War crimes of the 14th SS Division

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AndreasL
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008 07:20

War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AndreasL » 28 Feb 2010 08:50

[Split from "New book on 14 Galician Division"]

Does this new book adress the fact that the 14th SS Division was one of the most notorious SS units when it came to war crimes, ethnic cleansing andmurdering of civilians? Any new book should adress this problem. See outr new book Murderous Elite ISBN: 9789185657025 for example.

AndreasL

Melnyk
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Location: England

Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Melnyk » 28 Feb 2010 10:45

Greetings Andreast and thanks for the message.

In my first book I never addressed the issue of war crimes, because despite numerous allegations levelled against the Galician Division, none in my view have any serious credibility. Obviously I did a huge amount of research for my first book and came across the allegations and I explored each and every one by doing my best to find solid documentary proof, but I found nothing that complied with the "rules of evidence", that is to say was verifiable beyond reasonable doubt. For example the three main allegations that I encountered were

1. Participation by elements of the Galician Division in the suppression of the Warsaw rising

2. The Alleged killing of civilians

3. Killing of civilians in Slovakia.

I have documentary proof that the only Ukrainians involved in the suppression of the Warsaw Rising was one reinforced company of the the Volhynian Self-Defence Legion under the command of Oberst Petro Diachenko. The ‘proof ‘ that I have is a complete list of all the Ukrainians who were in this company at the time including their status (ie active, wounded, etc) obtained from an a Polish archive in Lublin (reference Lublin Ortk, I/524/23, - AGR MSW 185, APL). At this time (august 1944) the Volhynian Legion was independent of the Galician Division and it was only forcibly incorporated into the Galician Division AT GUN POINT in March 1945.

Then there is the allegation about the incident at HUTA. Here is the text of another document I obtained from a Polish archive, this time in Warsaw. The document is one from several which formed a part of the OFFICAL POLISH INVESTIGATION into the incident. Whilst I am not a fluent Polish speaker I obtained this translation from a native Pole (but I accept the translations may not yet be certifiably perfect). Here is the text of the document entitled:

Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Underground Home Army and Lack of Mass Graves.

“Thaddeus Bor-Komorowski, the legendary Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Underground Home Army, in an encrypted radiogram from Warsaw to London reported on March 23, 1944 that “units of SS- Galizian Division in Wolyn and Ternopil Regions cooperate in slowing down Germans in battles with our units and murdering Poles,” but some, during pacification, “burned down a Polish village of Huta Pieniacka and murdered about one hundred of its inhabitants”.
Huta was close to Komorowski’s heart as he was born 20 miles south of it on a family estate in Choroborow today in Western Ukraine. However when he realized that most of its inhabitants were in Germany and alive and well in 1945, he never again mentioned the name of this village. Instead, in his voluminous history of the Home Army published in London in 1950, on page 110 Komorowski defined ‘pacification’ as Germans burning down partisan-supporting villages and deporting its inhabitants to work in Germany.

Similarly the Commander and historian of the Lwow Region Home Army, Professor J. Wegierski, born in Lwow, in its detailed history published in 1989, recorded (on page 76) that “Germans burned down Huta Pieniacka on 2/27/44”, without mentioning a single fatality.

This non-lethal pacification resulted from an intense intermarrying between Ukrainians and Poles in Huta. Among 403 surnames of alleged Polish victims engraved on the monument, 32% (267) are Ukrainian and only 18% Polish. Hence, some recruits of the Ukrainian SS-Galizien Division (14% from Ternopil area) deployed by the Germans at Huta, alerted Hutians about the impending pacification. Thus, the large Soviet partisan unit (including a handful of Poles), stationed at Huta left on time, while traces of their presence were set on fire by the villagers (along with a few heavily wounded fighters).

In a crack down of 1981, the USSR imprisoned the remaining members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Accord Monitoring Group. To deflect the outrage in the West, the Soviet propaganda machine came up with a torrid description of the burning alive of 750 Polish children, women and old men at Huta Pieniacka by Ukrainian nationalists, often fathers of the members of the Helsinki Group. Seven years later, inhabitants of Huta, living in Western Poland, followed it up with dozens of ‘survivor testimonies’ that doubled the Soviet victim count, and embellished them with even more vivid horror stories. Thus, in 1988, Polish deportees, to amend their hidden, [the incident was] transformed from a benign pacification of their village into the worst atrocity.

In 2005 excavations at the site of the alleged mass graves in Huta Pieniacka revealed the absence of human skeletons. In 2009, macroscopic, microscopic and ultraviolet light examination of dozens of archeological cores obtained through drilling of soil samples at Huta, also revealed an absolute absence of cremated or unburned bone specules (fragments).

After 2004, the Huta Pieniacka horrors were concentrated on the Internet, despite the historical record and physical evidence refuting the massacre. The credence given by historians to the Soviet propaganda and the Huta Pieniacka atrocity resulted in Presidents of Poland and Ukraine eulogizing on site, the fake victims of the “massacre” during its 65th anniversary on 2/28/09. On this date, 500 former Hutians and their descendants came to Huta from Western Poland for this commemoration. Unwittingly, they provided live proof that none of the Hutians was killed by Germans or Ukrainians in 1944. The United Nations vital statistics for Europe state that a cohort of 500 individuals in 2008, had derived from a group of no less than 480 individuals alive in 1950 while the August 1941 census found recorded .......... . inhabitants of this village.

