|SS-Unterscharführer Arne Johansson|
ϟϟ-Unterscharführer der Waffen-SS Johansson
Before 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland took part in the defense of Berlin it fought fierce defensive battles in Pomerania and on the Oder. SS-Unterscharführer Arne Johansson from Göteborg in Sweden was one of many volunteers who fell in those battles. He had served with the Swedish Volunteer Corps during the Soviet aggression against Finland before he joined the Waffen-SS and the Nordland Division. In 1943 Arne Johansson was assigned to SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 11 (Panzergruppe Saalbach). On several occasions the company commander had to calm down his fighting spirit, which came to fore when things started to get hot, but finally it cost him his life. Arne Johansson was killed in action during a counter-attack in Groß Wachlin east of Stettin-Altdamm on March 1 1945, leaving behind a wife and three children in Sweden. 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: Public domain.