he said: “From my childhood to joining the army, I have experienced great social changes in Germany in the early 1930s. I have personally experienced the national hunger before taking office and the economic revitalization after 1933. On the eve of World War II, the Germans, including me, were very excited, proud and United. At that time, there was a most often heard saying: one person for everyone, one person for everyone The competition between Britain and France has brought a miracle to Germany’s economy. The common people have seen the failure of the democratic system implemented in the Weimar Republic and the economic achievements of the dictatorship implemented by the Nazi party after it came to power. They have no reason to hate and resist autocracy. How many people have read my struggle? I didn’t, and no one I know has read it. People value practical interests and trust the people who bring them these interests. In this mentality, most people’s attitude towards joining the army is positive, otherwise the German army would not be able to fight like this. During the

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and “World War II”, not only Germany’s opponents and prisoners in concentration camps, but also the soldiers of the German national defense force regarded the SS as a formidable special team.

the name of the SS comes from the SS. The German original of “SS” is “Schutzstaffel”, which means “escort”, abbreviated as “SS”. The highly militarized SS is called “SS”, which is called “Waffen SS” in German, and the literal translation should be “armed escort”. I have read some books about “World War II” before, and I am no stranger to the “armed convoy”, but some real understanding of this so-called “the fourth armed force outside the German army, navy and air force” began with an interview with Eckart.

Eckart was once an ordinary soldier in the SS. He joined the team only in the late stage of the war and only worked for a little more than half a year. Nevertheless, his interpretation of the SS is undoubtedly more authoritative than those who observe it from a long distance.

in 2002, my friend introduced me to Eckart, who lived in rural Saxony anhart and was 79 years old at that time. When I called, he was tidying up the vegetable field in front of the door. Germans living in cities like to plant grass in the open space in front of their doors, while farmers living in the countryside full of grassland prefer to plant some vegetables in their own yard. After shaking hands with me, Eckart said, “the dishes he grows are natural without pesticide or chemical fertilizer. It’s safe to eat.”

the old man has a hunchback and looks thin. Wearing an East German cloth military cap, he spoke slowly but had a clear mind. He lives with a single son who is not much younger than him in appearance. He lives downstairs and the “old” son lives upstairs. This small building with ordinary appearance is also an ancient building in the local area. It was built by the ancestors of Eckart in 1850 and has a history of one and a half centuries. Alcatel was born here on April 14, 1923.

after graduating from Eckart middle school, he chose fitter as a profession, became an apprentice for three years between 1938 and 1941, and then joined the army.

he said: “From my childhood to joining the army, I have experienced great social changes in Germany in the early 1930s. I have personally experienced the national hunger before Hitler came to power and the economic revitalization after 1933. The Germans on the eve of World War II, including me, were very excited, proud and United. At that time, there was a most often heard saying: one for everyone, one for everyone People. Despotism brought economic miracle to Germany, which gained the upper hand in the Democratic competition with Britain and France. The common people saw the failure of the democratic system implemented in the Weimar Republic and the economic achievements of the dictatorship implemented by the Nazi party after it came to power. They had no reason to hate and resist autocracy. How many people have read my struggle? I didn’t, and no one I know has read it. People value practical interests and trust the people who bring them these interests. In this mentality, most people’s attitude towards joining the army is positive, otherwise the German army would not be able to fight like this.

“I was not in the SS at first. When I joined the army in March 1942, I joined the air force to do ground work. First I received four months of training in southern France, and then I served as an airport guard in central France. Since September 1942, I have received half a year of training as an aircraft mechanic. According to the above arrangement, after the training, we should have been transferred to the battlefield in North Africa, but the war situation there is different At the end of our training, it was so bad that we completely lost the significance of sending more troops. In May 1943, the German North African Legion in Italy surrendered in Tunisia. The number of captured German soldiers reached 130000, and North Africa was completely controlled by the allies. So we were sent to Sardinia, Italy, when the Allies were preparing to land in Italy.

“At that time, the plane was not far away. Sardinia was a midway gas station of the German air force in southern Europe. My task was to hoist bombs, maintain machinery and refuel the aircraft, so that these aircraft could go from here to attack the British troops in North Africa and destroy and delay their plans to land on the Italian peninsula. On this big island in the Mediterranean, I and a group of brothers Every day, we wonder where the allies will choose to land? Is it Sardinia or Sicily where we are? Fortunately, the Allies finally chose Sicily, and we withdrew from Sardinia to the Italian peninsula without any fighting.

“in September 1943, I was transferred to northern Italy and kept moving from airport to airport. In France and Italy, the aircraft I was responsible for maintenance was mainly Junke 52 transport

, which had 2000 horsepower. After flying hundreds of times, I needed to change the motor.

“in 1944, Germany was increasingly short of fuel, aircraft were also greatly reduced, and the air control was completelyBeing manipulated by the US and British air forces, the German Air Force has run out of gas, and our workload will be reduced accordingly. In this situation, I was transferred back to Germany in September this year, and then I was sent to the eastern front battlefield and incorporated into the SS.

“It was a terrible change for me from an airport mechanic far away from the front line to a SS soldier who had to fight on the front line. The background of this change was that on July 20, 1944, a group of German soldiers led by Colonel Stauffenberg failed to plan to assassinate Hitler, which increased Hitler’s suspicion of the IDF and decided to increase in the army The proportion of the SS, the way he adopted was to directly integrate many IDF soldiers into the SS series. In this way, I was incorporated into the Viking division of the 5th SS division. ”

“Viking master?” I interrupted, “I’ve heard of it. It seems to be the main armored division of the SS. It’s very fierce and has been fighting on the eastern front. Isn’t it?”

Eckart nodded and said, “it’s rare. You actually know Viking. It’s good for one percent of young people to know now.”

I then asked, “does the so-called Viking refer to the Vikings called Vikings around the 9th century?”

Eckart said: “Yes. Because the Viking division was originally dominated by Nordics, Himmler named it in the hope that they would be as fierce and powerful as the Vikings in history. However, later, with the development of the war, many foreigners were gradually added to the team, making the Viking division a real multinational force.”

“isn’t the SS loyal to the Nazi party in Germany?” I was puzzled. “Will there be a multinational force in the SS?”

“yes, and it’s not just our army. By the end of the war, the whole SS was internationalized.” The old man found that this topic attracted my special attention and became more sexual, “The SS is not an ordinary army, and it cannot be summed up with ordinary military characteristics. It is not only an elite combat force, but also a promoter of the Nazi theory of race and living space.

“It was true that the original SS was 100% German, but in the process of transforming the SS into the SS, it began to absorb foreigners from Western Europe and ethnic Germans from abroad. As Germany’s losses on the eastern front increased, the SS relaxed its standards of employment and began to absorb volunteers from occupied countries, allies and neutral countries, including Dutch , Danes, Norwegians, French, Baltic residents, and later even Russians, East Turks, Muslims and Indians. Of course, generally speaking, these foreign troops do not participate in the operations of large regiments. They are mainly arranged in the rear to deal with the guerrillas. ”

“do you know the approximate proportion of foreigners in the SS?” I asked.