… truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me …
Matthew 26: 2
Collaboration during the Second World War. As we well understand it today, people who became collaborators during the Second World War were: 1) whose spirit was weak, and their moral principles were very low; 2) who had their own views on the social system in their country.
Both, in general, are understandable and understandable. Such people are, were and will be. The only really important question: why so often they were so cruel to their own? That is, Hitler managed not only to attract people with a low level of morality from almost all over the world, but also finally to deprive them of their human appearance and push them to atrocities against people of their own nationality, or even their immediate fellow citizens. And the number of such "guards" of the Fuhrer was by no means small. The bill went to many thousands. First, let's look at the European collaborators.
For example, in January 1944 their number in the SS troops was 37, 3 thousand people, and among them were Norwegians (3, 8 thousand people), and Danes (5 thousand people), and Flemings (5 thousand people), and also the Dutch (18, 4 thousand people), as well as Walloons (1, 8 thousand people), and, of course, the French (2, 4 thousand people), which The Germans themselves counted "Germans" already in the course of the war.
Recall that the "German volunteers" from the "Volksdeutsche" who lived in Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and Holland, as well as ethnic Germans who lived outside Germany, were fully staffed as many as 12 "volunteer" SS divisions: 5th ("Viking"), 7th ("Prince Eugene"), 22nd ("Nordland"), 18th ("Horst Wessel"), 22nd ("Maria Teresa"), 23rd ("Nederland"), 27th ("Langemark"), 28th ("Wallonia"), 31st ("Bohemia and Moravia"), 32nd ("January 30"), 34th ("Landstorm Nederland "), 37th (" Luttsov ").
The SS command also formed such foreign divisions as the 23rd "Kama" and the 13th mountain division "Khandshar" (from Croats, as well as Bosnians and Muslims from Herzegovina), then the 21st division "Skanderberg" was created from the Albanians, from Italians the 29th, from the Hungarians the 25th "Hunyadi", and the 26th "Tembes", from the French consisted of the 33rd division "Charlemagne" (that is, "Charlemagne"), from the Lithuanians, Latvians (15- I, 19th), Estonians (20th), citizens of the USSR and just former Russian citizens (29th "ROA", 30th), Belarusians, Ukrainians (14th "Galicia").
To distinguish the "volunteer" SS divisions, staffed by Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Flemings and Volksdeutsche, they were called "SS divisions". During the war there were at least 15. The exact number of such "volunteer divisions" and "divisions of the SS troops" is difficult to establish due to the existence of many smaller units - battalions, regiments, brigades, legions, also created under the auspices of the SS. Some of them were brought to the size of divisions, some did not manage to reach the required number, and some SS command wanted to form, but did not have time, and they remained only on paper.
It is interesting that representatives of such foreign states that were not occupied by Germany went to serve in the SS. For example, the Swedes served Hitler in the number of 101 people, the Swiss were more - 584 people, there were also Finns, Romanians, Bulgarians, Spaniards, who had their own national legions. And these were real volunteers - either fanatics or real adventurers, who often illegally crossed the borders of their countries, just to take part in the "struggle against Bolshevism." True, the number of such was very small, but nevertheless there were such.
Spanish volunteers also fought in the SS troops. For example, it was the 250th Infantry Division, which was part of the German Army Group "North", and was in Russia for a rather long time, but then returned to Spain in October - November 1943. But there were soldiers and officers who remained to fight in Russia. These ideological volunteers formed the "Spanish Legion" (or "Blue Legion" as it was unofficially called), which fought on the side of Nazi Germany until March 1944, when, by decision of the Spanish government, he was also recalled to his homeland.
