Armed SS

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Armed SS

active 1940-1945
Country German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) German Empire
Armed forces Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Armed SS
Armed forces Land forces , subordinated to the Army High Command (OKH)
Branch of service Tanks , Panzergrenadiers , infantry , mountain troops , cavalry , paratroopers , artillery and so-called SS special units / SS hunting units
structure 38 divisions
Strength 915,000 men (total strength until 1945)
motto Loyalty is my honour
Colours see weapon colors (Waffen-SS)
Butcher Second World War
Armed SS
High command SS Leadership Main Office , Berlin
Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler
double victory rune Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg
Waffen SS Division "Das Reich" (Soviet Union 1942)

From 1939 on, the Waffen-SS was the name given to the military associations of the National Socialist SS party group that had been founded earlier . From mid-1940 it was organizationally independent and was under the direct command of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler . It included both combat units and the guards from the concentration camps .

Their combat units were placed under the command of the Wehrmacht in World War II , fought at the front and were used to secure the occupied areas against resistance fighters . Due to its involvement in the Holocaust , the Porajmos and numerous war crimes and crimes against the civilian population, it was declared a criminal organization by the International Military Court in Nuremberg in 1946 . In the Federal Republic of Germany , the distribution of propaganda material and the use of symbols of the SS (Sections 86 and 86a of the Criminal Code ) are punishable.


The Waffen-SS was created in December 1939 after the attack on Poland from the merger of the SS Disposal Division , SS Totenkopfdivision and SS-Totenkopfverband . From 1940 it was expanded into an independent military organization, which had a total of up to 914,000, in June 1944 about 600,000 members. At first it consisted mainly of volunteers, from 1942 also of soldiers who were forcibly recruited. From 1941, the Waffen-SS increasingly recruited foreign volunteers , from 1944 their share was more than half.

Units of the Waffen-SS were deployed at the front and to secure occupied areas and were responsible for numerous war crimes, for example in Oradour-sur-Glane and Sant'Anna di Stazzema . Members of the Waffen SS were also directly involved in the Holocaust under the guise of “ fighting partisans ”, as armed executors of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD, as well as with their skull and crossbones associations and two brigades. After the failed assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944 , in which officers of the Wehrmacht were significantly involved, the Waffen-SS was given further powers which the Wehrmacht had previously been entitled to; so Himmler received the command of the reserve army and the defense .

The Nazi propaganda presented the Waffen-SS as elite troops is the aura of invincibility. But they did primarily by special hardship and cruelty, particularly against the civilian population, produce. Together with the SS, the Waffen-SS was banned as a criminal organization in the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals in 1946. In addition, a ban on advertising and propaganda was issued in Austria .

From 1951 up to 250,000 West German veterans of the Waffen-SS organized themselves in the mutual aid community of the members of the former Waffen-SS (HIAG) to represent their interests. In addition to the HIAG, the “ Kameradschaft IV ” (K IV) is an interest group and traditional association of the Waffen-SS. The role of the Waffen-SS was discussed again in the context of the Bitburg controversy (1985) and the Waffen-SS membership announced by Günter Grass (2006).


The core of the Waffen-SS was made up of three different units, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler , a personal bodyguard committed to Adolf Hitler , the SS disposable troops, which arose from the SS's “political readiness” in 1934, and the SS-Totenkopfstandarten , which were responsible for guarding the concentration camps .


Only the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was drawn up on direct orders from the Führer in March 1933. At the time of its formation, it was mainly recruited from former SA men. The troops were financed by the Prussian state police, whose pay list included members of the Leibstandarte. The unit received its basic military training from the 9th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment , which was considered an elite organization. The initially very small force, which in its hybrid position had no legal and formally comparable predecessors, did not arouse suspicion in the Reichswehr, which claimed the military monopoly for itself.

The first significant domestic political task was to participate in the disempowerment of the SA (execution of the SA leadership under the pretext of a " Röhm putsch " was imminent), together with parts of the SS guards , in June 1934. After that, the SS became independent.

Available force

The SS available troops were approved by Reichswehr Minister Werner von Blomberg on September 24, 1934 and set up on the basis of the so-called political readiness  - about 120 men strong, barracked special commandos that were assigned to the SS upper sections regionally and decentrally. The original task of readiness was the "protection of higher SS and NSDAP leaders ". Together with the SA, they were officially used as auxiliary police in road service. They took part in so-called wild arrests of political opponents and also ran their own prisons. Despite the government takeover, the power of the Nazi regime was not yet politically consolidated and should be supported by armed units. In spite of its military orientation, the SS disposable troops were initially intended primarily as an internal political intervention reserve of the party and not as a classic military association.

The SS began to set up SS Junker Schools in Bad Tölz in 1934 and in Braunschweig in 1935 , which were intended as uniform military training institutions for the next generation of SS leaders. In addition to ideological indoctrination, their training guidelines were based on the military requirements of the army war schools. Himmler , the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police , strove to professionalize the available troops, whose members received military training. The rank and salary system was brought into line with that of the army. The disposable troops were now attached to the Reich Ministry of the Interior . With the inspection of the SS available troops under the former lieutenant general of the Reichswehr and later SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer Paul Hausser , Himmler created something like his own general staff. In 1935 the available force consisted of the Leibstandarte with 2,600 men and the SS-Standarten Deutschland and Germania with 5,040 men.

The Berlin Staff Guard and the SS Sonderkommandos had more or less military forms of organization and were usually led by former Reichswehr or police officers. Nonetheless, it was officially not a military unit, as an order from the leader of the SS-Totenkopfverband Theodor Eicke made clear in 1936: “We do not carry weapons to look like the army, but to use them when leaders and movement are in danger are".

Skull bandages

Postcard with official seal "Concentration Camp Auschwitz Waffen-SS"
Heavy all-terrain car of the "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"

The SS-Totenkopfverband also recruited themselves from parts of the other SS special commandos in 1935, provided they were used to guard a concentration camp. In August 1934, all SS units of the Theodor Eicke concentration camps were subordinated. Officially, the concentration camp units known as SS guard units belonged to the General SS , but they acted autonomously within it. Eicke was promoted to Inspector of the Concentration Camps ( IKL ) and reported directly to Himmler within this department. As leader of the SS-Totenkopfstandarten, Eicke was subordinate to the SS main office from 1937 . The death's head associations thus had a hybrid position within the entire SS, which was to last until the end of the war in 1945. The main task of the reorganized guards' organizations was to continue guarding the concentration camps. But they also took part in the murder operations of the Einsatzgruppen in Poland and the Soviet Union. There was an extensive exchange of personnel between the death's head associations and the other SS units.

The military expansion to the Waffen-SS

Both Ernst Röhm with the SA and Himmler - from 1929 Reichsführer SS  - had military-political ambitions. Himmler was determined to gradually transform his units into fully-fledged military units that should also have heavy weapons.

