The Fall of Berlin 1945

11.SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Div. Nordland
The Battle of Berlin is well known not only for being a fierce and bitter battle, but because a great number of its last defenders were not German, but were foreign volunteers particularly from Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. An extraordinary very close comradeship had grown up among the Waffen-SS foreign volunteers defending Berlin in the final battle of the World War II in Europe. Author Theodor Hartmann writes in the conclusion of the book Waffen-SS: Its Divisional Insignia: By 1945, the Waffen-SS had proved by its combat success that European people could exist together, but as long as they recognized and accepted the national differences between one another. It had been in the Waffen-SS that, for the first time, Dutch had been commanded by Germans and Germans by Belgians. It was this idealism, dearly bought on the roads of Russia and later in its slave labor camps, that created an outstanding spirit of comradeship and combatant ability among all members, regardless of nationality or rank.
The historian Martin Gilbert remarked: All wars end up being reduced to statistics, strategies, debates about their origins and results. These debates about war are important, but not more important than the human story of those who fought in them. Ordinary men conscripted into the Heer, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine or enlisted men of the Waffen-SS did not fight for the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). Neither did the hundreds of thousands of European volunteers. There were certainly other values and beliefs involved. Perspectives that may be easily forgotten. Image Courtesy of P. Wallendal. An unidentified Norwegian SS-Rottenf├╝hrer of the 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland wearing an SS issue M43 tunic with a Nordland Sunwheel Collartab.

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