Swedish SS volunteers

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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Bjørn from Norway
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Swedish SS volunteers

Post by Bjørn from Norway » 10 Feb 2004 19:10

Hello!
I was just scrolling the very good listing of Marcus´on Swedes in the SS.
It does strike me, that very many actually deserted. Of course I know about deserters from other countries, but the number of Swedes seems rather high.
What could the reason for that be?

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prorege1
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Post by prorege1 » 10 Feb 2004 20:42

Hi Bjørn

I think it's because they had an un-occupied country to where they could return, the situation was different for the other volunteers from German occupied countries.

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Bair
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Post by Bair » 11 Feb 2004 18:37

It could also be due to the fact that Soviets had a Swedish propaganda officer, Comrade Andersson, who served in propaganda department of the Leningrad front and knew his job very well. He was a convinced communist, coming to USSR in 1920s.

with best regards,

Bair
http://www.mannerheim-line.com

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 11 Feb 2004 19:13

Hello!
Yes, I am aware of the "Comrade"! So that might have been a reason.
And yes, the Swedes could indeed return to Sweden which was unoccupied.
Then again: I only have info on Norwegian deserters, and unfortunately no other volunteers. The Norwegians could easily have deserted to Sweden, a few did so in fact, but again a very low number. Only 2 are known to me. A handful did desert to the Russians, but again very few.

During the retreat from Finland, it would have been easy for Norwegians to desert to Sweden, but none did. As we all know, Norwegians are no better soldiers than others.

Could the reason be political? Were the Norwegians more "political" than for instance Swedes???

B

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Daniel L
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Post by Daniel L » 11 Feb 2004 19:24

I doubt that Andersson or any Soviet propaganda contributed to their desertion.

Best regards/ Daniel

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 12 Feb 2004 15:55

Hello Daniel!
Truly, as those "inspired" by commisar Andersson and the Soviets would have deserted to the Russians, not to Sweden.

What is your theory then?

B

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 13 Feb 2004 09:10

Hallo,

Why the Swdeish SS-Men deserted?
I think it has a lot of questions and a lot of answers on
that.
A lot of the Swedish voloneteers got a lot of different promises
in the beginning, and when they came to Klagenfurt and other
training compunds they promises wasn´t held. A lot of them then felt disapointed, and tried to get home.
Soem of them was forced to go home by their parents, in Sweden during
that time you wasn´t adult until the age of 21. Like SS-Ustuf Heino Meyer,
who was forced home by the Swedish Goverment.
You have a lot of volonteers who just saw this as a adventure, and when they came to action it wasn´t fun any more.
Some of them are listed as deserteurs but they was sent home by an order from RFSS who wanted to spare Nordic blood, and as SS-Ustuf Borg, once mentioned, it wasn´t your war.
Some had been badly wounded and thought that they didn´t get the medical care they wanted and then returned hóme. Some was captured by the Swedish police when they was on homeleave, because they had deserted from the Swedish army to join the Waffen-SS.
Some was just tired of War, they had been into action since 1940 and
saw that the end was near, and thought it´s better to get out of here before it collappses.


But then you had those you stayd to the bitter end, and fought against the Soviets on the streets of Berlin, most of them in 3./SS-Pz.A.A.11
but also members from the SS-Standarte "Kurt Eggers" / Kriegsberichter.

I also think which isn´t mentioned, is that most of the other volonteers had their own National unit, but the Swedish hadn´t, I know that RFSS wanted to creat a pure Swedish unit but the men wasn´t enough.
The Swedish volonteers fought in following units (Divisions)

1.SS LSSAH
3.SS "T"
5 SS "Wiking"
6 SS "Nord"
10 SS "Frundsberg"
11 SS "Nordland"
12 SS "Hitlerjugend"
SS-Freiw. Btl. Freikorps Dänemark
SS-Stand. "Kurt Eggers"

I can have missed some unit but this is what is known

Hope this was to some help

Best reg.

Georg

Martin Månsson
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Post by Martin Månsson » 13 Feb 2004 14:07

More units/divisions...

Das Reich
Nederland
DNL
Pz.Brig. Gross
GSSN
RSHA
SS-HA

Best
Martin

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 13 Feb 2004 16:16

Hello Georg!
Thank you for a good posting.
The fact that the Germans promised one thing, and did the other is not spesific for the Swedish volunteers, but was experienced by most, not to say all volunteers.

It is interesting that RFSS, if true, wanted to save Nordic blood, but this did not go with the Norwegians or Danes. In Norway too, the adult age was 21. This did not prevent several aged 15 and 16 to join the SS, the youngest KIA volunteer I know, was 15.

I was not aware that there was Swedes who had been volunteers since 1940, like you say, but do you claim that battle fatigue could have been a reason of the relatively high number of deserters? Could well have been.

Maybe the percentage of people that wanted an adventure, and enlisted just for that, was higher in Sweden? Or not?

I am aware that there were several Swedes hanging on to the end, but this discussion must not be seen as a competition in "who was the toughest" - but I am just trying to find the reason that so many deserted.