After Röhm's liquidation, Hitler assured him that the Reichswehr would remain the “nation's only armed forces”. Those in charge of the Reichswehr welcomed the disempowerment of the SA as possible armed competition and continued to strive to maintain their military monopoly. They did everything to prevent further expansion of the paramilitary arm of the SS. This led to a long-term dispute between the SS and the army command.

After the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis in 1938, Hitler succeeded Reichswehr Minister von Blomberg, dismissed the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch, and the Chief of Staff resigned. In doing so, he set the course for bringing the military into line (so-called military seizure of power ), the only institution that could have seriously endangered the unrestricted power of the Nazi regime; it subsequently lost its military monopoly in the German Reich.

In the Führer's decree of August 1938, he allowed the establishment of an SS division with its own artillery and stipulated its use at the front in the event of mobilization. Hitler had created a troop at his own personal disposal, which was to be characterized by "unconditional loyalty" to him. The further development of the SS and its legal and actual position in the Third Reich were determined by these two characteristics. Himmler added the “elite idea” to these two characteristics of the SS. The SS should not only be politically reliable when working for Hitler, but should also be formed into a racial and political leadership class in the sense of National Socialist ideology .

The Waffen-SS was finally built from heterogeneous parts from the end of 1939. Within a few months it was expanded to three and a half divisions: the disposal division , which was later renamed “Das Reich”, the death's head division that emerged from the death's head associations with initially 18,000 men and the police division formed from the forces of the police . The Leibstandarte was expanded into a reinforced motorized infantry regiment.

Organizational structure at the end of 1939

The term Waffen-SS was informally introduced into the language of the SS administration at the beginning of November 1939 and prevailed within about a year over the old terms disposable troops and death's head associations .

The earliest known document to use the term Waffen-SS is an SS order from November 7, 1939, in which members of the General SS were advised that if they reported they could become reserve leaders in the Waffen-SS and the police. The Waffen-SS appears as a collective term for the "armed units of the SS and police". By order of the Reichsführer SS on December 1, 1939, the following associations, offices and offices were merged to form the Waffen SS:

Organizational structure of the SS
  1. SS-V division
  2. SS Totenkopf Division
  3. SS Police Division
  4. SS Junker Schools
  5. SS skull standards
  6. Supplementary Office of the Waffen-SS (SS-Erg.Amt)
  7. Arms and Equipment Office of the Waffen-SS (SS W. and G.Amt)
  8. Personnel Office of the Waffen SS (SS Personnel Office)
  9. Office for Reich Defense of the Waffen-SS (Office RV)
  10. Welfare and Supply Office of the Waffen-SS (SS-F. And V. Office)
  11. Medical Office of the Waffen-SS (SS-San.Amt)
  12. Administration Office of the Waffen-SS (SS-V.Amt)
  13. SS court
  14. Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler

Himmler carried out the assignment without any legal basis, but Hitler let him do it without hesitation. Hitler left Himmler to decide how to organize the SS internally; A total of 179 offices of the General SS were transferred to the Waffen SS.

In 1940 Hitler justified the need for the Waffen SS:

“The Greater German Reich in its final form will not only encompass national bodies with its borders that are benevolent towards the Reich from the start. Beyond the core of the empire, it is therefore necessary to create a state troop police that is capable in every situation to represent and enforce the authority of the empire internally. "

The historian Bernd Wegner commented on the renaming to "Waffen-SS":

“In retrospect, the seemingly unusual process of a 'creeping' renaming turns out to be an extremely skilful move, admittedly more psychologically than power-politically effective, in a policy aimed at expansion as well as integration. The introduction of the collective name 'Waffen-SS' also signaled the will to an SS army that is as independent of the Wehrmacht as possible, as well as the claim to the equality of all SS troops among each other - in other words, conceptually anticipated the military service equal treatment of available troops, death's head associations and junker schools, which the army had previously rejected. But not only that: at a point in time when the SS had set up 3½ divisions almost simultaneously, their common name also became a code for the SS General Command desired by Himmler but not yet assigned to him. "

- Bernd Wegner : Hitler's Political Soldiers. The Waffen-SS 1933–1945. 4th edition. Paderborn 1990.

The Waffen-SS finally comprised all units of the Schutzstaffel that were subordinate to the command main office and, within this office, to the command office of the Waffen-SS . These included both the SS divisions (operationally subordinate to the Army) and the SS Totenkopf Guard Tower, which from 1940/41 were organizationally assigned to the SS Economic and Administrative Office , which was responsible for concentration and extermination camps . In terms of service, however, these skull and crossbones were still under the command office of the Waffen SS. The "SS-Totenkopfstandarten" were not associations of the Waffen-SS for use at the front. However, there was a lively exchange of personnel between the concentration camp guards and the SS Totenkopf Division, so of the roughly 60,000 members of the guards, around 20,000 were exchanged with front-line units.

Military competence and first war missions

After the mobilization , SS available troops and individual SS standards were placed under the command of the army , but did not fight all at the front or as independent large units during the attack on Poland . The regiments, including the independent Leibstandarte regiment, were distributed among various army units. The skull standards of Upper Bavaria , Thuringia and Brandenburg were not used at the front, but in the hinterland for so-called pacification and cleansing actions (see also Crimes of the Wehrmacht in Poland ), as well as parts of the SS police division, but also other security and order tasks in the perceived entire occupied territory. After the establishment of the General Government on October 26, 1939, parts of the skull associations and the police division were subordinated to this Nazi civil administration.

The Leibstandarte attracted attention through atrocities and acts of violence, for example Polish villages were set on fire, which was condemned by higher-ranking Wehrmacht commanders. The military value of the SS units deployed at the front was also viewed rather critically by the Wehrmacht. In spite of the officers who were reasonably well trained by the Junker Schools and the influence of Paul Hausser at that time, there was a lack of militarily qualified NCOs . This led to the fact that some SS units lost order in the event of officer losses in combat, which (in addition to the reservations that already existed) made them appear militarily unreliable units in the eyes of the Wehrmacht.

At the beginning of the western campaign , the SS already had 56,000 men without the skull and crossbones, which, however, still represented a negligibly small proportion of the total strength of the German troops. In 1939/40 Hitler ordered that the SS units intended for participation in the Western campaign should be fully motorized (vehicles for troop and material transport as well as for artillery), which in this case was to be regarded as a preference, since 1939 was just once 16 of the army's 157 divisions were motorized. Since the armaments factories were already having difficulties in producing enough trucks and armored personnel carriers to cover the needs of the Wehrmacht, the SS main office complained in early 1940 about the insufficient allocation figures. There were similar problems with heavy weapons, here the SS complained in February / March (1940) that at least one SS unit had no heavy weapons at all (artillery, mortars , PaKs , black machine guns) and that the number was too small of carbines . A short-term solution was found by the Army Weapons Office - since the Wehrmacht was not too cooperative here - by acquiring Czech vehicles, carbines and machine guns.

