by Lasse » 02 Nov 2021 18:01
Unfortunately I have not read that (at least not recently) and cannot comment on its contents. However, if I am to break it down into a general formula on the background to recruitment of the Swedish volunteers it would be in the lines of;
Personal circumstance/situation + a pinch of national socialism = Swedish SS-volunteer.
What I mean is that most of the volunteers in my opinion had some sort of relation to the national socialistic ideas. Now, these are some numbers I wrote down when I finished my first book on the Swedish volunteers – it was something like ten years ago and maybe I would add some additional if I wrote it today. However, based on 144 of the approx. 180-200 volunteers that I have studied in detail, 66 % of them (95 volunteers) admitted to having been either a member or a sympathiser with a national socialistic party or movement in Sweden. The reminder of the 49 volunteers did not necessarily oppose the ideology (naturally), just that I have been unable to find any conclusive information that connects them to a party or movement (besides the fact that well, they served in the SS). Lets compare this to the general public; based on the number of votes in the 1936 election, some 0,69% of the Swedish population voted for national socialistic parties. A conclusion for this is that national socialistic ideologies were far more common amongst the Swedish volunteers than the general Swedish public.
Additionally, if we compare the election of 1936, the number of votes for national socialists were about 20 000. I.e. joining the SS was rather uncommon amongst the Swedish national socialists (based on the pre-war figures).
Reading through the interrogations, diaries, letters etc etc etc from the volunteers, I would say that those who joined the SS mostly had a personal reason that made them look for an exit, and by having a national socialistic outlook on life, joining the SS seemed like a viable exit to choose.
Some of them were definitively convinced national socialists and had more “noble” personal reasons (noble in that regard that they were not “I just had a child I don’t want”, “I am unemployed”, “My wife is having an affair”, “I will be court martialled for being drunk in service”, “I have escaped the mental hospital and need a new start”). Here we have for example a group of soldiers (“I want experience from the field and Finland is a static war”, “I was not allowed to join the limited Swedish Volunteer Bat. but still wish to fight against the Red army”,), the heritage related services (“My mother/father was German and I consider it to be my duty to serve a country that I have a relation to in addition to my Swedish citizenship”), and the purely political (“I am young, naïve and have listened to far too much propaganda”). But recurring motives seem to have been related to more tragic circumstances. In some cases, the motives were definitely linked; persons who lost their employment due their political conviction, and looked for an exit, or had their careers in the Swedish army shattered due to political conviction.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that in most cases it was more complicated than just saying “he joined the SS due to his political conviction” (even if such existed as well), but more common that there was a situation that was the problem and due to the political ideology, joining the SS was the solution. Most importantly; they were all equally welcome to join the Waffen-SS (one of them even joined the SS during a drunken bender due to his substance abuse, he was accepted. His wife ended up having to come an retrieve him and bring him home).
Examples of the above is evident if we look at the Swedish NCO:s in the SS:
Hscha. Forsmann: national socialist. Convicted for several crimes. Alcohol abuse. Ended up in conflicts with his German superiors. Was sent home shortly thereafter.
Hscha. Olofsson: cocaine and alcohol abuse. Had been court martialled for hitting another Swedish soldier who denied him access to his regiment while drunk/high. Was denied to serve in Finland since he was under investigation. The crimes related to the fact that he was a dental technician, and had a habit of prescribing medical alcohol to himself, which he drank. The SS gladly accepted him instead.
Hscha. Wallin. Considered to be a “adventurer and fraudster”. Left Sweden in the late 1920:s and lived a strange life in various countries. Suspected for fraud in 1934 in Sweden, worked as arms/patent/currency dealer in Europe, arrested by British police in 1939, moved to Holland, was suspected of espionage, finally arrested in Belgium as a spy, ended up in prison and released by the Germans. Initially served with procurement within the Kriegsmarine. Eventually ended up in the SS, was once again suspected for frauds and ended up in KZ Amersfoorth as a prisoner.
Oscha. Westrin: Recently had (another) kid with (another) woman which he did not want. Had gone AWOL while in Finland in 1941. Deserted from the Swedish army and stole equipment while en route to Norway to join the SS.
Oscha Wallin: Had a rather problematic home relation. Both parents were present, but he had helped cut his father down as an eleven year old when his father attempted suicide. Probably joined out of peer-pressure. National Socialist.
Uscha. Eriksson: attempted suicide in 1939/40. Both parents deceased. Considered to be suffering from depression according to persons at his school. Deemed to be a pacifist. National socialist.
Uscha. Helmstrand: Convicted for several crimes. Very convinced national socialist. Had been expelled from a national socialistic party for assaulting another member. Was denied to graduate from school - as he beat up his gymnastics teacher.
Uscha. Holmström: Convicted for several crimes (mostly theft, fraud, court martial due to AWOL, had been to prison etc). Escaped to the SS during a crime spree in 1944. Was sent to Finland, deserted shortly after arrival from a hospital following a bar brawl, was caught (drunk) the day after.
Uscha. Lundin; National socialist. Had been in a car accident prior to the war, which according to his father, had reduced his capacity to analyse his actions and left him mentally changed. Would later on present a lot of different stories (i.e. claiming to have been at places where he had not served).
Uscha. Wahlberg: Born in 1900, convicted for several crimes in his early adult life, lived a rather adventurous life as a sailor and in Peru. Back home in Sweden in 1938 he lost his employment due to his national socialistic opinions, joined the Spanish civil war, joined the Winter war, convicted to four months hard labour in 1940, had trouble finding lasting employment, left for Norway to find employment, ended up in the SS.
These are ten of the 18 Swedish SS-NCO:s I have identified. The other eight include;
One who was never properly interrogated with limited information about his pre-war life (however, suspected of bicycle theft),
One national socialistic Swedish army NCO likely motivated by the fact that he was denied to serve in Finland (KIA),
One national socialistic Swedish soldier who had served in the winter war, was denied serving in the continuation war – and therefore left Sweden for
Norway with the hopes of being helped by the Germans to join the Finnish forces (but instead was convinced to stay in the SS),
A veteran from the continuation war where little evidence exists on his personal life (KIA) who originated from a very national socialistic home,
One considered to be half-German,
Two who had intended to join the continuation war – but was denied, and instead persuaded to join the SS (it is uncertain whether they were national socialists at all).