13th French SS man at Bad Reichenall massacre

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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Helmut Von Moltke

13th French SS man at Bad Reichenall massacre

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:51 am

hi, when researching the Bad Reichenall massacre of 12 French SS Charlemagne men by the Gaullist General Leclerc, I came across rumours of a 13th SS man who was spared since he was the son of Lecler'c friend, a fellow Gaullist general, and quietly released. Does anyone have any info on this guy? thanks. :[] :D

helmut

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:53 am

Hi HvM.,

What was your source?

Cheers,

Sid.

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:20 pm

sid guttridge wrote:Hi HvM.,

What was your source?

Cheers,

Sid.
The source for this is Daniel Laurent's article about Charlemagne Division on Axis history. http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=881
Bad Reichenhall



In the first days May 1945, 12 French Waffen SS surrendered without trying to fight to the US American army. They were from the regiment "Hersche", tired or injured, they were not anymore able to fight however. With other German prisoners, they were held in a barracks at Bad Reichenhall (former barracks of mountain troops). On May 6 1945, the 2nd French armoured Division of Leclerc occupies the city. The French SS tried to escape by fear of reprisals. They finally are captured in a small forest, encircled by two French companies. General Leclerc will question them. Asked about their German uniforms, they replied: “And you, you have an American uniform!” Judging their attitude insolent, the General decides to execute them.

The execution will take place, on May 9 1945 near Karlstein, in a place called Kugbach or Kugelbach. Being told that they would have to be executed in the back, they refuse. It is a rather terrified and in disagreement with the order Lieutenant that must command the execution. The Waffen SS French fell by groups of four, one after the other, shouting "Vive la France”. The bodies were left on the spot in accordance with the orders. They finally will be buried, three days after, by American military officers, with names mentioned on the crosses.

December 6 1948, an investigation is opened after the request of the family of a shot one.

June 2 1949, the bodies of the SS will be transferred in the community cemetery of Sankt Zeno, at Bad Reichenhall. The common grave is located in the "Gruppe 11, reihe 3, nr 81 and 82".

Few stories circulate about a 13th Waffen SS, who was the son of a French General, friend of Leclerc, and who have been spared the execution and sent back to his father. But this is not confirmed.

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Post by Laurent Daniel » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:22 pm

Hi, Helmut,
As I mentioned:
"Few stories circulate about a 13th Waffen SS, who was the son of a French General, friend of Leclerc, and who have been spared the execution and sent back to his father. But this is not confirmed."

The "but this is not confirmed" talking about "few stories" should be translated into "IMHO this is a legend". Bad Reichenhall has been heavily scrutinised, if it was true, it would have been found.

By the way, I have a correction to add now in that article: There were only 11 W-SS. The 12th one was a LVF not a Waffen-SS. Leutnant Briffault, wounded in June 44 in Russia and was discharged. He didn't went back to France but was serving as a guard at the HQ of the PPF, a French Collaborationist Parti that retreated with the Germans and was at the Meinau Island, Constanz lake, still with his LVF uniform.
Regards
Daniel Laurent

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Post by sid guttridge » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:40 am

Hi HvM and Daniel,

Thanks.

Sid.

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Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:04 am

sid guttridge wrote:Hi HvM and Daniel,
Thanks.
Sid.
Sid Guttridge says "thanks" to our young enthousiasic (Sometimes too much enthousiastic) Helmut.
Helmut's day of glory at Feldgrau
:D
Regards
Daniel Laurent

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Bad Reichenhall

Post by Rudi S. » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:49 am

This incidence is described in Franz Schoenhuber's book: "Ich war dabei".
Published by BASTEI-LUEBBE in 1981 by Albert Langen - Georg Mueller Verlag GMBH. Printed in Western Germany in 1983. ISBN = 3-404-65 055-2.
It's written in German.
Am in a hurry,
regards, Rudi S.

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Laurent: There were only 11 W-SS.

