Slovene soldiers in German armed service in WW2

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.
viriato
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Post by viriato » 18 Jul 2002 16:43

Mark V. wrote:

As I said his mother (Anna Petschinka) was from Werschetz (today Vršac) in Banat (eastern Vojvodina, Serbia), so I guess she was more probably of Serbian or Hungarian descent rather than Croatian.


In spite of being from the Banat Anna Petschinka could have been croat nevertheless. Still today there is an important minority of croats living there. In all Voivodina there were some 100 thousand croats before the Yugoslav wars. Nowadays they are somewhat reduced but they still constitute 3.7% of the population (of circa 2 million). In Romania there were some 4000 croats in 1992 (almost all in the Romanian Banat).

Octavianus
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Octavianus

Post by Octavianus » 18 Jul 2002 23:31

Ave amici,

Before going deeper in my reply, thanks to Mark V (as Victoris) for writing down the title of a book, which I had in mind.

>In spite of being from the Banat Anna Petschinka could have >been croat nevertheless. Still today there is an important minority >of croats living there. In all Voivodina there were some 100 >thousand croats before the Yugoslav wars. Nowadays they are >somewhat reduced but they still constitute 3.7% of the >population (of circa 2 million). In Romania there were some 4000 >croats in 1992 (almost all in the Romanian Banat).

Yes, you're absolutely right, Viriato. You must certainly did your homework, however you forget to mention two things:
Most Croats in Vojvodina (with J) lived in the area of Srem (also Srijem) and not so close to Romanian border. Werschetz has been before World War II mainly a German city with some Serbs and Hungarians living in it, and the Croats which came there, came in great numbers only AFTER the World War II, when Tito and his party decided to colonize this rich and fertile soil, which has been abandonded by some 350,000 German refugees in 1944/1945, by colonists from other parts of Jugoslawien, which have not been so rich and fertile, like for example from mountaineous and rocky Herzegowina, Bosnien and Dalmazien. Many of these colonists were Croats.

I am pretty sure that if you would Anna Petschinka in 1940 what is she by nationality she would declared herself as a member of German minority (Volksdeutsche) as most of Werschetz did. Her nationality can also be visible from the spelling of her name and surname, what clearly indicates that ger family most likely had some Slavic rootes, but later germanized. As far her surname is concerned, it sounds to me more Czech or Slovakian than Croatian. Don't forget that Vojwodina was not inhabited before WWII by only Germans, croats, Serbs, but also by many Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, Ukranians, Russian, Bulgarians, and even some Romanians and Slovenes, the lattes coming there after the WWII as colonists, but if my memory still serves me good their number was very-very small (some 500), mostly de-mobilized partisans.

As far Croatian minority in Romania, I believe you. I don't know if you would get a suprised if I tell you that there exist also Croatian Volksgruppe in Burgerland (Austria), and also small Croatian minorities in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and even Italy (three villages in in the provice of Marche still cultivate the language of their ancestors which settled there some centuries ago. There are also pretty strong Croatian minority groups in Argentina and Chile, but that's already another story.

MaPen: :lol: Next time rather "equipped" yourselve by some books, than by some web sites of dubious quality. I don't know, but few years ago, when I checked the website of Croatian Ministry of Defence they wrote a statement, proclaiming Gross-Admiral Ronald Zlatoper and Four Stars General Chesarek for Croats, although they both had Slovene parents. Such mistakes often happens, especially if you are not carefull and by Slavic names, (but also by others), where nations mixed among themselves in the time of the collpa sof Roman Empire.

Mark: Who's your second "Slovene" Knight's Cross Holder?
Oberst Michael: Sorry, my friend did not tell me the names of those three Slovene generals. I haven't spoken with him for quite a while, but next time I will, I will sure to ask him this, and let you know, stimmt?

Gratia,

Octavianus

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Oberst Mihael
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Post by Oberst Mihael » 19 Jul 2002 09:43

stimmt! :mrgreen:

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 19 Jul 2002 16:09

Very well said Octavianus.

As Octavianus already said the Croats were living (and still are) mainly in the western part of Vojvodina. Vršac is about 70km NE of Belgrade on the border with Romania. It's quite an old town with rich history. In 15th century most of the population were Serbs, while the Germans started settling in Vojvodina after the Turks withdrew (18th century). The Germans, which settled in Werschetz were mainly from Mosel valley.
The Germans established their own part of town, which merged with the Serb part in 1794.
Conclusion: There is a really small chance that Anna Petschinka, was of Croat descent. In my opinion the family was either originally Serb and was later germanized (quite a number of Serb's in Vršac were germanized in 19th century). The Germans represented about a third of Banat's population in 1910.
Of course they could also well have been of Czech or Slovak descent.

