Warcrimes of the "Wiking" Division

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Warcrimes of the "Wiking" Division

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 11 Mar 2004 19:31

[Split from "Torture and looting of Waffen-SS PoWs"]




I wonder if Rob or anyone else can comment on this :

We went on, and already at Merefa encountered the "Wiking" Division that had been transferred there. They were fierce fighters, both in height and fanaticism. They did not retreat. I was wounded there and sent from the medical battalion to a hospital in Taranovka. My papers were forwarded there, but my horse-holder stole me and brought me back to our unit. They were taking care of their commander. That saved me. Germans broke through to Taranovka and killed everybody -- nurses, wounded, and sick.
http://www.iremember.ru/others/dupak/dupak.htm

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Post by Konstan » 12 Mar 2004 03:08

I have always read that warcrimes were not commited by Wiking, as policy.

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Jeremy Chan
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Post by Jeremy Chan » 12 Mar 2004 03:44

Konstan wrote:I have always read that warcrimes were not commited by Wiking, as policy.


He's right. The 5.SS.PanzerDivision ,,Wiking", the 17th SS-Panzergrenadier Division "Götz von Berlichingen", 34.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Brigade "Landstorm Nederland", 10th SS-Panzer Division "Frundsberg", the 2.SS.PzDiv ,,Das Reich", 9th SS-Panzer Division "Hohenstaufen" and the 10th SS-Panzer Division Frundsberg were pretty much the only divisions of the Waffen-SS who abstained from any atrocities throughout, slate almost clean. A far cry from the excesses of the criminal Dirlewanger Brigade or the 3rd Panzer, "Totenkopf".
So Oleg, I can only say that your source is COMPLETE and utter fiction, or anti-German propaganda.
The Waffen-SS was NOT a bunch of black-uniformed Aryans who ran around mopping up resistance with force and committing warcrimes, in fact should be regarded with humble respect, especially by the men they'd presented a good fight.

It must be noted that the ,,Das Reich" and "Wiking" divisions boasted the highest number of Ritterkreuzträger among the SS-divisions, and its members were very proud to have joined such elite divisions.
Many of the volksdeutsche freiwillinge units of the Waffen-SS have stained the overall reputation of what has been undoubtedly the best army of WW2. Of course, the Totenkopf divison was responsible for almost equally disgusting atrocities.

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Re: Warcrimes of the "Wiking" Division

Post by Karl » 12 Mar 2004 04:04

oleg wrote:Germans broke through to Taranovka and killed everybody -- nurses, wounded, and sick.


No unit is specified here oleg.

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Post by David Thompson » 12 Mar 2004 04:57

Colonel SteelFist -- This is a research area of the forum. If you have an opinion you want to post, please include the evidence which produced the opinion.

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Post by Caldric » 12 Mar 2004 05:33

Well since I am sure Rob will be by soon I doubt I need to rephrase his web site on Wiking and Warcrimes.

However there is information I am gathering on on Wiking and the 600 Jews put to death by them. Or suppose to be put to death.

Few German formations can clean the blood from their hands on the Eastern Front. Sometimes I think all are guilty to some degree for the German Army actions in Soviet Union and Poland.

Also to keep faith with David Thompson's and the fourms requirement I got the information solely from Rob's web site which is one of the best by the way and thought I would look more into it.
Last edited by Caldric on 12 Mar 2004 10:21, edited 1 time in total.

Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 12 Mar 2004 09:38

I have always read that warcrimes were not commited by Wiking, as policy.


This is incorrect. When the Barbarossa started, c. 200 Finnish volunteers (officers and NCOs) who had previous experience from the Winter War, were distributed among other nationalities in the Wiking Division. (Other Finns went on to train to form a battalion of their own.) These Finns in their diaries and letters in the early months of the Barbarossa often commented disapprovingly how cruelly the other volunteers treated the Soviet POWs and civilians. This can be read in Mauno Jokipii's Panttipataljoona.

