West European Volunteers

Waffen-SS Volunteer
Photography Exhibition: Waffen-SS Battle for Europe
More than 11,000 French citizens joined the Waffen-SS in 33.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne. This does not take into account thousands of 1940 French citizens who volunteered after the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsaß-Lothringen) were annexed by Germany and declared Reichsländer, that is, integral parts of the Reich. A rough estimate is that over 8,000 Flemings served in the Flemish 27.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Langemark and in 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking up to September 1944, and that the number grew to over 13,000 by the end of the war. Another 10,000 Walloons served in 28.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Wallonien. All together, perhaps 10,000 Italians saw active duty with the Italian Waffen-Verband der SS and 29.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS. Up to 20,000 Dutch joined the Waffen-SS in 23.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nederland and Wiking, and tens of thousands of others served in organizations such as Organization Toth. More than 26,000 Scandinavians volunteered for service in the Wiking and 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland. Another 13,000 Swedes volunteered against the Soviet aggression in Finland during the Winter War and through rotation, as many as 45,000 Spanish and Portuguese volunteers served in the Spanish Blue Division as well as in Spanische-Freiwilligen Kompanie der SS 101 on the Eastern Front. Left image: an unidentified Waffen-SS VolunteerCommons Bundesarchiv. Right image: Exposition de Photographies de la Waffen-SS, 42 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris, France in January 1944. Public domain.


  1. Keep up the good research14/2/15

    The general reader will find this the most informative and honest site on the Waffen-SS. It should spur the reader to learn more about the topic. A huge thank you to all the contributors!

  2. Stark the Post Apocalyptic Adventurer17/5/18

    I highly recommend this site, Ive been going through some of the stuff and if you love History as much as I do, you're sure to love it.

  3. Anonymous16/1/19

    In 1943 15,000 Italian volunteers started training at Truppenübungsplatz Münsingen, but 6,000 of them were unsuitable and released for training in other units. After World War II, as with other former members of Waffen-SS formations, veterans of the Legione SS Italiana (29.Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS) found employ in the CIA-orchestrated organizations of political warfare in an “anti-communist” role.