Auschwitz SS nazi on trial

This video says about itself:

The Liberation of Auschwitz (includes 1945 original Red Army footage)

23 January 2015

Warning – This historical documentary contains some explicit scenes that are of a violent nature and may be disturbing to some viewers!

This film contains footage taken by Soviet cameramen after the liberation of the Auschwitz camp in January 27, 1945.

Among other things, it depicts the camp area immediately after entry by the First Ukrainian Front of the Red Army.

Documentary pictures are interspersed with an interview with Alexander Vorontzov, the cameraman who accompanied the Red Army soldiers and did most of the filming. The whole is accompanied by commentary describing, among others, the selection and extermination process, medical experiments and everyday life in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The film was previously released in 1985, for the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. The commentary accompanying the current edition of the film reflects the latest findings by researchers studying the KL Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz Camp is a world symbol of the Holocaust, genocide and terror. Never before in the history of mankind were so many people murdered in a planned and industrial manner in such a small area.

In the years 1940-1945, German Nazis brought here over a million Jews, nearly 150 thousand Poles, 23 thousand Roma, 15 thousand Soviet prisoners of war and over ten thousand prisoners from other nations.

A vast majority of them perished in the camp.

This film is dedicated to their memory.

Runtime: 52 minutes, Production year: 1985, Director: Irmgard von zur Muehlen.

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

Trial of former SS soldier begins in Germany

22 April 2015

The trial of 93-year-old former SS sergeant Oskar Gröning began yesterday at the fourth criminal grand chamber of the Luneburg district court. He is charged with assisting murder in 300,000 cases. From September 1942 to October 1944, Gröning was an SS guard and administrator at Auschwitz concentration camp in occupied Poland.

More than 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army on January 27, 1945, it is certain to be one of the last trials of living perpetrators of the indescribably hideous crimes committed by the Nazis at this and other concentration camps.

The name of the Nazis’ Auschwitz concentration camp has come to symbolise the worst crimes and horrors of the twentieth century, and is a byword for the barbarism of capitalism in its most extreme form. More than 1.1 million people were brutally killed there. Hundreds of thousands were exterminated in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival, while others died from hunger, physical exhaustion or hideous experiments by sadistic doctors like Josef Mengele, nicknamed the angel of death by the prisoners.

Some 90 percent of those killed in the camp were Jews. In addition, 150,000 non-Jewish Poles, including political prisoners, 23,000 Sinti and Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, other national minorities, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals were murdered.

In addition to Gröning, two other former SS soldiers currently face thousands of charges of assisted murder. An investigation by the state prosecutor in Schwerin is underway into 94-year-old Hubert Z from Mecklenburg Pomerania, and another against 94-year-old Reinhold Z from North Rhine-Westphalia led by the Dortmund state prosecutor.

The SS soldiers currently being charged allegedly were not directly involved in the murders, but through their service in Auschwitz, they contributed to the functioning of the Nazi murder machine. Gröning himself described his role at Auschwitz as a “cog in the wheel.”

Oskar Gröning volunteered for the Waffen SS at aged 21 as a committed National Socialist, and was ordered by the SS business and administration head office on September 25, 1942, to be sent to administer the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Since he had previously worked in a savings bank, he was placed in the administration of prisoners’ money. His task was to stand guard as the victims were delivered to the camp in cattle wagons, and collect their possessions and valuables. The stolen money obtained during this process was then sent by him to the SS headquarters in Berlin.

The list of charges from the state prosecutor in Hannover, responsible for pursuing Nazi crimes in Lower Saxony, limits itself to the so-called Hungarian action of May 16 to July 11, 1944. In this two-month time frame, the SS deported some 425,000 Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz. Around 300,000 were sent directly to their deaths in gas chambers on their arrival.

Within this period, 137 trainloads arrived at the Nazis’ death factory. Gröning’s task was to collect the belongings left by those sent to the gas chamber from the train platform and camp entrance. “In so doing, the traces of the mass murder would be eliminated for subsequent prisoners,” states the 85-page charge sheet. His activities had supported the Nazis’ systematic mass murder.

The trial has met with great interest abroad and more than 60 survivors from Hungary, the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Israel wish to testify to the court as joint plaintiffs. Accordingly, the trial was moved from the Luneburg court to a larger building.

