Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

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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G. Trifkovic
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by G. Trifkovic » 31 Oct 2021 13:58

Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:27
I never expected those sorts of records to exist from the Yugoslav partisans, thanks for sharing it Klemen. Yes, I wonder if someone else here knows more.
Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 31 Oct 2021 14:03

G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 13:58
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:27
I never expected those sorts of records to exist from the Yugoslav partisans, thanks for sharing it Klemen. Yes, I wonder if someone else here knows more.
Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius
Thanks Gaius. It seems the Yugoslav partisans were attracting Axis troops from quite a few different locations. I wonder if, in the cases you've mentioned, their motivations were similar to the Swedes that Lasse mentioned (i.e. they got fed up with the way their German bosses were treating them), or if there were other motivating factors.

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G. Trifkovic
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by G. Trifkovic » 31 Oct 2021 16:21

Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 14:03
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 13:58
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:27
I never expected those sorts of records to exist from the Yugoslav partisans, thanks for sharing it Klemen. Yes, I wonder if someone else here knows more.
Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius
Thanks Gaius. It seems the Yugoslav partisans were attracting Axis troops from quite a few different locations. I wonder if, in the cases you've mentioned, their motivations were similar to the Swedes that Lasse mentioned (i.e. they got fed up with the way their German bosses were treating them), or if there were other motivating factors.
Hi Hayes,

I have no information on what was the exact motive behind these three incidents. However, it is known that many Soviet citizens who joined the legionary outfits did so only in order to escape murderous German captivity, and consequently looked for the first opportunity to escape. The Croat-manned infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht (the 369th, 373rd, and 392nd) were notorious for high desertion rates practically ever since they had been created, and this only intensified as the war went on. The Pelješac mutiny - which happened on 18 September and not early October as I initially wrote - might have been inspired by the recently expired Yugoslav general amnesty. It should also be noted that it coincided with the Partisan offensive on the peninsula.

Best,

Gaius

P.S. Number of desertions in Croat legionary divisions in late 1944:

September: 364 (77 returned)
October: 390 (63 returned)
November: 700 (22 returned)

Hayes
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Posts: 48
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Location: the Isles

Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 31 Oct 2021 16:47

G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 16:21
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 14:03
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 13:58
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:27
I never expected those sorts of records to exist from the Yugoslav partisans, thanks for sharing it Klemen. Yes, I wonder if someone else here knows more.
Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius
Thanks Gaius. It seems the Yugoslav partisans were attracting Axis troops from quite a few different locations. I wonder if, in the cases you've mentioned, their motivations were similar to the Swedes that Lasse mentioned (i.e. they got fed up with the way their German bosses were treating them), or if there were other motivating factors.
Hi Hayes,

I have no information on what was the exact motive behind these three incidents. However, it is known that many Soviet citizens who joined the legionary outfits did so only in order to escape murderous German captivity, and consequently looked for the first opportunity to escape. The Croat-manned infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht (the 369th, 373rd, and 392nd) were notorious for high desertion rates practically ever since they had been created, and this only intensified as the war went on. The Pelješac mutiny - which happened on 18 September and not early October as I initially wrote - might have been inspired by the recently expired Yugoslav general amnesty. It should also be noted that it coincided with the Partisan offensive on the peninsula.

Best,

Gaius

P.S. Number of desertions in Croat legionary divisions in late 1944:

September: 364 (77 returned)
October: 390 (63 returned)
November: 700 (22 returned)
True enough. Although I was under the impression that anti-communism was also one of the main driving forces towards people like the Kalmyks, Russians, Turkics, etc. joining the Germans, given what they'd already experienced under the USSR. That's why it surprised me a bit to find them some of them defecting to communist partisans.

Could you elaborate on that Yugoslav general amnesty please? I'm not very familiar with the war in Yugoslavia, so I don't know what that incident was about.