In the Benelux countries and France , significant deficiencies in the management of the battle were revealed, which could not be compensated for by an above-average readiness for action and motivation, but instead increased the losses due to hasty and unplanned action. Again and again there were clashes between Wehrmacht and SS commanders over tactics and operations management . In a dispute between General Erich Hoepner and Theodor Eicke , who as a division commander had no military training, it came to a scandal when Eicke was referred to by Hoepner as a "butcher" because of his statement " Losses do not matter". The rapid expansion and the losses suffered in experienced leaders also revealed deficiencies in the quality of officer training for the first time.

Nevertheless, after the defeat of France, Hitler was satisfied with the "achievements" of the SS and praised them on the occasion of his speech at the 1940 victory parade in Berlin. The term Waffen-SS was officially used for the first time after the victory over France.

Personnel development of the Waffen SS

The following table gives a rough overview of the development of the actual number of personnel in the Waffen-SS units in the period from 1937 to mid-1944.

Armed SS of which field troops
December 31, 1937 16,902
December 31, 1938 22,718
05/01/1940 90,638
09/01/1942 236.099 141,975
December 31, 1943 501.049 257.472
06/30/1944 594,443 368,654

Perception of yourself and others, motivation

The Waffen-SS not only stylized itself as a troop whose members were considered tough and manly, daring and brave as well as unshakably loyal and self-sacrificing until death, but it also had the reputation of being particularly daring in war, above all but to be ruthless and brutal towards prisoners and civilians.

During the Second World War, the American Military Intelligence , which was tasked with enlightening the enemy, tried to obtain information about the internal cohesion of the German armed forces by questioning prisoners of war. They found their assumption confirmed many times that a hard core of National Socialists held the military units together ideologically and militarily. The size of the hard core was ten to fifteen percent. Paratrooper and Waffen SS divisions, however, had a much higher proportion of convinced National Socialists, often the entire group surveyed.

War crimes and involvement in the Holocaust in the East

The famous photo of the boy from the Warsaw ghetto shows arrests by members of the Waffen SS
Fritz Klein in a mass grave in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation in April 1945

Almost all units of the Waffen-SS, not only their volunteer and weapon divisions, committed war crimes of varying degrees in almost all of the countries invaded and occupied by the German Reich , especially against the civilian population . While such events in the Western European countries remained rather isolated, although - as the list below shows - not infrequently with hundreds of deaths in one scene, they took on proportions in the Eastern European countries, but especially from 1941 in the Soviet Union overshadowed everything that was there before.

This uninhibited willingness to kill can by no means be reduced, as can usually be read, to the ideological orientation of the top leadership and the responsible troop leaders. Rather, numerous studies show that SS members of lower military rank were also often prepared to not only obey and fulfill the radical guidelines and orders of their leaders, but even to exceed them by taking the initiative. For example, a study showed on action by the command staff realm leader SS assumed three brigades of the Waffen-SS (1st and 2nd SS Brigade, SS Cavalry Brigade), the beginning of the war against the USSR only in the rear army areas used came that it was precisely these associations that made a particular contribution to the radicalization of the development that finally led to the indiscriminate killing of all Jewish men, women and children in the German-occupied areas of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. In the first six months of the Eastern War alone, the SS Cavalry Brigade and the 1st SS Brigade murdered no fewer than 57,000 Jewish men, women and children. The majority of this was accounted for by the SS cavalry brigade led by Hermann Fegelein , with around 40,000 dead.

In addition, personnel were exchanged between the field units of the SS divisions and the SS Einsatzgruppen , which massacred Jews on a large scale behind the front , as well as the concentration camp guards who also belong to the Waffen SS. In the Kiev suburb of Babi Yar , Einsatzgruppen of the Waffen SS and SS murdered after the invasion of Kiev on 29/30. September 1941 about 33,000 people.

Waffen-SS massacre in the southern and western theaters of war

  • During the western campaign , the motorized SS infantry regiment "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" conquered the village of Wormhout in northern France in May 1940 . At least 45 captured British soldiers were shot by members of the "Leibstandarte" (→ Wormhout massacre )
  • On May 27, 1940, units of the SS Totenkopf Division shot and killed 99 British prisoners of war (→ Le Paradis massacre ).
  • One day after the Allies landed in Normandy , on June 7, 1944, soldiers from the SS Panzer Division "Hitler Youth" shot and killed around a hundred Canadian prisoners of war and drove tanks over their bodies.
  • During the Oradour massacre on June 10, 1944, a company of the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" shot and killed 642 residents, including 245 women and 207 children, or burned them alive in their homes.
  • During the Malmedy massacre on December 17, 1944, soldiers of the Waffen SS shot dead around 70 US soldiers near Malmedy who had already surrendered.
  • Maillé massacre on August 25, 1944: in the western French village of Maillé with 500 inhabitants, a battalion of the Waffen SS stationed in nearby Chatellerault murdered 124 people, including 44 children , in revenge for activities of the Resistance .
  • On April 20, 2004 , the trial of the Waffen SS officers Gerhard Sommer , Ludwig Sonntag and Alfred Schöneberg began in La Spezia , Italy because of a massacre on August 12, 1944 in Sant'Anna di Stazzema near Lucca in Tuscany 560 civilians were murdered, including 142 children. In June 2005, Sommer and nine soldiers from his unit were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. The Stuttgart Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating with the aim of bringing charges in Germany.
  • On July 8, 2004 , the trial of Waffen SS officer Hermann Langer began in La Spezia , Italy because of a massacre in the Tuscan monastery Farneta near Lucca on September 2, 1944, in which 60 civilians were murdered. However, he was acquitted in absentia on December 10, 2004 for lack of evidence.

During the last days of the war, fighters of the Waffen-SS executed a large number of German soldiers and civilians for " undermining military strength " or for desertion .

In 1942, funds from the Waffen-SS under the umbrella of the Forschungsgemeinschaft Deutsches Ahnenerbe e. V. founded the Institute for Defense Research . Among other things, this institute carried out fatal human experiments on prisoners in National Socialist concentration camps . 20 of the more than 3,000 concentration camp doctors and three other managers were after the war in the physician process for drawn accountable . Some of the scientists involved were members of the Waffen SS.

Blood group tattoo

An important characteristic was the tattoo of the blood group, which as a rule every member of the Waffen SS wore on the inside of the left upper arm. This circumstance made it easier for the Allies to assign alleged Wehrmacht members and civilians to the Waffen SS during and after the war. Members of the Waffen SS often tried to camouflage themselves with different uniforms and clothing before being captured.


