Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

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Hyus
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Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by Hyus » 05 Sep 2020 19:08

I don't know enough about this topic to verify, but I was reading an article online which claimed that there were around 200 members of the Flemish Legion who refused to swear the SS oath of allegiance in 1943 when the Flemish Legion was merged into the Waffen SS. If this is true, can anyone tell me what happened to these men who refused to join the Waffen SS? Also, is there any information about their motivations for refusing to swear the oath?

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Wim
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Re: Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by Wim » 22 Sep 2020 12:36

Hello,

The reason that they didn't want to swear the SS oath on Hitler was because they didn't want to swear an oath on an foreign leader and they already swore an oath. They were recruted to fight in an Flemish unit with Flemish officers etc ... Not 1 of the promissese were actualy executed. Their views were an independent Flanders so they only wanted to swaer an oath to Flanders.

Greetings

Wim
Any information about Flemisch in German service (Waffen SS, OT, NSKK, Kriegsmarine, DRK, ...) during WWII is welcome.

MarcV
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Re: Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by MarcV » 24 Sep 2020 18:38

Hi, my great uncle joined the Netherlands Legion in 1941 and fought on the Volkhov front. I recently looked into his files that are kept at the CABR in the Hague. There it was mentioned that he refused to swear the SS oath (when the Legion was incorporated into a "real" Waffen-SS division) because (in his words) he volunteered to fight bolshewism and the SS would fight everywhere. He was also conscious of the fact that his mother was Polish which would disqualify him although at that time the racial requirements for especially foreign SS legions were not enforced. He and three others were initially kept for penal duties until October 1943 in Graz. After that sent to the SS-prison camp Hinzert and ended up in March-April 1945 in Buchenwald as a political prisoner. Seems that a number of people in the national Legions were unaware initially that the legions were part of the Waffen-SS already from the beginning.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Sep 2020 14:03

Hi MarcV,

My impression was that the various "legions" were initially raised, trained and equipped by the German Army and only transferred to the Waffen-SS in early 1943 when Himmler and Goebbels concocted their Pan-European-Crusade-against-Bolshevism policy.

Except among the "Germanic" people's of north-west Europe, the initially racially purist W-SS lagged behind the Army in recruiting foreign units. When these legions were transfered to the W-SS, they all initially lost some of their original membership.

Cheers,

Sid

MarcV
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Re: Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by MarcV » 27 Sep 2020 21:08

Hi Sid,

Probably depends as well on what legions we refer to...
As far as I know only the Walloon Legion under Degrelle was part of the Wehrmacht; most of the others in the European countries were raised by Himmler around 1941 but due to losses and the politics you mentioned in 1942-1943 absorbed into the reformed SS divisions (source: David Littlejohn, Patriotic Traitors, p108: "from the very start the legion, known properly as the Freiwilligen (sic) Legion Niederlande ... was under the jurisdiction of the S.S. In Germany the volunteers were kitted out with the normal Waffen S.S. field-grey uniform distinguished by a shield in the Dutch national colours.")

The wehrmacht had a number of other formations with foreigners, especially from the Soviet-Union: ostlegionen from non-slavic origin or ostbataillonen from slavic origin.

Best regards,

Marc

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Flemish Legion members who refused to join Waffen SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Sep 2020 06:14

Hi MarcV,

The Dutch were amongst the "Germanic" peoples of north-West Europe reserved to W-SS recruitment. The Walloons, French and Spanish were all initially raised, trained and equipped by the German Army. The same was true of the Croatian Legion, three Croatian divisions and four RSI Italian divisions, the Turkoman Division, the ROA, the Arab and Indian Legions, etc., etc.

In 1941-42 the German high command was initially too racially purist to recruit Eastern volunteers and the German Army had to enlist hundreds of thousands of Hiwis secretly. It took the W-SS until the winter of 1942-43 to start recruiting Estonians and Latvians.

Outside north-West Europe the Waffen-SS lagged well behind the more pragmatic German Army in the recruitment of most foreigners. Indeed, it and the regime's racial ideology were at first an obstacle to it.

Cheers,

Sid.

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