Octavianus: I'll post it in a few days, when I receive all the data. By the way he was »only« a Knight's Cross holder, though he served in a Panzergrenadier Division.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 19 Jul 2002 21:13

Some Slovenia Btn's served with the German 14th & 17th Police Regts during December 1944.

German police regt's 13,14,25 & 28 served in Upper Carniola with Carniolan Slovenes in their ranks, and didn't Eastern Slovenes in Eastern Slovenia have to serve in the Hungarian Army?

:D Andy from the Shire

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Re: Octavianus

Post by MaPen » 20 Jul 2002 18:39

Octavianus wrote:MaPen: :lol: Next time rather "equipped" yourselve by some books, than by some web sites of dubious quality. I don't know, but few years ago, when I checked the website of Croatian Ministry of Defence they wrote a statement, proclaiming Gross-Admiral Ronald Zlatoper and Four Stars General Chesarek for Croats, although they both had Slovene parents. Such mistakes often happens, especially if you are not carefull and by Slavic names, (but also by others), where nations mixed among themselves in the time of the collpa sof Roman Empire.


Octavianus,

thanks for your reply, it goes in deep, as always :)

Now, websites of dubious quality or not, having read yours and Mark's posts Anna Petschinka's nationality still remains under question. But again, I thank you both for most detailed info about his family I have seen so far.

Of course I'm not trying to defend the info presented on those websites. But I must say there's questionable info published in lots of books as well. I'm not relying on websites that much and this is why I asked Mark for the source.

regards

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Slovenes in Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS

Post by Octavianus » 22 Jul 2002 14:01

Ave amici,

Sorry for a bit late response.

>Mark V. I'll post it in a few days, when I receive all the >data. By the way he was »only« a Knight's Cross holder, >though he served in a Panzergrenadier Division.

Looking forward hearing to hear his name and story. There was one Andreas Mlinar from Leoben, a Panzergrenadier, who earned Knight Cross, while serving in a Panzergrenadier- Division on the East Front in 1944. Mlinar is, if I am not mistaken, Slovene surname and means Müller in German language.

>Andy: Some Slovenia Btn's served with the German 14th & >17th Police Regts during December 1944. German police >regt's 13,14,25 & 28 served in Upper Carniola with >Carniolan Slovenes in their ranks, and didn't Eastern >Slovenes in Eastern Slovenia have to serve in the >Hungarian Army?

I must confess here I have never heard of any Slovene Battalions in the 14th and 17th SS-Polizei Regiments, although I have read that there were some Slovenes in both regiments, but they served in the SS-Polizei regiments merely as individuals and not on a base of one nationality unit, if this is what you were trying to imply here. Now, there is a different story if we talk here about Ordnungspolizei or Gendarmerie, where the Slovenes formed a large portion of the "mannschaft".

And YES, Slovenes from Prekmurje province served in Royal Hungarian Army in Soviet Union, Ukraine and Romania, and later in 1944/1945 also in fightings in Hungary. Actually it would be very interesting to find out which regiments of Hungarian Army were supplemented by recruits from Prekmurje...

By the way: What's the weather up in Syria, Andy? The last time I have heard of Cheshire Yeomanry, you were fighting the Vichy French troops in Syria and Lebanon. :-)

>MaPen: Now, websites of dubious quality or not, having >read yours and Mark's posts Anna Petschinka's nationality >still remains under question.

I wouldn't say so... I think Mark V has fimrly established that she was a German Volksdeutsche from Werschetz, and not a Croatwoman. There is one thing what your ancestors where in the past and what you declare for. Most likely Anna Petschinka relatives in far away past where Hungarians, Serbs, Croats, Germans, Czechs, and maybe even Slovenes, but in the time of her marriage with Rittmeister Globocnigg her family and she most certainly considered themselves Germans. I also doubt SS-General Globocnik considered himself a Slvoene in 1941, although it is clear that he was at least partly of Slovene origin.

>Of course I'm not trying to defend the info presented on >those websites. But I must say there's questionable info >published in lots of books as well. I'm not relying on >websites that much and this is why I asked Mark for the >source.

I am afraid, that today there are too many non-quality websites on the net, which are all too superficial and in often cases contain pretty much the same basic info. I trhink I could list a really good websites on the net on fingers of one hand. Sadly, but true. Anyway, I wish you and Mark a good hunting in the future as well.

