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Interview of a Waffen SS Soldier

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Haven't seen this before.

The interviewer is not the best, interesting nonetheless.

Cheers.

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58 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Why did you post this ghastly revisionist drivel.

Relax pal.If you noticed I titled the post  as "Interview of a Waffen SS Soldier" and not the full title, which I presumed would make it clear that I was not in agreement with sentiment of the original. I watched it because its rare to see a long interview being given by a  waffen ss vet. I think it is interesting because he digs himself into a hole and in the end rather than defend the reputation of the ss his testimony helps condemn the organisation.

Cheers.

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This was filmed in 1986? And he is still in denial. He stated he was shown films of bodies in Dresden and was told it was from Bergen-Belsem during an interrogation he received sometime from 1945-48. He based his whole denial on that for the remainder of his life. Its entirely possible some amateur film splicing operative after the war mislabelled file footage and sent it to educate these guys. But you think by 1986 he would have figured that out. 

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I would caution against being too critical or morally aloof from the rank and file axis citizens of the time.  IMHO the lesson of this time is that even a good, hard working, intelligent, largely Christian population can be swept up in the emotion and propaganda of the day to commit acts, in good faith, that are unacceptable to today's western liberal world - although the western world cannot claim innocence in this regard.  This chap was 17-19 years old, his worldview would have been one not too dissimilar to our own at such an age re defending country and folk. 

If you are interested in examining the motivations of ordinary people in extraordinary situations in WW2, have a look at:

Ordinary Men by Christopher R. Browning

In our age, most people seem unable to push against the power of "Political Correctness", let alone the over-whelming power of the Nazi's on the average citizen.    

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haven´t watched the vid yet, but I´d always consider many these guys still believed (or beeing indoctrinated) they´re part of an "elite" force, just like the marines or SAS etc. That was possibly their "best times of their lives", despite all the horrors, atrocities and killings from beeing a "soldier" at last. Most were "Nobodies" before and likely after the war either. Don´t believe they all sort of remained revisionist Nazi´s long time after, if at all. They mostly didn´t know better and relearning from their most intense times of their lives surely took time, decades maybe. There´re surely a number that didn´t regret anything, heaps of dead russians, jews, civilians, but it was the "system" to pull out the worst of humanity and it´s not that different today I think. Allow people to kill or some "freedom" to kill and treat other humans in bad ways and there´s surely some they´ll do and partly "overdo". Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria surely have their own stories to tell in this regard I´m fairly sure and not just from the "bad" guys. Personally I´d just hate any "system" that gives potential criminals weapons into hand and tell them they´re the good guys and got to kill just the bad ones, whoever they are and will be.

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14 minutes ago, aus3620 said:

This chap was 17-19 years old, his worldview would have been one not too dissimilar to our own at such an age re defending country and folk

Einsatzgruppen were not generally active when Germany was on the defensive.....He is defending the systematic mass murder of civilians, end of story.  :mellow:

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7 hours ago, Artkin said:

Why not just intake the information and draw your own conclusions? Or shall the book be burned? 

just burn it I´d say. It´s oftenly too hard of work (on the mind) to get away from prejudices and too willingly accepted generalisations usually. No seriously.... humans are complicated and before understanding inhumanity (in wars and dictatorships) one needs to bit of understanding humanity in general. No SS guy was born as a monster and many instead got executed by their own people for not doing their "service" for the fatherland quite as expected. Don´t have exact figures in mind but I think it was some 10k of germans who got executed (or imprisoned) under Nazi regime for these reasons. No idea about amount of germans who managed to avoid both, getting shot by the enemy or the own people, while not applying to Nazi leader expectations too much. Maybe not that much of importance for the couple of million german military people that didn´t make it beyond 1945. My own grandpa survived fortunately. Although been heavily wounded near the Leningrad front, he made it home to Breslau and got my mother and other relatives saved from the russians in 1944/45. Otherwise I wouldn´t be around here quite obviously. :)

Edited by RockinHarry

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I largely agree with RockinHarry. Some (mostly young and/or undeducated) people are naive, uncritical and easily manipulated because they don't know it any better. But then there are others who should know it better and still stick to/work for (even if they don't believe in it) whatever ideology/set of belief makes them feel better, give them self-esteem or any other material or social benefit. Depending on which ideology they adhere to, and how much they're really prepared to act on its principles*, the results can be what I'd describe as "evil". What's evil? Incompatible with natural law, live and let live, and some basic "liberal" standards (this is the ideology I worship, this is my standard). I guess it largely depends on the freedom that these ideologies give to the individual. Some ideologies - including the NSDAP's (--> "Lebensraum") -  are just inherently evil in this respect. Worst of all, of course, are those people who deliberately propagate such ideologies and take special proud in it. If many people turn a blind eye on or actively stick to such an ideology, thoughts can turn into actions at some point.  

Regarding changing one's mind, I think it's a matter of "giving up" (if I give up this ideology, I give up parts of my self-esteem and something that makes me special in the eyes of others) and "mental lazyness" (I don't care if what I think can be proven wrong, or has logical flaws, --> cognitive dissonance). Neither of these two points are a valid excuse in my opinion. I don't know whether these "decisions" are made subconsciously. I doubt it.

To me, the strange smirk of the interviewee was a tell-tale sign that he was enjoying his being "special", "shocking". Take that away from him and he'd just be an old man. So many evils come from the desire of admiration. Ideologies create admiration in many ways and forms (all ideologies have their martyrs). You don't kill (primarily/exclusively?) because your want him dead. You also kill because you want everyone to see you kill. 

