US volunteers in the Waffen-SS
- Published: 26 January 2011 26 January 2011
- Last Updated: 22 July 2012 22 July 2012
There were some US citizens who were members of the Waffen-SS, but no unit made up of American volunteers was ever raised (despite some claims about an "American Free Corps" or "George Washington Brigade"). According to figures from the SS five US citizens served in the Waffen-SS in May 1940, but after that date no numbers are available.
Second Lieutenant Martin James Monti (born 1910 in St Louis of an Italian-Swiss father and German mother) went AWOL Oct 1944, travelled from Karachi to Naples (through Cairo and Tripoli) where he stole a F-4 or F-5 photographic reconnaissance aircraft (photo recon version of the P-38) and flew to Milan. There he surrendered, or rather defected, to the Germans and worked as a propaganda broadcaster (as Martin Wiethaupt) before entering the Waffen-SS as a SS-Untersturmführer in SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers. At the end of the war he went south to Italy where he surrendered to US forces (still wearing his SS uniform) claiming that he had been given the uniform by partisans. He was charged with desertion and sentenced to 15 years hard labour. This sentence was soon commuted and Monti rejoined the US Air Corps, but in 1948 he was discharged and picked up by the FBI. He was now charged with treason and sentenced to 25 years the following year. He was paroled in 1960.
Peter Delaney (aka Pierre de la Ney du Vair), a Louisiana born SS-Haupsturmführer in SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers who is believed to have served in Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF). He met Monti and probably arranged for him to enter the Waffen-SS. Delaney was killed in 1945.
At least eight American volunteers are known to have been killed during their service.
Numerous ethnic Germans who were born in the USA served in the Wehrmacht, for example Boy Rickmers who was born in New York and won the Knight's Cross as part of 320. Infanterie-Division on 26 March 1943.
No real attempt by the US authorities to investigate the matter and trace the volunteers was made after the war, as opposed to for example the efforts by the British.
See also Fred Koenig: A SS Grenadier from Chicago USA.