As with other trials on the subject of crimes during the Nazi period, the question is raised: Why has the trial taken so long?

The answer is largely that within the German political and judiciary systems, many former Nazis were utilised by the state and their careers continued unhindered after the war. A systematic legal investigation into the crimes of the National Socialists was consistently blocked.

Of the many thousands of Nazi criminals, relatively few were brought before the courts. Since the end of the war, the German judiciary has investigated 100,000 cases, but only 6,500 were convicted. They received relatively mild sentences considering the horrendous nature of their crimes. Generally, the perpetrators took the defence that they were just following orders, which the courts recognised as legitimate.

Of the 6,500 SS personnel who carried out their murderous work in Auschwitz and survived the war, only 29 were convicted in the Federal Republic, according to a report in Der Spiegel. In the GDR (East Germany) the figure was 20.

The Frankfurt state prosecutor had already investigated Gröning in 19y7, but broke off proceedings in 1985. Lawyer Thomas Walther, who is now representing around 30 joint plaintiffs, victims of the Nazi regime and their relatives, commented on this to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “They did not abandon the case, but buried it. In the 1970s and 1980s there were still ‘thousands of Grönings,’ so the investigators decided it was preferable to leave it alone.”

In Deutsche Welle, Walther explained, “in the Federal Republic, thousands of men and women would have to have been charged if current criteria had applied in the past.” But this was not desired, so the Nazi collaborators were not to be pursued. Oskar Gröning was never punished for his service in the death factory.

In 2011, the Munich district court sentenced the now-dead SS guard in Sobibor concentration camp John Demjanjuk to five years’ imprisonment for assisting in the murder of 28,000 Jews. Since then, there is no need to prove that a person being charged was directly involved in the murders. This is one of the reasons why trials are being conducted now against those SS soldiers who are still living.

In contrast to many previous defendants in these cases, Oskar Gröning has expressed his readiness to testify before the court on the events in Auschwitz. He had already spoken in interviews openly about his experiences and actions in Auschwitz, and written them down for his friends and family.

When an acquaintance sent him a book about “the Auschwitz lies,” he sent it back with a note saying that everything reported about Auschwitz was true: selections, gassing, burning—1.5 million Jews had been murdered in Auschwitz, and he had experienced it. Nonetheless, he did not feel guilty about the murders because he had not been directly active in the gas chambers.

The course of the current trial will reveal how much it contributes to the uncovering of one of the greatest crimes of the twentieth century. The survivors and relatives of the victims taking part in the trial as joint plaintiffs are hoping for something, even if only very, very delayed justice.

Nazi SS officer worked for ‘democratic’ German secret service

This video about the Nuremberg trial of nazi criminals says about itself:

Nuremberg Day 139: Lauterbacher

On May 27, 1946, Dr. Sauter called Hartman Lauterbacher, Stabsfuehrer of the Reich Youth Leadership, responsible to Von Schirach. In German, he explains his role.

A July 1944 propaganda video from nazi Germany shows nazi Gauleiter Hartmann Lauterbacher of South Hanover at a parade of the army, SA, Hitler Youth and Volkssturm.

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

Leading Nazi worked for Germany’s post-war intelligence service for 13 years

8 January 2015

On December 14, 2014, Spiegel Online reported that the German intelligence agency (BND) had employed a former top-ranking SS officer, Hartmann Lauterbacher, on a permanent basis from 1950 to 1963. During the Nazi dictatorship, Lauterbacher rose to become the deputy of Baldur von Schirach and head of the Reich Youth department. He was subsequently accused of numerous war crimes.

It is clear from recent findings that Lauterbacher, a fanatical Hitler supporter who died in 1988 at the age of 78, was the highest-ranking Nazi official recruited by the BND to its full-time staff. At Spiegel’ s request, the BND released Lauterbacher’s personnel file. This revealed that Lauterbacher, who escaped from a British prisoner of war camp in Lower Saxony in 1948 and went into hiding in Italy, was employed by the BND precursor, the Gehlen Organisation, in 1950 and given the registration number V-6300 and code name “Leonard.”