* When it comes to actual behaviour, the psychology and the situational factors come into play too. Just take a look at the famous Milgram experiment which allied psychologists conducted to understand Nazi-ism (the "authoritarian personality").

Edited by Kaunitz

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6 minutes ago, Kaunitz said:

Some (mostly young and/or undeducated) people are naive, uncritical and easily manipulated because they don't know it any better.

 

In my experience it has always been the majority as opposed to "some" and certainly is not limited to the young  / uneducated

And Its certainly not specific to any specific religious, ethnic or any other grouping you might come up with.....

You dont have to look far to see the same biases closer to home - for whoever and wherever that may be

 

 

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I'd refer you all to Jordan Petersons various works and videos on this subject (most of which is on Youtube). In short, I think he would say that you can't hope to understand the moral issues until you face up with honesty to how you yourself might behave in the same circumstances.

Edited by Majick

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But apparently there were people who lived in the same time under the same circumstances who decided differently. Also, being in the Waffen-Schutzstaffel is not the same as being in the Wehrmacht. I'm not saying it was easy. But I don't buy the "You cannot judge anyone other than yourself, as you can't possibly understand their situation" argument. It's a killer argument that relativizes everything until it evaporates. I do think that people are alike and can empathize. Else how could our society judge any criminal? 

 

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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@KaunitzWhat do you mean? It's perfectly normal and usual to join the paramilitary force loyal to the far-right authoritarian party in power who is responsible for destroying the democratic institutions of the state and liquidating its enemies as well as those it considers undesirables.  

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14 hours ago, aus3620 said:

... to commit acts, in good faith, that are unacceptable to today's western liberal world ...

Yeah I have a real problem with this. The acts in question were unacceptable in the world at the time. Yes, I am aware that dogmatic leaders used mass murder regularly then but the vast majority of actual citizens were well aware that mass murder was not an acceptable practice.

14 hours ago, aus3620 said:

In our age, most people seem unable to push against the power of "Political Correctness", let alone the over-whelming power of the Nazi's on the average citizen.    

LOL the power of political correctness? That is hilarious. It has very little power - next to none. It is the very people butt hurt over having to perhaps consider other people in their day to day life that have elevated the idea that some how political correctness is some big bad evil thing. Good lord.

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I'm sure it is superflous to quote Brecht to an erudite group like you, but considering some of the things said in this thread I will :)

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again

I agree 100% with what aus3620 says about political correctness.  It's how it has always started.

Edited by Majick

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how what has always started?  Fascism??  starts w political correctness?  Totalitarianism?  what is it that starts with 'political correctness'?  My definition of political correctness is "if it offends me, it's offensive!  if it offends you, it's political correctness".  Yes, there's folks that uber sensitive and don't like this or that, and they whine a lot.  But they aren't the ones that take over governments and start jailing, beating, and killing people they don't like.

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1 minute ago, danfrodo said:

how what has always started?  Fascism??  starts w political correctness?  Totalitarianism?  what is it that starts with 'political correctness'?  My definition of political correctness is "if it offends me, it's offensive!  if it offends you, it's political correctness".  Yes, there's folks that uber sensitive and don't like this or that, and they whine a lot.  But they aren't the ones that take over governments and start jailing, beating, and killing people they don't like.

It's not about you being offended or not.  It's about first society and then the state shutting down those that offend you. And burning books that offend you etc etc.  In a free society I have as much right to offend you as you have to be offended. 

Personally I don't see a distinction between facism and communism, to me they are both totalitarian extremes of socialism.  I hope that doesn't offend 😉

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Has military history gotten so bad that we've moved on from Clean Wehrmacht revisionism to Clean SS?

Forget about the Eastern Front for a second, their crimes there are too numerous to count. 2 SS Panzer was late arriving to action in Normandy because they stopped to massacre entire villages. Anyone thinking of defending the SS should read Ordinary Men.

As for what soldiers knew and thought, the British secretly recorded them in POW camps. Far from "not knowing" and "believing in defending home and hearth" their recordings show them casually discussing war crimes, the extermination of the Jews, rape and murder. It caused a sensation in Germany when published because it shows all of those lies for what they are. Soldaten

Edited by DougPhresh

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16 minutes ago, DougPhresh said:

Has military history gotten so bad that we've moved on from Clean Wehrmacht revisionism to Clean SS?

Exactly - bloody scary actually.

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theocracy

1 hour ago, danfrodo said:

My definition of political correctness is "if it offends me, it's offensive!  if it offends you, it's political correctness".  Yes, there's folks that uber sensitive and don't like this or that, and they whine a lot.  But they aren't the ones that take over governments and start jailing, beating, and killing people they don't like.

Spot on.

1 hour ago, Majick said:

It's not about you being offended or not.  It's about first society and then the state shutting down those that offend you. And burning books that offend you etc etc.  In a free society I have as much right to offend you as you have to be offended. 

LOL a bunch of activists calling people out for being extremely rude to <insert a target of your choice here> are not the "state shutting down" anyone. They are just pointing out to rude boorish people that they are in fact just rude and boorish :D  Certainly like @danfrodo points out some people whine too much - go nuts calling them out for being whiners - I'll be there beside you on that :)  but they have next to no power and certainly not the power of the state.

 

1 hour ago, Majick said:

Personally I don't see a distinction between facism and communism, to me they are both totalitarian extremes of socialism.  I hope that doesn't offend 😉

Exactly there are several paths to totalitarianism - all of which end up in the same place - arbitrary detention, state sponsored murder, loss of a long list of freedoms. Fascism and Communism are only two examples you also have Theocracy which are just as bad and just pure and simple tribalism works for a number of really bad characters in the world too.

None of which were put in place by a bunch of new age hippies calling out boors for being boors.

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