Please note that the wording in italics red above if difficult to read in the original document and I cannot read the actual figure. I several other documents to including a report about the witness testimonies which quote from them and mention inconsistencies etc.

As for the killing of Civilians in Slovakia, I have been to that region myself and the people who gave the testimony used in the documentary “The SS Britain” (which incidentally I also took part in), stated that “their testimonies were edited and were not presented accurately”. I can confirm that of 4 hours of interview with me less than 3 minutes was used and this too was edited in such a away that it presented an entirely different picture).

I welcome contributions from people like yourself and of course I would be delighted if you could get some new evidence which might prove their guilt as I have limited resources to research such matters that up until now I have found lacked substance.

But in answer to your question, I have considered publishing my findings on all the alleged incidents as a separate chapter, and would happily do so if there was sufficient demand.

Best wishes

Mike Melnyk

AndreasL
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008 07:20

Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AndreasL » 28 Feb 2010 11:47

A very common answer from writers of Waffen SS related books! Let´s blaim it on the Soviet propaganda machine!

Below is a exerpt from Murderous Elite written by James Pontolillo. It will be available in 2 weeks in Sweden and in 3 weeks in England.

Below are the extracts from pages 51-54

14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1) Crimes in Poland

At the outset it should be noted that several of the units used to form the 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1) -- Polizei-Bataillon 201, 31st SD Punitive Detachment, and the Ukrainische Schützmannschaft Bataillon 204 -- had a long prior history of participation in extermination operations. Operating in the rear-areas of Poland and the Ukraine, these units collectively murdered thousands of innocent civilians at Lvov, Tarnopol, Lutsk, Kremianets, Voldymyr, Odessa, Izmail, Mikolaiv, Brailov, Vinnitsia, Luminets, Pidhaitsi, and Ustalych.

Soon after the division’s recruiting and formation had begun in late April 1943, unidentified elements took part in several anti-partisan operations in Poland which resulted in the wholesale murder of innocent civilians. Its commander at the time was SS-Brigadeführer Walter Schimana. Röhr et al. (1989) reported the following atrocities specifically attributed to the division:

Date Location District Victims

6/24/43 Majdan Nowy (Zamosc area) 28
7/1/43 Kaszow Krakow 26
7/3/43 Majdan Stary (Zamosc area) 65
8/15/43 Zagaje (S of Kielce) 68


Later that year, divisional elements assisted in the deportation of Polish Jews to KL Auschwitz for extermination. On 20 November 1943, SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag took over as divisional commander and would remain so until his suicide (4/27/45).

By early February 1944, the division had completed most of its general training but was still not ready for action. Nonetheless, HSSPf General Government SS-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Koppe ordered the partial mobilization of the division to assist with rear-area security duties in southeastern Poland following the Soviet siege of Tarnopol and the resecue of German units entrapped in the Kamenets-Podolsk pocket. The resulting unit, SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Friedrich Beyersdorff, was composed of Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 29, Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 30 and miscellaneous anti-tank, artillery and engineer support elements. Under the guise of anti-partisan operations this kampfgruppe destroyed 20 villages in Poland, killed in excess of 5,000 innocent civilians, and shipped another 20,000 civilians off to Germany as slave laborers. Röhr et al. (1989) has summarized a number of these atrocities:

Date Location District Victims

2/1-2/44 Borow Lublin ~ 300
" Goscieradow " 143
" Szczecyn (SW of Lublin) ~ 200
" Wolka Szczecka (E of Kielce) ~200
" Zaklikow (S of Lublin) 217
3/27/44 Gozdow Lublin 30
4/1/44 Obrowiec (Zamosc area) 34


The following crimes of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff are summarized from more substantial accounts in Korman (1990).

Chodaczkow Wielki

On 16 April 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff entered the town of Chodaczkow Wielki (Tarnopol area) with the apparent intention of exterminating the entire populace. They systematically moved street by street, firing buildings and shooting all civilians they came across. Several small children were caught by SS troopers and hurled into burning buildings to perish in the flames. The conflagration and smoke inevitably drew the attention of the unit’s German command staff which dispatched a motorcycle messenger ordering the men to cease their depredations. By the time the Ukrainian SS troopers had been reined in, 862 innocent civilians lay dead amidst the town’s smoking rubble.

Huta Pieniacka

At the beginning of February 1944 units of the Polish resistance, as well as 400 Soviet partisan cavalrymen under General M. Naumov, established themselves in the area of Huta Pieniacka near Brody with the dual purpose of disrupting German forces and protecting the local inhabitants. The previous months had seen local Ukrainian nationalist militia forcibly evacuate villagers from Huta Brodzka, Huta Nowa, Litowosko, Hucisko Litowiskie, Hucisko Pieniackie and Gleboka Bobutycha concentrating them at Huta Pieniacka presumably for no good purpose. The town’s population had swelled to approximately 1,300 individuals as a result of these transfers. Following this influx of resistance forces, several skirmishes occurred with reinforced patrols from SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff. Outnumbered by German security forces, the partisans withdrew from the area.

