History 07/03/20 Penal Dirlewanger: the most brutal soldiers of Hitler
About a penal battalion, consisting of former criminals or erring soldiers and officers have known mainly from the historiography of the red Army. However, during the Second world war, similar agencies had existed in the armies of other countries. And most of all his cruelty became famous soldiers of the Waffen SS under the command of Oskar Paul Dirlewanger.
From the hunt to the front
During the discussion of what kind of delinquent officers and soldiers should form the backbone of a free-kick special unit Dirlewanger suggested to Himmler to focus on the former poachers. The proposal was eminently sensible. These people are well oriented in the forest, knew how to move quietly, and shoot straight.
the Final decision in favour of Dirlewanger was made after 1940, Hitler asked the wife of one major party functionary, who was convicted for poaching. The wife asked the husband the opportunity to rehabilitate himself at the front. The führer is favorably responded to the request, stating that the former associates had nothing to do in the concentration camps, it’s better they fight.
Soon from the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg got the first batch of prisoners from 84 to form the Sonderkommando called Poacher’s command Oranienburg. Later recruits for the free kick SS units under the command of Oscar Dirlewanger were recruited on a voluntary basis, exclusively in concentration camps and prisons of the Third Reich.
the Poachers against Partizan
the Scope of activities of penalty units the Waffen SS was determined fairly quickly. Primarily it was used during the punitive operations against partisans on the Eastern front. Indeed, who better than the former illegal hunters will be able to find shelter guerrillas and quietly underdobravshis to destroy them.
However, the first task of the Sonderkommando in 1940 was the protection of the Jewish ghetto in Poland. Subordinates Dirlewanger blocked Jews in Lublin, Krakow and Zikova. At the same time, despite the effective discharge of the penalty box SS the tasks assigned to them, in Berlin regularly received signals of the terrible atrocities committed by former criminals in the uniforms of the SS.
To verify this information from Berlin to the General government was sent to SS untersturmfuhrer Konrad Morgen, which literally shocked of what he saw.
According to the inspector, it was impossible to calculate even approximately the number of extortions, robberies, rapes and murders regularly committed by subordinates is Stifled. In his memo, sent to the command, Morgen offered for the immediate arrest of the head of the Sonderkommando and his subordinates to send back to camp. But this did not happen.
Instead of arrest, the Dirlewanger was awarded the rank of SS sturmbannführer, putting before him a new mission. His unit was intended to fight with the partisans in Belorussia (on the territory of the USSR by 1942, their movement became a truly Grand scale). Some guerrilla groups consisted of several hundred, and sometimes thousand people. To really confront they could only ex-poachers Stifled.
Hell of the Eastern front
as soon As the Sonderkommando Dirlewanger was transferred to Belarus, and its members were amazed at the conditions in which they had to fight. Around stretched the dense forests and swamps. Practically no roads exist, and the use of aircraft against the guerrillas had no practical meaning. At the same time in the local woods behind every tree lurked a deadly for the Germans the danger.
In the war with the partisans was averted, and his subordinates showed even greater cruelty, than during the actions against the Jewish population in Poland. In Belarus, often revealing two or three guerrillas, soldiers of Dirlewanger Rrasstrelivali had advanced another hundred people who are only suspected of sympathizing with the rebels of the forest.
it is Not surprising that most of the punitive operations against the guerrillas was instructed that is part of Dirlewanger, whose number by the summer of 1943 amounted to 760 people.
fortunately, at this time began active offensive of the red Army. After the Soviet troops reached the approaches to Vitebsk, criminals of Dirlewanger was in an unusual situation, hitting on the real front line. It was a full combat action, not a punitive operation, to which they are accustomed.
quickly Enough regiment of the penalty box SS decreased by almost half. Realizing that punitive unit could disappear altogether, the German command had brought him back to Poland for the suppression of the Warsaw uprising of 1944.
Despite the large losses of the Sonderkommando had fulfilled its task. Dirlewanger received the title of oberfuhrer SS, a military unit – the status of the crew of the SS. In 1945, the division attempted to surrender to the Americans. However, the allies, aware of the cruelty of former employees of Dirlewanger, the prisoner did not take them, and shot without trial.
Not a better fate been prepared and the head of the punitive Dirlewanger. He went to jail which was guarded by poles. One night he was taken into the hallway and just smashed him in the head with rifle butts.
© Russian Seven
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