The false myth of the "sacrifice of the Waffen-SS" was cultivated in literature during wartime. In the Eastern War, where the Waffen-SS suffered its heaviest losses , the rate of fatal losses (around 37 percent) was far lower than the loss rate of the Wehrmacht (60 percent).

In the first years of the war, there was a lack of trained general staff officers in the large units of the Waffen-SS , so that attacks were often made without adequate assessment of the situation and without considering losses. In addition, there was not only the ambition to be recognized by the skeptical Wehrmacht leadership as an equivalent fighting force, but also to confirm its own elite claim.

The course of the war and the many newly established units steadily reduced the combat value. It is true that there were more well-trained staff officers and the leadership was tactically better and more prudent than at the beginning of the war. But the abandonment of voluntariness, the relaxation of the admission criteria and finally the legalized recruiting of new recruits lowered the morale of the teams and the subordinate leaders.

The principle of “ leadership from the front ” applied in military training caused the losses of officers to skyrocket. Often attempts were made to compensate for a lack of experience with recklessness and contempt for death. In the course of the war, the high losses of leaders were accompanied by a tightening of officer training, which in turn had a negative effect on troop command at platoon and company level. In addition, Himmler conducted a lively exchange of leaders between front troops, SS offices, training units and concentration camps . So it happened that, towards the end of the war, SS officers from disbanded concentration camps were transferred to the front troops (after the use of the concentration camp guards had previously been discontinued due to poor combat performance) and completely failed as tactical leaders due to the lack of combat experience.

A calculation made years ago, which was based on information from the Wehrmacht information center , came to the conclusion that the number of wartime deaths of the Waffen SS was exactly the same as that of the Army. This does not rule out disproportionately high losses by individual units or associations. Overmans documents the similar loss rates of Waffen-SS units and correspondingly structured army divisions in the same period and at the same place and states that "the overall losses of the Waffen-SS were not significantly higher than those of the army".


While Hausser the "old school" of Prussia - military into the SS-Verfügungstruppe wanted to take over, had Steiner after the war experiences of the First World War for the then revolutionary concept of warfare by small groups of held (see. Strike Team ). Cassius Freiherr von Montigny , who joined Steiner in April 1938, thought in a similar direction as Hausser . From late summer 1939, von Montigny was organizationally assigned to the SS skull and crossbones associations.

In the course of the war it was stylized for propaganda purposes as an elite military force of Reichsführer SS Himmler alongside the regular armed forces of the Wehrmacht and surrounded by a "nimbus of unbeatability".

The divisions of the Waffen SS were similar organization to those of the Wehrmacht, but had some differences and were very often of greater personnel and equipment strength and accordingly much greater power than comparable army units.

SS infantry divisions
These contained, unlike the Wehrmacht in addition, a Flak - and supply - battalion .
SS mountain divisions
The mountain troops of the Waffen-SS also contained in a Division Panzer - or assault gun - company , as an anti-aircraft and a supply battalion.
SS Panzer Grenadier Divisions
Although the structure of these units of motorized infantry was based on that of the Wehrmacht, they were much stronger than comparable army units with 15 instead of 14 companies and a machine gun , anti-aircraft and supply battalion. In the run-up to the Citadel Company , the three SS Panzer Grenadier divisions were given preference with new tanks, so that they actually had more tanks than the army's armored divisions.
SS Panzer Divisions
Compared to the Wehrmacht, these had 15 instead of ten Panzer Grenadier companies; the armored regiments were larger, and included additionally a pioneer -Bataillon, two Bridge Layer -Kompanien, Flak battalion, replenishment battalion, and a mortar -Bataillon. Later - around 1944 - there was often an additional launcher battalion (mainly equipped with the “ Nebelwerfer ” rocket launcher , pulled or mounted on half-track vehicles). The " heavy tank divisions " of the Waffen-SS, which were independent within the tank divisions , had the most powerful tank units of the war in view of their organization and the fact that they were equipped with the famous Tiger and King Tiger tanks .
SS cavalry divisions
Consists of two motorized cavalry brigades with a smaller artillery unit and a tank recovery and repair unit. There were also the usual support battalions and again an anti-aircraft and a supply battalion.
SS Paratrooper Battalion 500
Waffen-SS airborne troops . Most often used in covert operations .
SS special units / SS hunting units
These units were used for reconnaissance , sabotage and secret operations. They were formed in October 1944 from the former SS Jäger battalions and units of the Brandenburg Division of the Wehrmacht. Often units of the SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 500 were also included.

The decisive differences to the divisions of the Wehrmacht:

  • Each field division of the Waffen SS had its own flak and supply battalions.
  • Each mountain division had either a tank or an assault gun unit.
  • Each tank division had its own launcher unit.
  • All divisions had more infantry troops.

Divisions of the Waffen SS

The following divisions of the Waffen SS were set up until May 1945 and were numbered from October 22, 1943. Due to the dissolution or destruction of divisions, the corresponding number was used again for a newly established division:

A total of 38 division numbers were assigned. However, this does not mean that the Waffen-SS at any time had 38 divisions or that these divisions were fully operational and could be used in active combat.

In particular, the units from number 21 onwards were mainly divisions in name due to their formation in the last year of the war and were mostly unable to complete their formation before they were dissolved again to strengthen other units or were destroyed in battle. According to the historian George H. Stein, the combat value of the divisions also differed according to the proportion of ethnic and non-Germans. According to Burkhart Müller-Hillebrandt, there were never more than 22 divisions of the Waffen SS in action.

Based on the assigned division numbers and names, the following can be identified:

  • 7 armored divisions
  • 8 Panzer Grenadier divisions
  • 4 cavalry divisions
  • 6 mountain and weapon mountain divisions
  • 5 grenadier divisions and
  • 12 weapon grenadier divisions

Seven divisions were planned for deployment and their names were assigned, but these units could ultimately no longer be deployed due to insufficient equipment and the tumultuous events - that is, the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht at the beginning of May 1945:

  • 39th SS Mountain Division " Andreas Hofer "
  • 40th SS Volunteer Panzer Division " Feldherrnhalle " (ex Pz.-Gr.-Div. FHH and ex 13th Pz.-Div. Of the Wehrmacht)
  • 41st Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS " Kalewala " (The name had already been provided in 1943 for a German-Finnish Panzer Grenadier Regiment in the 5th SS Division "Wiking", but this was not established due to political consideration.)
  • 42nd SS Division " Lower Saxony "
  • 43rd SS Division " Reichsmarschall "
  • 44th SS division " Wallenstein " (The division allegedly fought in Prague towards the end of the war .)
  • 45th SS division " Varäger " (This name was already taken into account for the 11th SS division "Nordland" during its formation.)