On 27 February, German military authorities received erroneous intelligence from Ukrainian sources that arms and ammunition were secretly cached at Huta Pieniacka. A search and secure action was initially authorized, but this was quickly transformed into a “cleansing” action in order to teach the Polish population a lesson. The next morning elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff surrounded the village and attacked in unison on seeing the launch of signal flares. Resistance was practically non-existent: only a few scattered defensive shots were heard initially. Waves of Ukrainian SS-troopers, followed by Ukrainian nationalist militia, swept through the town. Buildings were carefully searched and their occupants driven at gunpoint toward the town’s centrally-located Roman Catholic church. Many civilians were randomly executed along the way and left lying by the side of the road. Buildings were looted of valuables and livestock before being grenaded or fired. Some SS men remained behind lying in wait for anyone hiding in the burning buildings. When desperate civilians emerged, they were mercilessly gunned down. The whole town was soon a confused mass of burning buildings, screaming women, crying children, and the ever-present staccatto of gunfire. Breathing became more and more difficult as the air filled with smoke and the reek of burning bodies.

At the town center, the women and children were separated out and driven into the church where they were shot to death by their captors. SS troopers then looted and desecrated the church. Meanwhile, the men outside in the town square met a similar fate before the guns of the SS. An unlucky few were horribly tortured before they were executed. With the town destroyed and its inhabitants dead, the men of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff passed liquor around and, raucously singing, performed a victory march out of town. When the fires died down the next morning, all that remained of Huta Pieniacka was a mass of smoking rubble with an occasional chimney sticking up. More than 1,000 of its residents had been murdered. A lucky few had escaped into the surrounding countryside putting as much distance between themselves and the Ukrainian SS as possible. Today all that exists of Huta Pieniacka is a small memorial and sign that mark the town’s former location.

Apologists for the Ukrainian Waffen-SS, such as Logusz (1997), have simultaneously discredited and rationalized the massacre at Huta Pieniacka. In their view, the atrocity probably never occured and is simply Polish Communist propaganda. If the massacre actually occurred, however, then it was undoubtedly justified since (according to Ukrainian sources) Huta Pieniacka was a Communist guerilla stronghold that employed women and children in the manufacture of munitions. Revisionists would have us believe that the inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka were legitimate military targets.

Mlynow

On an unspecified date elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff executed upwards of 1,000 innocent civilians from this town and it neighboring villages (Luck area).

Palikrowy

On 12 March 1944 company-strength elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff, with the assistance of Ukrainian nationalist militia, swept through this town in the Tarnopol area murdering approximately 300 defenceless civilians. After plundering Palikrowy, they fired numerous buildings and then returned to Podkamien where cleansing operations were ongoing. Along the way, they murdered 20 civilians at Maliniskach and another 16 civilians at Czernicy.

Podkamien

In late February 1944, elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff entered the town of Podkamien near Brody and conducted a search for hidden weapon and ammunition caches. They found nothing. In the ensuing weeks the town was searched several more times by Ukrainian nationalist militiamen who only found two old, rusty carbines for all their effort. The atmosphere was tense and many residents felt that the Ukrainians were looking for the slightest pretext to justify repressive actions. Some took these security measures as a warning, fleeing to Podhorce and other nearby areas. Many other residents took refuge in a Dominican monastery outside of town.

On 10 March 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff returned to Podkamien accompanied by Ukrainian nationalist leaders and militiamen. The following day the Ukrainian militia surrounded the Dominican monastery and demanded entrance so that they could perform security checks. They were rebuffed by the monks. Throughout the day the militiamen alternately tried to persuade and then threaten the monks to allow their entrance into the monastery grounds. All their efforts were fruitless.

On the morning of 12 March, Waffen-SS trooopers and Ukrainian militia carefully surrounded the monastery. Any civilians travelling to or from the monastery that day were waylaid, taken aside and executed. At the monastery itself, handgrenades were tossed into the grounds. Those careless enough to show themselves at the monastery’s windows and doorways were fired upon and killed. From within the monastery a handful of local forest rangers retaliated with brisk rifle fire and a few handgrenades that killed and wounded several of the attackers. The remaining Waffen-SS and militia took cover, calling off their abortive attempt to force the monastery gate. Inside the monastery, however, the situation was dire. The forest rangers had used up their scanty supply of ammunition and the only other available weapons were a handful of sickles. The monastery’s abbot, Father Josef Burda, readied everyone for death with the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. Unexpectedly, the attackers temporarily withdrew leaving sentries behind (left to conduct the massacre at nearby Palkrowy, see above). By 1:00 pm, however, the Waffen-SS and militia had returned to continue their siege of the monastery.

The German commander resumed the siege by sending an ultimatum to those inside the monastery summoning them to surrender immediately. If they did not, heavy artillery would open fire on the monastery building and its grounds. Some civilians complied with the order, exited the monastery and fled toward the nearby town of Budki hoping to find refuge there. Along the way, however, they were intercepted by Ukrainian nationalist militia and gunned down. A handful of those in the monastery made it into sewers that ran beneath the monastery grounds and past Podkamien. In this manner they were able to pass out of the immediate danger zone and flee to safety. The majority of the people, however, remained inside the monastery. When the time for compliance had run out, the Waffen-SS and militiamen forced their way into the monastery killing everyone in sight. The resulting massacre was bestial in nature as civilians were not merely shot: many were killed or mutilated with blows from sickles, pitchforks and shears. Some individuals were even chased up into the chorus balcony and then thrown down to their deaths on the chapel floor below. When it was all over some 300 dead lay scattered about the monastery grounds.

