Neo-Nazis Online Commemorate Death Of One Of Last Waffen-SS Veterans And Hitler Youth Member, Describe His Influence On Next Generation Of Supporters

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October 8, 2021

One of the remaining contemporary witnesses of the Third Reich and a veteran of the Waffen-SS, died in September 2021 at the age of 95. Neo-nazis in Germany eulogized him with praise and admiration. The veteran maintained his loyalty to Third Reich after its destruction and throughout his life. He was a member of the Hitler Youth and enlisted in the Waffen-SS Voluntary Armored Infantry Division "Horst Wessel."

 

Neo-Nazis Online Share Stories Of Veteran's Attendence At Their Events

The veteran was regularly invited to gatherings and interviews to discuss his experience in the Waffen-SS and to convey his National Socialist convictions to the next generation. He published an autobiography, many copies of which have been sold on extreme-right, nationalist, and neo-Nazi merchandise platforms. His autobiography recalls his experiences as an active advocate and soldier of Nazi Germany and the course of events after May 8 1945, which is remembered as Victory in Europe Day and on which the Allies accepted Germany's unconditional surrender. Veteran's contemporary testimony was essential to neo-Nazi efforts to further revive devotion to the "fatherland."

In honor of the veteran's death, a German nationalist publishing company posted on its Telegram channel a link to an interview with the veteran that was initially published in their neo-Nazi magazine, introduced with the words: "Act according to how a German should behave. You must stand up for your fatherland – not for the purpose of money or personal gain!"

An issue of the same neo-Nazi magazine dated November-December 2019 is dedicated to the remaining contemporary witnesses of the Third Reich, including, inter alia, the veteran in question. The following passage is a translation of an excerpt of the interview held with the veteran published in the magazine.

"Magazine: The Waffen-SS was declared a "criminal organization" by the International Military Court of the victorious powers in Nuremberg in 1946. Were you ordered to commit crimes during your time in the Waffen-SS?

"Veteran: Broadly speaking, we felt like ordinary soldiers at the Waffen-SS, like others. Orders were to be executed, otherwise one could expect reprisals from their superiors. However, I must emphasize that throughout my service I never received an order that entailed any execution of crime.

"Magazine: The governing [entities] today denote the May 8, 1945 as the "Day of Liberation." You, yourself, were held captive in Russian captivity, from which you were able to flee. During your escape to the West, you were once again apprehended, and were then called on for compulsory labor in the Polish-occupied Silesia, where you became an eye witness to the expulsions. How do you feel about it, when you are being told today, the Day of Surrender was a "liberation"? And from what were you anyway "liberated"?

"Veteran: We Germans were "liberated" from life and health, from goods and chattels. Only those could speak of a true "liberation" who had dirt under their carpets, or those who engaged in desertion, such as some officers, these could then defect to the West. Other than that, I can only say that we were "liberated" from the outlawed slaves by solely being treated as working animals by the occupiers.

"Magazine: In the post-war era, you were active as a boxer in light and heavyweight [divisions]. What did you find appealing in this sport, and would you encourage young people to also learn a fighting sport?

"Veteran: Certainly! This is how one learns to fend off an attack against oneself. And solely the circumstance to practice combat sport is, in some way, already a repellant against potential attacks. I experienced this myself in the past, for example, at dance events I was called to to stop potential fights."

In September 2021, the veteran was invited to a lecture series organized by the regional branch of a German neo-Nazi party based in the city of Dortmund, titled "Eye witnesses' lecture': Soldiers recount," presenting the experiences of Nazi veterans.

The party published on their website an article titled "Dortmund: Interesting eye witnesses' lecture with **** ***** carried out!" reflecting on the autobiographical lecture by then 93-year-old veteran, which was attended by approximately 60 people.

The regional Munich and Upper Bavaria branch of a German neo-Nazi party published on its website an article titled "Waffen-SS veteran *** ***** lectured at the Base Munich and Upper Bavaria." Within the scope of a monthly event organized by the Munich and Upper Bavaria branch of [the party], [the veteran] was invited to talk about "his experiences in the Hitler Youth, the Reich's Labor Force, the Waffen-SS, and his post-war odyssey... In a moving speech, the Silesian [i.e., Veteran] narrated, notably, how he experienced the crimes he was forced to endure in which the Germans were exposed to in Silesia, in the Sudetenland, and in Czech Republic."

A German neo-Nazi party and its youth branch posted on its Telegram channel a graphic with caption "Christmas event 2019 in... sub-district Braunschweig" featuring a photo of a Christmas party at which the veteran spoke and "gave us this message with his story: Never surrender!"[1]

 

[1] T.me/jnpdniedersachsen/313, December 16, 2019.

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