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G. Trifkovic
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by G. Trifkovic » 31 Oct 2021 19:09

Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 16:47
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 16:21
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 14:03
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 13:58
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:27
I never expected those sorts of records to exist from the Yugoslav partisans, thanks for sharing it Klemen. Yes, I wonder if someone else here knows more.
Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius
Thanks Gaius. It seems the Yugoslav partisans were attracting Axis troops from quite a few different locations. I wonder if, in the cases you've mentioned, their motivations were similar to the Swedes that Lasse mentioned (i.e. they got fed up with the way their German bosses were treating them), or if there were other motivating factors.
Hi Hayes,

I have no information on what was the exact motive behind these three incidents. However, it is known that many Soviet citizens who joined the legionary outfits did so only in order to escape murderous German captivity, and consequently looked for the first opportunity to escape. The Croat-manned infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht (the 369th, 373rd, and 392nd) were notorious for high desertion rates practically ever since they had been created, and this only intensified as the war went on. The Pelješac mutiny - which happened on 18 September and not early October as I initially wrote - might have been inspired by the recently expired Yugoslav general amnesty. It should also be noted that it coincided with the Partisan offensive on the peninsula.

Best,

Gaius

P.S. Number of desertions in Croat legionary divisions in late 1944:

September: 364 (77 returned)
October: 390 (63 returned)
November: 700 (22 returned)
True enough. Although I was under the impression that anti-communism was also one of the main driving forces towards people like the Kalmyks, Russians, Turkics, etc. joining the Germans, given what they'd already experienced under the USSR. That's why it surprised me a bit to find them some of them defecting to communist partisans.

Could you elaborate on that Yugoslav general amnesty please? I'm not very familiar with the war in Yugoslavia, so I don't know what that incident was about.
Hi Hayes,

On 31 August 1944, Tito, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Committee of Liberation of Yugoslavia and the Supreme Commander of the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia issued "Last Call to All Mislead Lackeys of Occupier", calling upon Croatian and Slovene Home Guards, the mislead Chetniks, "and others", to defect within the next fifteen days. The failure to do so would basically make them liable for summary execution. However, individuals who came over after the deadline could still hope for clemency if they could provide a good reason for the delay. The legionnaires of the II./370. GR were probably running for the last train, and hoped to ingratiate themselves with the Partisans by killing their German officers and NCOs.

Below: a Partisan leaflet from Croatia convincingly explaining the "Last Call" to the Croatian Home Guards. The tile reads "15. September is the final deadline" and the one on the sword/watch hand reads "People's Tribunal". The text is an excerpt from Tito's proclamation.
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Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 31 Oct 2021 19:11

G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 19:09
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 16:47
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 16:21
Hayes wrote:
31 Oct 2021 14:03
G. Trifkovic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 13:58


Hi Hayes,

there exists a dedicated monograph on the majority of the Partisan brigades. Many (if not all) of them come with a comprehensive list of all persons who were known to have served with the unit in question. This kind of information was obtained from wartime documents, records kept by the local veterans' unions, and author research.

As for you main question, here are three more examples from Yugoslavia:

- On 5.2.1944 outside of Pula, 22 Kalmyks killed their German leaders and went over to the Partisans; the remaining Kalymks were sent to the Training Battalion of the 162. ID for investigation;

- In early October 1944 on Pelješac Peninsula, parts of III./370 Grenadier Regiment/369. ID mutinied and killed their officers and NCOs; the rest of the battalion was disarmed and decimated, with at least 127 Croats being sent to Germany as forced laborers;

- On 28.11.1944 in Montenegro, one company of III. (Turk.)/359th Grenadier Regiment/181. ID deserted to the Partisans, the battalion was disarmed.

Best,

Gaius
Thanks Gaius. It seems the Yugoslav partisans were attracting Axis troops from quite a few different locations. I wonder if, in the cases you've mentioned, their motivations were similar to the Swedes that Lasse mentioned (i.e. they got fed up with the way their German bosses were treating them), or if there were other motivating factors.
Hi Hayes,

I have no information on what was the exact motive behind these three incidents. However, it is known that many Soviet citizens who joined the legionary outfits did so only in order to escape murderous German captivity, and consequently looked for the first opportunity to escape. The Croat-manned infantry divisions of the Wehrmacht (the 369th, 373rd, and 392nd) were notorious for high desertion rates practically ever since they had been created, and this only intensified as the war went on. The Pelješac mutiny - which happened on 18 September and not early October as I initially wrote - might have been inspired by the recently expired Yugoslav general amnesty. It should also be noted that it coincided with the Partisan offensive on the peninsula.

