Soldiers of Europe: The Men of the Waffen-SS
Published in "Siegrunen" Magazine – Volume 6, Number 3, Whole Number 33, January – March 1984.
Since a number of "establishment" historical books written about the Waffen-SS have liberally garnished their hatchet jobs with negative letters attributed to members of the Waffen-SS, we thought that it was high time that the more prevalent positive side of the picture was given some exposure. Hence the various European volunteer letters that will appear in this and future issues of SIEGRUNEN. The letters originally appeared in the SS wartime publication: Aufbruch, Briefe Germanischer Kriegsfreiwilliger, a booklet that was translated into a number of different languages for circulation in the appropriate countries at the time. The letters seem to accurately reflect the most widely held sentiments of the Germanic volunteers and provide an interesting glimpse into the motivating factors that made the Waffen-SS into a truly international army.
Letter from a Swiss Volunteer
I know that you will be disturbed when you learn that I have crossed over the border into Germany. But I have my course well set in place and my conscience to follow. Haven’t we talked each evening about how Switzerland is virtually the only country that is foregoing its duty to the European lands by not taking its part in the struggle against Bolshevism?
How could I stand aside when the leader of the common struggle against the enemies of Germany calls. We Swiss are of the same blood as the Germans, the same race as the Swabians and Carinthians. Immediately after crossing the border I reported in to the Waffen-SS, was accepted, and enlisted.
Letter from a Danish Volunteer
We are the sons of a people who have conquered the sea since the days of the Vikings. We are the sons of a people that bear a Nordic heritage and have always fought to maintain their place among the Nordic nations.
It is one of the greatest sins of democracy that our youth have not obtained a good knowledge of our Nordic background and culture. Now we must observe and learn the example of the life and work of our ancestors from Germany, and we must prepare those of our blood to return back to that example
Letter from a Dutch Volunteer
(The father mentioned was a bridge attendant who was killed during the German advance into Holland.)
On 26 April 1941 I went into the Waffen-SS. But don’t think that I have forgotten about my father. No day passes that I don’t think of him and often look at my picture of him. It is my conviction that he fell because of the actions of the financiers, led by the Jews, whose goals are not in the interest of the Dutch people. Thank God there are still other men in the world that think not just of money, but who are able to do other things with their lives for the betterment of the social conditions of their people. There is much hostility in Holland, even from my family, over the way we have been treated so offensively (i.e. by the big-money interests), so that I feel I must live for my people and not give up the fight, though one should understand that we are not fighting for our own particular advantage but for the higher ideals that we hold. It is on the Eastern Front that a good many Dutchmen have fallen, and even if I were to die, my last thoughts will be for my father, my wife, my children and above all my people, with the firm conviction that our victory will be for the salvation of Europe, and yes, even for the exploited English and American workers.
Letter from a Swedish Volunteer
I hope to become an officer in the Regiment ‘‘Nordland.” I have enlisted because I believe that our future will be made better by my doing so, and when the war is over we can get married if you will wait that long. As a German SS officer, I will have many, many great opportunities in life that I could not have in Sweden where so many Jews and other ilk carry on with their mischief. It will be a hard school for me, though not impossible —an idealist can accomplish anything. I have signed on only for the duration of the war, however, when it is finished I will remain in Germany and you must come to glorious Germany as my wife. When I become an SS officer it will be the happiest hour of my life.
Obituary from the Liechtenstein newspaper "Umbruch” (Revolution). 26 January 1942
He Died For Us All:
SS-Mann Alois Hoop
Killed Before Moscow
On this past Saturday the severely tested parents received the news of the heroic death of their son.
Alois Hoop, born 4 September 1923 in Ruggell, reported in as a volunteer to the Waffen-SS during the previous summer. He followed the idealistic urgings of his heart in leaving our homeland to place himself directly in the battle for our German people. During his training period he very quickly made an impression through his conduct and bearing and became a model for his comrades.
In numerous letters from the front, he showed that he had not lost his spirit or beliefs. Not a complainer, he never wrote about the difficulties and hardships. His vision was always directed forwards. With the clear-seeing eyes of a young fighter he recognized the necessity of this European war for survival. He understood the dangers that threatened Europe from the East and was prepared to enter the struggle, even if it meant that he must die.
Comrade Alois Hoop will become one of the immortal heroes of his people. He gave his young life so that his nation would live and Europe would not go under. His sacrifice is not in vain.
Full of proud grief we gaze upwards toward him. His life and heroic death will be an example for us to emulate. We will walk to his hero’s grave and hold up the bright shield of our comrade with devout hands so that the clear shine will strengthen our grieving souls with the uplifting thought of his heroic memory.
Comrade Hoop, you were one of the greatest men of our homeland.
While we must with difficulty take our leave from you, you will always live on in our hearts.
To your family, our most deep-felt sympathy.
Letter from a Finnish SS volunteer
In a few days we will meet the Russians for the first time with our forces. Our division commander (Felix Steiner) has visited us here and greeted each man with a handshake. We were quite surprised that during his inspection he did not treat us as a superior does an inferior.
He made no fuss over the state of our equipment, but only wanted to make a friendly, get-acquainted visit with the battalion. We got a good impression of this man and he won the men over. Each man says that with this sort of leader to go with —an irreproachable fellow with sympathy for us Finns —we can all do well.
Here behind the front the factories are going again and coal and iron are being mined from deep in the earth. The Ukraine produces much food that the railroads can take directly to Germany (for processing) and then ship to the front with much speed. And this is only the beginning. The new Europe has awakened and no man can prevent it. When the spring comes and the vehicles roll forward again, we must go too; then there will be no more secluded places for us behind the front.
This is now a difficult time in Finland, but if we are to win all must make sacrifices. The Finnish people now bear a great burden, but even if it gets bigger, it can still be dealt with. After the war, Finland will become strong and great but only after we have been hard on ourselves and remained the same against others. Man can only survive with his skill and wisdom. To all of Europe has come a new vision, and our generation will build this new Europe. In this struggle the importance of the individual counts for little; many must desire to fight so that our people can live in a decent future. We live in a great time and it is an honour to offer our assistance for the fulfilment of this great mission.
Everything is going well with me, I am happy that we will soon be allowed to demonstrate in the southern sector of the front how the Finns can fight…
Letter from a Waffen-SS volunteer from Liechtenstein
My recruit training time is now past and my ardent wish has been fulfilled: I serve as a soldier of the Greater German Reich in the struggle against Bolshevism.
About that, and what I have seen and lived through here, I cannot write about very well in detail; the experiences you undergo are best described by our SS "PK” [Propaganda Kompanie] men. But I must tell you, that while I had not expected very much from this land [Soviet Union] with its reign of terror, I have now seen and experienced things which I had only previously heard through hearsay and never really believed. I have often wished that the enemies of National Socialism in my Liechtenstein homeland could experience what we have learned about this great disaster and see our prisoners from the so-called Red Army, before their "world revolutionary” culture is brought to the west. I believe with all my might that no enemy can take Germany. I came to the realization that the German soldier in this gigantic struggle is fighting not only for the freedom of the Germanic nations, but also particularly for the culture of all the worthwhile people on this earth.
There is much hardship to bear here, but this is incidental to me. Despite everything I have not the slightest regret over becoming an SS man. I am proud that I am able to make a contribution through the deeds of a German soldier, rather than just as a political fighter.