Distinctions between SS and Waffen SS divisions

Postage stamp from 1943 with an idealized representation of soldiers of the Waffen SS

The "Waffen-Grenadier-Divisionen" and "Waffen-Gebirgs-Divisionen" consisted mainly of foreign volunteers . These associations, which consisted mainly of non-Germans, were formed from 1943 onwards in part from the so-called "legions", whose members (often in their home countries) were often referred to as legionnaires or SS legionnaires .

The "volunteer" divisions consisted mainly of ethnic Germans who often served anything but voluntary in the Waffen SS. Accordingly, their combat value was viewed as low. In addition, most of the divisions formed from 1944 (from the 18th) never reached their nominal strength and fought - if at all - as combat groups within the framework of larger units. Also, especially in the spring of 1945, SS divisions were increasingly replenished with Wehrmacht units, for example in the case of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS .

Numerous divisions were prematurely dissolved or broken up in battle. Their numbers were reassigned to newly formed divisions. The 23rd Waffen-Gebirgs-Division of the SS "Kama" (Croatian No. 2) was prematurely dissolved due to a lack of personnel. The 29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS "RONA" (Russian No. 1) under Waffen-Brigadführer Bronislaw Kaminski , which had emerged from the notorious Kaminski Brigade , was involved in November 1944 for horrific crimes, barbaric behavior and wild looting dissolved after the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising . This division only existed for a few months, and not all of its elements were sent to suppress the Warsaw Uprising. The 30th Waffen Grenadier Division was disbanded at an early stage due to unreliability of the personnel and divided up between the new 30th Waffen Grenadier Division (Belarusian No. 1) and the Vlasov Army .

On February 12, 1945, when Budapest fell, three SS divisions (8th, 22nd and 33rd) were destroyed. Some divisions - including the Leibstandarte , Das Reich , Totenkopf and Hitler Youth  - were almost completely smashed, sometimes several times, before they were reorganized from replacement units.

Most of the divisions set up in the spring of 1945 were not used as closed units, but were thrown together from parts of active divisions, rear services of the Waffen-SS, former members of the Navy and hastily set up "volunteer" formations.

Foreign volunteers

In other European countries, the participation of foreigners in the Waffen SS, for example in Yugoslavia, the Netherlands and France, led to political conflicts long after 1945. Among other things, it represents a permanent strain on the relations between the Baltic states and Russia.

Special formations

In addition to the units and formations deployed at the front, there were also a few smaller ones that were subordinate to the Waffen SS, but performed special tasks and were only used to a limited extent or not at all:

Sleeve of the SS standard Kurt Eggers to distinguish between division members
  • SS-Bahnschutz (railway police units to protect the Reichsbahn and all railway systems)
  • SS escort command (Hitler's personal escort battalion)
  • Accompanying Battalion Reichsführer SS (Himmler's Accompanying Battalion)
  • SS Flaka Department B (SS flak unit to protect Hitler's Berghof in Berchtesgaden against air raids)
  • SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers (umbrella organization of all SS war reporting units assigned to each division)
  • SS military geologists battalion (military geologists who were attached to other units as needed)
  • SS-Röntgensturmbann (special battalion to which all X-ray technicians were subordinate)
  • SS Helferinnenkorps (organization of women who, as SS helpers or "SS maiden", supported the Waffen SS in a similar way to the Wehrmacht helpers )


Since the Allgemeine SS was originally a sub-grouping of the SA, it also used the SA rank designations as much as possible. SS members had to put the prefix SS in front of their rank . A table with all ranks of the organizations of the NSDAP is shown in the article Organizational Structure of the SS .

As members of the " Gesamt-SS ", members of the Waffen-SS carried the rank designations of the Allgemeine SS, often with the addition: the reserve . With the establishment of non-German associations, the prefix SS was replaced by Waffen-SS ; In some cases, the national associations had different rank designations, which were based on the military tradition of their countries of origin, for example the Italian ranks were held in the 29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (Italian No. 1) .

The Waffen SS ranks and the corresponding army ranks

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer and Colonel-General of the Waffen-SS Paul Hausser , next to Sepp Dietrich the highest-ranking soldier of the Waffen-SS and one of only four SS men with the rank of Colonel-Group Leader .

The ranks of the SS were roughly modeled on the ranking of the army ranks. Not all SS titles had roughly equivalent military ranks. Carrying was also not associated with appropriate training and leadership experience in various units (official assignments), as was the rule in the German military before a promotion .

Armed SS Wehrmacht (Army)
SS riflemen

(SS grenadier, gunner, radio operator, etc. depending on the type of weapon)

Soldier ( rifleman , grenadier, gunner, radio operator, etc. depending on the type of weapon)
SS upper rifle

(SS-Obergrenadier-Oberkanonier,-Oberfunker etc. depending on the type of weapon)

Ober ..., z. B. Oberschützen ... (etc., as above)
SS storm man Private
SS Rottenführer Corporal
no equivalent in the Waffen SS Corporal
SS-Unterscharführer Sergeant
SS Junker Ensign
SS squad leader Sergeant major
SS junior officer ---
SS-Oberscharführer sergeant
SS-Standartenjunker Ensign
SS-Hauptscharführer Sergeant Major
SS-Stabsscharführer ( service position ) ( Hauptfeldwebel ) (service position)
SS Sturmscharführer Staff Sergeant
SS-Untersturmführer lieutenant
SS-Obersturmführer First lieutenant
SS-Hauptsturmführer Captain
SS-Sturmbannführer major
SS-Obersturmbannführer Lieutenant colonel
SS standard leader Colonel
SS-Oberführer no equivalent in the Wehrmacht.
SS Brigadefuhrer and Major General of the Waffen SS Major general
SS group leader and lieutenant general of the Waffen SS Lieutenant General
SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen SS General of the branch of service
SS Colonel Group Leader and Colonel General of the Waffen SS Colonel General
Reichsführer SS Field Marshal General


Two soldiers of the Waffen SS during training, with submachine guns, folding spades and slightly camouflaged steel helmets

The Waffen-SS was the first troop in the world to be equipped on a large scale with the flecktarn patterns that are in use today on their uniforms. Due to their great camouflage effect (solid bodies blur in their outlines), numerous armies (including the Bundeswehr) use similar camouflage versions.

From the beginning, the Waffen-SS competed with the Wehrmacht for personnel, weapons and equipment. The German armaments industry - despite an enormous increase in productivity up to 1944 (the year with the highest production rate) - could not meet the needs of the front troops, and so it was prioritized in terms of reliability and morale. Therefore, new sources of supply had to be found for equipping the SS units. For example, booty stocks were used, contracts were awarded to Czech or French companies or even SS armaments companies were founded.

