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Putting a name to Norway's Nazis

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by PzJgr, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Published Date: 07 August 2008


    By Allan Hall


    REMAINS of an elite SS Alpine unit composed of Norwegian traitors vanquished in the Second World War as the Red Army pursued them have been found in an Arctic bog.

    The bones of 100 soldiers belonging to the Norwegian SS Skijäger battalion were found on the Karelia peninsula in Finland.

    They were killed by Soviet troops keen on exacting revenge for SS atrocities in Russia. The last stand of the battalion was one of the more vicious close-quarter fighting actions of the war.

    Troops fought with hand grenades, small arms and eventually bayonets as their stand-off with the vastly superior numbers of the Red Army turned into a rout.

    Now, three weeks of digging have unearthed a further 23 bodies. Five have been identified by their identity tags and another through the inscription on his wedding ring.

    Samples from the other 17 will be sent to a research institute in Bosnia.

    About 50,000 Norwegians volunteered to fight with the German occupiers during the Second World War.

    They were welcomed into the SS, because Heinrich Himmler decreed them to be Aryans as pure as Germans.

    They were recruited in a Europe where many saw the menace from the east as a far greater threat than that posed by Nazi Germany.

    "Fight for what you love" was the message on the recruiting posters for the battalion, where the Norwegian SS soldier was displayed as a fearless warrior, protecting his scared "Germanic" family. Dark skies approaching from the east signalled the "communist threat" descending on western Europe.

    It was in the summer of 1942 that a Norwegian SS volunteer, Gust Jonassen, had the idea to form a Norwegian ski unit.

    The concept was approved, and by September 1942 the first recruits were sent to Sennheim for basic military training. This was completed by about Christmas and troops then transferred to a training ground near Dresden for ski training with the Waffen-SS.

    The unit was shipped to Finland shortly afterwards, with duties generally limited to patrols. Jonassen was killed in action before the company was granted home leave in July.

    As the Norwegian unit had done well in its baptism of fire, it was ordered to be expanded into a full battalion. The battalion comprised three ski companies and a headquarters company. It was deemed ready for combat by year's end and was transferred to the front in January 1944.

    The battle in Karelia on 25 June, 1944, was the single bloodiest day of the war for any of the Norwegian Waffen-SS units.

    The men who died fought a rearguard action with the Russians, allowing some of their comrades to get away.

    According to an author and former resistance fighter, Svein Blindheim, the encounter at the Kaprolat and Hasselmann hills in northern Karelia was the worst fighting seen by any Norwegian unit.

    "In the course of two days in 1944 the ski battalion was almost completely wiped out. The Norwegians were on their own and felt let down by the German division behind them," said Stein Ugelvik Larsen, a professor of government at the University of Bergen.

    Prof Larsen heads the Kaprolat Committee, which aims to identify the remains of the Norwegian SS soldiers who died in this part of the Arctic wilderness.
     
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  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Very interesting,

    haven´t seen anything in the Finnish papers yet as I´d think they would love to print something like this as an article. Must check the sites again.

    thaxn again!!
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Actually there was a thread about these men on the forum last year. We discussed the fact whether they should be returned to Norway and get a decent burial or not. I don't remember where the thread is though.
     
  4. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    No. About 8-10000 fought for Germany.
    I don't want this post to go off the rails like the last one did.

    About the Kaprolat and Hasselmann battle, some places you can see the mess tins neatly arranged around the lines. Looks like it was yesterday the fighting stopped. We had similar scenes around Kirkenes in the north east of Norway.
     
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  5. RAM

    RAM Member

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    Skipper likes this.
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Cheers Ram.

    Also thank you Jaeger for setting the figure straight.
     
  7. ROBERTCARR08

    ROBERTCARR08 Member

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    they should be taken back to norway for a decent burial
     

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