Asians in the German Army?

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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Asians in the German Army?

Postby Matthew » 01 Dec 2002 09:27

Can anyone explain this?, the soldier on the right appears to be Asian.

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Postby mila18 » 01 Dec 2002 17:26

Mathew, can't explain this. Maybe a Siberian frewillingen or hiwi?? Mmmmmmmmm..............

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Postby de-gouden-ridder » 01 Dec 2002 18:32

Didn't the german army had a couple of asian volunteers? I saw foto's of Japanese soldiers in the Heer. Maybe he is a Kaukasian man. Some Kaukasian people had Mongolian roots.

Or maybe he was a clochard, found some german clothes, took those and accidently run into American hands :)

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Postby DaveB » 03 Dec 2002 01:28

I read about this in Stephen Ambros's D-Day.
Two Korean soldiers were captured fighting for the Reich. What I read was that they were fist drafted into the Japaness army. Then taken prisinor by the Russians when the Japeness and Russians fought. They were put into the Russian army then were captured in 41-42 by the germans and forced to fight for them.
I have no idea if that exsplains the person in the pic I just thought it was and interesting fact that I had read.

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Postby Tapani K. » 03 Dec 2002 11:17

I think it is common knowledge that the Germans recruited volunteers from the masses of Soviet POWs they had in their hands.

What appears to be not so common knowledge is the fact that the Soviet Union consisted of dozens of separate ethnic entities, including Russians, Ukrainians, Karelians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Kirgiz and many many more. While many of these ethnic groups would be called European-looking, there were several other groups who would be distinctly Asian-looking. These latter include several of the Turkic groups and many of those living in the area of present-day Kirgisztan, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics.

The volunteers in the picture would belong to some of these Middle-Asian ethnic groups. The men would have been recruited to the Soviet army just like any other Soviet citizens but after having probably faced discrimination in the Soviet Army and harsh conditions in the German POW camps would have been fairly easily persuaded to volunteer for the German service.

Tapani K.

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Postby michael mills » 10 Dec 2002 04:40

I read about this in Stephen Ambros's D-Day.
Two Korean soldiers were captured fighting for the Reich. What I read was that they were fist drafted into the Japaness army. Then taken prisinor by the Russians when the Japeness and Russians fought. They were put into the Russian army then were captured in 41-42 by the germans and forced to fight for them.
I have no idea if that exsplains the person in the pic I just thought it was and interesting fact that I had read.

That is correct, except that the number of Koreans captured on D-Day was a lot more than two. I saw a photo showing at least 20, if not more, and also film showing captured Koreans.

The Koreans had been conscripts in the Japanese Army, Korea being at that time a colony of Japan. There were many hundreds of thousands of Koreans in the Japanese Army during the war.

These particular Koreans had been among the many hundreds of prisoners taken by the Red Army during the fighting at Nomonhan on the Manchukuo-Mongolian border, in August-September 1939. After an armistice was signed on 15 September, most of the Japanese prisoners were returned, but it appears that the Red Army retained Koreans on the basis that they were not Japanese but "unwilling colonial conscripts" who should be given their freedom, and permitted to "volunteer" for service in the Red Army.

When Red Army formations were transferred west in 1941, the Koreans went with them, and were captured by the Germans, among the millions of Red Army men taken prisoner in that year. Like most POWs of non-Russian ethnicity, they were allowed to enlist in the various auxiliary formations recruited by the Wehrmacht from among the captured Soviet soldiers. So far as I know, there was no separate Korean formation; the Koreans formed part of a larger unit consisting of other Soviet minority groups.

In 1943, most of the auxiliary formations of Soviet origin were transferred from the Eastern Front to the West, where they fought in France and Italy. The particular auxiliary formation to which the Koreans belonged was assigned to the garrison of the coastal defences in Normandy, which is how they came to be captured on D-Day.

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Postby Romulus » 12 Dec 2002 03:55

There were a fair amount of Nepalese troops I think.

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Postby Ostuf Charlemagne » 26 Dec 2002 11:55

Well Mathew,i know this picture: they are members of the RONA brigade of General Bounatchenko,Vlassov army.This picture was token in august 1944,two months after D-day,this brigade was guarrisonned in normandy,south of the city of Coutance.So the mongoloic type may be one of the Koreans,or siberian...... now about asians in the german army,most numerous were the ones of Turkestan Legion :first turkestani volunteers were integrated as one batallion of the 444th Sicherungs Division in November 1941 and fought the partisans. A National comitee for a Free Turkestan ,headed by Veli Kajum-Kahn was set up.... their goal was to form a great Turkestan after the german victory by the fusion of 5 formers soviet moslems republics:Turkestan,Kazakhstan,Kirghizistan,Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan...volunteers of all those countries served within the Turkestani Legion,a total of 70,000 turkestani wore the german uniform; 40,000 soldiers and 30,000 military workers (those ones mostly within the Boller-Brigade).In 1943 the turkestani had 15 batallions and 26 batallions in 1944. (the workers totalized 111 companies) .Those batallions were integrated as independent batallions within german divisions so the Turkestani Legion was never formed as one unit. The Turkestani batallions fought the russians partisans ,then were sent to the West,mostly in France before D-day...for instance in Normandy you could find the turkestani bat.781 within the 771 Infanterie division and another batallion within the 276 I-D.....In december 1943 the batallions 450 and 480 were transfered to the Waffen-SS to form the Osttuerkischen Waffen-Verbande der SS....But a full division was created too,the 162nd Turkestanische infanterie Division.This division fought galliantly the red army at the Rschew battle,along a cossack unit,to help a german panzerdivision ansd was transfered to Italy in 1943.The 162nd div.was commanded by general Oskar Von Niedermayer (the german Lawrence of Arabia,former military attache in Persia) and the independent batallions were supervised by Major Eberl.The division trained in Poland at Kruszyna camp,and fought in Italy unti lthwe end of the war but the independent batallions were transferred to Waffen-SS in october 1944 within Osttuerkischen Waffen-Verband der SS and fought the polish partisans at the upraisal of Varsovy rattached to the Dirlewanger Brigade,after they were sent to fight the slovaks partisans until the end of the war.

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Postby White_Trader » 26 Dec 2002 19:41

first i would like to say that I feel sorry about my broken english but better this than not being abel to comunicate..

There where some British oficers in albania during the WW2 and one of them that was in the royalist guerrillas (pro king militia) wrote in his book that when they ataced a German camp they captured or better to say some asians joind them. There where around 12 of them (tadjiks,kazaks and turkmens) and they killed their german comanders during the time when the royalist militia atacked the camp. The british comander sais that they were ex SSSR criminals who were liberated from the germans under the condition that they would fight for them. I'm not sure about this if they where ex criminals or what but the point is that there where asian people in the German army.

best regards


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Postby Maple 01 » 26 Dec 2002 20:48

some photos from 'Militaria Magizine' of May 1994, the publication has gone under in English but is still going strong in French I think.

The men in the photos were some of those ethnic Turkestan forced into the Red Army, captured and transfered into the Osttruppen battalions


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Postby Panzerrat » 02 Jan 2003 17:42

Guys check this Singapore Based reenactment group, They Portray Ost Battalion 43......they have about 15 war time photos & i'm sure they would really appreciate it if you could forward more to them....

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Postby Dan E. Moe » 02 Jan 2003 17:51

Wasen`t there many asian volunteers in the Ostbataillone and Ostlegionen?


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