In addition to the armored divisions of the Army , parachuted Tank Corps Hermann Goering, some mechanized infantry divisions, selected mountain and infantry divisions and against the war, the people grenadier divisions there were also some armored divisions of the Waffen-SS (z. B. LSSAH, Das Reich, Totenkopf ), which were preferred in the allocation of materials and thus upgraded to elite units. Although SS units were already deployed at the front during the French campaign in 1940, only from 1941 (Greece, then Soviet Union) were units of the Waffen-SS deployed on a large scale in the focal points of the fighting and suffered heavy losses in some cases. In the later course of the war, the personnel and material situation deteriorated, so that these divisions (like most army divisions) could often no longer be fully equipped.

The flagship units (LSSAH, Das Reich, Totenkopf) were organized as motorized infantry units until 1939, some of them still in regimental strength. With these units in particular, Hitler attached great importance to mobility, which meant that these units sometimes had more vehicles for troop transport than comparable army units. By 1943, these formations were expanded to become SS Panzer divisions and were reclassified. This conversion began at a time when these were at least officially Panzergrenadier divisions, but they were gradually expanded into Panzer divisions, although Hitler had not yet received any approval. If one were to go by the name, such units would have had a higher number of infantry companies than an armored infantry division of the Wehrmacht. This approach was followed with suspicion by the Wehrmacht and Himmler was asked in writing to provide information on the number of personnel, structure and expansion plans of the SS units, which he largely ignored until Hitler finally officially approved the expansion.

In detail, the higher personnel strength of the SS Panzer Grenadier divisions is a relic from the time when these SS units were still organized as motorized infantry units, although the structure of the resulting SS Panzer divisions is basically the same the structure of the armored divisions of the Wehrmacht. Another difference was the fact that the SS had to compensate for shortcomings in terms of the organic structure (lower artillery support, initially only "light artillery departments" etc.), that is, heavy weapons for infantry support were already in the SS divisions (e B. Assault gun departments in SS Panzergrenadier divisions) had to be incorporated, instead of being temporarily subordinated to the army. This often leads to the false assumption that the Waffen-SS divisions were significantly larger or more powerful than comparable army units. In contrast to army units, the Waffen-SS actually had no units / weapons ( anti-aircraft artillery, heavy artillery, heavy mortars, etc.) for fighting infantry at the corps / army level , which means that divisional artillery departments or -Regiments were often inadequate in practice and were not very mobile, which meant that before the assault gun detachments were incorporated, one was often dependent on artillery support from units of the higher army or corps.

The construction of the test vehicles initiated by the Waffen-SS, the SS's 8 cm multiple launchers, also known as the “Himmler organ” (13 vehicles in use), which was supposed to remedy this deficiency, proved to be due to the large spread and insufficient availability these weapons as a less successful project, so that the existing three SS multiple launcher batteries were finally converted to smoke launchers in 1944 and each subordinated to an SS tank corps. The smoke launchers used from 1943 in the newly established SS throwing departments (approx. 10–15 until the end of the war), which were produced for the Wehrmacht as early as 1940, proved to be more successful and resulted in the SS being less dependent on artillery units of the army and enabled more flexibility in fighting and planning, as these weapons were much lighter and therefore more mobile than artillery pieces.

Until the end of the war, the Waffen SS had at least one artillery regiment with a total of four departments. For example, in the 4th (“heavy”) division of the SS artillery regiment, two batteries with three “17 cm cannons 18” each (mounted on mortar mounts, introduced in 1941, range: approx. 29 km), and a battery with three to four "21 cm mortars 18" (also on mortar mounts, introduced in 1939, range: approx. 16 km) was used. Although these types of guns formed the backbone of the German heavy army artillery, the service life of the tubes and the rate of fire (30 rounds per hour for the 21 cm mortar) were insufficient and the weight of the cannons was quite high (23 + 16 tons), which meant availability artillery support from SS-owned units was significantly restricted. The use of smoke cannons promised more success here and was more in line with the generally high mobility of Waffen SS units.

The Wehrmacht sometimes took over structures from the Waffen-SS, for example in the case of the additional assault gun divisions in SS Panzergrenadier divisions (1944 at the latest), but here the assault guns in the army were supposed to strengthen the anti-tank capabilities of the divisions, but then due to lack of success Assault guns such as those used by the Waffen SS for infantry support. For supplies (food, ammunition, fuel), SS divisions were dependent on the infrastructure of the superordinate organizational unit (army) of the Wehrmacht, as they only had small cables. The supply units of the SS divisions were comparatively small, but mostly fully motorized.

The SS divisions set up in 1944/45 never reached the personnel and equipment target, and the reclassification into a division often only took place on paper. The armament of these grenadier, mountain and tank grenadier divisions was often inadequate, out of date or consisted of prey weapons. Such SS units were also often deployed in the main areas of combat, but then suffered high losses.

Legal processing of the crimes of the Waffen SS

In the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals in 1946, the International Military Tribunal declared the Waffen-SS as well as the general SS and the Death's Head Associations to be criminal organizations for war crimes and crimes against humanity .

The countless crimes of the Waffen SS were punished to a very limited extent. The historian Martin Cüppers found, for example, that only eight members of the SS units subordinate to the Reichsführer SS command staff, whose activities he examined in a study that underlines the importance of the Waffen SS units for the initiation of the Shoah in the former Soviet Union, were prosecuted for their crimes after the war. However, several thousand former members of these units came, including many who should have been legally prosecuted for war crimes committed, were not prosecuted.

Former after the war

Well-known people in post-war Germany in the Waffen SS

  • Günter Grass (Nobel Prize Winner, Writer): 10th SS Panzer Division "Frundsberg"
  • Hardy Krüger (film actor, writer): 38th SS Grenadier Division "Nibelungen"
  • Horst Tappert (film actor, "Derrick"): 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf"
  • Herbert Reinecker (journalist, author of books for young people, novels and scripts): 14th Company of SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 1 "Totenkopf"
  • Bernhard Heisig (painter, including teacher of Neo Rauch ): 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitler Youth"
  • Otto Beisheim (Metro co-founder, entrepreneur): 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"
  • Hans Robert Jauß (literary scholar and Romance scholar): SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Brigade "Nederland"
  • Franz Schönhuber (journalist and politician): 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS "Charlemagne"
  • Eberhard Cohrs (film actor, comedian): Rottenführer, security team of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Foreign Legion

After 1945, France recruited former German soldiers for the French Foreign Legion . Many reported from prisoner-of-war camps and because of the dire economic situation in their homeland. Among them were former members of the Waffen SS who were given the opportunity to assume a new identity when they joined. This possibility was also available to the French who had served in the Waffen SS “Charlemagne” division .

