„Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

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„Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Sun May 25, 2008 10:48 am

A couple of days ago Feldgrau Veteran member Rudi Welz of the SS-Aufklärungs Abteilung „Nord" wrote to me about the reunion that he had attended the previous week in Eberschwang, Austria. We agreed that I would post something about the reunion here on Feldgrau. Around 50 people, of which 30 were veterans from the two divisions, attended this combined reunion of the 6.SS-Gebirgs Division „Nord” and the 7.SS-Freiwilligen Gebirgs Division „Prinz Eugen“. Some other veterans from the Korps Steiner also attended. Rudi said that they had a wonderful time reminiscing, singing songs and drinking. They were able to visit and lay wreaths at the monuments to both divisions which are located on private property and protected from vandalism.

Below is a group photo from the reunion. Rudi is standing in the top row, third from the right in the photo. The man second from the right with the green tie next to Rudi is the former SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Otto Koller, who was physician of the Aufklärungs Abteilung „Nord” and finally regimental surgeon of the SS-Gebirgsjäger Rgt.12 „Michael Gaißmair”. Dr. Koller also was the leader of the “Nord” veterans’ association for many years. 4th from the left sitting in the front row with the red tie is the former SS-Untersturmführer Felix Benesch from the SS- Gebirgsjäger Rgt. 14 of the „Prinz Eugen” division.

John
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Sun May 25, 2008 1:25 pm

Here is the monument to the „Nord“ with the wreath placed by the veterans.
Nord-Denkmal.jpg
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by haen2 » Sun May 25, 2008 2:48 pm

Thank you, John.
Rudi looks pretty good, in spite of his health issues. I am glad he could make it. Just wish I could have been there too.
Oh well.
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by sniper1shot » Sun May 25, 2008 3:30 pm

Just to be a fly on the wall for their discussion and talks of the past (and to understand German too).
Wondering if any of them have memoirs published or in the works?

Not too many group or unit reunions, for any of the WWII countries, going to be going on in the near future.
Only he is lost who gives himself up as lost.

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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by phylo_roadking » Sun May 25, 2008 3:53 pm

Dan - possibly the reverse :( I'd guess quite a few are planning to get together now and as often as they still can.... the last hurrah before "Lights Out"...
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John W. Howard » Sun May 25, 2008 11:32 pm

Hello John:
Thanks for the pictures John. It is especially nice to put a face to a name; I've talked to Rudi a couple of times by PM; nice to see what he looks like. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by Franz Repper » Mon May 26, 2008 4:11 am

Thanks for that John P More its so sad to see so few ,It is also nice to see what young Rudi looks like at last like Tom on this Forum I have a great intrest in SS Nord and Prinz Eugen
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Mon May 26, 2008 11:46 am

Someone commented earlier about the small number of veterans who were able to attend the Treffen in Austria. Actually 30+ is a good turnout these days compared to what I hear about other vet reunions, of which there are not very many any more. Last year fewer than 10 veterans attended the Polizei division's reunion. I was thinking that the comparative larger number of veterans attending the Gebrirgjäger Treffen was at least partially a result of the better physical condition that the Gebirgsjäger maintained during the war with their frequent mountain climbing operations in the Balkans and the challenging terrain of Karelia. I remembered a story about a long forced march that a „Prinz Eugen“ veteran had told me about some years ago and I asked him to recount it again. Here is what he sent me this morning.