While this bloody assault on the monastery was taking place, events in Podkamien itself were unfolding in a similar manner. Waffen-SS troopers assisted by Ukrainian Police units conducted a careful building by building sweep through the town. When an individual was stopped, he had to present his identity card. All residents of Polish nationality were taken aside and immediately executed. Inhabitants of Ukrainian origin were left unmolested and allowed to remain in their homes.

By the early morning hours of 13 March, the killing had for the most part ceased. Later that morning the serious organized looting of Podkamien and its monastery began. The SS-troopers and Ukrainian militiamen were assisted in their task by 200 teamsters and a fleet of trucks. The plundering lasted for two days, during which time additional Polish civilians that were flushed out of hiding places were executed. On 15 March another search of identity papers was performed on those civilians remaining in Podkamien. The next day further executions of detained Polish civilians took place at scattered locations in and around the sacked town. On 17 March SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff and its accomplices withdrew from Podkamien since the frontlines were drawing nearer. They left behind approximately 500 dead civilians in the ruined town. Within days Podkamien would be in Soviet hands.

On 20 March 1944 Father Burda held a funeral mass for the murdered civilians who were all buried together in a common grave at the town’s Roman Catholic cemetary.

Poturzyn

On 1 April 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff, with the assistance of Ukrainian nationalist militia, entered this village in the Lublin area and murdered 162 civilians. Many of the victims came from the parishes of Dolhobyczowa and Krylowa which had previously been devastated by German cleansing operations.

Prehoryle

On 8 March 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff, with the assistance of Ukrainian Police and nationalist militia, encircled this village near Lublin and murdered 38 inhabitants. The next day they returned for another round of killing, followed by the looting and burning of residences.

Smoligow

On 27 March 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff, with the assistance of unidentified Wehrmacht units and Ukrainian nationalist militia, conducted an extermination action at this village in the area of Lublin. They surrounded the town and moved through it systematically killing inhabitants, looting buildings and then firing them. When ammunition ran short, civilians were simply beaten to death. Many women were raped prior to being killed.

Wicyn

On the morning of 25 April 1944 elements of SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff, supported by armored cars and with the assistance of Ukrainian nationalist militia, attacked this village in the Zloczow area. Dozens of unarmed civilians, primarily the elderly, were killed as the town’s populace was rounded up at gunpoint. For several days homes and businesses were looted, livestock confiscated and shipped off, and buildings set on fire. Approximately two-thirds of the town was destroyed; some 200 men were seized and turned over to the Gestapo for interrogation.


Following its participation in these security operations, SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff resumed its training with the rest of the division. Röhr et al. (1989) has reported a number of later crimes committed by unidentified elements of the 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1):

Date Location District Victims

6/22/44 Jaminy Gumbinnen 24
8/15/44 Minoga/Barbarka Krakau 51
9/24/44 Jamna Krakau 57



Korman (1990) similarly provides an account of the division’s depredations for this time period:


Siemianowka

On the morning of 26 July 1944 two unidentified motorized companies from 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1) stopped at the village of Siemianowka in the Lvov region. Initially, the inhabitants thought that the SS troopers had halted to gather provisions and ready their weapons before continuing on to the main battle front which was rapidly approaching due to recent German reverses. The Ukrainian SS troopers had other plans. They drove the villagers from their homes, killing many in the process, and gathered the survivors together en masse. They then looted and fired the town. At this time some of the Poles tried to flee but were gunned down by the SS. Many Poles who had hidden in their homes or barns were either consumed by the fires or gunned down by the SS as they fled from their burning refuges. The survivors were taken away as hostages by the SS troopers and eventually impressed into compulsory labor battalions at the front. All told, several hundred innocent civilians lost their lives.

Below is the extract from pages 220-221
14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1)
Page 56:
Gau Steiermark (Austria)

As the war drew to it’s predictably bloody end and the boundaries of the Third Reich shrank, the increased interactions between battle-hardened Waffen-SS troops and the remaining concentration camp inmates resulted in a series of little known atrocities within the Reich itself.

From early November 1944 - 21 March 1945, 2. SS-Baubataillon Kama was based in Jennersdorf. As part of their regular operations, battalion personnel performed guard duties over Hungarian Jews at work camps in Jennersdorf, Neuhaus, and St. Anna am Aigen. They beat and summarily executed individual Jews for a variety of infractions. On 22 March the unit was transferred to Hungary to strengthen German defenses against the advancing Soviets.

On 24-25 March 1945 unidentified elements of 13. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS Handschar [kroatische Nr. 1] (CO: SS-Brigadeführer Desiderius Hampel) massacred approximately 200 Jews they were guarding at Rechnitz.

On 28 March 1945 unidentified elements of 5. SS-Panzer-Division Wiking (CO SS-Oberführer Karl Ullrich) massacred upwards of 500 Jews on 28 March 1945 at Deutsch-Schützen.

