Religion in the Wehrmacht

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Ezboard

Religion in the Wehrmacht

Post by Ezboard » 30 Sep 2002 20:47

Eric Q
Visitor
(2/12/02 7:58:23 pm)
Reply Religion in the Wehrmacht
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What kind of religious services was held in the Wehrmacht? Also interested in details on the uniforms and organisation of the priests etc
Thanks in advance!

Eric

Gott
Visitor
(2/12/02 8:03:17 pm)
Reply Gottglaubig
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All Germans were "Gottglaubig". Officially the different religions did not excist.

Marcus Wendel
Webmaster

Posts: 1292
(2/12/02 8:36:24 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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Eric,

Thanks for bringing up that interesting topic. It is something I too would like to hear more about.

Here is an image of a Kriegsmarine Chaplain's Visor Cap from this very site:

Image

/Marcus

ChristophA
Member

Posts: 74
(2/13/02 12:42:07 pm)
Reply
Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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Hello!

Each division had Evangelische and Roman katholic Pfarrer.
They were army officials with rank officer but had no certain rank. Piping of the uniform was violet.
If at all/Comparable ranks:
Feldbischof/Feldprobst - Generalmajor golden collar patch
Wermachtsdekan - Oberst silver collar patch
Heeresoberpfarrer - Oberstleutnant
Heerespfarrer - Major
Heereshilfspfarrer - Hauptmann

hope this helps,
Christoph

Image




Edited by: ChristophA at: 2/13/02 1:19:44 pm

Michael Dorosh
Member
Posts: 28
(2/13/02 2:34:16 pm)
Reply Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland attended mass at Notre Dame after the fall of France in 1940. The high command was so shocked at the publicity this drew, that GD was banned from having chaplains for the rest of the war.

The comment that the Wehrmacht had no official religion doesn't ring true - perhaps for the Waffen SS, but as noted, every division had two chaplains - one protestant and one catholic, and dont' forget every soldier had his denomination recorded in his Soldbuch - Lutheran, Roman Catholic, evangelical, etc.

Walter Schellenberg
Member

Posts: 75
(2/13/02 3:52:52 pm)
Reply Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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very interesting topic !!!

TonyEH
Veteran Member

Posts: 376
(2/13/02 4:06:58 pm)
Reply Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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Are you sure?

I'm almost positive I've seen pics of padre's in GD shoulder boards after '42.

Also. There were, AFAIR, chaplins in the Waffen SS. Many W-SS men were highly religious. There were plenty of Mulahs in the Handshar division too.

Tony

HaEn
Veteran

Posts: 122
(2/14/02 2:58:28 am)
Reply religion
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Our Waffen SS unit did not have a Pfarrer. But we did have some Roman Catholics who got passes and were encouraged to go to mass in a nearby town, or with a Wehrmacht unit stationed near town. All of us were considered "Gottesglaubich" (believers in God), although it did not specify what denomination, unless Lutheran, or as in my case "Apostolisch" as marked in the soldbuch. We had a lot of Limburgers and other southern nederlanders who were Catholic. Just my two cents. HN.

Michael Dorosh
Member
Posts: 30
(2/14/02 6:36:09 am)
Reply Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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That's funny, dress regs clearly state padres did NOT wear shoulder straps at all. Which re-enactment were you at?

TonyEH
Veteran Member

Posts: 380
(2/14/02 12:50:00 pm)
Reply Re: Religion in the Wehrmacht
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I've never been to a WWII re-enactment. I'd love to. In fact I'd love to take part in one. You seem very positive about this. I'll have to check my books again.

Tony

Edited by: TonyEH at: 2/14/02 12:52:30 pm

TonyEH
Veteran Member

Posts: 381
(2/14/02 12:51:08 pm)
Reply Re: religion
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Whats an a "Apostolisch" HaEn?

Tony

dan
Visitor
(2/14/02 2:57:08 pm)
Reply Apostolic
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Yes, that also intruiged me. I would have thought most from Holland would be Roman Catholic, or Reformed (Gereformerde spp?).

Today in SA Apostolische would be something like a pentacostal or 4 square church, sort of like a politically conservitive but theologically modernist Baptists group.

Very interesting thread indeed.

dan

Kingsley
Visitor
(2/15/02 12:14:28 am)
Reply Chaplins
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I have a question. What was the main purpose of chaplins as in, did they ever serve near the front line? And, were there chaplins still serving late in the war? Regards!

HaEn
Waffen-SS Veteran

Posts: 127
(2/15/02 1:16:03 am)
Reply apostolisch
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To Tony. The "Restored Apostolic Mission Church", had its roots in England, from where it moved in the late 1800's to Germany, where its 12 Apostles had been ordained. One of them was a "Stamm Apostel" (head honcho). The Netherlands had a branch with its own "Apostle" in charge. They were indeed somewhat pentecostal, and believed, that they were the "chosen" few. Where else did I hear that ? . the Church declared itself "Friendly and obedient" to the occupying powers (as God had ordained(?)) So it was possible to have resistance men and German soldiers as well as Dutch symphatizers sitting next to each other and singing hymns of praise. For whatever reason they were recognized, where other small churches were not. Meanwhile through the years they have split up into various groups, and currently are more or less a humanistic organization. Still nice people though. !. Hope this clarifies some. Regards. HN.

Michael Dorosh
Member
Posts: 31
(2/15/02 1:31:48 am)
Reply Tony -
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Tony - check these sources.

Spaeter, Helmuth. HISTORY OF THE PANZERKORPS GROSSDEUTSCHLAND Volume I. This is where I got the info that GD was banned from having chaplains.

Check any book on German uniforms - Brian L. Davis' UNIFORMS AND TRADITIONS OF THE GERMAN ARMY 1933-1945 is a start. Chaplains did not wear shoulder straps at all. They wore purple waffenfarbe on their caps and collar patches, and a large silver cross on a chain on the front of their tunic (in addition to the cap badge shown above).

See the movie STALINGRAD also for a chaplain's uniform.

Some chaplains wore a red cross armband, with purple bars on either side of the red cross, to designate their non combatant status.

Some chaplains in Russia wore sidearms (pistols) for personal protection since the Russians did not sign the Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs and non-combatants.

TonyEH
Veteran Member

Posts: 390
(2/15/02 1:46:05 pm)
Reply Re: Tony -
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Thanks HaEn!

Hi Mike, I have "Brian L. Davis' UNIFORMS AND TRADITIONS OF THE GERMAN ARMY 1933-1945" so I'll give that a whirl later. I think now your probably correct though. Ah well, we live and learn.

Tony

Matt
Visitor
(2/16/02 3:53:36 pm)
Reply Religeon
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From "In Deadly Combat - A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front" by Gottlob Herbert Biderman

"Many of the soldiers who had not previously been so inclined began to attend religious services, and with the growing consciousness of our own mortality we became more aware of the presence of the chaplain. As our casualties continued to mount, the chaplain, who wore no insignia of rank in the German army, came to play a more significant role in our lives. For far too many he would offer the last voice of reassurance and the last vestige of comfort before they, too, succumbed to mortal wounds."

HaEn
Waffen-SS Veteran

Posts: 132
(2/17/02 2:48:27 am)
Reply religion
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Hi Matt; your post proves again: 'There are no atheists in foxholes". (don't know who said it first) . I know of several of my comrades to say a quick prayer when under fire, me included. Regards. HN

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