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Post by John W » 12 Mar 2004 10:09

Colonel SteelFist wrote:the 2.SS.PzDiv ,,Das Reich", 9th SS-Panzer Division "Hohenstaufen" and the 10th SS-Panzer Division Frundsberg were pretty much the only divisions of the Waffen-SS who abstained from any atrocities throughout, slate almost clean.
So Oradur-sur-Glane was an error on the "esteemed" 2nd SS? A "tragic mistake" ?

Colonel SteelFist wrote:It must be noted that the ,,Das Reich" and "Wiking" divisions boasted the highest number of Ritterkreuzträger among the SS-divisions, and its members were very proud to have joined such elite divisions.
he highest number of Knihts Crosses donot excuse said perpetrators of crimes. The "Wiking" division DID partake in warcrimes on the Ostfront.

From Rob-WSSOB's rather excellent site::

July 9: Divisional troops massacre Jews at L'viv:

"...A similar gauntlet, but more lethal, was organized four days later by officers of the Waffen-SS Viking division following the shooting death of the commander of one of the division's regiments. [note: may have been SS-Staf. Hilmar Wackerle of the Westland regt.?] Günther Otto, a twenty-one year-old butcher assigned to the train that carried fresh meat for the troops, described the experience in a Nurenburg trial deposition after the war:

'...The members of the meat train and the bakery company systematically rounded up all Jews who could be found based on their facial characteristic and their speech, as most of them spoke Yiddish. Obersturmführer Braunnagel of the bakery company and Untersturmführer Kochalty were in charge of rounding them up. Then a path was formed by two rows of soldiers. Most of the soldiers were from the meat train and the bakery company, but some of them were from the 1st Mountain Hunter Division. The Jews were then forced to run down the path and while doing so the people on both sides beat them with their rifle butts and bayonets. At the end of the path stood a number of SS and Wehrmacht officers with machine pistols, with which they shot the Jews dead as soon as they had entered into the bomb crater [being used as a mass grave]. [Superior officers of the regiment] were part of this group that conducted the shootings. About fifty to sixty Jews were killed in this manner."*

The Viking Division 'had been indoctrinated with anti-Semitic thoughts in Dachau and Weuberg' by a major and a corporal, Otto explained, 'but we were never told that the anti-Semitic program went as far as extermination.'"**

Peter Neumann, a young SS officer in the division, write in a letter "Liquidations, executions, purges. All these words, synonyms with destruction, seem completely banal and devoid of meaning once one has gotten used to them."**
* Masters of Death: The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust pg. 63
** Ibid. pg 146


@ : http://www.wssob.com/005divvik.html

Colonel SteelFist wrote:Many of the volksdeutsche freiwillinge units of the Waffen-SS have stained the overall reputation of what has been doubtedly the best army of WW2.
Sometimes (please forgive me Mr. Thompson and Mr. Worst) I really, REALLY, REALLY think that Mr. Worst's caustic tongue (at times ;) :D) ought to fall on statements such as these. :roll:

Colonel SteelFist wrote:Of course, the Totenkopf divison was responsible for almost equally disgusting atrocities.
As were the 1st, 2nd, 5th and many other units of the Waffen SS.

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Post by Caldric » 12 Mar 2004 10:19

Mikko H. wrote:
I have always read that warcrimes were not commited by Wiking, as policy.


This is incorrect. When the Barbarossa started, c. 200 Finnish volunteers (officers and NCOs) who had previous experience from the Winter War, were distributed among other nationalities in the Wiking Division. (Other Finns went on to train to form a battalion of their own.) These Finns in their diaries and letters in the early months of the Barbarossa often commented disapprovingly how cruelly the other volunteers treated the Soviet POWs and civilians. This can be read in Mauno Jokipii's Panttipataljoona.


Thank you Mikko that is very interesting. I assume the book is not in English? I think that would be a good read.

Regards

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Post by Caldric » 12 Mar 2004 10:22

John W wrote:
Colonel SteelFist wrote:Of course, the Totenkopf divison was responsible for almost equally disgusting atrocities.
As were the 1st, 2nd, 5th and many other units of the Waffen SS.


