Waffen-SS reunions

German SS and Waffen-SS 1923-1945.
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Bittrich
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Waffen-SS reunions

Post by Bittrich » Sun Sep 29, 2002 12:28 am

I was wondering if the Waffen-SS survivors have any type of reunions during the year in Germany? If so how do they get treated by their peers? Any information on this would be greatly appreciate. Here in the states we have a Veterans day but I don't know if the Germans honor those who fought for their country in the same manner. Thank you for any replies.
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Post by Mark C Yerger » Sun Sep 29, 2002 2:32 am

Its a rather odd situation regards veteran groups, funerals, memorials, etc. Luftwaffe associations (and the veterans) for example, are very respected by current day pilots and involved with the occassional significant event. Such as when the Bundeswehr got F-104 fighters. Funeral honor guards of current military personnel can be found when an important WWII personality dies.

Not so the case for Waffen-SS veterans. HIAG is now dissolved and has been for a number of years, replaced by the Social Work Paul Hausser. It is more a functioning financial entity than a group of associations as HIAG was. Veterans associations still exist, though some, such as that for Junkerschule cadets, dissolved due to lowering membership. This month was the final Regiment "Der Führer" annual reunion. It met for over 30 years in Lenggries every year and was welcome by the local townspeople. A radical article in a newspaper caused bad press, threats, and other problems in the mid-1990s and the group moved its reunion to Austria. "Totenkopf" does not publish their reunion location due to harrassment by younger radical political types towards the vets. Portions of the LAH, III.Korps, cavalry, Engineer , I.Korps and Pz Rgt 5 associations among others still meet. But many of the 12-18 associations have or are fading due to age, difficulty in travel, etc of the veterans. Many are very small and the meetings not as grand as even a decade ago. Some only involve a dozen people attending. All I've attended, by invitation, include a ceremony for fallen comrades, generally held outdoors at a cemetary or memorial. Few Waffen-SS associations are allowed any type of fallen comrades monument and those that have one are restricted to not being allowed to use the term SS in the unit title of the stone or memorial. Germany seems to hold a stigma towards the Waffen-SS more than ANY other country. A number of British reunions of vets invite for enemies from the Waffen-SS. But note any SS book published in Germany. Covers are not allowed to incorporate a photo with an obviuos Siegrunen and specific other topics, a rather odd law to restrict a historical text. Funerals for SS vets receive little or no publicity, the vets attaend the funeral and wish to avoid protests and problems during the service. Often the veterans have a small honor group, obviously in civil cloths, with one carrying a funeral pillow displaying decorations. Often a significant individual, such as a Knight's Cross holder, representing the deceased unit attends, a tradition that is important. Many families consider the important people who attend the funeral and indication of the impact the deceased had and many funerals have a photographer record the event.

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Mark

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Norway

Post by Björn » Sun Sep 29, 2002 6:01 am

Hello!
In Norway, surviving veterans still have a convention each year. New to this years meeting, is that all ex-volunteers including front nurses are gathering; earlier, each unit had "their own" meeeting.
Some units, such as "Den norske Legion", rgt "Norge", and the Ski Batallion have also visited their old battlefields on several occations.

B.

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Post by 12th SS » Sun Sep 29, 2002 3:03 pm

This in an interesting subject to me, I often think about the problems that would occur at such events.

I did see a program a few years back where a group of Waffen SS vets went back to the area of the Kursk battle, there they met with Russian vets. You could sense a very strange atmosphere from the meeting.
The German vets were all very polite and wanted to try and forget the past, but the Russians still had the hatred in them, nothing was said face to face, but the sense of this was quite obvious.
Dave.

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Post by Paul E » Mon Sep 30, 2002 4:26 am

Was in Stalingrad earlier this year with German veterans.On Victory day in May we were at Rossoschka ,with Russian veterans there as well and there was a strange atmosphere between the groups,with some of the Russians not being happy at the German presence.

However as the afternoon progressed and the vodka flowed ! a mutual respect for men who had endured the horrors of the battle did prevail.

Paul

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Post by Fish » Mon Sep 30, 2002 4:38 am

Paul, sounds absolutely fabulous, how is it you were in Stanlingrad with those old vets?
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Waffen-SS Reunions - Maybe Slightly Off-Topic

Post by Wurger » Mon Sep 30, 2002 11:32 am

When the Ukraine was in the process of separating from the USSR during the early 1990's a number of Ukrainian SS and police auxiliary veterans appeared in public their uniforms for the first time since the war. They were usually at the head of nationalist parades calling for Ukrainian autonomy, etc.