"About the "long march": about end-November 1944 (ten weeks after the annihilation, bei Nisch, of the almost entire Führungsstab of the P.E., including the Nachrichtenabteilung, the Stabskompanie, all the auxiliary units, and parts of the Aufklärungsabteilung - the total numbers lost mainly through immediate execution, between 2,500 and 3,000 men and officers - even though Kumm plus several high-ranking Stabsoffiziere managed to escape, towards Kraljevo), the measly looking remnants (to which had been added hundreds of "Ersatz" - including from the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine moving up from Greece), with only one Horch-17 (mine, but which I had to relinquish directly to the newly establish Divisionsstab), very poor weaponry, almost no petrol, and very sparse rations, continually pressured by the Titoists - and worried that the Red Army would cancel its agreement with Tito to respect the sovereign territory of "Yugoslavia" - would continue its push westward, we were ordered, in an emergency, to march northward, starting from our Standort near Zvornik, along the Drina river, all the way up towards Bosanski Brod, a distance of about 77 km (50 miles), all packed up and forever on the alert about possible Titoist attack at either of our very long flanks. A real Blitzmarsch, with only one short stop around mid-day. We were almost running from about 5 a.m., arriving just to the south of Bosanski Brod, around 11 p.m., evidently dead-tired, but without being shot at even once (and with the Redarmists minding their diplomatic manners). From the original 41 German-Gymnasium graduates in Werschetz (who had been drafted into the Nachrichtenabteilung) only about two handful were still alive - by then still Funkers or Fernsprecher, but without any vehicles and therefore forced to carry their remaining equipment on their backs. A few days later, this "remnant" and myself (graduate of the Hungarian highschool) were informed that we had been selected to go for training as Nachrichtenoffiziere (by the way, most of those who had perished, were shot dead by the Bulgarian troops at Nisch, who had, overnight, transferred to the Red Army). Your presumption about the "relatively higher-level physical performance" by the Gebirgsjäger might be applicable to a Gebirgsdivision set up and trained during peace time (with many extra hours spent on practising mountain-climbing, usually "fully loaded with equipment). However, at the end of November 1944, most of such highly trained personnel had already been killed, and the "Ersatz" was poor, not only in training but also in physical capacity, and was also lacking what we used to call "Kamerad- schaftsgeist". I guess, what kept us going northward was the desire to survive, since lagging behind would likely result in being captured by the Titoists and tortured to death.

I recall Schütz Sepp, Birg Walter, Mihailowitsch Walter, Schwarz Rudolf, and Illiewich Matz, marching along and then boarding first the LAstwagen and then the train, to Zagreb, on our way to the Führerschule, then in Nürnberg. Of these, from what I know, only Birg is still alive."

John

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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by Annelie » Tue May 27, 2008 4:06 am

Thankyou John for posting Rudi's Veteran Reunion photo.
Don't know how I missed it but I am happy to have found this.

The stories and memories they must have.
All the best to them and hope next year they again
will meet.
Annelie
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by Tom Houlihan » Tue May 27, 2008 4:49 am

My thanks to Rudi and John for sharing the photos and the story.
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by Paul E » Thu May 29, 2008 2:52 pm

Thanks for the photos John, good to see Rudi looking well he has been of great help to me Re Korps Steiner,

Regards

Paul

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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Fri May 30, 2008 8:23 am

Here's a photo of the Prinz Eugen monument that I received from Rudi this morning.
Prinz Eugen Denkmal.jpg
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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Sat May 31, 2008 10:12 pm

Here is another photo from the Treffen that Rudi sent to me. The man on the far right with the excellent posture is our friend Rudi Welz, 1.Vorsitzender der Münchener HIAG.

Rudi also added these comments in an e-mail today confirming the view that the Gebirgsjäger maintained themselves in top physical condition.

"Ich bin mir sicher, dass unsre Gebirgsjäger immer in exzellenter Form waren, hatten sie doch vor
ihrem Einsatz regelmäßige Gebirgsausbildung, das heißt bergauf und bergab, immer wieder. Das hat
sichg meines Erachtens ausgezahlt."



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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by John P. Moore » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:46 pm

I recently heard from Rudi Welz that Helmut Grob died last month on July 18th. Helmut Grob was an SS-Haupturmführer in the "Prinz Eugen", who commanded companies in the 14th Rgt. for several years and leader of the "PE" veterans organization. He will be missed by many people.

John

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Re: „Nord“ and „Prinz Eugen“ May 2008 Veteran Reunion

Post by Mansal D » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:10 pm

So sad to hear about things like this. It's even worse when you know them, but to see their stories go to the grave is heartbreaking. May he rest in peace. :(

Best regards,
Mansal

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