He then lived in Munich and West Berlin, rising to head a unit within the BND. In 1951, the intelligence service leaked false information to the press in order to spread the deception that Lauterbacher had fled to Argentina. Three years later, he was provided with new identity papers in Schleswig-Holstein. According to Spiegel, the personnel file suggests that the former district administrator of Eckernförde and the personal assistant to the then-governor of Kiel, both former Hitler Youth (HJ) leaders, had helped in the subterfuge.

One of Lauterbacher’s tasks was infiltrating the East German FDJ youth organisation with the aid of former Hitler Youth officials. It is alleged that while posing as a businessman, he also coordinated espionage activities in various countries in North Africa. His collaboration with the BND came to an end in 1963, when the agency allegedly began to regard him with suspicion. His last monthly payment was 1,280 marks plus a 960-mark bonus. This later enabled him to receive a comfortable pension.

Hartmann Lauterbacher is by no means the only leading Nazi member to have worked for the BND. Reinhard Gehlen, head of the Gehlen Organisation, was Hitler’s military intelligence chief on the Eastern Front. From 1942 to 1945, Gehlen led the “Foreign Armies East” espionage department in the army’s general staff. Immediately after the war, the Gehlen Organisation was absorbed into the service of the OSS, the American intelligence agency that became the CIA in 1947. After 1945, Gehlen’s task was to establish a German foreign intelligence agency, mainly directed against the Soviet Union. In April, 1956, the Gehlen Organisation was transferred to the authority of the German government under the new name of BND (German Intelligence Agency). Entire sections of the Nazi SS (Security Service) were incorporated into the agency.

In the 1960s, the BND also occasionally employed leading Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the infamous “butcher of Lyon”, and Alois Brunner, a close associate of Adolf Eichmann.

Hartmann Lauterbacher was born in Reute (Tyrol) in Austria in 1909. In 1923, at the age of 14, he founded the first branch of the German Youth in Austria organisation. Two years later, he took over the leadership of German Youth and transformed it into the Hitler Youth in 1927. That year, he also began training as a chemist at the druggist academy in Brunswick and joined the Nazi party (NSDAP) with membership number 86837.

From 1930, he was mainly involved in building the Hitler Youth in the South Hanover-Brunswick district. He became a HJ regional leader in Westphalia Niederrhein in 1932 and chief regional leader in 1933. In 1934, he took over as HJ staff leader and became Reich Youth leader Baldur von Schirach’s deputy. Lauterbacher was intimately connected with leading members of the Nazi regime. Joseph Goebbels was best man at his wedding in 1935.

In August 1940, Lauterbacher left the leadership of the HJ and initially became deputy Gauleiter (regional leader) of the South Hanover-Brunswick district. A few months later, in December 1940, he was promoted to Gauleiter and labour deployment commissioner. At 31, Lauterbacher was the youngest of all the Nazi Gauleiters. In 1942, he was further appointed to the position of regional defence commissar.

Lauterbacher was simultaneously building a career in the SS. In November 1940, he was admitted into the SS as a brigade leader and rose to the rank of SS group leader by the end of January 1944.

The infamous “Lauterbacher operation” of September 1941 resulted in the ghettoisation of the Jewish population in Hanover. Lauterbacher ordered the expulsion of approximately 1,200 Jews from their homes and assigned them to horrific conditions in 15 so-called “Jewish houses”. This was the precursor to the deportation of the Hanoverian Jews to the death camps in December 1941.

Lauterbacher, the fanatical Nazi, was still rallying the population to resistance on April 4, 1945, just a few days before the Allied troops reached Hanover. He arranged for the radio and newspapers to spread slogans like “Better dead than a slave”, and threatened, “Whoever hoists a white flag or gives up without a fight is a dead man.”

However, he himself took flight and disappeared from Hanover on April 8, 1945. After the war, eight judicial proceedings were launched against Lauterbacher, due to alleged offences including crimes against humanity. But like so many others, he was never held accountable. In early July 1946, the higher British military court in Hanover acquitted him of the charge of ordering the murder of German and Allied inmates of Hamelin prison at the beginning of April 1945.

In August 1947, further proceedings were initiated against Lauterbacher in the Dachau internment camp, where he was accused of having ordered the shooting of 12 downed American pilots. This trial also ended with his acquittal in October 1947.