Takeover of former SS members in the Bundeswehr after 1961

After the rearmament, the newly established Bundeswehr remained closed to former senior officers of the Waffen-SS above the rank of Hauptsturmführer (equivalent to the rank of captain). In 1961, after a review, the Personnel Appraisal Committee appointed 159 former officers, 330 NCOs and 210 Waffen-SS men to the service of professional or temporary soldiers. Five former members of the Waffen SS were later promoted to generals in the Bundeswehr. These were Brigadier Generals Günter Baer and Alfred Kendziora , Major General Gerhard Deckert and Michael Schwab, and Lieutenant General Werner Lange. Three former Army General Staff officers, who were temporarily assigned to the higher staffs of the Waffen SS, later became generals. These were Lieutenant General Leo Hepp and the two Brigadier Generals Kurt von Eine and August Frede.

Veterans and traditional associations after 1945

Wreath-laying ceremony of the K IV regional association Styria - Southern Burgenland as part of the Ulrichsberg celebration in 2008

The veterans of the Waffen-SS formed a traditional association - the mutual aid community of soldiers of the former Waffen-SS (HIAG) - which had considerable, but also intensive, influence in the network of soldiers and traditional associations until the 1970s Cultivated contacts with the parties of the Federal Republic . It was not until the 1980s that they distanced themselves: CDU members of the Bundestag ended their work, the SPD decided on the incompatibility. The federal association of HIAG, which had been observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution because of its connections to right-wing extremist circles, disbanded at the end of 1992. To this day, associations still exist at the state level. The HIAG newspaper Der Freiwillige , which appears in the right-wing extremist Munin Verlag , was also published afterwards. The main content of this publication is the portrayal of the Waffen-SS as a normal fighting force and military nostalgia; there are also historical revisionist articles that do not only concern the history of the Waffen SS. In addition to the HIAG applies in Austria , the " camaraderie IV " (K IV) as interest and tradition Association of the Waffen SS. The comradeship IV traditionally organizes a comradeship evening in Krumpendorf am Wörthersee the day before the Ulrichsberg meeting in Carinthia , which hit the headlines in 1995 with the appearance of Jörg Haider . Several former members of the Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht from all over Europe take part in the “Europe Evening”, which is attended by right-wing extremist parties and neo-Nazis such as Florentine Rost van Tonningen and Gudrun Burwitz , daughter of Himmler, in addition to former war participants . In 1995 Sören Kam also hit the headlines when he took part in the Ulrichsberg meeting of the Waffen SS veterans in Krumpendorf in Carinthia .

In 1995, FPÖ Governor Jörg Haider expressed his thanks to the Waffen SS soldiers present in the presence of Kam:

“That in these busy times there are still decent people who have a character and who stand by their convictions even with the greatest headwind and have remained true to their convictions to this day. [...] We give money for terrorists, for violent newspapers, for work-shy rabble, and we have no money for decent people. "

- Jörg Haider , September 30, 1995 in Krumpendorf am Wörthersee to veterans of the Waffen SS on the occasion of the Ulrichsberg celebrations

Members of the traditional Flemish right-wing association “ Voorpost ” also took part in the 2007 celebrations .

Waffen SS soldiers for Cuba

In October 2012, Bodo Hechelhammer reported in the reports of the research and working group "History of the BND" that Fidel Castro tried in 1962 to recruit former Waffen SS officers as trainers for his troops. Cuba tried to buy weapons through the arms dealer Ernst-Wilhelm Springer .

See also


  • H. Auerbach: Waffen-SS . In: Wolfgang Benz (Ed.): Legends, Lies, Prejudices. A dictionary on contemporary history . 8th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag , Munich 1996, ISBN 3-423-04666-X .
  • Wolfdieter Bihl: On the legal status of the Waffen SS . In: Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau . tape 16 , 1966, pp. 379-385 .
  • Heinz Boberach: The transfer of soldiers from the army and the air force to the SS death's head associations to guard concentration camps in 1944 . In: Military history messages . tape 34 , 1983, pp. 185-190 .
  • Thomas Casagrande : South Tyroleans in the Waffen SS; Exemplary attitude, fanatical conviction . Edition Raetia , Bolzano 2015.
  • Martin Cüppers : pioneer of the Shoah. The Waffen-SS, the Reichsführer SS command staff and the extermination of the Jews 1939–1945 . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft , Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-16022-3 (Publications of the Ludwigsburg Research Center of the University of Stuttgart , Vol. 4; At the same time dissertation, University of Stuttgart, 2004. Also with the spelling “Shoa”. Only available as an e-book) .
  • Jürgen Förster: From the early army of the republic to the National Socialist People's Army . In: Jost Dülffer (Ed.): Germany and Europe. Continuity and break. Commemorative letter for Andreas Hillgruber . Propylaen Verlag, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-549-07654-1 , pp. 311-328 .
  • Heinz Höhne : The Order under the Skull The history of the SS . Bassermann Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-8094-2255-6 .
  • Peter Klein (Ed.): The Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet Union 1941/42. The activity and situation reports of the chief of the security police and the SD . Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-89468-200-0 (publications of the Memorial and Educational Center House of the Wannsee Conference , Vol. 6).
  • Jean-Luc Leleu: La Waffen-SS, soldats politiques en guerre . Perrin, Paris 2007.
  • Valdis O. Lumans: Himmler's Auxiliaries. The Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German National Minorities of Europe, 1933–1945 . University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill / London 1993, ISBN 0-8078-2066-0 .
  • Wolfgang Schneider : The Waffen SS. Text and documentation . Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag , Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-499-60936-3 .
  • Ronald Smelser , Enrico Syring (ed.): The SS. Elite under the skull. 30 résumés . Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh , Paderborn 2000, ISBN 3-506-78562-1 (2nd, reviewed edition by Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2003).
  • Ronald Smelser / Eward J. Davies II: The romanticization of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS in the USA. The " Gurus " and their influence on the American public , in: Jens Westemeier (ed.): "That was how the German soldier ...". The popular image of the Wehrmacht , pp. 63–78, Paderborn (Ferdinand Schöningh) 2019. ISBN 3-506-78770-5
  • Jan Erik Schulte, Peter Lieb, Bernd Wegner (eds.): The Waffen-SS. New research . Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn a. a. 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-77383-8 .
  • George H. Stein: History of the Waffen-SS . Athenäum Verlag, Königstein am Taunus 1978, ISBN 3-7610-7215-5 (American English: The Waffen-SS. Translated by Walther Schwerdtfeger).
  • Bernd Wegner : "My Honor is Loyalty" The SS as a Military Factor in Hitler's Germany . In: Wilhelm Deist (Ed.): The German Military in the Age of Total War . Leamington Spa 1985, pp. 220-239 .
  • Bernd Wegner: Hitler's Political Soldiers. The Waffen-SS 1933–1945 . 7th edition. Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 3-506-76313-X (also dissertation, University of Hamburg 1980 under the title Das Führerkorps der armed SS 1933–1945 ).
  • Jens Westemeier: Himmler's warriors. Joachim Peiper and the Waffen-SS in the war and the post-war period (= War in History. Vol. 71). Edited with the support of the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr . Schöningh, Paderborn 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-77241-1 (= revised version of the relevant dissertation at the University of Potsdam 2009).
  • Gordon Williamson: The Waffen-SS. 1933-1945. A manual . Tosa Verlag, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85492-706-1 (English: The Waffen-SS handbook . Translated by two4u).
  • René Rohrkamp : “Fighters with a solid ideology” - the soldiers of the Waffen-SS 1933–1945. Organization - personnel - social structures. Schöningh, 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-76907-7 .