There were several Swedes in "Norwegian" units, like Martin and you say, especially in the Legion (DNL). The most well known Swedish volunteer among the Norwegian veterans, must be Finn Wigforss.

More theories are welcome!!

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Martin Månsson
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Post by Martin Månsson » 13 Feb 2004 17:31

As prorege1 wrote, Sweden was neutral during the war and the risk to be handed over to the Germans must have been less than zero if they'd joined the Waffen-SS and later deserted. It went that far that Swedish volunteers were denied to get leave in Norway due to the risk of deserting to Sweden, there are several examples of Swedes who left the troop transport trains while on Swedish soil. Also from Norway it was fairly easy to get to the Swedish border without being detected by German border police. I've spoken to some who deserted and they told that they were deadly tired of the war and wanted to get back home alive.

Heino Meyer was sent home due to bad wounds, his CO, Hans-Gösta Pehrsson even wrote condolences to the family as they didn't thought he'd survive. Some were however sent home due to low age.

There were several Swedes within Norwegian units, Schijägerbattalion as well as other units in Norway, most certain is the most well known Swede Finn Wigforss as Björn wrote. Swedes were also active in NS and at least 1 had a semi high post within the party system.

There are not that many who enlisted prior to Barbarossa but there are some exeptions that I know were active already in 1940.

Best
Martin

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 13 Feb 2004 18:58

Hello Martin & others interested!

Martin is most correct in the statement: "Also from Norway it was fairly easy to get to the Swedish border without being detected by German border police."

I know, like Martin say, that the Germans were so suspicious reg. the Swedes, that restrictions were made reg. leave in Norway.
Again: any Norwegian frontfighter would be able to cross the border to Sweden if he wanted to - this did not happen in any scale.
The Swedes were indeed tired of the war - but were they more tired than other nations participating?

Yes, there were high ranking Swedes within the NS system. Even Hagelin could be regarded as a Swede - being 50% Swedish.

Do I dare a theory: most Norwegian and Danish volunteers were more adamant in their political situation? Remember that Norwegians volunteered as late as 2nd May 45.
Were the main core of the Swedish volunteers inspired by adventure rather than the NS ideology????

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Martin Månsson
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Post by Martin Månsson » 13 Feb 2004 19:31

Were the main core of the Swedish volunteers inspired by adventure rather than the NS ideology????


Really don't know how to cathegorize all, it's difficult to say. Some do I know enlisted for the "adventure", some for fighting the communists without being nazis and some were of course sympathising with the NS ideology. Some of those who deserted were members of the Swedish NS party SSS, the ideology had probably "shown it's right face" at the front. One volunteer wrote "It wasn't my war anymore...." this after having seen something terrible.

I know at least one who wasn't interested in politics whatsoever but served within the W-SS from 1941 - 1945. Being an anti-communist doesn't make one to a national socialist. The question is rather complex and have to be viewed from case to case. Those who had a german parent were generally "more motivated", same with connections to Norway or Denmark.

Best
Martin

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 13 Feb 2004 20:33

Hello Martin!
Yes, still a most complex situation. Especially if you mean that those with "connections to Norway or Denmark" were more motivated than the others. Why was that?

Am I mistaken when saying that app.35% of the Swedish volunteers deserted? I made a quick count based on those listed on Marcus´volunteer section.

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 13 Feb 2004 20:37

Hallo,

If RFSS wanted to spare Nordic blood is true or not, I just can go with the
story from SS-Ustuf Gösta Borg, who had been working for the SS-HA.
His duty among other was from Königsberg broadcasting news and
political statements to for the Swdish listner.

AS Martin write soem of them where members of the NSAP/SSS party here in Sweden, some of the had been members of the Swdish Hitler Youth (Nordisk Ungdom).
But to say that all of them was NS is pretty wrong, I know that a lot of
journalists and others are trying to "stamp" them as NS.
OK I know a lot of them was Nazis, but a lot of them was as Martin is saying Anti Communists, those who volonteered late in the war, was usally (not always) people who had been fighting against the Soviets in the Finnish Winterwar.
BTW the last Swede who tried to volonteer did it as late as in april 1945.
I think the youngest Swde who died was Count Posse (??) I dont remember his name is it right with Posse?? He was in a hospital in Austria
Vienna when the Russians came and after thathe is listed as "Vermisst".

One of the more adventure guys swam across the see between Sweden and Denmark and signed up for the Waffen-SS in Copenhagen, but was later sent home.

The first to sign up for the Waffen-SS from Sweden was SS-Hstuf Hans Gösta Pehrsson, and he fought together with Freikorps Dänemark in Demjansk, and why he and other Soldiers in FK Dänemark diddn´t get the Demjanskshield is unknown to me.

I hope this was to some help.

Best regards,

Georg

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Daniel L
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Post by Daniel L » 13 Feb 2004 20:56

Knut Posse is the correct name (one can also add that Knut is a common name in the Posse family). Pehrsson was not the first person from Sweden who signed up for the Waffen-SS.

Best regards/ Daniel

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