Germanic SS

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Headquarters of the Schalburg Corps in Copenhagen, Denmark, circa 1943. The building is the occupied lodge of the Danish Order of Freemasons.

The Germanic SS (German: Germanische SS; Norwegian: Germanske SS; Dutch: Germaansche SS) was the term used for the political and military organisations of Germanic origin in Europe from 1940 until 1945 during WWII under the patronage of the Schutzstaffel (SS rune.png) and the administration of the Leitstelle der Germanischen SS.


Northmen of the SS defending Europe from the threat of Bolshevism (Norwegian recruitment poster with the caption "Norwegians – fight for Norway)
Left to right: Thorvald Thronsen (Hird Chief of Staff), Arthur Quist (Den Norske Legion), Jonas Lie (Police president), Carl Haakon Langlie (Quisling's adjutant), Karl Leib (Germanische Leitstelle) and Vidkun Quisling (Nasjonal Samling).
Henk Feldmeijer (de)

The purpose of the Germanic SS was to spread Nordic thinking (Nordgesinnung) and the ideology of racial awareness with the goal of uniting all Germanic peoples of the continent, who, as Heinrich Himmler put it, were "blutsmässig unerhört wertvolle Kräfte" ("by blood exceptionally highly qualified people") – the invincible foundation of a new Pan-Germanism. Members of the organisations often served as local security police augmenting units of the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst and other main departments of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA. Later, many of the members fought on the Eastern Front as part of the Waffen-SS Foreign Legions.

Germanische Leitstelle

The Germanische Leitstelle was a department of the SS-Hauptamt under the command of SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger. It oversaw the recruitment and propaganda offices for the Waffen SS in Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels and The Hague. The Oslo office was established in 1941 and led by Karl Leib, the son-in-law of Gottlob Berger. It was headquartered in Drammensveien 99 until 1943, when it moved to Colbjørnsens gate 1.

The Germanische Leitstelle published the "Germanic Messenger" (Germansk Budstikke) and "SS-Heftet", which was the Norwegian edition of SS-Leitheft (de). It was also tasked with coordinating the scientific work of the SS, and hosted the Ahnenerbe (de) mission in Norway, led by Hans Schwalm.

Germanic SS detachments (chronologically)

  • Germanische SS Schweiz under SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Franz Riedweg (de), who joined the SS on 13 June 1938; he married Sibylle von Blomberg, daughter of GFM Werner von Blomberg.[1]
    • an underground organisation because of Switzerland's neutral status. The many thousands of Swiss, who fought for Germany, mainly entlisted in the Wehrmacht instead of the Waffen-SS. About 2,000 Swiss joined the Waffen-SS[2] (1,100 Swiss from abroad und 870 Swiss volunteers[3]).
  • Nederlandsche SS, renamed the Germaansche SS in Nederland (Netherlands)
    • formed by the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland, NSB) in September 1940 and led by Henk Feldmeijer (de), an early NSB member; integrated into the Germanic SS as the Germaansche SS in Nederland in November 1942.
  • Algemeene SS Vlaanderen, renamed the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen (Flanders, Belgium)
    • originally founded in November 1940, becoming part of the Germanische SS in 1942; as the Allies invaded Belgium in September 1944, many of the members fled to Germany.
  • Norges SS, renamed the Germanske SS Norge (Norway)
    • formed in May 1941 and led by Jonas Lie (de); it published a newspaper entitled Germaneren. A large part of the members were recruited from the police, and about 50 percent served in the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front.
  • Germansk Korpset (Germanic Corps), renamed the SS-Schalburgkorps (Denmark)
    • established on 2. Februar 1943 and renamed the SS-Schalburgkorps shortly afterwards in honour of the fallen leader Christian Frederik von Schalburg (de); mainly used for the auxiliary police corps (HIPO-Korpset) and in the gang fighting (Bandenbekämpfung), the anti-partisan operations.

The Walloons, being of Gallo-Roman descent, were not part of the Germanic SS. Neither was the French Légion des Volontaires Français (de). The Anglo-Saxon of the British Free Corps, being from a belligerent country, were also not listed as Germanic SS. The up to 1,500 Swedes of the Waffen-SS were not officially allowed through their government to serve, therefore no Germanic SS could be established in neutral Sweden. Some sources also count the Estonian volunteers to the Germanic SS, but this is historically controversial.

Germanic SS ranks

The Germanic SS maintained an insignia system based on the ranks and insignia of the Schutzstaffel. The various names of the ranks were slightly modified depending upon the particular country in which they were used. The Flemings used the same ranks as the Netherlands, with the highest rank being SS-Standaardleider.

The following is a comparison of regular SS and Germanic-SS rank titles.

Equivalent SS Rank Netherlands Norway Denmark
SS-Obergruppenführer SS-Oppergroepsleider ---- ----
SS-Gruppenführer SS-Groepsleider Stabsleder ----
SS-Brigadeführer SS-Brigadeleider SS-brigadefører ----
SS-Oberführer SS-Opperleider SS-nestbrigadefører ----
SS-Standartenführer SS-Standaardleider SS-standartfører Oberst
SS-Obersturmbannführer SS-Opperstormbanleider SS-neststandartfører Oberstløjtnant
SS-Sturmbannführer SS-Stormbanleider SS-stormbannfører Major
SS-Hauptsturmführer SS-Hoofdstormleider SS-høvedsmann Kaptajn
SS-Obersturmführer SS-Opperstormleider SS-stormfører Overløjtnant
SS-Untersturmführer SS-Onderstormleider SS-neststormfører Løjtnant
SS-Sturmscharführer ---- ---- Fændrik
SS-Hauptscharführer SS-Hoofdschaarleider SS-troppfører Stabsvagtmester
SS-Oberscharführer SS-Opperschaarleider SS-nesttroppfører Obervagtmester
SS-Scharführer SS-Schaarleider SS-lagfører Vagtmester
SS-Unterscharführer SS-Onderschaarleider SS-nestlagfører Obertropsfører
SS-Rottenführer SS-Rottenleider SS-rodefører ----
SS-Sturmmann SS-Stormman SS-stormmann Tropsfører
SS-Mann SS-Man SS-mann Schalburgmand
SS-Anwärter SS-Maat


Further reading

External links


  1. Der Luzerner Franz Riedweg war der höchste Schweizer in der Waffen-SS – sein Job: Ausländer rekrutieren, Luzerner Zeitung, 2021
  2. Rund 2000 Schweizer kämpften freiwillig in der Waffen-SS
  3. 1100 Auslandschweizer und 870 Freiwillige
  4. Benno Heinrich Schaeppi (b. 24 November 1911 in St. Gallen; d. 26 August 1988 in Eckernförde) was a Swiss journalist, a leader in the anti-communist Swiss Frontenbewegung und SS-Untersturmführer of the Waffen-SS.