National Socialist Germany and partisans/resistance movements

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Revisionists have criticized various aspects of the politically correct view on partisans and resistance movements acting against National Socialist Germany in occupied areas. There is clear failure, probably deliberate, to mention that these were often large-scale anti-Communist partisan units acting during and after the war.

Apart from the July 20 plot, there is no substantive evidence that there was an organised resistance "movement" in Germany. This assertion has only appeared in the last few decades.

Partisans and resistance movements

Partisans are members of an irregular and illegal military force, which, by some kind of insurgent or terrorist activity, oppose an occupation of an area.

Partisans and 'resistance' groups are unlawful combatants if they engage in armed conflict in violation of the internationally agreed laws of war, which include that occupiers have certain lawful rights and obligations in occupied territories, and which means such partisans are not protected by such laws and rights. The occupier may therefore consider partisans to be terrorists; the partisans may consider themselves to be "freedom fighters" although that does not change their legal status.

Individual acts of 'resistance' against any government, especially during wartime, will almost certainly be considered acts of subversion and/or treason. These might not necessarily be acts of violence but may include distributing leaflets or disseminating information, written or verbal, against the State.

Partisans as unlawful combatants during WWII

Also partisan attacks against military targets were often illegal, since the partisans were usually unlawful combatants. "The British Manual of Military Law" stated that partisans "are not entitled to the right of armed forces and are liable to execution as war criminals."[1]

Anti-German partisans

Soviet partisans and the Soviet government

Some "partisans" were in effect regular military units. Thus, behind the Eastern front "Partisan attacks began immediately following the start of the eastern war; certain partisan units deliberately let themselves be overrun, in order then to engage in sabotage behind the advancing German troops and to commit horrific atrocities against soldiers and civilians they caught unaware. Later on, partisan units as large as entire divisions were flown into the hinterland of the German troops, or smuggled in through the lines."[2]

In addition, the Soviet Union has been argued to already before the German invasion to have made large scale preparations for possible future partisan warfare. During the war, partisans were supported and commanded by the Soviet Union. Later in the war, the partisans even officially became a part of the Red Army. One argued controversial aspect of this is that this was in effect preparations for and participation in committing war crimes. This since the partisans were usually not lawful combatants fighting according to the laws of war and even attacks against military targets were therefore war crimes.[1]

The Soviet Union also planned and implemented a massive scorched earth policy, which as one effect contributed to mass starvation, as discussed in the article on The World Wars and mass starvation. The mass starvation may have increased the opposition to the German occupation and the support for the partisans, which may have been one of the intended effects of the scorched earth policy.

Partisans are also argued to have contributed to the scorched earth policy.[3][1]

Communists and Jews

Communists and Jews were very important parts of many partisan and resistance movements.

For example, it has been reported that "at least 40 percent of the French Maquis [anti-German "resistance" fighters] were Jewish, including whole independent Jewish units."[4]

The revisionist Wilfried Heink has written that "S. Schwarz also covers the Jewish partisan issue, quoting extensively from a book by Moshe Kaganovich, Der Idischer Ontayl in der Partizaner-Bevegung fun Sovet-Rusland (The Jewish role in the Soviet partisan movement, Central Historical Commission of the Partisan Federation PAKHAKH in Italy, Rome 1948; in: Soloman M. Schwarz, The Jews in the Soviet Union, Syracuse University Press, 1951, pp. 309 – 333). According to this, Jews even had their own Partisan Federation and bragged about their involvement after the war. All of it has disappeared, and only one copy of the Kaganovitch book available in Hebrew or Yiddish. Why? Because Jewish partisans just don’t fit into the newest version of “history,” in which Jews are depicted as innocent victims."[1]

Other examples are the Auschwitz resistance leaders Bruno Baum and Hermann Langbein, who were communists.

See also the "External links" section on more details on Jews and partisans.

Internal conflicts among partisans, with the civilian populations, and with postwar occupiers

After the Katyn massacre was revealed by Germany in 1943, a war broke out between Soviet and Polish partisans.[5]

The anti-German partisans are usually depicted as having widespread support by the civilian population. Another view is of, for example, Jewish partisans in Poland, with Jews argued to have been disliked by many Poles already before the war. Argued Jewish support for the 1939-1941 Soviet occupation of parts of Poland is argued to have intensified this. "The line between bandits and partisans was very vague and many partisans were accused of looting, rape and murder." Partisans are also argued to have used terror tactics against the civilian population, in order to prevent any help to the Germans.[5]

The failure of the Soviet Union to support the 1944 Warsaw Uprising has been seen as deliberate, since the killing of anti-Soviet Polish partisans by Germany was seen as beneficial.