Gratia,

Octavianus

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 25 Jul 2002 09:29

Just before I post some info about the Ritterkreuzträger, I would like to point out several facts that are also connected with this individual. He was born and lived in Carinthia (in German Kärnten, in Slovene Koroška), the southern part of Austria.
This area, with a rich Slovene history, remained after the WWI in Austria. There were around 90,000 Slovene speaking Austrians living in Carinthia at that time (the number is dropping ever since).
After the Anschluß in 1938 the Germans started enroling Austrians in their army. Overall around 1,2 million Austrians served in it during WWII. The number for Austrian Slovenes is around 15,000.
According to some sources a lot Carinthians (Germans and Slovenes) were in elite divisions that were annihilated in Stalingrad. Because of that the Carithia had the highest percentage of dead in the whole Germany.
Nevertheless a lot of Austrian Slovenes served in Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS, and one of them even received a Knight's Cross, for his heroic actions.

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 25 Jul 2002 13:30

He is SIMON GRASCHER (1920-1943) and get this he was in Das Reich division. He was born in Timenitz in Kärnten (Austria).
Simon was awarded posthumously KC as SS-Unterscharführer and Zug Fhr. in 9.(gpz.)/SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.4«Der Führer«/2.SS-Panzergrenadier Division on 14 August 1943 for his actions during operation Zitadelle.
Weidinger:
Uscha. Grascher of 9th Company distinguished himself here (near Prokhorovka) and was awarded the Knight's Cross for his coolness in the defence and an imediate counterattack that followed.

And here is short excerpt from a letter by division's commander (Walter Krüger) to his mother (Maria Grascher):

»…SS-Uscha. Grascher attacked with his platoon on 14 July 1943 a strong enemy defensive line by railway embankment near Belenichino. While they were attacking, Russians opened infantry, mortar and PAK fire, forcing them to the ground. Two T-34 in particular caused serious casulties to the company. With heroic courage, Grascher, despite heavy defensive fire managed to destroy 2 bunkers and several rifle and machine gun nests; when one T-34 started coming closer he destroyed it with a Hafthohlladung. The second one was also near by under the cover of a house and still shooting on the grenadiers. Grascher still had one Hafthohlladung and a Tellermine, but he destroyed the tank with hand granades when the turret hatch opened.
Later during the attack the company commander fell and so Grascher took over, despite not being the most senior NCO in the unit. He continued the attack in exemplary fashion. He himself was always at the forefront and with his company they knocked out several enemy field positions, until the objective of the attack was achieved. His attack played a major role in capturing Belenichino, which was the starting position of another successful attack…«


He died that same day-14 July 1943.

After his death he was also promoted to the rank of Oberscharführer and his mother received with the letter KC and Wound Badge in Gold (for his 7th wound).
According to Mike Miller's website he received EK II. in December 1941 (21/12/1941) and EK I. in April 1943 (20/3/1943).

Some facts about his family

First I would just like to say that I've spoken with a guy in Austria, who's granduncle was Simon Grascher, although he didn't tell me much about Simon, he told me a few facts about his family (Grascher).
Now this is his theory:
If I quote him he said that his surname (Grascher) in general was »made in Slovenia«, though it probably originated in the German language (German: »Grasser«). He continued that the double »s« was translated into a Slovene š (Grašer) and than much later again into a German style by using the »sch« (Grascher) instead.

His father (Simon Grascher's) was Simon Vladimirov and he came to Austria in 1916 as a POW, originally he lived in the Russian part of Karelia. His mother Maria Grascher was definitely of Slovene origin. His parents didn't marry so his son and their other children got their surname from mother. Since both his mother and sister used Slovene and also German as their colloquial language I would say the same for Simon.

And this just about all I know about Simon Grascher for now, but I'm still waiting for another Austrian to contact me (he's probably on holidays). I would be grateful for any additions.

Regards
Mark Victoris

Octavianus
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Slovenes in Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS

Post by Octavianus » 29 Jul 2002 17:59

Ave Mark,

An outstanding post! I must say I had some second doubts either to check the history of SS-Unterscharführer Simon Grascher, since I had it on my "suspicious list" of being of Slovene origin, even more since he was born in a small village of Timenitz (Temenica??), few km's north of Klagenfurt near Pischeldorf, but at the end opted not to pursue the matter any further.

You might also wanna check the history of another Knight's Cross Holder, Andreas Mlinar aus Leoben (Steiermark). I was not able to find any reliable informaton about his parents, but the name indicates of he having a Slovene father, if nothing else. I also have under observation another Knight's Cross Holder of supposed Slovene origin and who is apparently still alive.

Once again thanks for this information about Grascher.