On 4 April 1945 unidentified elements of 5. SS-Panzer-Division Wiking (CO SS-Oberführer Karl Ullrich) killed 20 Jews near Gratkorn and 18 Jews at Nestelbach.

Sometime between 7-11 April 1945 unidentified elements of 5. SS-Panzer-Division Wiking (CO SS-Oberführer Karl Ullrich) killed 32 Jews at Egelsdorf and 21 Jews at Prebensdorf.

On 26 April 1945 unidentified elements of 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS [ukrainische Nr. 1] (CO: SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag) provided guard personnel for several columns of Jews being force marched out of Austria ahead of the advancing Soviets. The Jews were beaten and shot out of hand.

Source

(Lappin, 2004, vol. 4, pp. 86-104)

Pages 132-133

Slovak National Uprising (Czechoslovakia)

As the military situation continued to deteriorate for the Germans on the Eastern Front, their formerly enthusiastic eastern European allies could clearly see the writing on the wall. Faced with an impending Soviet invasion, Slovak politicians and elements of the Slovak Army planned a revolt against the pro-German government of President Joseph Tiso at Neusohl in the Carpathians. On 23 August 1944, members of the Cabinet under Defense Minister General Catlos and backed by a group of the Army under General Golian seized power and declared an armistice with the Soviets. Two Soviet airborne brigades were flown in and dropped behind the German lines to reinforce the rebel government. The situation was critical for the Germans: the retreat route of the hardpressed German 8th Army in Galicia was now blocked off and another disasterous encirclement appeared in the making.
SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger, from the SS-Hauptamt, was made C-in-C Slovakia in late August. However, it was soon apparent that he was not cut out for the job. Two weeks later he was replaced by SS-Obergruppenführer Hermann Höfle who was given the title HSSPf Slovakia. Under SS-Obergruppenführer Höfle, the Germans regained the initiative from the faltering rebel government.
The immediate need for a strong offensive force was met by forming an ad hoc armored regiment designated SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Schill (CO: SS-Obersturmbannführer Klotz) from a Waffen SS school and a training/replacement battalion in neighboring Böhmen-Mähren (staff and cadets from the SS-Panzergrenadier-Schule Kienschlag and SS-Panzergrenadier-Ausbildungs-und Ersatz-Bataillon 10 in Brünn). Other Waffen-SS units that could be spared were rushed to Slovakia including: elements of 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1) were deployed (III. Bataillon/Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 29; a light infantry gun platoon; and an anti-tank gun section) as SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Friedrich Beyersdorff; elements of 18 SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel (CO: SS-Brigadeführer August-Wilhelm Trabandt); and SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger (CO: SS-Oberführer Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger).
As SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Schill advanced on the rebel government stronghold at Neusohl, the remaining units moved into Slovakia from the east. The Slovak rebels, poorly equipped and organized, were no match for the German units arrayed against them. In the course of its operations, SS-Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff murdered several thousand innocent civilians in the Puchorem/Strba region. By the end of October Slovakia was pacified and its leaders had been spirited off by Reichsführer-SS Himmler’s Sicherheitsdienst to an unsavory fate in the concentration camp system. An integral part of the German’s pacification activities were the anti-Jewish operations of Einsatzgruppe H (EGr 8) under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Josef Witiska. From September - October, Einsatzgruppe H rounded up 13-14,000 Jews with the assistance of the Waffen-SS units in Slovakia. Their fates were as follows:

7,936 deported to KL Auschwitz (few survivors)
4,370 deported to KL Sachsenhausen & KL Theresienstadt (few surviviors)
remainder shot during operations in Slovakia




Sources

(Höhne, 1971, p. 616)
(Bender & Taylor, 1969-1982, vol. 4, pp. 38-40)
(Korman, 1990, pp. 67-71)
(Yad Vashem, Testimony of Dr. Bedrich Steiner,
Eichmann Trial Transcript, May 24, 1961, session 50, pp. W1, X1)





Organizational History


28 March 1943 : Unit activation ordered.

28 April 1943 : Recruiting and formation begun. Unit designated SS-Schützen-Division Galizien.

May 1943 : Officer and NCO positions filled by German and Volksdeutsche cadre from various Ordnungspolizei units and the 4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division. Incorporation of Polizei Bataillon 201 (a fusion of the infamous Abwehr Roland and Nachtigall battalions of Ukrainian expatriate nationalists), 31st SD Punitive Detachment, and Ukrainische Schützmannschaft Bataillon 204 (auxuliary police) -- each of which participated in extermination operations in Poland and the Ukraine. Overwhelming response to recruitment drive - 80,000 Ukrainians volunteer for service. Excess volunteers are formed into galizisches SS-Freiwilligen-Regiment 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (all are SS-Polizei units). [Note: SS-Freiwilligen-Regiment 5 was used almost exclusively for security operations in Poland.]

30 July 1943 : Unit redesignated SS-Freiwilligen-Division Galizien.

October 1943 : Formation continues at Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager (Debica).

22 October 1943 : Unit redesignated 14. Galizische SS-Freiwilligen-Division.

31 January 1944 : Incorporation of galizisches SS-Freiwilligen-Regiment 6 and 7.

February 1944 : Unit working up continued at Truppenübungsplatz Neuhammer (Schlesien).

