the soldiers told another instructor, Unterscharführer “B” of their “Christian exercises.” He immediately told the Kompanieführer, who set things straight. One evening he ordered the “unrighteous” Uscha, “Now you give me 10 knee bends for Sepp Dietrich…and 10 for Heinrich Himmler….now 10 for the Waffen-SS…” etc. Soon their problems were over.”

From Leon Degrelle’s “Epic: The Story of the Waffen SS”-

“I was the first one to have Catholic padres in the Waffen SS. Later padres of all denominations were available to all those who wanted them. The Islamic SS division had their own mullahs and the French even had a bishop! We were satisfied that with Hitler, Europeans would be federated as equals.”
“This was demonstrated when the Waffen SS enlarged it’s ranks to include 60,000 Islamic SS. The Waffen SS respected their way of life, their customs, and their religious beliefs. Each Islamic SS battalion had an Imam, each company had a mullah…. I was present when each of my Islamic comrades received a personal gift from Hitler during the new year. It was a pendant with a small Koran”

I am wary as to the veracity of the above, both individuals having had a background in extreme right wing politics. Degrelle in particular was famed for being economical with the truth, so much so that the original members of the SS Legion Wallonie coined a (swiftly banned) marching song; “Leon, redis-moi tes mensognes, tu mens si bien” (Leon, keep telling me your lies, you’re so good at lying.) There does seem to have been a Catholic chaplain, Georges Sales, appointed to Degrelle’s legion.
(http://www.geocities.com/narwa44/article3.htm)

There was provision for “Religion’ in the Waffen SS Soldbuch, the choices being Katholic, Lutheran,or, vastly more preferable from a Nazi point of view, “Gottglaubekeit”, that is a belief in God without any allegiance to any established church.
Himmler “virulently anti-church (Theodore Eicke was even more so), even though he adopted many practical Jesuit principles in the organization and creed of the SS, to such an extent that Hitler called him ‘my Ignatious Loyala’ after the founder of the society of Jesus. This anti-Christian campaign was never even nearly wholly successful and almost half the men in the original Waffen SS regiments remained churchgoers despite peer criticism and insult (the figure was only 31 per cent in the Totenkopfverbande)” OSPREY WARRIOR SERIES, WAFFEN-SS SOLDIER
Bruce Quarrie & Jeffrey Burn


Yet more proof that “there are no atheists in foxholes?”

Ovidius
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Re: Religion in the Waffen-SS

Post by Ovidius » 15 Jul 2002 15:10

harry palmer wrote:Later the soldiers told another instructor, Unterscharführer “B” of their “Christian exercises.” He immediately told the Kompanieführer, who set things straight. One evening he ordered the “unrighteous” Uscha, “Now you give me 10 knee bends for Sepp Dietrich…and 10 for Heinrich Himmler….now 10 for the Waffen-SS…” etc. Soon their problems were over.”


The most appropriate punishment, I'd say, although the Uscha might have complained also over his commander "mocking/insulting" their leaders, which could have attracted him also a punishment, and so on... :mrgreen:

harry palmer wrote:From Leon Degrelle’s “Epic: The Story of the Waffen-SS”-

“I was the first one to have Catholic padres in the Waffen SS. Later padres of all denominations were available to all those who wanted them. The Islamic SS division had their own mullahs and the French even had a bishop! We were satisfied that with Hitler, Europeans would be federated as equals.”


harry palmer wrote:There was provision for “Religion’ in the Waffen-SS Soldbuch, the choices being Katholic, Lutheran,or, vastly more preferable from a Nazi point of view, “Gottglaubekeit”, that is a belief in God without any allegiance to any established church.


The Gottgläubigkeit("belief in God") as the official religious denomination, appeared before the war from the desire of the senior SS commanders to "make peace between goat and cabbage" :D (to appease Himmler's kinky ideas about religion, but in the same time to fulfil Hitler's desire for a perfectly united community without religious conflicts between the men, and to satisfy their men religious feelings). Many senior Waffen-SS officers had this specification in their Soldbuch from the pre-war years.

harry palmer wrote:Yet more proof that “there are no atheists in foxholes?”


In the foxholes, they aren't. The training grounds in the garrison are a different thing. :mrgreen:

~Regards,

Ovidius

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K.Kocjancic
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Re: Religion in the Waffen-SS

Post by K.Kocjancic » 09 Jul 2007 21:07

harry palmer wrote:From Leon Degrelle’s “Epic: The Story of the Waffen SS”-

“I was the first one to have Catholic padres in the Waffen SS. Later padres of all denominations were available to all those who wanted them. The Islamic SS division had their own mullahs and the French even had a bishop! We were satisfied that with Hitler, Europeans would be federated as equals.”


A French bishop in W-SS? Does anyone have info on this? Probably just nonsense.

Regards,
Klemen

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Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 09 Jul 2007 21:36

He wasn't a bishop, but there was a cleric with the LVF and successor SS-Sturmbrigade and Division Charlemagne. He was Monseigneur Comte Jean de Mayol de Lupe.

There was also a Catholic priest, Louis Fierens, with the Legion Wallonie. He disapproved of the transfer to the Waffen-SS, and left the unit after Cherkassy. He was succeeeded by the monk Leon Stockman, who was known by his monastic name of Padre Gerard with the 28. SS-FGD.

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K.Kocjancic
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Post by K.Kocjancic » 10 Jul 2007 04:53

OK, thanks!

So he overstated his position.

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Klemen

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 12 Jul 2007 18:01

The Finns serving in Wiking had also an SS-Ustuf.Ensio Pihkala as their chaplain/liason officer.He was KIA 6.8.41.He was followed by SS-Ostubaf.Kalervo Kurkiala.