Gratia,

Octavianus

P.S.
Mark, how good are you in tracking down the family roots of Slovenes and Croats who served in Royal Italian Armed Forces during WWII? :-)

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 01 Aug 2002 21:02

Thanks for your kind words, Octavianus.
I also had a hunch about him for a while, for obvious reasons (Timenitz and his surname) but then I've received this great book and your posts just motivated me to dig a little deeper.
Andreas Mlinar
Are you sure about the name. There is a certain Stefan Mlinar, member of the Gebirgsjäger Rgt. 13 (4th Gebirgsjager Division), who received the Knight's Cross.
I think it's going to be a long shot, but I'll try to find more about him.

Octavianus wrote:Mark, how good are you in tracking down the family roots of Slovenes and Croats who served in Royal Italian Armed Forces during WWII? :-)


Sorry, can't help you with that, but I am looking forward to your post about the next Slovene KC holder.

P.S.
There was an article in Revija Obramba several years back, about two Slovene KC holders. Primozic was one, do you happen to know who the second guy was. Was it maybe Mlinar? :roll:

Mark Victoris

Octavianus
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Slovenes in Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS

Post by Octavianus » 02 Aug 2002 00:37

Ave Mark,

>Thanks for your kind words, Octavianus.

You deserved them. You have made a fine research work.

>I also had a hunch about him for a while, for obvious reasons >(Timenitz and his surname) but then I've received this great book

Which book?

>and your posts just motivated me to dig a little deeper.

I am glad my posts here served to you as a kinda of inspiration or motivation.

>Are you sure about the name. There is a certain Stefan Mlinar, >member of the Gebirgsjäger Rgt. 13 (4th Gebirgsjager Division), >who received the Knight's Cross.

Yes, you're right. It is Stefan Mlinar. I don't know, I am not much of expert in Vornamen, but this name does not sound to me much German, and the surname itself sound to me Slovene.

>I think it's going to be a long shot, but I'll try to find more about >him.

I wish you much luck and stamina with your research. :D
Of course, I you find any info about him, don't hesitate to inform us, OK?

>Sorry, can't help you with that, but I am looking forward to your

Semper idem! It seems I always face a wall whenever I try to do some more deeper research about Slovenes who served in Royal Italian armed forces. I asked so far a dozen of air experts about one Slovene pilot in Regia Aueronautica, who achieved a status of an air ace, but no one seems to know anything about him. Of course, there is also that "always present" problem of Slovene surnames being "italianized", but still the hope is the last to die.

>post about the next Slovene KC holder.

Gratia. I don't to reveal his name here yet, as I am not even sure if he was Slovene or merely a Volksdeutscher, but when I get some more reliable data I will most certainly let you know. I just don't want to raise you here any false hopes (You know what my Romans say about such situations - "FAMA VOLAT") or anything like that, afterall we both are IN EADEM NAVE SUMUS (We are both on the same boot").

>There was an article in Revija Obramba several years back, about >two Slovene KC holders.

I see you are involved in World War II history for quite a few years by now. Are you perhaps a professor, a student or simply a middle age guy who just cannot live without history? :-)

>Primozic was one, do you happen to know who the second guy >was. Was it maybe Mlinar?

No, I don't think your magazine counted Stefan Mlinar as Slovene. Most likely they had in mind the following person:
Generalleutnant JOHANN MICKL, geboren am 18.04.1893 in a small village of Zelting in Österreich. He received his RK as Colonel commanding the 115th Schutz Regiment on 13th December 1941. Later, in March 1943, he also received Eichenlaub while in command of Panzergrenadier Regiment No. 25. He died on the 10 of April 1945 at Vratnik Pass near Fiume (Rijeka) in Croatia, while his column was being ambushed by Yugoslav partisans. At that time he was in command of the 392nd Croat-German Legionary Division.*

* He did not die in Yugoslav Kriegsgefangenschaft as some sources indicate! That's errata, fehler, mistake...