After the end of the war and with Poland occupied again by the Soviet Union, Polish partisan "officers were separated from the men and shot or taken to camps. Between July 1944 and 1945, 50,000 Polish resistance fighters were arrested, 20 commanders executed because of their expressed loyalty to the government in exile in London. Show trials were conducted and death sentences handed out. 40,000-resistance fighters were sent to Siberia, according to Mikolayczyk, head of the government in exile (p. 196)."[1]

Atrocities by partisans

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the previously unavailable Soviet archives have been re-examined by independent scholars from Poland, Germany, and elsewhere, and the conclusions drawn from them are strikingly different from the official Soviet line, maintained during the Cold War for several decades: "The Soviet-allied guerrillas routinely engaged in plundering peasants. Documents show that partisan activity often amounted to banditry, rape, pillage, and murder. Occasionally individual transgressors were punished. On the whole, however, the leadership of the Soviet irregular forces considered robbery to be a legitimate modus operandi. Since they largely lacked popular support, the Soviet guerrillas raided villages and manors for supplies. As a top Soviet commander put it, “Most partisan units feed, clothe, and arm themselves at the expense of the local population and not by capturing booty in the struggle against fascism. That arouses in the people a feeling of hostility, and they say, ‘The Germans take everything away and one must also give something to the partisans’” (48). However, this aspect of the Soviet partisan movement has been eliminated from the standard Soviet narrative about them."[6]

Descriptions from one source: "To be successful, and to ensure cooperation, the partisans also terrorized the population. Anyone suspected of collaborating with the Germans was killed, because the population was at first friendly toward the Germans, as those who were part of the eastern campaign know (p.180). This changed when the partisans unleashed their terror against the populace. When they entered a village they immediately killed the village elder, then they locked the family into the house and burned it down. The villagers fled into the forest, but when discovered by the partisans they were killed. The partisans left mountains of bodies behind, as well as distraught woman and horrendous destruction (p. 181). And to be sure, all of those killed by the partisans were no doubt also blamed on the Germans. And as attacks by partisans on civilians were carried out with partisans at times doubtlessly wearing German uniforms, hatred towards Germans was the result, which was part of what was intended. [...]

Ponomarenko described – in a book by the English authors Dixon and Heilbrunn “Communist Guerilla Warfare” – the ‘dress code’ of partisans: Whoever observed the Bogdan group could not know what to make of it. More than half of them were dressed in German uniforms, some wear civilian cloth manufactured in Rovno or Lutsk, others Slovakian and Polish uniforms. In the supply wagon clothing’s for all sorts of partisan activities are carried along: SS uniforms, Italian uniform pants, etc. Ponomarenko admits here that his partisans were bandits, dressed in German and other uniforms and thus not protected by any convention (p. 185). [...]

Right at the start of the war, German soldiers who had been ambushed were found with their eyes gorged out and mutilated in the most horrendous fashion. One was found with his arms tied backward around a tree, his hands nailed to it, his eyes gorged out and his tongue cut out, some of them had their genital cut off (pp. 208-09). During the fight near Selisharova in November 1941 a field hospital with 30 to 40 wounded fell into the hands of the Russians. When the Germans recaptured the area they found only charred remains. The Russians had piled the wounded into a stack, poured gasoline over them and burned them. Woman also participated in the atrocities, slitting the wounded open. Here also pages upon pages of this and that the reason the Soviets are trying to prevent this from being published (pp. 208-13)."[1]

Another source: "One famous account of war crimes by partisans is the Naliboki massacre on the night of the 8th and the 9th of May 1943: “Angered by the widespread plundering, the men of Naliboki decided to fight back and partisan units attacked the town on the night of 8/9, May. All houses were plundered, food and valuables removed, the church and local sawmill burned down as were several houses. The perpetrators in this attack were mostly Jewish communist members of the Stalin Brigade some of whom were former residents of Naliboki and who had earlier escaped from the ghettoes. In the three-hour battle with the defence units of Naliboki, 129 men, women and children were killed.” Note that the church was burned and no quarter was given to women and children. Another infamous massacre in which Jews were involved took place in the village of Koniuchy in the night of 28 to 29 of January 1944: “On the night of 28/29th January about 120 members of the partisan groups and including the Lithuanian Brigade, a Jewish partisan unit of the Red Army, attacked and completely destroyed the village. About forty of those who tried to escape were simply shot down on the spot. Around 300 men, women and children were killed in the 60 households destroyed.[5]

Jewish organizations and Israel are stated to have attempted to prevent investigations into the role of specific Jews in such atrocities. Individuals sought for questioning have included a professor of "Holocaust studies" and a director of Yad Vashem.[5]

Some Jewish partisans continued using violence even into the post-war period, against individuals they suspected may have been involved in the Holocaust, and even planned to kill six million German civilians, as vengeance for the six million Jews allegedly killed. See the articles on Nakam and Abba Kovner.