Moreover, General Franco gave the order to close the Spanish-French border for such volunteers who might again wish to go to Germany. Nevertheless, there were about 150 people who crossed the border illegally. Naturally, in France, the German authorities greeted them very well and sent them to a training camp at Stablatt, near Konigsberg. And from there they again ended up … in a unit of the SS troops. As a result of all these "border crossings", by April 1945, under the command of the former captain of the "Blue Division" Miguel Esquerre - now the SS Standartenfuehrer (Colonel of the SS troops), there were three companies from the Spaniards and also a certain number of soldiers of the French and Belgian formations of the "troops SS ". And the loyalty of these volunteers was fully rewarded by Hitler himself, since the Esquerra Compound was assigned to guard the Reich Chancellery. And it was it that fought in the last battles of May 1945 for the government quarters of Berlin. Fate was merciful to the brave Spaniard. He was captured, but managed to escape and reach Spain. No one pursued him there, so he even managed to write and publish his memoirs.
That is, there really were volunteers who fought in the SS because of their own "conscience". However, they were in no way enough and had to recruit "volunteers" in the SS forces forcibly. As a result, they began to differ little from the "colonial troops", and those, as everyone knows, were extremely unreliable weapons at all times.
For this very reason, many SS units were disbanded, then created again, they were shuffled like cards and transferred from one sector of the front to another, sectors of the front, which is why it is so difficult to determine their exact number. Some units did not participate in hostilities at all, but were used as punitive and police units for reprisals against local residents of the occupied territories and fighting partisans. The Germans harbored no illusions. And they understood that as soon as they were “their traitors”, they would be betrayed a second time, as it happened, for example, with the “Russian SS squad”.
By the way, there were two "squads": - "1st and 2nd Russian SS squads." Walter Schellenberg, the head of the SS intelligence service (VI Directorate of the RSHA), wrote in his memoirs that the "Druzhina" was formed from those Soviet prisoners of war who, as part of Operation Zeppelin, were trained to be thrown into the Soviet rear. There they were supposed to engage in espionage and sabotage, but since their dispatch was quite often delayed, they were united into a combat unit, which was named "Druzhina". Its commander was a former Soviet officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rodionov (who had a nickname - Gill). At first there was one "squad", then a second appeared, and in March 1943, they were united into the "1st Russian National SS Regiment". Then the "1st Russian National SS Brigade" was created from him, and Rodionov first became the commander of this regiment, and then the brigade commander. Schellenberg wrote that he warned his superiors not to use these Russian formations in punitive actions against partisans. That in this case, the brigade may go over to the side of the "red". And he, one might say, looked into the water!
In August 1943, the brigade was again involved in combing the village in search of partisans. Noticing a column of Soviet prisoners of war guarded by SS soldiers, the brigade fighters attacked the convoy, freed the prisoners and went with them to the partisans. It turned out that Rodionov had contacted the partisan detachment named after. Zheleznyak, and through him the leadership of the partisan movement in Moscow. They believed him, and the whole operation went off "without a hitch, without a hitch," while he even provided for the arrest of the most inveterate traitors from among the brigade commanders who could have resisted the transition to the partisans. It is clear what consequences this "betrayal" had, but … the policy towards collaborators has not changed. There are no people - you will use whoever you have to!
However, the most and most surprising and, in general, a phenomenon that is very difficult to explain was the use of various Muslim, Caucasian and Turkic formations by the Nazis. And this after Himmler himself called them "wild peoples". Moreover, their formation within the framework of the "SS troops" completely, 100% contradicted all Nazi racial doctrines, and the very purpose of organizing the SS, which was originally conceived as "an alliance of specially selected Nordic Germans." And here? Flat faces, narrow eyes … Well, such are the Nordic signs that there is simply nowhere to go!