Think you would be safe in saying MOST of the Waffen SS division has some blood from crimes.

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Post by Mikko H. » 12 Mar 2004 13:31

I assume the book is not in English? I think that would be a good read.


Caldric,

unfortunately the book's only in Finnish. Jokipii's Panttipataljoona is the definitive history of the Finnish volunteer battalion in the Waffen SS.

BTW, one other thing the Finnish veterans in Wiking often commented upon was the low level of training and unprofessionalism of the other (company level) officers and NCOs. Of course, this was battle hardened veterans commenting on men who hadn't seen battle before.

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Post by Juha Hujanen » 12 Mar 2004 17:55

Here's what i posted to Feldgrau of Wiking warcrimes.

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopi ... g&start=30

Ps.Had to agree with Mikko.Jokipii's book is truly magnificient.It's also best history of whole Wiking between its formation and spring 43.

Regards/Juha

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 12 Mar 2004 18:42

it is interesting to compare what happened in Lvov to what happened in Kaunas. The following is from report by Stahlecker, head of Einsatzgruppe A
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 12 Mar 2004 19:54

The 5th SS division has a reputation as a "clean" Waffen-SS unit - i.e. innocent of
war crimes (whether spontaneous or premeditated, apolitical or ideologically motivated).
I used to subscribe to this belief, although in the past year or so my view has become more
nuanced.

It's important to point out the role of Felix Steiner in the reputation of the W-SS in general and the 5th SS division in particular.

Steiner is one of the most famous W-SS generals. I won't get deeply into his biographical career,
but basically he was a career soldier and member of a Freikorps and the Reichwehr who
joined the SS in 1935 and molded the SS-VT into an efficent military formation. His contribution
to the military training of the SS-VT is often cited as the reason the W-SS was an "elite" formation.
Steiner was the first divisional commander of the "Wiking" division and in many respects the unit,
made up of Germans plus a varied assortment of European volunteers, became his "baby". Steiner went on
become the commander of the III SS Panzerkorps and the 11th SS Panzer "army".

Postwar, Steiner was one of the founding members of the W-SS veterans group HIAG and author of books such
as such as The Volunteers: Idea and Sacrifice. His writings consistently stressed the idealistic
and "pan-European" nature of the Waffen-SS and were instrumental in the attempts to portray the W-SS as
"soldiers like the others" and unaffiliated with any of the sordid criminal activities and racist ideology
of the Third Reich. He is the namesake of the neo-Nazi organization Kameradenwerk Korps Steiner (KKS) which was active
in the 1990's.


George Stein in his 1966 book The Waffen-SS mentions the Wiking division's role in the execution of 600 Galacian Jews
"as a reprisal for Soviet cruelties" on p272 and cites Reitlinger's 1957 book The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-45 p157 as the source.

The primary source document for this may be the Einsatagruppen Operational Situation Report USSR No. 19 (July 11, 1941) in which
is the following citation:

Einsatzkommando 4b
has finished its activity in Tarnopol. 127 executions. Parallel to that,
liquidation of 600 Jews in the course of persecutions of Jews as inspired by the Einsatzkommando.

In Zborov, 600 Jews liquidated by the Waffen-SS as retaliation measures for Soviet atrocities


See

http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/german/ ... r-019.html

Zborov, for those who are interested, is a town NE of Ternopil near the provincial border with L'viv.

http://www.explore-ukraine.com/Province ... boriv.html

As mentioned on wssob.com, Richard Rhodes book Masters of Death describes a execution of
Jews which may be part of the activities mentioned by the Einsatzgruppen Report #19 or may be an unrelated incident.

P. 45 of Rupert Butler's book SS-Wiking mentions the Einsatzgruppen report but also goes on to mention
how the divisional supply train officer, Heinz Karl Fanslau (who incidently, was supposedly SS General Paul Hausser's
adj. at the SS officer school Bad Tölz) organized an execution of Jews in reprisal for the June 30 death of battalion
commander Hilmar Wackerle (an "old fighter" Nazi and first commander of the Dachau concentration camp until relieved by Himmler
after 3 months for brutality). Fanslau supposedly told his troops that killing the Jews would not be a punishable offense. All
this information came of in Aug 1947 during one of the war crimes trials.