Partisan atrocities in Yugoslavia

The Communist Tito in Yugoslavia ordered partisans "(…to take of all identification badges, to hide the weapons and dress in German uniforms. In the Jastrebac Mountains 80% of the partisans wore German, the rest Bulgarian uniforms. Radio messages were intercepted recording the killing of German soldiers as ‘butchered’.)

Again and again bodies of German soldiers were found with their eyes popped out, genitals cut off, heads split, and naked – almost impossible to identify (p. 40). The Red Cross emblem was no guarantee for safety, Persons wearing the Red Cross, buildings, trucks and trains marked with it were even singled out as targets, forcing the authorities to decrease the size of the emblem (p. 41). The armed forces compiled a whole collection of photos and reports of atrocities and handed them to representatives of the IRC (International Red Cross; p. 44).

All of this was ignored at the IMT. On August 21, 1946 defense attorney Dr. Laternser presented evidence of the partisan tactics, pointing out that those illegal acts were the reason for German reprisals and that it was not the Germans who engaged in illicit warfare."[1]

After the war, the Communist partisans became the Communist government. Large scale atrocities were committed against Germans. One example is that "When Yugoslav forces captured Belgrade, many of them illegal combatants, supported by Red Army units, up to 30,000 German POWs were shot. Hundreds of German female radio operators, Blitzmädel, and Red Cross nurses were killed by placing them on pointed posts; others were used for target practice (p. 70). 10,000 murdered German soldiers were buried in a mass grave near the Kalemagdan fortification. A Red Cross nurse testified that during the Belgrade fighting, all of the wounded in an ambulance train were killed with knifes. Most of the places were those atrocities occurred are known, yet no effort by an international body has been made to locate the graves (p. 70)." According to official figures, which may be too low, 80,000 German POWs were killed between 1944 and1949.[1]


David Irving has stated less politically views on the German occupation of France and its aftermath. "As time goes on and the archives open more of their files to the scrutiny of researchers, we will be revising our view of the German occupation of France and conditions there following “liberation.” John Eisenhower, the General’s son, reported: “I saw absolutely no evidence of German abuse of the population... The attitude of the French was sobering indeed. Instead of bursting with enthusiasm they seemed not only indifferent but sullen. There was considerable cause for wondering whether these people wished to be ‘liberated’.” General Eisenhower’s British aide conceded that “The people looked well-fed and the children healthy and well-dressed.” And Sir Alan Brooke, the British Army Chief of Staff, observed: “The French population did not seem in any way pleased to see us arrive as a victorious army to liberate France. They had been quite content as they were and we were bringing war and desolation to their country.” Referring to the French town of Carentan, Montgomery wrote to Brooke: “I see SHAEF communiqué said yesterday that the town had been liberated. Actually, it has been completely flattened and there is hardly a house intact; all the civilians have fled. It is a queer sort of liberation.” Irving explains that “French folk saw only the Allied battleships and bombers and tanks pounding their towns into ruins. In a reflexive act of self-preservation, many of them seized arms to aid Rommel’s army against the death-dealing newcomers.”

In sharp contrast with the picture long held up to us of American GIs being welcomed by a grateful French populace, Irving is one of several historians who are casting new light on these events. It seems that far from acting like Boy Scouts out on a mission of mercy, American soldiers terrorized many of the people they were supposed to be liberating from the clutches of the nasty Nazis. As Irving informs his readers: “An ordeal began for the French who stayed behind in Normandy to welcome their liberators. They were liable to be vandalized, robbed, raped, murdered. Indeed, the behavior of GIs throughout liberated Europe was causing apprehension in Washington. The Joint Chiefs reviewed a report from Rome too that conditions now were worse than when the Germans had been there.” Following a visit to Caen, B.H. Liddell Hart, the famous British military strategist and historian, pointed out that “Most Frenchmen speak of the correctness of the German Army’s behavior. They seem particularly impressed that German soldiers were shot for incivility to women and compare this with the American troops’ bad behavior toward women.” According to an official U.S. Army report, “Unfortunately most of these undisciplined acts were caused by colored troops.”

