I would like to get back to the actual topic of this thread, namely the image propagated by Hausser of the Waffen-SS as a military force similar to other military forces, with the task of engaging an armed enemy in combat rather than of committing atrocities against unarmed civilians.
In that regard, I found some very interesting information in a book I am currently reading, "The 'Final Solution' in Riga: Exploitation and Annihilation, 1941-1944", by Andrey Angrick and Peter Klein. The two authors are trying to explain why the massacres of Jews in Latvia in the summer and autumn of 1941 were carried out primarily by Latvian auxiliaries rather than by German units, and this is the explanation they give; the part relevant to this discussion is bolded by me.
If one adheres to the Stahlecker October 1941 report, one reason why the Arajs Commando worked so ruthlessly lay in the fact that in assigning "Latvian forces to execution commandos", a premium was put on choosing men "whose family members and relatives had been murdered or taken away by the Russians". Here it is implied that the desire for revenge was specifically used for shootings. It must be added, however, that some men from the order Police testified after the war that they were repulsed by the executions and had felt misemployed, assertions that cannot be disproved. Astonishingly, Arthur Rosenow, the leader of the Waffen-SS company with EG A, is also said to have refused the enlistment of his men in executions, wishing to have them used in battle instead. Solely for these reasons, the leadership of the Einsatzgruppe was forced to fall back on more reliable Latvians.
Here we have the example of a Waffen-SS commander refusing to allow his men to be diverted from legitimate military activities into actions against civilians of dubious legality. And this was not the commander of a Waffen-SS unit in the field, but of the specific unit assigned to Einsatzgruppe A to provide it with the military muscle to enable it to carry out its task of ensuring security in the rear of the advancing German forces. It is clear that Rosenow envisaged that security task as one of fighting against real armed enemies, such as partisans, or saboteurs, or Red Army stragglers, and not one of killing masses of helpless civilians, and when he found out that the "security task" really was the latter, he refused to allow his men to take part.
The example of Rosenow shows that there were indeed Waffen-SS officers whose view of themselves reflected Hausser's view of the Waffen-SS as a military organisation created to fight real battles against a real enemy, and not as a police force to be used against civilians. It is unlikely that Rosenow was an isolated example, and there were probably many other Waffen-SS officers who took the same view as he did. Accordingly, Hausser's image of the Waffen-SS as a genuine military force that engaged in combat against real enemies rather than in atrocities against civilians is not entirely without merit, although one-sided. I think it can be fairly said that Hausser described the Waffen-SS as he wanted it to be, rather than as it actually was, and that he was basing his view on the example of officers like Rosenow.
I wonder how many members of this Forum were aware that the commander of the Waffen-SS unit assigned to Einsatzgruppe A refused to allow his men to take part in the execution of innocent civilians. I certainly was not until I read this book. I think the widely propagated image of the Waffen-SS as consisting of fanatics who were ready, willing and able to perpetrate the most brutal atrocities is largely based on ignorance of the existence of SS officers like Rosenow.