|SS-Unterscharführer Alfred Schneidereit|
Misconceptions about the Waffen-SS
There is a widespread assumption that the men of Waffen-SS were indoctrinated political soldiers of one sort or another, with the precise meaning of this term varying with the outlook of the user. This outlook, in turn, is assumed to account for the greater proportion of war crimes attributed to the Waffen-SS. Surviving records, however, support Waffen-SS veterans´ claims that political indoctrination was at most a minor part of their training. It is essential to realize that most cases of atrocities result from some previous atrocity committed in violation of laws and customs of war and were often of an exceptionally heinous nature. In other words, they were often a part of the pernicious cycle of cruelty that stem from other, similar acts. The results are often disturbing and sometimes inexcusable, but not unique to the Waffen-SS. Each case must be examined individually and closely before any opinion on the general nature of the Waffen-SS can be considered to be well informed. Credit: Marc Rikmenspoel, Waffen-SS Encyclopedia. Image: The East Prussian volunteer SS-Untersturmführer Alfred Schneidereit served as an anti tank gunner with SS-Division Leibstandarte SS. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions on the Eastern Front where he participated in the battles at Lutsk, Kherson, Taganrog, Rostov, Kharkov and Kursk. Alfred Schneidereit was also promoted for bravery in the face of the enemy, and posted to the SS officer training school at Bad Tölz, which he graduated from in October 1944. He surrendered to the Red Army on May 12 1945. Photo: A formal studio portrait, probably made in connection with the award of the Knight's Cross, on December 20 1943. Alfred Schneidereit died aged 79 on February 21 1999 in Nördlingen, Germany. Commons Bundesarchiv.
Labels: 1. Introduction: Waffen-SS