German resistance continued on into the Fall and “the discipline of even some of the finest U.S. units was cracking,” including the famous 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. On 5 November 1944, Eisenhower’s driver and girl friend, Kay Summersby, recorded: “General Betts reports that disciplinary conditions in the army are becoming bad. Many cases of rape, murder, and pillage are causing complaints by the French Dutch, etc.” A month later, General Leroy Lutes remarked: “The French now grumble that the Americans are a more drunken and disorderly lot than the Germans and hope to see the day when they are liberated from the Americans.” Lutes discovered that the Allied propaganda which portrayed the Germans as brutes was untrue: “I am informed the Germans did not loot either residences, stores, or museums. In fact the people claimed that they were meticulously treated by the Army of Occupation.” By the end of the war, over 450 GIs were sentenced to death by courts-martial, nearly all for having committed nonmilitary offenses like rape and murder.

The indefatigable Irving has also turned up more information about General Charles DeGaulle. He discloses that to help pave the way for his intended return, anti-Gaullist resistants and independents in France were betrayed to the Gestapo – while in French North Africa, in the wake of the Allied landings there in 1942, Gaullists jailed and executed Frenchmen who had assisted the Anglo-American forces. Later, on the eve of D-Day, DeGaulle insisted that a sentence be removed from Eisenhower’s invasion broadcast to the French people. The sentence read: “When France is liberated from her oppressors, you yourselves will choose your representatives, and the government under which you wish to live.” Irving goes on to describe conditions following D-Day, characterizing the “liberation” of France a “witch-hunt” which “turned into a winter of long-knives. In Belgium, too, the Resistance, founded and nourished by the Allies, had turned into a Frankenstein creature which they had trouble in controlling.”"[7]

See also French State.

Partisans and reprisals

National Socialist Germany has often been accused of mass killings of civilians in relation to partisan activity. Revisionists have argued that, at the time of WWII and earlier times, certain forms of regulated reprisals were not illegal, and were committed also by the Allies and others. Thus, "a wartime reprisal is the case if one warring party retaliates against another by means which are otherwise unlawful acts of warfare, and with which he wants to force his opponent, his opponent’s branches and the members of the opposing armed forces to give up their illegal acts of war and to return to the principles of lawful warfare."[8]

However, revisionists have also argued that "We have no difficulty admitting that the German reprisal measures in the East, and not only there, were at times excessive and disproportionate, sometimes even performed with false pretenses, but this has nothing to do with a “radicalization” which would have almost automatically led to a mass extermination of the Jews."[9]

Another revisionist view is that "Dr. jur. Karl Siegert, Professor at the University of Göttingen, drew up a legal expert report shortly after the end of World War Two, in which he showed that reprisal killings were, to a certain degree, common practice and not against international law. Hence, reprisals and shootings of hostages can be considered as tactically questionable and possibly as morally reprehensible, but strictly speaking this was not against the law at that time. This should always be kept in mind when the topic at issue is the reactions of German troops in Russia and Serbia, i.e., in vast regions where a weak occupation power had to battle brutal partisans in order to facilitate the oft-disrupted flow of supplies to the eastern front."[2]

See also the article on the Einsatzgruppen.

"Night and Fog" directive

See Night and Fog.

Effects on the German war effort

The partisans caused large negative effects on the German war effort, such as by direct attacks on the German military; attacks on German transportation, supply, and logistics; "scorched earth" methods preventing Germany from benefiting from occupied territories; preventing local collaboration with Germans; and propaganda effects (such as from committing atrocities while wearing German uniforms).[1][3][2]

Anti-Communist partisans

During and after the war, in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, there were many groups of anti-Communist partisans. Some of the more well-known examples include the "Forest Brothers" in the Baltic States, the "Cursed soldiers" in Poland, and the "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" in Ukraine, but there were also many other groups, in these and other areas. Some of these groups were very large, with tens or hundreds of thousands of members, and in some cases continued fighting against the Communists into the 1950s. The Communists used extensive and brutal methods to suppress these partisans. One example is the deportation of the whole populations of Chechens and Ingushes to Siberia in 1944, which caused mass deaths and is sometimes viewed as a genocide.[10]

Internal German resistance

High-ranking individuals and effects

Many very high-ranking individuals, notably in the officer corps, have been said to have been involved in the German resistance, with claimed effects such as "Perhaps the presence of so many prominent and highly placed traitors in Germany encouraged Britain and France to make their absurd "guarantee" of Poland's ludicrous frontiers, and thus precipitate World War II."[11][12] This particular assertion is untrue. See: Causes of World War II.

