Waffen-SS — part of a criminal organization

An unidentified SS Grenadier
In their brief but extraordinary existence the Waffen-SS won a unique reputation for daring élan and esprit de corps and unfailing professionalism in combat. Their courage was unquestioned and they achieved worldwide fame and notoriety. Waffen-SS played a conspicuous role in most of the important German triumphs, one far disproportionate to their numbers. Despite repeatedly sustaining horrendous casualties, their discipline remained unbroken, their fighting ardour unimpaired. After WWII, the Allies declared that the whole of the SS, including the Waffen-SS, was a criminal organization. Regardless of the military professionalism and the record of individual combat units, the entire organization was declared criminal. At a stroke, the imprisoned European volunteers were stripped of the protection of the Geneva Convention. All Soldiers of the Waffen-SS were automatically considered war criminals by virtue of being volunteers in the Waffen-SS; and for all their matchless undoubted bravery, the Waffen-SS now bears a reputation which will remain forever stained with infamy. Sir Norman Birkett, British alternate judge at the Nuremberg Tribunal, explained in April 1946 that: the trial is only in form a judicial process and its main importance is political.
Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der Angehörigen der ehemaligen Waffen-SS (Mutual Help Association of Former Waffen-SS Members) was an organization founded in 1951 by former members of the Waffen-SS to provide assistance to the approximately 250.000 former Waffen-SS veterans living in West Germany at the time. The HIAG successfully fought numerous legal battles in West Germany to overturn the Nürnberg ruling and win legal status of the Waffen-SS. Waffen-SS veterans were denied many of the rights afforded to soldiers of the regular Wehrmacht, even pensions were denied to its members as a result of having been condemned as a criminal organization by the victorious Allies. Image: An unidentified battle-hardened SS-Grenadier. A perfect shot of the elite esprit de corps so commonly found in Waffen-SS. Fair use.

7 comments:

  1. Invisible Man4/12/11

    This blog dispels the myths about a unique military villainy that the press (after the war) dishonestly attributed to the Waffen-SS elite fighting forces. Far from being the sort of vicious stereotype "criminals" that the Allies portrayed them to be. Confusion arises when objectivity is removed from its appropriate historical context.

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    1. Anonymous4/8/13

      Wonder who you think massacred the Canadian Pows in Normandy,the American Pows in Belgium,and the civilians at Oradour?

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  2. Kurt Kuschel25/4/12

    Ich wollte selbst zur Waffen-SS, da dort alle, Offiziere und Soldaten, Kameraden waren. Man brauchte seine Schranktür nicht zuzuschließen, weil dort niemand klaute. Offiziere und Soldaten waren zusammen, unterhielten sich ohne Befehle. Wenn ich jetzt wählen müsste, dann würde ich mich wieder für die Waffen-SS entscheiden.
    Ich war von 1942 bis 1945 ununterbrochen im Einsatz. Am 18. Mai wurden wir von den Amerikanern gefangen genommen. Ich wurde gefoltert, meine Papiere und Auszeichnungen wurden verbrannt. Sie wollten, dass ich zugebe, ein KZ-Wächter gewesen zu sein. Das war ich aber nicht.

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  3. Anonymous2/6/12

    Вони були солдатами!

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  4. Panzergirl699/8/13

    Allied casualties were generally much higher whenever they were thrown into combat opposite seasoned Waffen SS troops. Consequently the SS were both feared and admired for their military prowess, therefore they determined to thoroughly disband and discredit this able military force before the eyes of not only the world, but of the German people as well.

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  5. MattJ7028/9/13

    This men fought under extreme conditions, against overwhelming odds. They were true warriors, most likely the finest of the modern era.

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  6. Anonymous12/3/15

    Basically, the SS was the German equivalent of the Marine Corps. Like the Marines, they were storm troopers, the elite fighting force, the toughest, the bravest and the first to go into combat, engage the enemy and to clean house before the regular army arrives as an occupying force. Obviously, it'd be disingenuous to say there were no war criminals in their ranks. However, not everyone that served in the SS was a war criminal any more than anyone that served in the USMC was a war criminal.

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