The Hanover public prosecutor, who in 1947 had opened a case against Lauterbacher that was followed by further investigations in Munich and Hanover, terminated the investigation because of a statute of limitations. Hartmann Lauterbacher, the former deputy Reich Youth leader, appeared at the Nuremberg trials as a witness for his former boss, Baldur von Schirach.

He was arrested by a British detachment in Carinthia a few weeks after his flight from Hanover in June 1945, and interned at the Sandbostel camp near Bremervörde. Lauterbacher managed to escape under still unexplained circumstances, on 25 February 1948.

In early 2009, the Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper published a report based on American intelligence documents, according to which the Anti-Communist Front—an organisation of high-ranking Wehrmacht and SS officers—was presumed to be behind the escape. Already by this time, Lauterbacher is alleged to have had connections with the CIC (Counterintelligence Corps of the US Army), collaborating with it to establish an “international anti-Bolshevik organisation” in Hungary.

A little later, Lauterbacher went into hiding in Rome, where he was apparently commissioned by Allied intelligence agencies to participate in the organisation of the so-called “ratlines” under the code name “Bauer.” Along these ratline escape routes, including the so-called “Vatican route,” Nazi war criminals like Adolf Eichmann, Joseph Mengele, Klaus Barbie and many other fascists were brought to South America or Middle Eastern states with the help of people smugglers.

In April 1950, Lauterbacher was arrested in Italy and brought to the La Frachette camp in Rome. He purportedly fled from there to Argentina in December 1950—a hoax perpetrated by the Gehlen organisation in 1951 to conceal the fact that they had already recruited him to their permanent staff in 1950.

Following his official retirement from the BND in 1963, Lauterbacher worked for dictatorial regimes in Africa and the Middle East. From 1977 to 1979, he was official youth affairs advisor to the Sultan of Oman, Qabus ibn Said. In 1988, he died in Seebruck am Chiemsee in southern Germany, without ever having been held accountable for his atrocious crimes during the Nazi dictatorship.

The Hartmann Lauterbacher file is another piece in the mosaic of the BND’s Nazi history, which while remaining yet largely concealed, continues to shape Germany’s intelligence agencies to this day.

Fifty years ago, the Brown Book: War criminals and Nazis in the Federal Republic—in government, business, administration, the army, the judiciary and science was published on July 2, 1965: here.

Protest against nazi SS commemoration in London

This video from the USA says about itself:

Ben Ferencz on Waffen SS

Ben Ferencz, chief prosecutor at the Subsequent trial at Nuremberg against the Einsatzgruppen, reflects on the SS and their crimes in this clip from a History Channel presentation on the subject of the SS. For further information see

From daily The Morning Star in London:

Anti-fascists raise alarm over Ukrainian Cenotaph march

Saturday 15th November 2014

CAMPAIGNERS raised the alarm yesterday over tomorrow’s planned march by Ukrainian veterans on the Cenotaph, warning that organisers plan to commemorate fascist Waffen SS volunteers.

The march, organised by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, London Euromaidan and the Congress of Ukrainian Youth, pledges to pay tribute to soldiers who served in “all wars.”

But anti-fascist activists said this phrasing includes those responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews and Poles in Ukraine during the second world war as well as the neonazis who helped topple a democratically elected government in Kiev earlier this year.

Similar marches in Ukraine have seen participants openly parade swastikas and pictures of enthusiastic nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

A demonstration organiser told the Star the main organiser of the commemoration was the “London branch” of the Euromaidan protest group that forced February’s coup.

Alex Gordon, an activist with rail union RMT, which is affiliated to the Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine campaign, said: “The overwhelming majority of people in London and Britain as a whole will be appalled to hear that SS veterans and their admirers are allowed to march at the Cenotaph.

The Ukrainian division SS Galicia murdered Jews, Poles, Russians and anyone who got in the way of their sick plans for a racially pure Ukraine.

“It is a sign of how far we have travelled that these people are pushing their way back into the mainstream today. It is an insult to millions who died fighting Hitler and Nazism.”

Supporters of the Solidarity campaign will hold a silent protest as the Ukrainian veterans march on the Cenotaph.

See also here.