Via units of the Waffen SS

  • Thomas Casagrande: The Volksdeutsche SS-Division "Prinz Eugen". The Banat Swabians and the National Socialist war crimes . Campus Verlag , Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-593-37234-7 (also dissertation, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main , 2002).
  • Max Hastings : The Empire. Resistance and the March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division through France. June 1944 . Pan, London 1981, ISBN 0-330-26966-6 .
  • Charles W. Sydnor: Soldiers of Death. The 3rd SS Division "Totenkopf" 1933–1945 . Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn / Munich / Vienna / Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-506-79084-6 (English: Soldiers of Destruction . Translated by Karl Nicolai).
  • Bernd Wegner: On the way to the Pan-Germanic Army. Documents on the genesis of the III. ("Germanic") SS Panzer Corps . In: Military history messages . tape 28 , 1980, pp. 101-136 .

About the SS in general

Web links

Commons : Waffen-SS  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Hans Buchheim: Anatomy of the SS state. Vol. 1: The SS - the instrument of rule. Command and obedience. Munich 1967, p. 179.
  2. Bernd Wegner: Hitler's Political Soldiers: The Waffen-SS 1933-1945. Paderborn 1983, p. 124 ff.
  3. ^ Frank Dingel: Waffen-SS. In: Encyclopedia of National Socialism. dtv, 2nd edition. Munich 1998, p. 792.
  4. Bernd Wegner: Hitler's Political Soldiers: The Waffen-SS 1933-1945 . Ferdinand Schöningh, 2010, Chapter 17.3 Breaking the voluntary principle, p. 273 ff .
  5. ^ Jost Dülffer: Faith in the leadership and war of annihilation. 1992, p. 161.
  6. Dieter Pohl: Persecution and mass murders in the Nazi era 1933–1945. Darmstadt 2003, p. 25.
  7. Hans Buchheim: Anatomy of the SS state. Vol. 1: The SS - the instrument of rule. Command and obedience. Munich 1967, p. 182.
  8. Quoted from Bernd Wegner: Notes on the history of the Waffen-SS. In: RD Müller, HE Volkmann (Ed. On behalf of MGFA ): The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Oldenbourg, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56383-1 , p. 407.
  9. Federal Archives: Coll. Schum./v. 432, vol. 2.
  10. ^ Order of the OKW of March 8, 1940 regarding "Military service and military surveillance of members of the Waffen-SS during the war" - NA: T-175/36/5973 ff.
  11. Martin Cüppers: Trailblazer of the Shoah. March 2005, p. 91.
  12. Bernd Wegner: Hitler's Political Soldiers: The Waffen-SS 1933-1945. Paderborn 1997, ISBN 3-506-77502-2 , p. 210. For the pre-war years, the personnel strengths of SS-available troops and SS-Totenkopfverband were added.
  13. Rafael A. Zagovec: talks with the 'national community. In: The German Reich and the Second World War , Vol. 9/2: The German War Society 1939 to 1945 - Exploitation, Interpretations, Exclusion. on behalf of the MGFA ed. by Jörg Echternkamp . Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-421-06528-4 , pp. 360–364.
  14. Cf. Martin Cüppers: Wegbereiter der Shoah. The Waffen-SS, the Reichsführer SS command staff and the extermination of the Jews 1939–1945. (Publications of the research center Ludwigsburg of the University of Stuttgart, vol. 4). 2nd, unchanged edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2011, ISBN 978-3-89678-758-3 , pp. 189–214, here pp. 203 and 213. The information relates exclusively to Jews who were killed, and Russian prisoners of war and non-Jewish civilians who were also murdered not included.
  15. Waffen-SS identified as responsible for the Maillé massacre. In: The Standard. October 11, 2008.
  16. a b Rüdiger Overmans after Bernd Wegner: Notes on the history of the Waffen SS. In: RD Müller, HE Volkmann (Ed. On behalf of MGFA ): The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Munich, Oldenbourg 1999, ISBN 3-486-56383-1 , p. 414 ff.
  17. The Volunteer SS Legion in Latvia. (The voluntary (Waffen-) SS Legion in Lithuania.) Official statement of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Inesis Feldmanis, Kārlis Kangeris, after 2004 ( Memento from May 31, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Thomas Schmidt: The foreign policy of the Baltic states: in the field of tension between East and West. VS Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-531-13681-X .
  19. ^ Image by Sepp Dietrich here , accessed on August 5, 2008.
  20. Here this rank corresponded to that of a senior colonel who was entitled to wear the silver-gray lapels and the aluminum cap piping of a general, while he still had the shoulder boards of a colonel. (Source: Andrew Mollow: Uniforms of the Waffen-SS , p. 154).
  21. Cf. Martin Cüppers: Wegbereiter der Shoah. The Waffen SS, the Reichsführer SS command staff and the extermination of the Jews 1939–1945 (Publications of the research center Ludwigsburg of the University of Stuttgart, vol. 4). 2nd, unchanged edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2011, ISBN 978-3-89678-758-3 , pp. 322-335.
  22. Planet Wissen: Germans in the French Foreign Legion, March 13, 2008 ( Memento of February 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  23. ^ The Cabinet Minutes of the Federal Government. Volume 9, p. 652, 1956, online in the Google book search
  24. ^ Matthias Molt: From the Wehrmacht to the Federal Armed Forces - Personnel Continuity and Discontinuity in the Development of the German Armed Forces 1955–1966. Retrieved July 1, 2017 .
  25. Karsten Wilke: The “Aid Community on Mutuality” (HIAG) 1950–1990. Veterans of the Waffen SS in the Federal Republic . Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-77235-0 , pp. 421-429.
  26. Where do you go to Ulrichsberg? - Texts and background .
  27. ^ Documentation archive of the Austrian resistance (DÖW) .
  28. haider watch ( Memento from May 9, 2008 in the web archive )
  29. ^ Bundesheer supports SS meetings. Press kit on maintaining the Nazi tradition of the armed forces. (PDF) Archived from the original on August 21, 2011 ; Retrieved October 24, 2014 .
  30. When Castro became interested in the Waffen SS. on: , October 12, 2012.