27 June 1944 : Unit redesignated 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (galizische Nr. 1).

July 1944 : Division nearly annihilated in the Brody-Tarnow Pocket. Some survivors reach German lines and serve as cadre for reforming division. Other survivors hide out in southern Poland and the Ukraine to pursue partisan activities against the Communists lasting into the 1950s. Those taken prisoner by the Soviets are sent to Siberian work camps; few survive their internment.

7 August 1944 : Unit begins reforming at Truppenübungsplatz Neuhammer (Schlesien) around a cadre of 3,000 survivors of the Brody-Tarnow Pocket. Incorporation of galizisches SS-Freiwilligen-Regiment 4 & 5, SS-Waffen-Grenadier-Ausbildung-und Ersatz-Regiment 14, the third battalions (never previously utilized) of the three former divisional infantry regiments, 1,000 German NCOs (Luftwaffe ground personnel), and two Jäger-Bataillonen (Hungarian and Slovakian Volksdeutsche).

12 November 1944 : Unit receives final designation (see above). Incorporation of Ukrainian Schützmannschaft-Bataillonen (auxiliary police) and miscellaneous refugees as reinforcements.

15 April 1945 : Incorporation of 2,500 personnel from the 10. Fallschirmjäger-Division as reinforcements.

25 April 1945 : Unit transferred to the Ukrainian National Army and redesignated 1. ukrainische Division der Ukrainischen National-Armee.

Commanding Officers

SS-Brigadeführer Walter Schimana (7/15/43 - 11/19/43)
SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag (11/20/43 - 4/27/45)
[committed suicide on 5/10/45 at Andra, Austria]
Heneral-Khorunzhi M. Krat (4/27/45 - 5/8/45)

Main Combat Units

Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 29
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 30
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 31
Waffen-Artillerie-Regiment der SS 14
Fusilier-Bataillon 14
Flak-Abteilung 14
Pionier-Bataillon 14
Nachrichten-Abteilung 14
Feldersatz-Bataillon 14

Disposition

Majority of personnel surrendered on 8-12 May 1945 to British forces near Tamsweg, Austria. Scattered elements surrendered during this same time period to American forces near Radstadt, Germany. See also July 1944 entry above.

Claimed Atrocities

Soltysy - Zabuce [Poland] : 13 May 1944
Slovak National Uprising [Czechoslovakia] : September - October 1944
Gau Steiermark [Austria] : 26 April 1945
see especially: “14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ukrainische Nr. 1) Crimes in Poland”

Security Operations

Chesaniv, Lubachiv, Tarnohrad, Bilohraj, Zamosc [Galicia, southeast Poland] : February - March 1944 (Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff under SS-Obersturmbannführer Friedrich Beyersdorff; not the entire division)
Sillew area [Czechoslovakia] : late September 1944 (Kampfgruppe Beyersdorff reformed)
Slovakia : October 1944 - 26 January 1945
Marburg and Save regions [Slovenia] : 26 January 1945 - March 1945
Possruk (Kozjak) [Slovenia] : Mid-March 1945

Murderous Elite include extremely precise information about all reccorded warcrimes performed by all Waffen SS units during the war. It is not the most pleasent reading if one has a biased view of the Waffen SS as a organization without guilt....

AndreasL

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Melnyk » 28 Feb 2010 14:19

Hello Andres and many thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply. first of all I think this discussion would be better placed under the Holocaust and War Crimes section of this forum.

Secondly i think you have missed my point about the 'rules of evidence'.

For example I have copies of the original daily reports on the antipartisan action that KGr Beyersdorff took part in. Once again they were obntained from an archive in poland. The reference for these reports is 518 Ortskommandantur I / 524, 518/22 (Polizei-Lagemeldungen: February 1944) "Der Kommandeur der Ordnungspolizei im District Lublin 1a, Lublin, den 25. Februar 1944, Tägliche Lagemeldung, (22/133) & ) "Der Kommandeur der Ordnungspolizei im District Lublin 1a, Lublin, den 29. Februar 1944, Tägliche Lagemeldung, (22/157), Lublin, Archiwum Panstwowe w Lublinie.

Each action is described in some detail - enemy losses, civilian losses, german casulaties etc. You may be suprised to hear that no such mention of any atorcities appears in these reports. the sources you quote are all secondary:
(Höhne, 1971, p. 616)
(Bender & Taylor, 1969-1982, vol. 4, pp. 38-40)
(Korman, 1990, pp. 67-71)
(Yad Vashem, Testimony of Dr. Bedrich Steiner,
Eichmann Trial Transcript, May 24, 1961, session 50, pp. W1, X1)

I would be very grateful if you could find copies of the ORIGINAL documentation to which they refer. That would be great and very helpful.

best wishes

Mike Melnyk

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AndreasL » 28 Feb 2010 14:42

No I am not a bit suprised. Very seldom did the Germans call their own actions anything that even came close to be described as a attrocity, a war crime or anything like it. Most often it was called anti-partisan action or something similar. The trick is not to be able to read the original documents, but to be able to read them in a CRITICAL sense.