I think "60 Minutes" did a special on the position of former SS men in post-Soviet Ukraine, but I have yet to see it. If anyone is interested there is a photo of some of these Ukrainian troops at a a rally in JUrado's book. "Breaking the Chains"

The fact that these men were able to wear their uniforms without fear of reprisal can seen as a belated recognition of their efforts (although perhaps a bit misguided) for their countrymen. I know that there is a Ukrainian veteran's organization in North America, But I'm wondering if a similar apparatus has been established over there. I know that monuments to the Galician Division in Ukraine have been defaced in the past, so I'm not sure if veterans meetings would be possible in such a volitile political climate. . .

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Post by Paul E » Mon Sep 30, 2002 11:34 am

Hi Fish,

I was on a Battlefield visit,doing research etc.

Paul

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Reunions

Post by Bittrich » Tue Oct 01, 2002 9:40 pm

I'm glad I got such a good overall responce. In Germany it is a shame that those who fought and died for their country can't be honored. I'm not saying that the Einsatzgruppen should be praised, but Waffen-SS troops as a whole preformed quite well. They deserve to be held in high reguard as Luftwaffe or Heer veterans. However it is good to see that German and Soviet war vets can get together, albeit tense at first, and exchange their experiences.
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Just returned from the Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot Association

Post by Willi » Fri Oct 18, 2002 10:04 am

Reunion... and they are hosted and sponsored by the current German Air Force with the dinners and other events happening on the military bases. I've attended the Luftwaffe Night Fighter Pilot Association reunion last June at Fliegerhorst Laage, the largest Luftwaffe base in old East Germany (they still fly the MiG-28). It is hosted by JG-73 every other year. They are carrying on a tradition and heritage with the Luftwaffe before them dating back to WWI. Unfortunately the Waffen-SS has no history beyond WWII like the Luftwaffe, Heeres and Kriegsmarine.

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Luftwaffe reunion

Post by Bittrich » Sat Oct 19, 2002 9:19 pm

Sounds like it was a fun event. I'm glad they honor their WWII vets. Thanks for the reply.
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Post by Paul E » Sun Oct 20, 2002 2:26 pm

Last weekend 12th-13th Oct was the last ever reunion of the Waffen SS Regiment "Der Fuhrer".

This is due to the dwindling number of remaining veterans and also the difficulties of travelling long distances for those who remain.
In the last six weeks Ritterkreuztrager and Nahkampfspange in Gold Winner Sepp Lainer and DKiG Winner and last Adj of the Regt Georg Seegerer have both passed away.

As one Vet told me the Regiment "Will no longer be known in History"

Paul

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Post by Mark C Yerger » Sun Oct 20, 2002 2:54 pm

Thanks for the info, the sum of which was already posted between here and TR Forum. I'd respectfully beg to differ on their being forgotten. If nothing else, a lot has been written on them with at least 2 more books coming.

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forgotten

Post by HaEn » Sun Oct 20, 2002 7:06 pm

Mark C. Yerger wrote:Thanks for the info, the sum of which was already posted between here and TR Forum. I'd respectfully beg to differ on their being forgotten. If nothing else, a lot has been written on them with at least 2 more books coming.

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Mark
Hi Mark, I beg to differ with the "not forgotten", One of my relatives in Holland the other day mentioned the SS Wiking div. to a college student. The reply ?: Wat the hell is a Wiking other than the Norsmen ?". Face it my friend, it is getting lonely at the end of the line. I never had any desire in re-unions, now I am begining to wish I had. One thing left is visiting IJsselstein before I go, but I think that will remain just that. Oh well , we started a new life in the U.S. and did it well. Must be worth something. Regards. HN.

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Post by Mark C Yerger » Mon Oct 21, 2002 12:43 am

I'ts common knowledge that few people can name their country's major wars or political figures (or similar common facts of government, etc). Considering the number of books written about WWII, that are obviously read or publishers wouldn't print them, I'd say a long list of units/weapons/people/battles/campaigns are recorded for those who wish to know. It is the same for every time period. I'd bet the number with interest in WWII in the USA rivals or exceeds the number of people with interest in the Civil War, a period STILL being researched and written about. I hold my opinion, as each of us is allowed to have, that gone does not mean forgotten. I have a long list of SS vets who consider themselves lucky that readers and researchers take an interest, and that alone keeps their memory alive.

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Mark

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