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.
Hayes
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Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 23 Oct 2021 00:22

The mutiny of the Georgian Legion on Texel, and the members of the Russian Liberation Army who joined the Prague Uprising, are two examples I know of foreign-volunteers who switched sides and fought against the Germans. Were there any others? I'm asking about foreign-volunteers who were serving under Germany, not separate allied countries who switched sides (like Italy or Finland).

Lasse
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Lasse » 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,

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 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?

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 25 Oct 2021 15:25

Hayes wrote:
23 Oct 2021 00:22
The mutiny of the Georgian Legion on Texel, and the members of the Russian Liberation Army who joined the Prague Uprising, are two examples I know of foreign-volunteers who switched sides and fought against the Germans. Were there any others? I'm asking about foreign-volunteers who were serving under Germany, not separate allied countries who switched sides (like Italy or Finland).
Hello Hayes,

There was also the mutiny of a few members of the 13. Waffen-Gebirgsdivision der SS « Handschar » (kroatische Nr.1) in the night of 16/17 september 1943 at Villefranche de Rouerge in France
https://vanessafrance.wordpress.com/201 ... -rouergue/
Kindly regards from Belgium
Prosper :wink: :wink: :wink:

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 25 Oct 2021 16:37

Thanks Prosper, that was a pretty interesting article.

Lasse
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Lasse » 25 Oct 2021 16:50

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?
Unfortuenatly not too much is known. The Gen.Kdo III Germn. SS-Pz-Korps reported on the 20th of September 1943 that two Swedes had deserted to the partisans. On the 21st one Swedish NCO noted in his diary that a fellow Swede was gone; he too ended up with the partisans. This was followed by another few Swedes, and apparently six Swedes came to serve in the Trinaesta Proleterska Udarna Brigada ”Rade Koncar". Only one returned to Sweden, and was never properly interrogated. The rest is unknown since their desertions.

Further, two Swedes deserted from the training camp in Graz in the late summer of 1944 and joined the partisan forces. Both survived and returned to Sweden. They motivated their desertion by the fact that they could not stand the German discipline. Apparently, they were first used as munition carriers for a few weeks as a try out, but was later allowed to join the partisans as fighting men. One of them was captured by the Germans in november 1944, but managed to escape just prior to his execution in May 1945.

In addition to those who deserted to the partisans, quite a few Swedish volunteers deserted while on leave in Sweden (to such an extent that the SS decided to stop granting permissions to the homeland to the Swedes) and from the Baltic countries during the fighting in 1944. A few more attempted to desert from training camps, but were captured. In these cases, however, it was attempts to make their way back home.

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 25 Oct 2021 17:13

Lasse wrote:
25 Oct 2021 16:50
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?
Unfortuenatly not too much is known. The Gen.Kdo III Germn. SS-Pz-Korps reported on the 20th of September 1943 that two Swedes had deserted to the partisans. On the 21st one Swedish NCO noted in his diary that a fellow Swede was gone; he too ended up with the partisans. This was followed by another few Swedes, and apparently six Swedes came to serve in the Trinaesta Proleterska Udarna Brigada ”Rade Koncar". Only one returned to Sweden, and was never properly interrogated. The rest is unknown since their desertions.

Further, two Swedes deserted from the training camp in Graz in the late summer of 1944 and joined the partisan forces. Both survived and returned to Sweden. They motivated their desertion by the fact that they could not stand the German discipline. Apparently, they were first used as munition carriers for a few weeks as a try out, but was later allowed to join the partisans as fighting men. One of them was captured by the Germans in november 1944, but managed to escape just prior to his execution in May 1945.

In addition to those who deserted to the partisans, quite a few Swedish volunteers deserted while on leave in Sweden (to such an extent that the SS decided to stop granting permissions to the homeland to the Swedes) and from the Baltic countries during the fighting in 1944. A few more attempted to desert from training camps, but were captured. In these cases, however, it was attempts to make their way back home.
Thanks for that info Lasse. I wasn't even aware that Swedish SS men were able to return home for leave as late as 1944.

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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Lasse » 26 Oct 2021 07:48

Hayes wrote:
25 Oct 2021 17:13
Lasse wrote:
25 Oct 2021 16:50
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?
Unfortuenatly not too much is known. The Gen.Kdo III Germn. SS-Pz-Korps reported on the 20th of September 1943 that two Swedes had deserted to the partisans. On the 21st one Swedish NCO noted in his diary that a fellow Swede was gone; he too ended up with the partisans. This was followed by another few Swedes, and apparently six Swedes came to serve in the Trinaesta Proleterska Udarna Brigada ”Rade Koncar". Only one returned to Sweden, and was never properly interrogated. The rest is unknown since their desertions.

Further, two Swedes deserted from the training camp in Graz in the late summer of 1944 and joined the partisan forces. Both survived and returned to Sweden. They motivated their desertion by the fact that they could not stand the German discipline. Apparently, they were first used as munition carriers for a few weeks as a try out, but was later allowed to join the partisans as fighting men. One of them was captured by the Germans in november 1944, but managed to escape just prior to his execution in May 1945.

