Withdrawal and surrender of 5.ϟϟ-Panzerdivision „Wiking“

5.SS-Panzerdivision Wiking
On the night of May 12 – 13 1945, the 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking´s command section reached the American barricades to whom the division officially surrendered near Radstadt and Wagrain. Those responsible had two aims in mind in their dealings with the Americans: First, not being handed over to the Soviets (instead, passage directly into Germany); and second, movement only in their own vehicles. The Americans agreed to these terms. In a large convoy – in an almost peaceful fashion and with a minimum of guards – the Wiking headed out from Wagrain on June 1 1945. The march moved via Markt Pongau, Bischofshofen, Golling, Hallein, Salzburg, Freilassing, Traunstein, Rosenheim, Bad Aibling and Bad Tölz to Eberfing. Here and there, the march was like one in triumph, where people lined the streets and showered the column of vehicles with cigarettes, flowers and food, even though American soldiers were posted at the street corners. On the open road on the Autobahn, the column was overtaken by a high-ranking American officer in a jeep, who stood up in his vehicle, saluted while yelling incessantly: Bravo, Wiking Division! All illusions were to be shattered within days. The conditions in Allied POW camps were appalling, and starvation, epidemics and ill-treatment took a heavy toll on the lives of the prisoners. Image: Panther of 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking. Credit: Peter Straßner, European Volunteers. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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