Mutinies in the Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS
- Published: 31 December 2010 31 December 2010
- Last Updated: 07 April 2012 07 April 2012
The first Handschar mutiny occurred in Villefranche de Rouergue on 16-17 September 1943 within SS-Geb.Pi.Btl.13. An infiltrated communist agent started the affair and five German officers were murdered (SS-Obersturmführer Julius-Friedrich Galantha, SS-Obersturmbannführer Oskar Kirchbaum, SS-Obersturmführer Gerhard Kretschmer, SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Kuntz & SS-Obersturmführer Anton Wolf, all from SS-Geb.Pi.Btl. 13). The mutiny was quelled within hours by elements of the battalion loyal to the Germans and order was quickly restored.
Two mutineers were killed in armed fighting: Ferid Dzanic and Lutfija Dizdarevic, fourteen others were shot after court-martial proceedings.
A brutal mutiny occurred within two battalions of the 30th SS Division on 27 August 1944 in France. The Russians, Ukrainains, and Poles who belonged to the unit no longer wanted to serve with the SS so they murdered over 200 Germans and deserted to the Allies. The French organized them as a new battalion within the Foreign Legion's 13e Demi Brigade and they fought on the Allied side until the capitulation. The men were returned to the Soviet Union after the war and sent to the Gulag!
A mutiny occured in the Kama SS Division on 17 October 1944. The division commander quickly regained control of the unit. One German officer was allegedly murdered.
The second Handschar mutiny occured on 21 October 1944 within the Div. Stabsjäger Kompanie. The men simply deserted en masse. The Germans managed to contact the mutineers but the latter refused to return to the division. They later joined the Partisans.
There was a mutiny within the 36. SS-Division (popularly known as the Sondereinheit "Dirlewanger") and a regiment commander was lynched by former concentration camp inmates who had been released and sent to the unit as replacements. A mass desertion took place in Hungary in December 1944.
A Georgian mutiny took place in the Netherlands on the island of Texel in March 1945. The Georgians refused to fight the Western Allies and murdered their German officers. The mutiny was quelled although some Georgians survived.
On 27 April 1945, the Republic of Austria was proclaimed with Karl Renner of the Socialist Party named the president and chancellor of the provisional Austrian government. In early May, he broadcasted a message that all Austrian soldiers of the German Armed Forces were to surrender. The broadcast was heard by the soldiers in the 4th Battery of Mountain Artillery Regiment 118 of the 6th Mountain Division based near Signaldalen. Oberst Josef Remold, the division commander, immediately issued the order: “6th Mountain Division do not obey this order, and do not capitulate. It is strictly forbidden to listen to the radio. The German salute is to be used! Oberst Remold. Heil Hitler!”
However, the artillerymen of the 4th Battery killed their officers, Hauptmann Dirmbacher and Oberleutnant Fromm, and led by Obergefreiter Bruckner, they split into two groups, one of 48 men, and one of 11 men. The large group reached Sweden where they were interned while the smaller group was captured by the Germans. On 10 May 1945, four of the 11 mutineers were executed upon the approval of the death sentence imposed by General der Gebirgstruppe Ferdinand Jodl, the Commander-in-Chief of Army Detachment “Narvik.” The executed were Rudolf Zatsch, Josef Wenzl, Leopold Wickenhauser and Hartmut Feyertag.
This is known as the Signaldalen Mutiny.
(Information from "Til befolkningen! Brannhösten 1944 – gjenreisingen etterpå" by Anders Ole Hauglid and Knut Erik Jensen.)
There was a small mutiny in the Dutch 34th SS Division in 1945 when four Dutch SS men in 7th Company, SS-Freiw. Rgt. 84 planned to kill their squad leader and desert to the British. Their plan was discovered and the four plotters were executed on 9 March 1945.
In the "Kasche Nachlass," i.e. the personal papers of Envoy Siegfried Kasche, the German ambassador to Croatia, there was a mutiny in the Dutch SS Brigade when it was in Yugoslavia in 1943. Kasche stated that 250 Dutch SS men deserted en masse to the Partisans.