Zelting is a small village on Austrian-Slovene border near Bad Radkersburg respectively Gornja Radgona. I think the Slovenes call it "Zeltinci" or something like that. Mickl, whose family original surname was MIKL was born to Slovene parents, entered K.u.K Military Academy, then germanized himself as many other officers and changed his surname from MIKL into MICKL. If you are World War I and Isonzo Front enthusiast, then you should know more about him as he was in charge of that daring assault on Tschukla mountain near Rombon during winter 1916, when he led a night attack on this mountain, leading his unit, a company of Kärntner of the 1. Klagenfurter Gebirgsschutzregiment, all dressed in white camouflage, through extreme weather conditions - deep snow and high temperature- to take the Italian outpost by complete suprise and then hold up the newly occupied positions for a couple of days, being exposed in the meantime to heavy Italian artillery bombardment and infantry attacks, until finally his exhautsed company was not relieved by "Mujos" from the 4th Bosnische-und-Herzogowinische Regiment. Out of 220 soldiers of his company only some 40 returned unharmed. The rest were either killed or wounded. You can find a story about this attack in any decent Isonzo Front book, like for example in Dr. Vasja Klawora's "Der Blaukreuz".
After the war, he joined the Austrian army in fighting against Slovenes in 1919-1920 and was Officer-in-Charge for Bad Radkersburg area, and also responsible for taking this city from Slovene hands. Later continued his career in Bundesheer and then in Wehrmacht and the rest you know. Interestingly is, that according to Generalmajor Kranjc's article some of his distant relatives still live today in Slovenia, in the area of Slovenske Gorice/Prlekia. Actually I am a bit suprised here that you did not know about him respetively about his Slovene roots. :)

He was one of the three "Slovenes" I mentioned earlier that achieved the rank of general in the German Army during World War II.

Hope this helped to answer your question.

Octavianus

Mark V.
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Re: Slovenes in Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS

Post by Mark V. » 02 Aug 2002 19:47

Ave Octavianus!
Compared to your posts this was really nothing. I've got most of the information about Grascher (the letter) from Krätschmer's Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen SS (I've got it for a really great price) and was also fortunate to establish contact so easily.
I've been quite a long time interested in WWII (at least 10 years). I've got interested in it through my hoby scale-modelling (I'm currently going through a very long creativity crisis). That is probably also the reason why I was never that interested in WWII in Slovenia and Yugoslavia.
On the other side I bet you're either a student of history or a proffesor.

Nice info on Mickl, I must admit I've never heard of him.

Mlinar
There are currently three Mlinars living in Leoben (Anna, Hans and Stefan).

Octavianus wrote:I don't to reveal his name here yet, as I am not even sure if he was Slovene or merely a Volksdeutscher, but when I get some more reliable data I will most certainly let you know. I just don't want to raise you here any false


Yeah, I understand what you've mean, that was also the reason I didn't say anything about Grascher earlier.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Mark
Last edited by Mark V. on 16 Jun 2004 12:54, edited 1 time in total.

Octavianus
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Slovenes in Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS

Post by Octavianus » 03 Aug 2002 18:13

Ave Mark,

Compared to your posts this was really nothing. I've got most of the information about Grascher (the letter) from Krätschmer's Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen SS (I've got it for a really great price) and was also fortunate to establish contact so easily.


Thanks Mark for your kind words. I have to say that I haven't read Krätschmer's Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen SS yet, but I'll put it on my priority list. Right now it seems I can't even get those books I have already ordered. Horrible. :x :x

I'm flattered that you might think I'm a proffesor, but I must disappoint you. I'm just a student in the last year before diploma (and I am not even studying history).


A good student you're. :D Don't study history? Law, medicine, economics? It seems today that these are the areas where money is "lying".

I've got interested in it through my hoby scale-modelling (I'm currently going through a very long creativity crisis).


I tried myself in that area too. I once, while I was still a small kid, tried to built a model of Schlachtschiff Bismarck, but at the end it looks more like the one Bismarck that is today lying at the bottom of the Atlantic, than the one before the sinking... :D :D :D

That is probably also the reason why I was never that interested in WWII in Slovenia and Yugoslavia.


I see. Although the history of Slowenia and Yugoslavia is very exiciting. I don't know a nation/state that has formed so many different military or para-military formations as did Slovenia respetively Yugoslavia.

On the other side I bet you're either a student of history or a proffesor.


You are close... :D

Nice info on Mickl, I must admit I've never heard of him.


As I wrote earlier, Vasja Klavora's Der Blauekreuz (Plavi Kriz) has plenty details about Mickl's WWI career, and the mentioned assault on Rombon.

There are currently three Mlinars living in Leoben (Anna, Hans and Stefan).


It seems he succedded in coming alive form the war :)

Yeah, I understand what you've mean, that was also the reason I didn't say anything about Grascher earlier.


Thanks for you patience. As I said if anything new comes up, I'll let you know.

Gratia,

Octavianus

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Post by Dan » 03 Aug 2002 18:42

Thanks for the informative posts. Years ago there was a National Geographic article about Slovenia. They quoted Slovenes as saying that the reason they were more prosperous than the other Yugoslavs was because of their years of cultural contact with Germans, who taught them to save their money :) . They seem quite an effecient people, and their break away from Yugoslavia was done with a great deal of thoroughness compaired to the other former republics. It done not suprise me to learn on this thread that they produced soldiers of such high calibre during WW2.

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