Seventy-four years after the fall of the Third Reich, the German government is still paying foreign soldiers injured while assisting the National Socialist war effort, including two Swedes who served in the armed unit of the SS.
Last week, Berlin assured that none of the 15 Swedish citizens receiving compensation for war-injuries had been members of the paramilitary Schutzstaffel organization. However, Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter has determined that at least two of those receiving monthly payments from Germany are indeed former Waffen-SS members.
Karl von Zeipel and Jan Dufv fought in the SS’ Aryan-only Wiking panzer division. The report shows that Dufv took part in the conquest of Norway, fought communist partisans in the Balkans and likely even met with Heinrich Himmler. After the war, Von Zeipel fled to Spain where many National Socialists took refuge under Francisco Franco’s regime.
Around 200 Swedes fought for the Reich in World War II, and were promised a lifetime of compensation payments in the event of injury on the same terms as German soldiers by Hitler himself. Data from the German Labour Ministry shows that 2,033 of “Hitler’s pensioners” still exist worldwide as of February. The fact that Sweden was never taken over by Germany strongly indicates that those who fought with them signed on voluntarily.
Those receiving the payments are said to be between 82 and 101, and reportedly receive between $160 and $1,065 a month.
The payments continue to be claimed under a 1951 agreement aimed at compensating those injured or disabled in the war. The law was built directly on Hitler’s never-revoked 1941 declaration to compensate foreign fighters injured in the war effort.
Whereas measures were later taken to block people convicted of "war crimes" from receiving the money, those who participated but were never convicted of any particular offense were unaffected as long as they could prove they had a WWII related injury.
Last month it was revealed that 27 Belgians were receiving the payments, although the German government denied they had been Waffen-SS members, and claimed that they became entitled to the war disability pension after receiving German citizenship during the German rule.