On p 45-46 Butler further documents that during the capture of Zhitomir, troops
from "Wiking" rounded up "the usual suspects" - Kommissars and 31 Jews who were "active Communists." At Rudjina and Trojanov, 26 "Jewish Commissars"
were hanged in front of 400 Jews forced to watch; 402 Jews were then shot at Zhitomir and 113 Jews killed at Radomyschl.
In general, "Wiking" was operating in the same sectors as Einsatzgruppe C and specifically the 70-man Einsatzkommando 4b.

Page 82-83 of the book The German Army and Genocide incudes a quote from Einsatagruppen Operational Situation Report USSR No. 28 (July 20, 1941)
which specifically mentions the "Wiking" division passing through Tarnopol (Ternopil), site of another massacre of Ukrainian Jews. The front cover of the book
shows a photo of what is possibly an SS man in his cammo smock along side other Heer soldiers, staring at the corpses of the executed at Tarnopol.

The execution of Jews by members of the 5th SS supply train in retaliation for the death of Wackerle may have been one of those
"spontaneous" mass murders that Himmler frowned upon. However, it seems increasingly likely
that troops of the 5th SS division did assist members of Einsatzkommando 4b in their murderous operations
in Galicia during the month July 1941. It also seems likely that troops of the 5th SS division did their part
in carrying out Hitler's "Commissar Order" by killing people suspected of being Jewish or suspected of being
Communist without due process.

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Post by Caldric » 12 Mar 2004 20:11

Interesting enough I posted the following one year ago March 8th.

Caldric wrote:In the book Masters of Death, it talks about the Wiking Division executing Jews on or about (could have been a few days earlier) 9 July 1941 in Lvov, this was after a sniper or some other gunmen shot a Regimental Commander. According to a German Gunther Otto at Nuremburg trials and in his deposition he stated the Wiking Division gathered some 60 Jews and made them run a Gauntlet where they were beat with rifles, at the end of the gauntlet they were shot by officers of the Wiking Division and dumped into a bomb crater.

Something that is interesting however is that the Heer and SS apparently also occupied Tarnopol around the same time, and on 11 July 1941 Einsatzkommando 4b reported the deaths and execution of 727 Jews in Tarnopol. Apparently the Wehrmacht had some blood on their own hands in these killings. General Otto Korfes (be interesting to learn what unit he commanded it does not say here) recorded in his diary about the executions of the Jews, including women and children. This was entered on July 3rd 1941.

It is possible that the Wiking divisions executions of the 60 Jews in Lvov and the Wehrmacht/EK 4b assisted executions in Tarnolpol could have been in the same report or have been reported as all of them being done by the Wiking division. Just a guess, it would be around 700 killed since not all of these were Jews apparently. There is also some mention of Luck, but that was mostly Blobels Sonderkommando 4a unit doing the killing in and around Luck.

With the insane Einsatzkommandos running around shooting every Jew they could find I could see how easy it would be for the German Army both Waffen SS and Heer could be caught up in the events. It is for sure that the Wiking division executed Jews in Lvov, Tarnopol would be pushing it, and I can not see them being all the way up in Luck at the same time unless they went through Luck and went South East to Lvov and on East into Tornopol.

If you want the exact quote from Gunther Otto or General Korfes let me know, I paraphrased it above however, they mostly only talk about what they were seeing not any specifics on units etc.

And on another note the executions by the Wehrmacht in Tornopol was started by them finding 9 German soldiers mutilated. Which started a frenzy of Jew killing.

Sorry I know this is somewhat vauge but it appears the place was in mass confusion in July 1941. Hope it helps some


Here is the thread:

viewtopic.php?t=17478&highlight=lvov

Also Juha once again uses the Finnish experience and book wrote by Finnish Vets from Wiking. Last post is very interesting.
Last edited by Caldric on 12 Mar 2004 20:16, edited 1 time in total.

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