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SS Heimwehr Danzig

Flag of the SS Heimwehr Danzig

SS Heimwehr "Danzig" was an SS unit established in the Free City of Danzig (today Gdańsk and environs, Poland) before the Second World War. It fought with the German army against the Polish Army during the invasion of Poland. After this it became part of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf and ceased to exist as an independent unit.

Also known as Heimwehr Danzig (Danzig Home Defense), it was officially established on 20 June 1939, when the Danzig senate under Albert Forster decided to set up its own powerful-armed force; a cadre of this new unit primarily formed the Danzig SS Wachsturmbann "Eimann".

HistoryEdit

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler supported this project and sent SS Obersturmbannführer Hans Friedemann Götze to Danzig. Goetze was the commander of the III. Sturmbann (Battalion) of the 4th SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Ostmark," established in October 1938 in Berlin-Adlersheim.

The III. Sturmbann was strengthened with the help of anti-tank defense forces (the Panzerabwehr-Lehrsturm of the SS Totenkopfstandarten) as well as about 500 additional volunteers from Danzig who named their new unit SS Sturmbann "Goetze". The Danzig SS-men had been members a special SS troop established in July 1939 - the Wachsturmbann "Eimann" - and at the beginning of August this self-named Sturmbann "Goetze" reached the peninsula at the mouth of the Vistula called the Danzig Westerplatte. There it kept itself hidden on German ships, including the naval training ship "Schleswig-Holstein."

The Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) in Danzig "completely spontaneously" founded the 1,550-man strong Heimwehr Danzig (Danzig Militia).

On 1 September 1939, German troops attacked Poland. The Heimwehr Danzig fought on the German side, in the process capturing the Polish post office, an event which Günter Grass dedicated a chapter of his novel The Tin Drum to. During the attacks, the German forces used ADGZ armoured cars, 75mm and 105mm artillery and flamethrowers against Poles armed with pistols, rifles, light machine guns and grenades. The SS-Heimwehr Danzig participated in the attack on the Danzig Westerplatte, and already was considered a part of the SS-Totenkopf Division then forming under Theodor Eicke. Later, it provided coast guard services in Danzig.

On 30 September 1939, the Heimwehr was dissolved. After Poland was overrun, such militias were involved in war crimes perpetrated on Polish civilians in West Prussia.

CommandersEdit

Battle formationEdit

  • Military staff (SS Obersturmbannführer Hans Friedemann Goetze; III./4. SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Ostmark")
  • I. Rifle company (SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Thier; 2. SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Brandenburg")
  • II. Rifle company (SS Obersturmführer Willy Bredemeier; 2. SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Brandenburg")
  • III. Rifle company (SS Hauptsturmführer George Braun; 2. SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Brandenburg")
  • IV. Rifle company (SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Urbanietz; 3. Totenkopfstandarte "Thüringen")
  • V. Rifle company (SS Hauptsturmführer Otto Baier, 6. SS-Standarte of the Allgemeine SS)
  • 13. Infantry company (SS Hauptsturmführer Walter Schulz; Stammabteilung 6 from the Allgemeine SS)
  • 14. Antitank defense company (SS Hauptsturmführer Josef Steiner; SD Main office)
  • 15. Antitank defense company (SS Obersturmführer Otto Leiner; 10. Standarte of the Allgemeine SS)

The SS Wachsturmbann "Eimann"Edit

The SS Wachsturmbann "Eimann" was set up in early June 1939 in Danzig by then SS Sturmbannführer Kurt Eimann and was considered as an armed reserve of the Danzig SS-Standarte 36. It was used also in the Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) areas of the Polish Corridor, in order to induce ethnic Germans to join the SS, particularly the Totenkopfverbände. This Wachsturmbann was the first regiment of the later SS-Totenkopf-Division to have a purely military battle formation.

CommandersEdit

Battle formationEdit

  • Command
  • I. Squadron (one hundred men)
  • II. Squadron
  • III. Squadron
  • IV. Squadron
  • Truck squadron

After the "reunification of Danzig with the German Reich," the Wachsturmbann "Eimann" provided the staff for the newly established concentration camp Stutthof near Danzig. The Nazi government also employed it for "special police tasks" in the new Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreussen, which means it was used to persecute and imprison Polish Jews.

ReferencesEdit

  1. HIAG: Wenn alle Brüder schweigen, grosser Bildband über die Waffen-SS (ISBN 3-921242-21-5), 1973
  2. Mollo, Andrew: Allgemeine-SS (ISBN 0-7643-0145-4)
  3. Mark Yerger: A Pictorial History of the SS, 1923-1945 (ISBN 0-8128-2174-2)
  4. Robin Lumsden: The Allgemeine-SS, Vol. 266 (ISBN 1-85532-358-3)
  5. Martin Windrow: Waffen-SS, Vol. 34 (ISBN 0-85045-425-5)

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