By Michael Vanhoof

This organisation was raised in September 1940 by Herman van Puymbroeck, Ward Hermans and René Lagrou under the name Algemeene SS-Vlaanderen. Probably due to his connections with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the lawyer René Lagrou became the first leader. He started with a recruiting campaign for the Waffen-SS, and organising the action against the Jewish community in Antwerp. In February 1941 he personally joined the Waffen-SS, and for the time he was succeeded by his anti-Semite friend SS-Hauptsturmführer Jef de Langhe.
The first roll of the SS-Vlaanderen was to recruit members for the Waffen-SS. In there spare time the SS-men got military drill and where ideologically educated. This happened for example at the SS-Ausbildungslager Sennheim, and later at the SS-Schule Schoten. In 1941 this ideological education was also published in the monthly ‘SS-Scholingsbrief’. The SS-Vlaanderen had also his own newspaper; ‘De SS-Man’. First published in December 1940, the editor of the newspaper was Ward Hermans, five months later succeeded by Maurits van de Walle.
In September 1942 the SS-Vlaanderen was so to speak brought under the control of the greater Germanische SS, and SS-Hauptsturmführer Raf van Hulse was appointed to Standaardleider.
The SS-Vlaanderen was actually controlled and supervised by the representative of the Reichsführer-SS in Flanders, SS-Brigadeführer Konstantin Kammerhofer, later succeeded by SS-Brigadeführer Richard Jungclaus.

In 1942 the Vlaanderen-Korps/Flandern-Korps was raised, this was intended as a separate unit within the Germaansche SS. If you where older than 35 years of age, and smaller than 1.70 m, you where incorporated into the Flandern-Korps. The largest part of the Germaansche SS would later turn out to exist out of these so called FK-men, and served actually next to the SS-men.
Like in the other Germanic areas, the Germaansche SS established the BL (Beschermde Leden), this was the Flemish version of the FM (Fördernde Mitglieder). The BL where supporting members of the Germaansche SS, many male as female members of the DeVlag became BL supporters. In September 1942 there where around 4.200 BL supporters.
One year after his appointment to Standaardleider, Raf van Hulse exchanged Flanders for the eastern-front, where he would served as SS-Kriegsberichter. The SS-Vlaanderen was given into the hands of SS-Untersturmführer Jef François, who just came back from the eastern-front, where he served in the Freiwilligen-Legion Flandern. SS-Brigadeführer Jungclaus ordered François, who was the former leader of the DMO (Dinaso Militanten Orde), to reorganise the Germaansche SS with the same discipline of the DMO.

On the end of 1942, due to the little interest in the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen, SS-Obergruppenführer Berger realise that this organisation wasn’t going to make a big difference in Flanders, so he set all his attention into the direction of the DeVlag. Dr. Jef van de Wiele, the Landsleider der DeVlag, proclaimed that the Germaansche SS and the DeVlag fought the same struggle and shared the same ideology. And was even appointed to SS-Untersturmführer after attending the SS-Schule Schoten. On the 20th April 1944 he even got promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer, and was the highest Flemish SS-official.
In November 1943 Dr. Jef van de Wiele ordered every leading member of the DeVlag to join the Germaansche SS. In consultation with the last Standaardleider, SS-Untersturmführer Antoon van Dijck, he even made sure that every member of the Germaansche SS became a member of the DeVlag, so that both organisations nearly moulded together on the end of the war.

As a result of this relationship with the DeVlag, the status of the Germaansche SS changed from a political to a more military one. The organisation was also more deployed with guard assignments. This military status was also emphasized when in the summer of 1943 the leadership of the Germaansche SS came into the hands of young Waffen-SS officers who just finished the SS-Junkerschule Tölz.
After a dispute between SS-Obersturmführer François and the Dienststelle Jungclaus. The headstrong SS-Obersturmführer was send to an outpost of the SS-Hauptamt, he was send to Germany to coordinate the Germanische SS-Sturmbannen. Besides, Dr. Van de Wiele expressed his destructive criticism about François at a meeting with SS-Brigadeführer Jungclaus. On the 9th November 1944, the 22 year old SS-Untersturmführer Antoon van Dijck, took over the command of the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen. Van Dijck just came from the SS-Junkerschule Tölz, after having served as adjutant of François.

On 4 December 1942 SS-Untersturmführer August Schollen, the leader of Stormban III/1 was shot in Brussels, his friend SS-Obersturmführer Rob. Verbelen, the leader of Stormban IV/1 reacted with revenge. This was the start of a bloody war between the Germaansche SS and the so called terrorism. Verbelen organised a group of SS-men and committed a series of terror deeds against members of the resistance and distinguished people of society. As the Stafleider der DeVlag, in the summer of 1944 Verbelen raised the DeVlag-Veiligheidskorps/DeVlag-Sicherheitskorps, by contracting the men strength of the DeVlag, together with the Germaansche SS, the plan was form a unit to protect their supporters against the Allied invasion. But Verbelen had other plans, he saw this unit as a expedient to squash the armed resistance. The DeVlag-Veiligheidskorps worked closely together with the SiPo/SD (Sicherheitspolizei/Sicherheitsdienst), and where always present at their actions against the so called terrorists.

Due to the Allied advances of September 1944, many members of the Germaansche SS fled to Germany, where they finally joined the Waffen-SS. Where many served with the SS-Jagdverband ‘Nordwest’.

Standaardleider (Commanders)

SS-Hauptsturmführer René Lagrou (07 Dec 1940 - 10 May 1941)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Jef De Langhe (10 May 1941 - 01 Sep 1941)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Raf Van Hulse (01 Sep 1941 - 01 Sep 1942)
SS-Obersturmführer Jef François (01 Sep 1942 - 09 Nov 1943)
SS-Untersturmführer Antoon Van Dijck (09 Nov 1943 - 15 Nov 1944)

Organization

Standaarden
    |
Stormen
    |
Troepen
    |
Groepen

Order of battle (1943)

1. Standaard der Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen
- Stormban I/1 Antwerpen
-- Storm 1/1 Antwerpen
-- Storm 2/1 Antwerpen
-- Storm 3/1 Mechelen
-- Storm 4/1 Geel
- Stormban II/1 Oost-Vlaanderen
-- Storm 5/1 Gent
-- Storm 6/1 Sint-Niklaas
-- Storm 7/1 Eeklo
-- Storm 8/1 Aals
- Stormban III/1 West-Vlaanderen
-- Storm 9/1 Roeselare
-- Storm 10/1 Brugge
-- Storm 11/1 Kortrijk
-- Storm 12/1 Oostende
- Stormban IV/1 Brabant-Limburg
-- Storm 13/1 Brussel
-- Storm 14/1 Leuven
-- Storm 15/1 Hasselt
-- Storm 16/1 Neerpelt

Sources used

B. Crombez - ‘SS-Vlaanderen’, Nieuwe encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Beweging (NEVB), Uitgeverij Lannoo, Tielt.
B. De Wever - ‘Lagrou, René’, Nieuwe encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Beweging (NEVB), Uitgeverij Lannoo, Tielt.
M. De Wilde - ‘5 De Algemene SS-Vlaanderen’, 5 De Kollaboratie, België in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, 1985, Uitgeverij De Nederlandsche Boekhandel, Antwerpen/Amsterdam.
J. Vincx - ‘De Germaanse SS in Vlaanderen’, Deel 4, Vlaanderen in Uniform 1940-1945, 1982, Etnika, Antwerpen.
K. Ravyts & J. Rondas - Deel 1 Collaboratie en Verzet, Het Brugse 1940-1945, 2000, Uitgeverij Groeninghe, Kortrijk.

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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