Finnish volunteer Sakari Lappi-Seppälä in his book "Haudat Dnjeprin Varrella" has sober few lines of that old phrase of atheist in foxholes.From page 122 dealing with very heavy fights in Dnjepropetrovsk beach-head in September 41:

"In hellish artillery fire that beach-head was in when 124 Russian batteries grinded that day and night with all calibre guns,airforce bombed daily and anti-aricraft guns and thousands machine-guns fired many atheist changed their minds complitely.I've never saw Germans so earnestly kneeled in trech and praying god."

Cheers/Juha

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HaEn
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WSS

Post by HaEn » 12 Jul 2007 18:29

Although I entered the service rather late ( 1April'44); I learned fast that the Waffen SS (with exception of SOME noncoms and officers) was not anti-religious; just "a"-religious.
Exept for the first three weeks of our basic training, when nobody left the compound, there were routinely passes issued to those who wanted to go to church, in the nearby town.
Those who did not belong to a recognized group, could still be listed as "Gottesglaubig" (believing in God). That also went for small churches like the Apostolic Faith, I belonged to; even when a lay-priest of my church sent a message that my mother was terminally ill, the message was given serious consideration. The urlaub came too late though, she meanwhile had died. I had the dubious honor of being the first of the unit to ever go in my uniform, with a weapon, on funeral leave, while still in basic training..
There's more to the story, but this is the part that pertains to the thread.
HN

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Daniel Laurent
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Post by Daniel Laurent » 14 Jul 2007 11:13

Hi, everybody,
There were two roman catholic chaplain in the 33.Waffen-Grenadier-division der SS “Charlemagne”:
General Chaplain IV/d : W-Stubaf Mgr De Mayol De Lupé
Chaplain (At Greifenberg) : W-Ustuf Vernay
Source :
http://www.histoquiz-contemporain.com/H ... gramme.htm
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Daniel

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Post by Spitz » 14 Jul 2007 12:35

I also remember hearing in some documentary that Himmler had pagan leanings, with hopes of turning the SS into a pagan cult worshiping former Germanic gods of the Roman era. Any truth to that? Or was it as misguided as "global warming"...?

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HaEn
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Post by HaEn » 15 Jul 2007 22:22

Our Reichsheini also was obsessed with King Arthur and the Round table, as well as the 'Holy Grail". So who knows what went on in that pointy little head of his :)
Perhaps before the war he had the notion to return to the old Nordic Gods, but as the war progressed and we got foreign volunteers with their own backgrounds, he slowly may have changed his mind and there are even some photographs around of him shaking hands with 'religious leaders".
HN

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dbloge
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Post by dbloge » 04 Aug 2007 08:49

it is my understanding that there were no "official" chaplains in the SS whatsover........does anyone have pics to confirm an ss chaplain in proper chaplain uniform.......ie-no shoulderboards etc..

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Daniel Laurent
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Post by Daniel Laurent » 04 Aug 2007 09:04

Mayol de Lupe, chaplain of the LVF and the Charlemagne
Image

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Marski, Rokka & Kossu
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Post by Marski, Rokka & Kossu » 08 Aug 2007 16:51

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_mysticism

"The SS had invented its own mystical religion, based very loosely upon imagery taken from Germanic tribal faiths combined with Christianity and "visions" from those figures in order to counter what they viewed as the Jewish-influenced religion of Christianity.[10] Mystical organizations were created, usually connected with elite SS corps, and adopting specific rituals, initiations and beliefs.[11] This religion was seen as the German original race-cult religion (ursprüngliche Rassenkult-Religion, a phrase attributed to SS-member Rudolf J. Mund), however, what exactly was indoctrinated in the SS about it is not known.[12]"

The Order of the Death's Head has more information about this subject.

http://www.amazon.com/Order-Deaths-Head ... 0141390123

This book is an excellent source to the new religion that Himmler and others created. SS was seen as primarily a militaristic religious order. Still the SS-men had little interest for the occult teachings. This was rather disappointing for Himmler.

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Re: Religion in the Waffen-SS

Post by kiwi123 » 23 Jun 2010 12:52

This seems to be the most appropriate thread to post this question on. (Another is http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5&start=15 ).

I've been reading Heinz Linge's memoirs, "With Hitler to the End". Following the 1939 Polish campaign, he relates Hitler's frustrations with von Brauchitsch et al, and then he goes on to say this: "... he was even more upset after the SS-Polizei-Division (formed in 1939 and later transferred to the Waffen SS Feb 42) expressed a wish for divisional priests."

Does anyone know anything about the background of this request? Obviously many of those blokes would have had not a few sins to confess, and many of Himmler's more obvious anti church policies came later on, but it still struck me as an incredible request, coming from an SS formation. What is clear in "Hitler's Table Talk" is the extraordinary depth of Hitler's anti church sentiments. Over and over again, his most vitriolic distribes were directed at the Church, almost as though his hatred for Christendom rivalled his hatred of Jewry. If he could have gained more widespread public support, one wonders if Christians might not have found themselves targets of a second "Final Solution".

Does anyone know about the context of the SS-Polizei-Division's request for divisional priests? I am presuming that they were active in the post invasion intelligentsia round-ups, though I may mistakenly be associating them with the Christopher Browning Police Battalion 101 study? (I'm not much familiar with the workings of the SS).

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Re: Religion in the Waffen-SS

Post by schmitty65 » 06 Oct 2010 20:43

I have always heard that the Roman Catholics were persicuted by the Reich. Is this a misnomer or based in any fact.

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