Post by Rudi S. » Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:07 pm

Hello Laurent,
According to the above mentioned Schoenhuber book, Stadtrat (city council) Hofmann of Reichenhall told the author that they were not sure whether there 12 or 11 Frenchmen were executed. The bodies were buried but in July 1949 they were exhumed and buried in the Reichenhall City Cemetery and re-buried in July 1963 - next to the graves of the Reichenhall soldiers of WWI. The grave, known as the 'Franzosengrab' is being visited bei many German and foreign visitors.
Viele Gruesse,
Rudi S.

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Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:27 pm

Hi Rudi,
Thanks for that.
All my sources (French...) talk about 12 except one that mentions "11 or 12". With yours, it is 2 now who doubt about the 12.
Enough to agitate my curiosity!
I am in touch with one association, families of the French Volunteers on the Eastern Front. I will try to check and come back here if I have more details.
Regards
Daniel Laurent

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Post by Rand » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:25 pm

There were only 11 W-SS. The 12th one was a LVF not a Waffen-SS. Leutnant Briffault, wounded in June 44 in Russia and was discharged. He didn't went back to France but was serving as a guard at the HQ of the PPF, a French Collaborationist Parti that retreated with the Germans and was at the Meinau Island, Constanz lake, still with his LVF uniform.
Hello Daniel, we all know that Robert Forbes has released a revamped version of his classic "For Europe: French Volunteers of the W-SS". A review that I read of it mentions a whole chapter on this execution of the French W-SS men at Bad Reichenall. Do you know if Forbes' book contains this new info that you have? Did you work with him or contact him about this new stuff?

To quote from Amazon
The French Waffen-SS in NW Europe 1944-45, including a new and detailed study of the events surrounding the murder of 12 French volunteers of the Waffen-SS at Bad Reichenhall with information provided by a relative of one of those murdered
http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1 ... 28-3499528

Rand.

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:47 am

Hi Daniel,

I was acknowledging HvM for immediately offering a source, which many people cannot or will not when asked. This, in turn, allowed you to clarify the matter immediately. If only such misconceptions could always be resolved so quickly!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Laurent Daniel » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:57 am

Hi Rand,
Rand wrote:Hello Daniel, we all know that Robert Forbes has released a revamped version of his classic "For Europe: French Volunteers of the W-SS". A review that I read of it mentions a whole chapter on this execution of the French W-SS men at Bad Reichenall. Do you know if Forbes' book contains this new info that you have? Did you work with him or contact him about this new stuff?
Rand.
Well, no, I am not in contact with Mr. Forbes.
I noticed that the review you mentionned talk about 12 W-SS which is wrong.
And... and....
I have no idea how to contact him
:oops:
Regards
Daniel Laurent

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Post by Le Page » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:30 am

Hi Daniel

Forbes' book is in agreement with you about Briffault being from the LVF; however he was promoted to Untersturmfuhrer on paper. Just a bit of trvia. The above-mentioned cursory review didn't bother to quibble I guess.

He also maintains that there were twelve men executed. There evidently was an inquest. %E

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Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:58 pm

The whole story of Bad Reichenhall is in the midst of polemics in France:
- A newly published book, Leclerc by JC Notin, seems to bring proofs that Leclerc did not ordered the executions but ordered them to be taken away (i.e. prisoners back to France) but in a way that was misinterpretated by an officer still under the schok of having seen Dachau few days ago. The quoted sentence of Leclerc is hard to translate but was something like "Get rid of them". Leclerc was an aristocrat and a general. He would not have been using such trivial language to order an execution.
- Definitely, it is now clear that they were 12 BUT when the bodies were exhumed in 1949 from the execution field and buried at Bad Reichenhall cemetery, 11 corpses were found. Were is the 12th one ?
- Concerning Briffaut, he was a LVF but, as the whole of the LVF, was transfered to the W-SS at mid-44. As he was in the hospital early 45, he may simply have lost his W-SS uniform and was wearing a Heer uniform, logistic in 45 being quite hectic.
So, at the date of today my conclusion is... that I will conclude a bit later!
Regards
Daniel Laurent

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Post by Le Page » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:12 am

That story about Leclerc was ridiculous! There were too many people who attested to his involvement.

As to the 11 bodies: there apparently was a second exhumation in 1963. So they are not in that community cemetery....

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