Dutch nazis praise foreign mercenaries in Kiev’s army

This 1942 video shows Dutch Waffen SS March Before [SS leader] Heinrich Himmler [and Dutch nazi leader Anton Mussert].

The Dutch openly nazi Nederlandse Volksunie (NVU; Dutch Peoples-Union) party was founded originally in the 1970s to rehabilitate Dutch members of Hitler’s Waffen SS, who had committed horrible mass murder crimes against Jews and others in Ukraine. The NVU has a Facebook page (I won’t link to their page).

On that page, the NVU praises foreign mercenaries, fighting the war in eastern Ukraine in the armed forces of the Kiev government. Mercenaries like Swedish nazi Mikael Skillt, now an officer in the Azov battalion.

Azov battalion symbol

This picture (also reproduced on the NVU Facebook page) shows the Azov battalion symbol; source: here. It is the wolfsangel, or wolf’s hook. Also the symbol of the Dutch nazi party NSB in the 1930s and 1940s.

SS division Das Reich wolfsangel symbol

And this picture shows the same wolfsangel, only different direction, used by Hitler’s SS division Das Reich.

Wolfsangel on Dutch NSB nazi flag

On the Dutch NSB nazi flag for their paramilitary organisation, the WA, the wolfsangel’s direction was different again.

Dutch daily De Telegraaf on 29 July 2014 wrote about Mikael Skillt. Without mentioning Skillt is a nazi (just calling him “nationalist”, which sounds more innocently); which the BBC does not forget to mention, however. De Telegraaf is a rightist daily, abusing the grief in the Netherlands about the MH17 disaster for beating anti-Russian war drums. In 1941-1945, De Telegraaf supported Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union, and had SS members as editors.

From the Telegraaf article (translated):

In Kiev he [Skillt] joined the paramilitary organization C14, an outfit which in its own words fights against Russians, Jews and every Ukrainian who gets in the way. Skillt showed himself very impressed with C14 …

According to Wikipedia, C14 is another name for the Right Sector neo-fascist paramilitary organisation. According to this interview on a Swedish site, it is a similar but separate organisation, with close links to the anti-Semitic Svoboda party, represented in the Kiev government.

The site writes about C14:

Svoboda, according to activists in Kiev, still disposes of an illegal armed wing known as “C14.” …

The name “C14” (“Combat 14”) is probably a semantic flirt with the name “C18” (“Combat 18”) one of the international networks of neo-Nazi terrorist organizations …

The “18” in Combat 18 stands for the first and eighth letters of the alphabet=AH=Adolf Hitler.

At the same time, the name points to the number “14.” In fascist circles this refers to the “fourteen words” slogan of commitment to the “white race.” As the leader of Svoboda’s ally “C14” explained, his organization is in a “struggle” with “ethnic groups” that are wielding, among other things, “economic and political power.” The “ethnic groups” he is referring to are “Russians and Jews.”

The Telegraaf article continues:

Besides fighting [the war in East Ukraine] Skillt supports the government in Kiev by recruiting foreign volunteers. Thus, Americans, Poles, Germans, French, and even Africans are deployed as mercenaries by the Ukrainian army.

The NVU comments on this (translated):

Germans, Italians, English, Austrians fight as one for a Europe of Nations and Fatherlands, for Ukraine, against the Red Peril!

The NVU does not mention African mercenaries, mentioned in De Telegraaf (if we are to believe De Telegraaf). They would not fit in the NVU image of the war in Ukraine as a racist crusade. In the NVU’s fantasy world, non-communist, non-socialist Putin and all Russians and east Ukrainians become perilous Bolsheviks, to be fought like the 1970s founders of the NVU fought for Hitler in the 1940s.

Ukrainian alleged war criminal wanted by German court

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #071 (6/23/13): Michael Karkoc

18 June 2013

Rabbi Sol Solomon offers his thoughts on Michael Karkoc, a 94-year-old Nazi war criminal now living in Minnesota.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

GERMANY: The country’s highest criminal court ruled yesterday that it has jurisdiction over the case of a retired carpenter accused of being a former commander in a nazi SS-led unit.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that 95-year-old Michael Karkoc’s service in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion made him the “holder of a German office” even though he is not German himself.

The court says someone in that role “served the purposes of the nazi state’s world view.”