Best,

Gaius

P.S. Number of desertions in Croat legionary divisions in late 1944:

September: 364 (77 returned)
October: 390 (63 returned)
November: 700 (22 returned)
True enough. Although I was under the impression that anti-communism was also one of the main driving forces towards people like the Kalmyks, Russians, Turkics, etc. joining the Germans, given what they'd already experienced under the USSR. That's why it surprised me a bit to find them some of them defecting to communist partisans.

Could you elaborate on that Yugoslav general amnesty please? I'm not very familiar with the war in Yugoslavia, so I don't know what that incident was about.
Hi Hayes,

On 31 August 1944, Tito, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Committee of Liberation of Yugoslavia and the Supreme Commander of the People's Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia issued "Last Call to All Mislead Lackeys of Occupier", calling upon Croatian and Slovene Home Guards, the mislead Chetniks, "and others", to defect within the next fifteen days. The failure to do so would basically make them liable for summary execution. However, individuals who came over after the deadline could still hope for clemency if they could provide a good reason for the delay. The legionnaires of the II./370. GR were probably running for the last train, and hoped to ingratiate themselves with the Partisans by killing their German officers and NCOs.

Below: a Partisan leaflet from Croatia convincingly explaining the "Last Call" to the Croatian Home Guards. The tile reads "15. September is the final deadline" and the one on the sword/watch hand reads "People's Tribunal". The text is an excerpt from Tito's proclamation.
I guess those guys could see the way the war was going by that point, and wanted to jump the Axis ship before it sank. Thanks for expanding on that.

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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Lasse » 01 Nov 2021 16:09

K.Kocjancic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 09:43
Hayes wrote:
25 Oct 2021 13:45
Lasse wrote:
25 Oct 2021 13:31
A number of Swedish volunteers deserted from their respective SS-units to serve with the partisans under Joseph B. Tito, and actually came to serve as partisans as well. Several of these desertions occured when the Nordland-division was posted to the Balkans in late 1943.

Sincerely,
Fascinating, I had never heard of that! I always (perhaps stereotypically) assumed that the Nordic volunteers were among the better-motivated/reliable of Germany's foreign troops. Do you know anything about what motivated them to desert and join the partisans, and what sort of operations/activities they participated in with Tito's forces?
So, I checked the book '13. proletarska brigada Rade Končar' (by Todor Radošević) and in the list of brigade personnel are listed also:
- Hajnrich Hajder (from Sweden) - most likely: Heinrich Haider
- Antun Kurt (Saloncuburg, Sweden; 1924) - most likely: Anton Kurt
- Haellmer Lars (Ospegoor, Eskil, Sweden; 1921) - most likely: Hjalmar/Haelmer Lars
- Lindbergh Tage (Drachen, Gettebourg; 1918)
- Stig Ulsen (Stirmaus, Sweden; 1924)

Perhaps someone has any additional info on them?

Regards,
Klemen
Heinrich Haider and Anton Kurt are unknown to me. Neither sounds very Swedish either, and "Saloncuburg" is unheard of.

The others are:
Lars Helmér, from Eskilstuna, had recently completed service as a volunteer in Finland (Swedish Volunteer Corps in the winter war and Swedish Volunteer Company on the Jandeba Front in the continuation war). Returned to Sweden on 25th of Feb 1943, joined the SS on 14th of March 1943. Most likely deserted from Rgt. Norge of the Nordland-division.
Tage Lindborg, a communist from Borås/Göteborg. Had joined the SS with his brother in late 1942, ended up at the Grini concentration camp, but was later allowed to join the SS. His brother was sent home already during the training, ended up in Finland (and was sent home for spreading communistic propaganda). Tage remained in the SS, and was sent to Grafenwöhr during the formation of the Nordland-division. Probably deserted from the SS-Pz-Aufkl-Abt 11.
Stig Olsén, a communist from Stockholm who spoke fluent russian. Joined the SS in March 1943. His parents were left clueless on why he joined the germans, and made attempts to have him released from his contract via the Swedish legation in Berlin. Most likely deserted with Lindborg.