My writer can list a number of archival sources for his book and a number of secondary sources as well, and you might think that a secondary source is just that, secondary, but: The number of secondary sources that claim the same thing has a vary important meaning here. And the sources you talk about have all been found in Poland, have they been verified? By a neutral part? Have you secondary sources claiming the same thing? Have you checked the Russian sources? The Berlin archives? The BA archives? The US national archives? I have a book written by a academic that has been working on the topic for the last 10 years, that has a list of sources 20 pages long. That can show reports and primary sources as well as secondary sources, and they all state that the Ukranians in 14th SS were comitting warcrimes to a great extent. Sorry, but any book that does not include the war crimes of the SS is not a very good buy.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 28 Feb 2010 15:04

Hi all - a previous thread that is germaine to the subject of 14th SS warcrimes is "Sol Littman - slandered scholar?" (http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=152479)

Sol Littman has raised the issue of 14th SS crimes in his history of the unit, and has (unfairly) gotten blasted for it.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Melnyk » 28 Feb 2010 18:05

Hello Andres,

I am still not quite sure where you are comming from here. Yes, I have do have copies of documents from archives several archives. These include:
the Archives of the Brotherhood of Former Combatants
Archiwum Panstwowe w Lublinie
*Bundesarchiv, Koblenz
Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiberg im Breisgau
Imperial War Museum -London.
National Archives, Washington DC, USA
Public Record Office, Kew, London.
Statni ustredni archiv v Praze
US Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives

It would be helpful if you could just drop me a quick note about the new material in the archives you know of and I will do my best to check it out as soon as I can. It goes without saying that if there is sufficient documentary evidence, then I will do my best to address this issue in any further publication.

best wishes

Mike Melnyk

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 01 Mar 2010 06:29

Hi all - this is shaping up to be an interesting conversation:

Mike - thanks for your comment WRT the Vohln Battalion:
I have documentary proof that the only Ukrainians involved in the suppression of the Warsaw Rising was one reinforced company of the the Volhynian Self-Defence Legion under the command of Oberst Petro Diachenko. The ‘proof ‘ that I have is a complete list of all the Ukrainians who were in this company at the time including their status (ie active, wounded, etc) obtained from an a Polish archive in Lublin (reference Lublin Ortk, I/524/23, - AGR MSW 185, APL). At this time (august 1944) the Volhynian Legion was independent of the Galician Division and it was only forcibly incorporated into the Galician Division AT GUN POINT in March 1945.
I can see a subtle distinction arising, perhaps asking us to revise the inquiry into two subtly different questions:

Did the unit (the 14th SS) commit war crimes? and

Were there alleged war criminals in the ranks of the unit?

The Pyotr Dyachenko/Petro Diachenko example is a case in point. You've pointed out that Diachenko's unit participated supressing the Warsaw Uprising. Such participation increases the likelyhood that his unit engaged in war crimes, although does not conclusively prove so.

Based on my research, (Litman, Logusz and you!) both your and Litman's research seems to concur that the Ukrainian Self-Defence Unit," (aka Volyn Battalion, aka 31st SD Punitive Detachment) was integrated into the 14th SS in the first week of March, 1945.

I'm confused by one passage in your book:
Unaware of the plans to unify all Ukrainian units, the majority of the Volhynians, especially those who had previously served as officers in the Division and subsequently been dismissed as unsuitable, opposed the merger, concerned that they would lose their separate Ukrainian identity and independence.
Are you saying that there were Volhynians who served in the 14th SS as officers, were dismissed, joined the Volyn Battalion, and opposed the merger? Or are you saying these Volhynians served in the 14th SS as officers, were dismissed as officers but remained in the 14th SS, and opposed the merger?

Why would these Volhynians see serving in an SS division with "ukrainishe Nr.1" in its official title as losing their separate Ukrainian identity? Does that mean that the Volyn Battalion, 31st SD Punitive Detachment was somehow more "Ukrainian" than the 14th SS Division? Or that if the 14th SS Division absorbed the Volyn Battalion, it would be less Ukrainian?

At any rate - We've confirmed Pyotr Dyachenko/Petro Diachenko and his unit join the division. If his Ukrainian nationalist bona fides are in question, I can't understand why - he served in the army of the Ukrainian National Republic after WWI and was a member of the UCC in 1941. We've confirmed that he was basically the commander of a German-sponsored schuma unit that fought in the Warsaw Uprising - one of the most horrific counterinsurgency operations of WWWII, so he's got a murky past.

Diachenko is just one of several important Ukrainian nationalist WWII commanders who have murky pasts that historians have yet to explore in detail. Look at Evhen (Yevhen) Pobihushehy-Ren (who became a staff officer for 14th SS Fusilier Battalion) or Roman Shukhevych aka Taras Chuprynka (who eventually founded the UPA) - my understanding is that both served in the Abwehr-sponsored Roland/Nachtigall battalions during the opening phase of BARBAROSSA and later with the Schuma 201 during the "first wave" mass executions of Jewish civilians in the Ukraine. Plenty of Holocaust historians document the willing participation of Ukrainian auxiliaries in the mass murder; few if any historians are able (or willing) to assign specific Ukrainian Schuma units and specific Ukrainian commanders to specific mass murders like Pinsk and Luminets.

