Tragedy of the Faithful „Schwedenkompanie“
This photo shows the knocked out command vehicle Sd.Kfz 250 halftrack of the Swedish SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans-Gösta Pehrsson at Friedrichstraße in Berlin. Pehrsson was commander of the so called Schwedenkompanie or Schwedenzug of the SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 11 of the 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland. The body lying to the right of the vehicle appears to be SS-Hauptsturmführer Pehrsson's dead driver, the Swede SS-Unterscharführer Ragnar Johansson. The Swedish SS Reconnaissance Platoons escape attemt took place the night between May 1-2 1945. They came under heavy Soviet fire at Friedrichstraße and the driver SS-Unterscharführer Johansson was killed. SS-Hauptsturmführer Pehrsson, commander of the very same vehicle, later identified the fallen in this photograph as his driver Ragnar Johansson. Pehrsson himself was wounded, but he managed to get away from the Soviets at the time. Fortunately, Pehrsson had time to get rid of his uniform jacket and changed into a Wehrmacht one before being taken prisoner. He was sent to a prison camp, which he managed to escape from. Pehrsson then hide himself in an apartment in Berlin. After a while, he met another Swedish SS-man and together they walked to the British occupation zone and on June 2 1945 they began an adventurous journey back to Sweden. Since the SS volunteers who had returned from World War II were not chased or discriminated in Sweden, Pehrsson had the chance to return to civilian life and found a good job as a salesman and engineer. SS-Hauptsturmführer and Generalstabsoffizier Hans-Gösta Pehrsson died on March 16 1974 in Stockholm. Source: Twilight of the Gods: A Swedish Waffen-SS Volunteer's Experiences with the 11th SS-Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. Image: Photo by Soviet propaganda photographer Mark Redkin around May 2nd 1945. Public domain.