Neither of these volunteers returned home. If you would have any information on the fate of them, this would be very interesting. Also regarding Carl-Eric Isgren and Frans Sundbye/Sundby. The last one was the only person who returned to Sweden of the Nordland deserters on the Balkans.

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K.Kocjancic
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by K.Kocjancic » 02 Nov 2021 08:27

Lasse wrote:
01 Nov 2021 16:09
K.Kocjancic wrote:
31 Oct 2021 09:43
Hayes wrote:
25 Oct 2021 13:45
Lasse wrote:
25 Oct 2021 13:31
A number of Swedish volunteers deserted from their respective SS-units to serve with the partisans under Joseph B. Tito, and actually came to serve as partisans as well. Several of these desertions occured when the Nordland-division was posted to the Balkans in late 1943.

Sincerely,
Fascinating, I had never heard of that! I always (perhaps stereotypically) assumed that the Nordic volunteers were among the better-motivated/reliable of Germany's foreign troops. Do you know anything about what motivated them to desert and join the partisans, and what sort of operations/activities they participated in with Tito's forces?
So, I checked the book '13. proletarska brigada Rade Končar' (by Todor Radošević) and in the list of brigade personnel are listed also:
- Hajnrich Hajder (from Sweden) - most likely: Heinrich Haider
- Antun Kurt (Saloncuburg, Sweden; 1924) - most likely: Anton Kurt
- Haellmer Lars (Ospegoor, Eskil, Sweden; 1921) - most likely: Hjalmar/Haelmer Lars
- Lindbergh Tage (Drachen, Gettebourg; 1918)
- Stig Ulsen (Stirmaus, Sweden; 1924)

Perhaps someone has any additional info on them?

Regards,
Klemen
Heinrich Haider and Anton Kurt are unknown to me. Neither sounds very Swedish either, and "Saloncuburg" is unheard of.

The others are:
Lars Helmér, from Eskilstuna, had recently completed service as a volunteer in Finland (Swedish Volunteer Corps in the winter war and Swedish Volunteer Company on the Jandeba Front in the continuation war). Returned to Sweden on 25th of Feb 1943, joined the SS on 14th of March 1943. Most likely deserted from Rgt. Norge of the Nordland-division.
Tage Lindborg, a communist from Borås/Göteborg. Had joined the SS with his brother in late 1942, ended up at the Grini concentration camp, but was later allowed to join the SS. His brother was sent home already during the training, ended up in Finland (and was sent home for spreading communistic propaganda). Tage remained in the SS, and was sent to Grafenwöhr during the formation of the Nordland-division. Probably deserted from the SS-Pz-Aufkl-Abt 11.
Stig Olsén, a communist from Stockholm who spoke fluent russian. Joined the SS in March 1943. His parents were left clueless on why he joined the germans, and made attempts to have him released from his contract via the Swedish legation in Berlin. Most likely deserted with Lindborg.

Neither of these volunteers returned home. If you would have any information on the fate of them, this would be very interesting. Also regarding Carl-Eric Isgren and Frans Sundbye/Sundby. The last one was the only person who returned to Sweden of the Nordland deserters on the Balkans.
Interesting info!

Perhaps some of our Croatian members have any additional information?

Lasse
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Lasse » 02 Nov 2021 09:49

That would be super. I know that some of the relatives to the Swedes who deserted are still searching for information on the fates of their relatives, would be nice to be able to forward anything in this regard.

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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by thezerech » 02 Nov 2021 20:38

A unit of Ukrainian police, transferred to France went over the FFI, fighting their way out. Many later emigrated or joined the FFL.
https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/07/ ... derground/

Hayes
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Location: the Isles

Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 02 Nov 2021 22:11

thezerech wrote:
02 Nov 2021 20:38
A unit of Ukrainian police, transferred to France went over the FFI, fighting their way out. Many later emigrated or joined the FFL.
https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/07/ ... derground/
That was a great story, cheers.

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