Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations. Hosted by George Lepre.
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Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Post by Facu90 » 13 Oct 2020 06:38

I hear that they were more ukrainians,caucasians and central asians but i want to hear the opinions of the experts here.

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Re: Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Post by Emilie » 19 Oct 2020 07:51

I am not an expert at all but when I read your post, it reminded me straight away of a book I found in my town's museum. The book is about my town during the German occupation and after the liberation. It is full of photos and comments. My town has been liberated by the British and you can photos of them parading in the street of my town. You can also see photos of American troops parading because they came and stayed here until the end of the war to use the airport probably to bomb Germany alongside the British. Then a very interesting photo of about sixty men maybe more parading in German uniforms. The comment says that they were ex Russian prisoners. One of them is holding a Soviet flag. I had no clue that there were Russians among the occupying troops in my town. They were allowed to parade alongside the allies after the liberation. My town is Beauvais in Northern-Western France.

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Re: Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Post by AriX » 19 Mar 2021 21:33

Only "Russian Liberaation Army" of A.Vlasov was 120.000 strong. This number inludes in total number of 400.000 russians , who served in German Army during WW2 ( hi-wis included).

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Re: Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Post by Martin_from_Valhalla » 19 Mar 2021 23:14

I don't know the exact numbers but Russians definitely formed the majority of Soviet collaborators, just because Russians were the biggest ethnic group in USSR. Also Russians formed the majority in GULAGs. However, more Ukrainians and Belorussians were killed in the Eastern Front because less Russian terrotories were occupied.

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Re: Were the russians the mayority of soviet volunteers in the wehrmacht and SS?

Post by thezerech » 15 Apr 2021 16:31

Russians made up the majority of the Red Army and a significant amount of government/party officials in Soviet-occupied Ukraine and Belarus when the Germans invaded, they made up a significant majority of collaborators and volunteers in the Axis armed forces certainly, that is not in doubt. Also of note is that most collaborators in the former Soviet Union were former communists and local soviet officials, not nationalists or in Russia "Whites", collaboration was not a purely political or national phenomenon, although to an extent you could certainly say that in Belarus and Ukraine the communists had been collaborating with Stalin before they were collaborating with Hitler so it was not a difficult switch. Proportions of foreign servicemen in Axis armies are subject to some debate, but the consensus is pretty clear that the majority were Russian, although just because one unit might be 'Russian' others may have ended up in it, other Slavs, Baltics, Central Asians, or even Volksdeutsch, likewise for many other units the same is the case it would be unfair to assume any unit designated with 'x' label is 100% 'x' in the majority of SS and Wehrmacht units, which usually picked up an assortment of people from wherever they could get them. Some units, like the Ukrainian National Army, made efforts to ensure that no Russians served in its ranks, to ensure differentiation with the ROA, but that's an exception and apparently, Czechs and Slovaks ended up in its ranks. The ROA certainly had an assortment of Soviet citizens in its ranks, the vast vast majority were Russian of course. I'm just saying all this because there will almost always be exceptions to the rules, and it's important to couch these discussions with recognition of those nuances.

There isn't one consensus as far as I'm aware for proportions in nonmilitary units, what is of note is that generally designations of identity by the Germans can be misleading, especially in terms of units attached to specific RKs, where geography determined labels and not ethnicity, but generally auxiliary units were drawn from all local populations mixed with, in the east, red army PoWs with the massive exception, of course, being Jews for obvious reasons. Hiwis in RK Ukraine could be made up of Poles and Russians and in Belarus of Ukrainians and Lithuanians. No one collective really comes out unscathed.

Of note also is that there were some "white Russian" collaborators in occupied Yugoslavia distinct from the ROA, also in Manchuria interestingly enough.

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