It is not clear why, but Hitler was especially suspicious of the volunteer units of collaborators recruited from the peoples of the USSR, and only in Muslims he saw those on whom he could rely. For example, in December 1942, at one of the meetings, he told his generals: “I don’t know how these Georgians will behave. They do not belong to the Turkic peoples, I consider only Muslims reliable. I consider all others unreliable. At the moment, I consider the formation of these purely Caucasian battalions very risky, while I do not see any danger in the creation of purely Muslim formations. Despite all the statements of Rosenberg and the military, I do not trust the Armenians either. " Here's how! And it once again shows how dangerous it is to trust the opinion of a “genius leader”, especially one… one who does not have a decent education, because most often it will be wrong. But - the Fuhrer said, and "the machine spun": the formation of military units from Soviet prisoners of war from "Turkestan and Caucasian peoples" began, in which Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Tatars, Azerbaijanis, etc. were recorded. Already at the end of 1943, the "1st East -Muslim SS regiment ". In November 1944, it was turned into the "East Turkic formation of SS troops" which was given under the command of SS Standartenfuehrer … Harun al-Rashid. For some time he was listed in the 13th (Muslim) mountain rifle division of the SS "Khandshar", but later became a separate formation.
The regiment in May 1944 in the Minsk region took part in hostilities against the Red Army and … then something happened that should have happened. A large group of Kazakhs went over to the partisans. After that, the regiment, or rather what was left of it, was transferred to Northern Slovakia. But even there, in December 1944, 400 Uzbek soldiers and officers again went over to the partisans. The rebellious commander was SS Obersturm-Fuhrer Alimov, who at one time commanded this regiment.
The British and American military, who landed in Normandy in June 1944, constantly noted that many of the "Germans" who surrendered to them turned out to be citizens of the Soviet Union. Such, according to their calculations, was about 10% of all captured soldiers of the German army. And many fled to the French partisans, if only the opportunity presented itself.
In one of the comments to the first part of this material, the question was asked: did the negroes fight for the Germans? Yes, they fought. Because the command of the German armed forces, and especially the leadership of the SS, did not consider it something special to use "cannon fodder" with any skin color. And if SS Reichsfuehrer Himmler agreed to the creation of "national" units from Russians and Muslims, then there was a place for the British, Americans, and even Hindus and Arabs. Are they worse? Moreover, there was another category of scum, which they also did not disdain. These are actually German criminals, who, one might say, God himself ordered to "redeem the guilt of the Reich" by fighting the partisans as part of the "valiant SS troops". And such a unit, of course, was formed already in February 1942. It was a special SS battalion of Dirlenwanger, in 1945.became the 36th SS division "Dirlenwanger". Moreover, not only German criminals served in it, but also traitors from among the Ukrainian nationalists. Apparently, this audience turned out to be the closest to them in spirit, otherwise it is difficult to explain.
The admission of criminals to the ranks of the SS took place right in the concentration camps, and the selection of candidates itself was reduced to a simple formality. In the camps, these "SS men" performed the duties of kapos, warders, block supervisors, etc. In Auschwitz, these prisoners were, for example, since 1940 and "worked" together with the SS "Dead Head" guards. Whatever crime they committed, they had nothing to fear from the gas chamber, they ate separately from other prisoners, had special rations and even … their own apartments in the camp, and often well furnished, and even traded in the things of the killed prisoners. That is, almost any “human material” was used by the fascists, as long as it had a suitable “morality” and spiritual values corresponding to its “ideals”.
And the last - all this was not a secret for anyone in the highest echelons of power in the Reich. The Punchinelle's secret, so to speak, and nothing more. So, far from the last person in the SS hierarchy, but the second after Himmler - SS Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, in June 1942 directly called the SS "a garbage can". That is, he, at least, was aware that the actions of the SS, and of himself, were simply criminal. And it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that being a fascist or a Nazi (here the accuracy of the wording does not play a special role!) Means simply a state of mind, otherwise no one would buy into such stupidity. And they were under Hitler in Germany, they were in England, the USA, France, Norway among the Arabs and Indians, among the Chinese, the Japanese, among the citizens of the USSR and white emigrants from Tsarist Russia. They exist today in the West, in the former republics of the USSR, and even in modern Russia …
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P. S. About the interest that exists in our society in this topic, the dissertation research presented here in recent years speaks. It is possible that some of the readers of "VO" will go further and, having summarized the data of these works, will be able to make on their basis a solid and interesting monograph. But I leave this job young …