Federal prosecutors sent the case to the court after deciding there was enough evidence to pursue murder charges against Mr Karkoc, who now lives in the US.

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Hitler’s Ukrainian SS division

This video from Britain says about itself:

SS in the Ukraine

In June 1941, German mobile killing squads, known as Einsatzgruppen, were dispatched throughout Eastern Europe. By the spring of 1943, the 3000 members of the Einsatzgruppen, led by highly-educated officers and aided by local collaborators in each country, had systematically murdered over a million Jews and tens thousands of Roma, handicapped, Poles, Russians, partisans and non-combatants.

The video also documents the post-1945 transfer of Ukrainian SS men to Britain.

By Kenny Coyle in Britain:

The little-known history of the Galizia Division

Thursday 15th May 2015

How did the military idols of today’s Ukrainian neofascist right come to be buried in a cemetery in Staffordshire? KENNY COYLE tells the story

IN Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, the German military cemetery holds the remains of many thousands of German and Austrian POWs from both the first and second world wars who died in captivity, as well as downed airmen who died on British soil.

It includes senior officers from the Waffen SS, including General Maximilian von Herff, a key figure in the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Apart from the simply historically inquisitive, it occasionally attracts the unwanted modern pilgrims of Hitlerism, who come to lay wreaths and shout “Sieg heil” over the silent graveyard.

In one part of the cemetery a small plaque reads: “In everlasting memory of Ukrainian soldiers who rest here in peace.” Sure enough, several tombstones are engraved with unmistakably Ukrainian names.

This memorial commemorates the deaths in Britain of former members of the 14th Galizia SS Volunteer Division, a force idolised by the neofascist right in Ukraine today. The story of how they ended up on British soil is one that is worth retelling.

In late April 1943, in the aftermath of the Soviet victory at Stalingrad and the heavy losses inflicted upon the nazi war machine, Waffen SS chief Heinrich Himmler approved the creation of the Galizia Division.

It was to be recruited from anti-Soviet Ukrainians from around the Lvov district of western Ukraine.

With strong Polish roots and with a substantial Jewish population, Lvov was part of the region of Galicia that fell under Austrian rule in 1772, when the city was known by its Germanic name of Lemberg.

The choice of the name Galizia for the SS division was to emphasise Germanic rather than Slavic claims to the territory.

Nazi collaborators justified their adherence to the Third Reich in terms of anti-communism and by a reactionary racial conception of Europe, which embraced the Ukrainians but excluded the “Asiatic” Russians and, of course, Jews.

For example, following the announcement of the Galizia Division’s formation, Volodymyr Kubiyovych, head of the Ukrainian Central Committee in nazi-occupied Krakow, wrote: “Today, for Ukrainians in Galicia, is a very historic day, because in today’s Act of State one of the most coveted wishes of the Ukrainian people is realised — to fight against Bolshevism with weapons in our hands… This wish was the result of the deeper conviction, that it is our duty not to stay neutral in the great fight for building the new European order, and what we can do for the victory of the new Europe… This historic day was made possible by the conditions to create a worthy opportunity for the Ukrainians of Galicia, to fight arm in arm with the heroic German soldiers of the army and the Waffen-SS against Bolshevism, your and our deadly enemy. We thank you from our heart. Of course we ought to thank the Great Fuehrer of the united Europe for recognising our participation in the war, that he approved your initiative and agreed to the creation of the Galicia division.”

Further evidence that the Galizia division was not fighting for Ukrainian interests is that during the formal ceremony on August 29 1943 to establish the SS division, the Ukrainian volunteers made the following oath: “I swear before God this holy oath, that in the battle against Bolshevism, I will give absolute obedience to the commander in chief of the German armed forces Adolf Hitler, and as a brave soldier I will always be prepared to lay down my life for this oath.”

By May 1944, after several months of training and nazi political indoctrination, the Galizia Division reached its full strength of 15,229 personnel and was soon thrown into battle against the Red Army’s 1st Ukrainian Front.

The result was hardly heroic. In the decisive battle of Brody in July 1944, the Galizia Division was decimated.

Only 3,500 Ukrainian SS stormtroopers escaped encirclement out of the 11,000 committed to battle.

With the tide turning against them, the increasingly desperate nazis rebuilt the Galizia Division.

