To what extent did the Nazis use foreign volunteers and conscripts in the East?

Nov 2014
192
United States
What exactly are the statistics on their use of volunteer soldiers, Soviet POWs, and people they conscripted while fighting on the Eastern Front?
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,729
There are statistics you can easily find. Most Russian volunteers were sent to garrison duty with very few trusted to be used though it was proposed. More Baltic people were accepted as frontline soldiers or militias but only effectively used when Germans were already obviously losing.
 
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Oct 2014
346
Brussels
There are indeed a lot of statistics around, but many of them are very highly inflated. For example they often count together all the people in a given West European country who served in one or other uniformed capacity to come to huge numbers serving as Waffen SS volunteers on the Eastern Front (while in reality most of these people never joined the waffen SS and never were anywhere near the Eastern Front).
Obviously there were quite a few volunteers from France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, etc. who joined either Waffen SS or Whermacht formations fighting on the Eastern Front. But their overall numbers were not as high as is often stated.
Similarly, all sorts of Russians, Ukrainians, Baltics, etc. who served in one or another uniformed capacity for the Germans are often lumped together to create huge numbers.
 
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Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,484
South of the barcodes
What exactly are the statistics on their use of volunteer soldiers, Soviet POWs, and people they conscripted while fighting on the Eastern Front?
Hiwi (volunteer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Hilfeswillege - Russians used as volunteer labour 50,000 with 6th army alone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/29th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_RONA_(1st_Russian)RONA - Russian home guard units later turned into a fighting unit 12,000 men
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XV_SS_Cossack_Cavalry_Corps"]XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] Cossacks - Anti-soviet refugees and home born
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawniki_men"]Trawniki men - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] trawnicki men - Russians trained aas concentration camp guards and also used in combat in Warsaw 5,000 men
 
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Tercios Espanoles

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
6,681
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Hiwi (volunteer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Hilfeswillege - Russians used as volunteer labour 50,000 with 6th army alone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/29th_Waffen_Grenadier_Division_of_the_SS_RONA_(1st_Russian)RONA - Russian home guard units later turned into a fighting unit 12,000 men
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XV_SS_Cossack_Cavalry_Corps"]XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] Cossacks - Anti-soviet refugees and home born
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawniki_men"]Trawniki men - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] trawnicki men - Russians trained aas concentration camp guards and also used in combat in Warsaw 5,000 men
You left out Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army - some 300,000 men (allegedly).
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
They used a former Soviet General and his Army -see Vlasov's Army 's role in the Eastern front wars.
As Tercios has already pointed out.
Which is appalling given the way that the Nazis treated most Soviet POWS-see S.S. Doctor Rasch's inhuman experiments on Soviet POWS in Dachau..
The fact that they attrracted opportunists who perrhps cannot be criticised too severley the given what happened to the the mass of Soviet POWS in Nazi hands-compares poorly with the farcical response the Nazis got when they tried to recruit British Pows into the S.S. ST GEORGE'S LEAGUE for renegade Britis A campaign that was a flop-although it did permit one Scottish chancer to win the S.S.middleweight boxing chsmpionship title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1944.-but how that progressed the Nazi war effort is beyond me.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,772
Australia
They used a former Soviet General and his Army -see Vlasov's Army 's role in the Eastern front wars.
As Tercios has already pointed out.
Which is appalling given the way that the Nazis treated most Soviet POWS-see S.S. Doctor Rasch's inhuman experiments on Soviet POWS in Dachau..
The fact that they attrracted opportunists who perrhps cannot be criticised too severley the given what happened to the the mass of Soviet POWS in Nazi hands-compares poorly with the farcical response the Nazis got when they tried to recruit British Pows into the S.S. ST GEORGE'S LEAGUE for renegade Britis A campaign that was a flop-although it did permit one Scottish chancer to win the S.S.middleweight boxing chsmpionship title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1944.-but how that progressed the Nazi war effort is beyond me.

The British Free Corps (Legion of St George), although intended to be a fighting unit, was never more than a pathetic propaganda piece. It had a few dedicated anti communists and Nazi sympathisers, but most of its small number - about 30 - was made up of petty criminals and chancers who saw an opportunity for an easier life than in the POW camps. The BFC never saw combat although some of its members were involved in skirmishes with the Russians while attached to the SS Nordland Division as the Russians advanced on Berlin.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
The Reich forcefully recruited some 70.000 Slovenes from occupied Lower Styria and Upper Carniola. Now, they would be distributed among all sorts of units. From Wehrmannschaften for local garrison duties to regular infantry in the Wehrmacht, Gebirgsjäger, something more exotic like the Afrika Korps and the Waffen SS. Afaik there were no exclusively Slovene units. I don't know how many ended up on the Eastern Front, some, like one of my relatives, for sure did though. Their fates would differ, many would desert and join the partisans while on leave, surrender to the Soviets etc. The latter scenario wasn't bad because they'd have mercy when they heard you were a fellow Slav. Many a Gottschee German was saved by his knowledge of Slovene when taken prisoner by the Ruskys.

There's a Slovene comedy called Moj ata, socialistični kulak (My Father The Socialist Kulak) in which the main character deserted from the Germans over to the Red Army and returns home on a bicycle, facing a dilema of fulfilling his promis to the Virgin Mary or embracing new communist ideas for which he then gets in trouble for praising Stalin too much and so on.
 
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Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
The Nazis also used Ukranians as concentration camp guards at places like Sobibor the death camp in Poland..