In addition to those who deserted to the partisans, quite a few Swedish volunteers deserted while on leave in Sweden (to such an extent that the SS decided to stop granting permissions to the homeland to the Swedes) and from the Baltic countries during the fighting in 1944. A few more attempted to desert from training camps, but were captured. In these cases, however, it was attempts to make their way back home.
Thanks for that info Lasse. I wasn't even aware that Swedish SS men were able to return home for leave as late as 1944.
Hayes,

Actually, for most Swedish volunteer the practice of leave in Sweden had ended earlier (about 1943). By 1944 I can only, from the top of my head, come to think about one Swede who was granted leave to Sweden (and he was basically sent here with a mission and was very political). The desertions while on leave reached such levels that it was decided that the Swedes were forbidden to take the normal train route via Denmark - Sweden - Norway, as some simply jumped the train while passing through Sweden and walked into the closest police station dressed in uniform. Those who deserted from the Baltics basically left their unit, made their way to the coast and escaped by boat over the Baltic sea, often together with Estonian and Estonian-Swedish refugees.

steve248
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by steve248 » 27 Oct 2021 14:35

The "Druzhina" unit went over to the partisans in Russia, 1943.
This is a German cipher message (not Enigma) that was deciphered at Bletchley Park (the English only translation is available) and came via a Unternehmen Zeppelin radio message:
27 Aug 1943 message 8058
PSKOV AREA TO BERLIN
[33 corrupt] Ostuf TEICH that Gruppe DRUZHINA has gone over to the Partisans with all arms and w/t sets. According to discussions held at once with Stubaf KRAUS as to whether any of our w/t instructions might be among these as well, no detailed information could be given me. Written report from Stubaf KRAUS is leaving tomorrow for your end. Is there any danger of our cipher instructions being in DRUZHINA`S hands?
(sgd) KRI.

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 27 Oct 2021 14:54

It is true that this last incident particularly marked Adolf HITLER, in the form of a massive passage to the enemy during two actions of members of the Sicherheitsdienst, known as the "SS Drushina Verband". The first took place during the summer to cause the defection of Colonel GARILOV and 110 of his men from the partisans. Shortly after, on August 12, the leader of this grouping, Colonel RADIONOV (nom de guerre "Gil") as well as 2000 men (that is to say almost all of the troops) joined the bands, becoming for the occasion the "1st Partisan Brigade. Antifascist ”. Although the man and the majority of his subordinates are liquidated during a German search operation, the damage is done since these incidents go back to Berlin. The Ost.Bataillonen.439, 441 and 642 will therefore be no exception, some being able to boast of justifying such a choice (mutinies, assassinations of executives, passage to the enemy ...). We note that within two weeks, all the units mentioned will reach the west of France, after a severe internal purge having seen the dissolution of one company by entity, passing in reserve in the sector of the 7.Armee (Unterftellte Heerestruppen).

Art
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Art » 27 Oct 2021 15:30

AETIUS 1980 wrote:
27 Oct 2021 14:54
the leader of this grouping, Colonel RADIONOV (nom de guerre "Gil")
the other way around. His real surname was Gil', Rodionov was a pseudonym
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Gil

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 27 Oct 2021 15:37

Thanks for the update.
Regards

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 27 Oct 2021 16:12

steve248 wrote:
27 Oct 2021 14:35
The "Druzhina" unit went over to the partisans in Russia, 1943.
This is a German cipher message (not Enigma) that was deciphered at Bletchley Park (the English only translation is available) and came via a Unternehmen Zeppelin radio message:
27 Aug 1943 message 8058
PSKOV AREA TO BERLIN
[33 corrupt] Ostuf TEICH that Gruppe DRUZHINA has gone over to the Partisans with all arms and w/t sets. According to discussions held at once with Stubaf KRAUS as to whether any of our w/t instructions might be among these as well, no detailed information could be given me. Written report from Stubaf KRAUS is leaving tomorrow for your end. Is there any danger of our cipher instructions being in DRUZHINA`S hands?
(sgd) KRI.
AETIUS 1980 wrote:
27 Oct 2021 14:54
It is true that this last incident particularly marked Adolf HITLER, in the form of a massive passage to the enemy during two actions of members of the Sicherheitsdienst, known as the "SS Drushina Verband". The first took place during the summer to cause the defection of Colonel GARILOV and 110 of his men from the partisans. Shortly after, on August 12, the leader of this grouping, Colonel RADIONOV (nom de guerre "Gil") as well as 2000 men (that is to say almost all of the troops) joined the bands, becoming for the occasion the "1st Partisan Brigade. Antifascist ”. Although the man and the majority of his subordinates are liquidated during a German search operation, the damage is done since these incidents go back to Berlin. The Ost.Bataillonen.439, 441 and 642 will therefore be no exception, some being able to boast of justifying such a choice (mutinies, assassinations of executives, passage to the enemy ...). We note that within two weeks, all the units mentioned will reach the west of France, after a severe internal purge having seen the dissolution of one company by entity, passing in reserve in the sector of the 7.Armee (Unterftellte Heerestruppen).
Thanks Steve and Aetius.

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

Post by K.Kocjancic » 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

Hayes
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Re: Foreign-volunteers who turned against the Germans

Post by Hayes » 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.

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