Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

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.
Hayes
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Location: the Isles

Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Hayes » 26 Oct 2021 14:21

What examples were there of foreign-volunteers joining the Axis (in Europe) during the final year of the war, without having previously served in their armed forces?

Signing on fresh for Axis service in 1945 must have been a pretty bleak prospect, given the way the war was going. The last member to join the British Free Corps (Frank Axon) signed on in February 1945. He had done no previous Axis military service up to that point, as far as I know. In this case he did it to dodge punishment for animal abuse while he'd been working as an agricultural labourer in German captivity. I'm curious just how many new foreign-volunteers the Axis were able to attract in the final year of the war, and what their reasons were for joining.

Kurti
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Location: Germany

Re: Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Kurti » 26 Oct 2021 19:09

I read that some red army soldiers, which were captured at the Seelow heights, joined the ROA.
Unfortunately I can't tell the source.

Lasse
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Location: sweden

Re: Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Lasse » 27 Oct 2021 08:19

Feels a bit like if I drag the Swedish volunteers into any "general" volunteer thread, sorry for that :thumbsup: There was a few Swedes who crossed over to Norway in early 1945 (Feb-march) to join the SS, despite the state of things. Additionally, one Swede joined by letter (was granted the rank of SS-Hstuf., but never managed to leave Sweden) in 1945.

Hayes
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Location: the Isles

Re: Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Hayes » 27 Oct 2021 09:59

Lasse wrote:
27 Oct 2021 08:19
Feels a bit like if I drag the Swedish volunteers into any "general" volunteer thread, sorry for that :thumbsup: There was a few Swedes who crossed over to Norway in early 1945 (Feb-march) to join the SS, despite the state of things. Additionally, one Swede joined by letter (was granted the rank of SS-Hstuf., but never managed to leave Sweden) in 1945.
No problem Lasse, they're relevant to my question anyway :wink: Do you know anything about why these guys signed up so late, and (in the case of the guys who actually made it to Axis territory) what units/areas they were posted to?

Lasse
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Location: sweden

Re: Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Lasse » 27 Oct 2021 16:11

I would say both cases concerned very young and naive volunteers. Karl Axel Bodin, born 1925, admitted himself that he was a "Jew hater". He had been a member of the Nordisk Ungdom (Nordic Youth) organisation of the leading Swedish National Socialist Party since 1938. Joined in March 1945. Rickard af Ström was born in 1927, and came from a national socialistic home. Had likewise been a member of Nordic Youth since his early teens. Joined at the end of February 1945.

Neither of them came to any real unit. They received some training in Norway, was sent briefly to Germany; af Ström served briefly at the SS-Hauptamt as a melder. Bodin was sent to Germany and quickly returned to Norway; af Ström joined shortly afterward. They were posted to Trondheim, and returned home in early May following the capitulation in Norway.

Hayes
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Location: the Isles

Re: Foreign-volunteers who joined the European Axis in 1945

Post by Hayes » 27 Oct 2021 16:15

Lasse wrote:
27 Oct 2021 16:11
I would say both cases concerned very young and naive volunteers. Karl Axel Bodin, born 1925, admitted himself that he was a "Jew hater". He had been a member of the Nordisk Ungdom (Nordic Youth) organisation of the leading Swedish National Socialist Party since 1938. Joined in March 1945. Rickard af Ström was born in 1927, and came from a national socialistic home. Had likewise been a member of Nordic Youth since his early teens. Joined at the end of February 1945.

Neither of them came to any real unit. They received some training in Norway, was sent briefly to Germany; af Ström served briefly at the SS-Hauptamt as a melder. Bodin was sent to Germany and quickly returned to Norway; af Ström joined shortly afterward. They were posted to Trondheim, and returned home in early May following the capitulation in Norway.
I see, so neither were sent to the frontlines then. I guess that was lucky for them at that stage of the war. Thanks for the extra info on their motivations and service. If you find any similar stories about late-war Swedish volunteers feel free to share them :wink:

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