If there is a "code of lies" from the Soviet accounts of WWII about Ukraine collaboration, there also seems to be a corresponding "code of silence" among Ukrainian nationalist historians and writers about the participation of German-sponsored units such as the schuma battalions, the Police regiments, and the 14th SS in the genocide against Ukrainian Jews. Now that the Cold War is over and its corresponding need to package the WWII Ukrainian nationalist movement in a pro-Western-democratic format has lessened, its time for a reexamination.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AndreasL » 01 Mar 2010 08:02

I don´t belive you will include any material that gives your lovely 14th SS a bad reputation. Your so called photobook holds the same level of quality as Mark Yergers publications on the SS-Cavalry - none at all. Any book that does not include the material on the warcrimes comitted by the divisions of the Waffen SS is a biased view of the division in question. Just the fact that you question the integrity of 7 different secondary sources shows me the nature of your "nationalist" research - avoid anything that might question the conduct of your countrymen. But their conduct are already way below standards, and we all know it.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Melnyk » 01 Mar 2010 08:38

Hello Rob and thanks for the reply.

Firstly I would agree with you but I would never attempt to make a subtle distinction between two questions.
Personally I feel that under the circumstances it is very likely that the 14 Galician division at some point incorporated men into its ranks who had committed war crimes.

Are you saying that there were Volhynians who served in the 14th SS as officers, were dismissed, joined the Volyn Battalion, and opposed the merger? Or are you saying these Volhynians served in the 14th SS as officers, were dismissed as officers but remained in the 14th SS, and opposed the merger?

Yes.

Why would these Volhynians see serving in an SS division with "ukrainishe Nr.1" in its official title as losing their separate Ukrainian identity? Does that mean that the Volyn Battalion, 31st SD Punitive Detachment was somehow more "Ukrainian" than the 14th SS Division? Or that if the 14th SS Division absorbed the Volyn Battalion, it would be less Ukrainian?

Yes. The Volynian legion had a few Germans attached to it including a so called commander but from what I can ascertain in reality he was more of a liaison officer. This legion saw itself as ‘Ukrainian’ and merely tolerated the presence of the ger,mans for their own ends. There is still doubt over the death of it’s original commander Asmuss. He was supposed to have ben killed in an ambush, but witnesses are few and far between.

If there is a "code of lies" from the Soviet accounts of WWII about Ukraine collaboration, there also seems to be a corresponding "code of silence" among Ukrainian nationalist historians and writers about the participation of German-sponsored units such as the schuma battalions, the Police regiments, and the 14th SS in the genocide against Ukrainian Jews. Now that the Cold War is over and its corresponding need to package the WWII Ukrainian nationalist movement in a pro-Western-democratic format has lessened, its time for a reexamination.

Rob we are of the same opinion. I agree completely. The Ukrainians have done themselves no favours by their ‘code of silence’ and neither did the Soviets with their ‘code of lies’. It is time for a thorough re-examination. I am just uncertain that I am the man to do it as I am not fluent in either Ukrainian or Polish which as you can appereciate makes a big difference.




best wishes

Mike Melnyk

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Askold » 04 Mar 2010 23:17

AndreasL wrote:I don´t belive you will include any material that gives your lovely 14th SS a bad reputation. Your so called photobook holds the same level of quality as Mark Yergers publications on the SS-Cavalry - none at all. Any book that does not include the material on the warcrimes comitted by the divisions of the Waffen SS is a biased view of the division in question. Just the fact that you question the integrity of 7 different secondary sources shows me the nature of your "nationalist" research - avoid anything that might question the conduct of your countrymen. But their conduct are already way below standards, and we all know it.
- Personal opinions/biaces don't count as historical evidence on this forum.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AndreasL » 09 Mar 2010 09:30

The historical evidence has already been produced but strangely enough all the persons with connections to Ukraine doesn´t accept the evidence, wonder why....? So we are back to basics, another book describing how good the 14th SS division were....Cause of course, they did not comit any war crimes, why would they? And then again, why would historian make up their war crimes? The 14th SS were a murdering bunch. The worst kind of mercenaries you can find.

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Askold » 15 Mar 2010 21:49

You personally failed to provide any information on the "new archival proofs" that you mentioned earlier, while Mike Melnyk politely answered all your questions and backed them up. Personal remarks like "murdering bunch" or "worst kind of mercnaries" just don't count ;)

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by AdaOg » 16 Mar 2010 16:33

According to the crimes. Besides the fact that Soll Littman proved his claims, besides the fact that in the village that I come from , Toustobaby, Podolia SS Galizien killed civilians 12 people taken by them to help to the unit in the forest. March 1944.
http://www.stowarzyszenieuozun.wroclaw.pl/podhajce.htm
Also I spoke to another person who remembers when SS Galizien Unit deliberately shelled village and houses where civil people had hidden (I have shot that in the camcorder). Extremely interesting memoires. He also remembers when German officer was extremely angry with Ukrainians from SS Galizien (they have stolen the hen) and asked the mother of my prelegent for her decision - to send them to the deep Eastern front or not (because of that theft). They kneeled and begged for mercy :-)

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Re: War crimes of the 14th SS Division

Post by Askold » 16 Mar 2010 19:29

Oh fantastic memuars!! Comming from you they MUST be true, despite the fact that Galicia division never operated in Podillia ;) In any case, Andreas still has to share his "new evidence".

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