A well-known example is the 20 July plot, which attempted to assassinate Hitler, in a coup attempt with the army officers Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow as central participants.

Also, "There is some evidence that the traitor Henning von Tresckow, chief of staff of Army Group Center (Heeresgruppe Mitte) since November 1943, was responsible for the early collapse of that group because of his traitorous activities".[12]

Wilhelm Canaris was chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944, and has been said to have played an important part in Germany losing the war, by sabotaging German efforts and by providing information to the Allies. Also other Abwehr members, such as the deputy Hans Oster, were involved in degrees of sabotage.

Another important spy was Richard Sorge. He told Stalin that the Japanese would not open a front against Russia in the east, which allowed Stalin to move troops stationed there to the Eastern Front.[12]

Martin Bormann, Reinhard Gehlen, and Erich Koch have been speculated to have been Allied spies, but without reliable evidence. Gehlen and others have also been said to have been involved in Germany losing the Battle of Stalingrad.[12] This seems extremely unlikely.

A large group of high-ranking German officers has been said to have helped the Allies during the Battle of Normandy.[12]

See also the section "German resistance" in the "External links" section.

Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich

One motivation for the assassination attempt upon Reinhard Heydrich has been said that Heydrich was investigating important Allied spies. He was in fact attacked by renegade Czechs who had been parachuted into Bohemia by the Royal Air Force, and died later in hospital from septicaemia.


The revisionist H. Keith Thompson, writing on German conspirators against the National Socialist regime, states that "Some conspirators waited for the fortunes of war to turn before becoming active traitors. Others, in high places long before the war began, have alleged that they wanted to show "the world" that there was "another Germany." [...] The treasonous activities of the various echelons of conspirators did nothing to keep the Allies from ruthlessly pursuing their objective, the destruction of Germany and the fixing of frontiers even more unnatural than those drawn after World War I."[11]

"Many well-known Communists, like Sorge, were involved in conspiracies against Hitler and Germany. This is less surprising. Ironically, however, many of the conspirators, like Stauffenberg, belonged to the landed aristocracy. It is a further irony that most of the citadels of the "Junker" class were in Ostelbien, areas east of the Elbe, including Central Germany and former Eastern Germany, now divided between Poland and the Soviet Union after the postwar expulsions of the native German population. The aristocrats thus helped dig their own graves."[11]

One explanation was that many officers disliked the National Socialist movement, viewing it as socialist and as peasant upstarts. Similarly, many officers disliked Hitler, “the little corporal”. Other officers may have been influenced by Communist propaganda.[12]

Blackmail may have been used by the Soviet Union against Martin Bormann.[13]

Absent Holocaust knowledge

Regarding absent Holocaust knowledge by any German resistance, see Holocaust documentary evidence: German resistance.

See also

External links

Claimed crimes against Germans

Jewish partisans

German resistance


Article archives


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 The Suppressed History of Crimes committed on German soldiers in WWII. Part 1-V + Conclusion.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Partisan War and Reprisal Killings
  3. 3.0 3.1 Soviet Scorched-Earth Warfare: Facts and Consequences
  4. Jews as Underground Fighters in the Second World War
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Jewish Partisan Warfare During WWII
  6. News & Publications (1 May 2006). "The myth exposed by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz". The Sarmatian Review vol. 26, no. 2 (2006): 1217-1220. The Institute of World Politics. PAPERS & STUDIES. [Also in:] Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (21 April 2006). "Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland. Innenansichten aus dem Gebiet Baranovici 1941-1944. Eine Dokumentation". The Sarmatian Review. Russian documents translated into German by Tatjana Wanjat in Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 88. Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  7. The War Between The Generals / Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy
  8. Reprisals and Orders From Higher Up
  9. Carlo Mattogno, Jürgen Graf, Thomas Kues: The “Extermination Camps” of “Aktion Reinhardt”—An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious “Evidence,” Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the “Holocaust Controversies” Bloggers; 2nd edition. Holocaust Handbooks.
  10. See Anti-Soviet partisans, Eastern European anti-Communist insurgencies, and the articles linked there.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Conspiracy and Betrayal around Hitler, A Review
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 The traitors in the Officer Corps of the German Armed Forces
  13. Reinhard Heydrich: Part III