A reconstituted force, bolstered by Ukrainian military police units and other militias, was deployed in the Slovak national uprising in September 1944, where numerous atrocities against civilians and Slovakian partisans were committed.

As the Red Army rumbled through central Europe, the Galizia Division retreated into Yugoslavia and then Austria.

With the Third Reich in its final death throes, in March 1945 the division was hastily renamed the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army, but as the Swedish historian Per Anders Rudling has pointed out: “On 28 April 1945, nine days before the surrender of the division to the British and Americans in Austria, the division’s journal Do Boiu!/Zum Kampf! still carried the SS symbol, the Siegrunen, and the subtitle Ukrainian military journal of the Grenadier Division of the Waffen-SS in its letterhead. It carried a large tribute to SS-Brigadenfuehrer Fritz Freitag on his 51st birthday and an article about the struggle of the German capital and enthusiastic accounts about how ‘the forces of Bandera’ and the UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] fought the Judeocommunist intruders.”

The captured Ukrainians were kept first in Austria and then transferred to the Italian resort town of Rimini.

Britain and the US turned down requests by the Soviet Union to have the prisoners repatriated on the grounds that they had been born in pre-war Poland so the Yalta agreements on prisoner exchanges did not apply.

The truth was that with the cold war well under way Britain was unwilling to hand over a potential military ally to face Soviet justice.

In April 1947, the Attlee Cabinet took the decision to transfer the Galizia Division to Britain.

Whereas in Italy its members were designated as surrendered enemy personnel, Britain reclassified them as prisoners of war.

During May and June of 1947, 8,570 Ukrainians were transported by sea from Venice to Britain.

Instead of a thorough investigation for probable links to war crimes, the Galizia Division veterans were admitted with only peremptory screening.

After a few months in detention camps, where the Cannock Chase Ukrainians died, the majority were freed into civilian life.

Many emigrated to other parts of the empire and in particular Canada, where a large number of post-war Ukrainian emigres settled, but others settled permanently and played a major role in the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).

Today the AUGB still proudly proclaims that among its incorporated organisations is the Association of Former Combatants, effectively the British wing of the Brotherhood of Former Soldiers of the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army, formed in 1949 in West Germany.

Following a 2001 TV documentary and a press exposé in the Daily Mail, of all places, the AUGB wrote letters of complaint to the Press Complaints Commission on what it viewed as hostile coverage of these Ukrainian “former combatants.”

The AUGB claimed implausibly that the Galizia Division “volunteers were neither pro-nazi, nor sympathetic to the nazi cause.

Members of the division believed that the impending defeat of Germany would be followed by a war between Stalin and the West in which they, having received formal combat training and equipment from the nazis, would be able to defend their homeland, Ukraine, against Stalin’s Red Army and Soviet partisans.” The PCC rejected the AUGB’s claims.

Today, the AUGB continues to promote the causes of the Ukrainian collaborationist right. Its website and those of its associated uniformed Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) promote such events as volleyball, folk dancing, five-a-side football matches alongside a “Requiem for General Roman Shukhevych,” the infamous nazi collaborator and a commander of the genocidal Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

Many of the events are held at the private CYM camp in Weston-on-Trent in Derbyshire.

Each year it organises what it calls in English “Ukraine Remembrance Day.” However, a more direct translation from Ukrainian is “Heroes Day.” No prizes for guessing what kind of “heroes” are celebrated here.

Indeed in 2012, the CYM adopted a resolution at its summer camp: “The participants of the Youth Association’s summer camp, named in honour of the heroes of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, found out this week that the president of Ukraine had signed the disgraceful language Bill. In 13 administrative regions and in Kyiv itself, Russian-speaking citizens can demand that Russian should be an official regional language. This is the first step to adopting Russian as the second official language of Ukraine.”

The diplomatic, financial, organisational and ideological role of right-wing emigre organisations in Ukrainian since the collapse of the Soviet Union has largely been underplayed, but the continuity between them and the defeated and exiled collaborationist forces of WWII is undeniable.

WANTED Ukrainian nazi war criminal Vladimir Katriuk has died in Canada, the country which sheltered him for 16 years, his lawyer said on Thursday. Mr Katriuk was number two on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals: here.

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