SS soldiers: history and photos

Schutzstaffel, or detachment of guards - so in fascist Germany in 1923-1945. called SS soldiers, paramilitary formations of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). The main task of the combat unit at the initial stage of formation is the personal protection of the leader, Adolf Hitler.The soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the SS

Soldiers SS: the beginning of history

It all started in March 1923, when the personal guard and driver of A. Hitler, the watchmaker Emile Maurice, together with the stationery salesman, and part-time Nazi Germany politician Joseph Berchtold, created a staff guard in Munich. The main purpose of the newly formed combat formation was the defense of the NSDAP Führer Adolf Hitler from possible threats and provocations from other parties and other political formations.

After a modest start as a block of defense for the leadership of the NSDAP, the combat unit grew into the Waffen SS, armed with a protective squadron. Officers and soldiers of Waffen-SS were a huge fighting unit. The total number was more than 950 thousand people, all was formed 38 combat units.

Beer putsch of A. Hitler and E. Ludendorff

"Burgerbroekeller" - beer hall in Munich on the Rosenheimerstraße, 15. The area of ​​the premises of the drinking establishment allowed to receive up to 1830 people. Since the time of the Weimar Republic, thanks to its capacity, the "Burgerbrokeeller" has become the most popular place for holding various events, including political ones.

So, on the night of 8 on 9 November 1923 year in the hall of the drinking establishment there was an uprising, the purpose of which was the overthrow of the current authority of Germany. The first was A. Hitler's comrade-in-arms on political convictions, Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff, indicating the general goals and tasks of this gathering. The main organizer and ideological inspirer of the event was Adolf Hitler, the leader of the NSDAP, a young Nazi party. In his accusatory speech, he urged to ruthlessly destroy all enemies of his National Socialist Party.

To ensure the safety of the Beer Putsch - this is the historical event in history - the SS soldiers, who were led by the treasurer and close friend of the Fuhrer J. Berchtold for that period, took up the job. However, the German authorities reacted in time to this gathering of the Nazis and took all measures to eliminate them. Adolf Hitler was convicted and imprisoned, and the NSDAP party in Germany was banned. Naturally, the need for the protective functions of the newly created paramilitary guard also fell away. SS soldiers (photo is presented in the article), as the fighting formation of the "Strike Detachment," were disbanded.German SS soldiers

Restless Fuhrer

Freed from prison in April 1925, Adolf Hitler orders his fellow party member and bodyguard Yu Shrek to form a personal guard. Preference was given to the former fighters of the "Strike Detachment". After gathering eight people, J. Shrek creates a defense team. By the end of 1925, the total strength of the fighting formation was about one thousand. From now on they are given the name "SS soldiers of the National Socialist German Workers' Party".

Not every interested person could join the organization of SS SSDAP. Candidates for this "honorable" position were given harsh conditions:

  • age from 25 to 35 years;
  • living in the area at least 5 years;
  • presence of two guarantors from the number of party members;
  • good health;
  • discipline;
  • sanity.

In addition, to become a member of the party and, accordingly, a SS soldier, the candidate needed to confirm his belonging to the highest Aryan race. These were the official rules of the SS (Schutzstaffel).

Training and preparation

Soldiers of SS troops had to undergo appropriate combat training, which was carried out in several stages and lasted for three months. The main goals of intensive training of recruits were:

  • excellent physical preparation;
  • knowledge of small arms and perfect possession of it;
  • political indoctrination.

The training in martial arts was so intense that only one in three could go all the way to the end. After the basic training course, the recruits were sent to specialized schools, where they received additional education corresponding to the chosen army.Recollection of a SS soldier

Further training in military wisdom in the army was based not only on the specialization of the army, but also on mutual trust and respect between candidates for officers or soldiers. This is how the Wehrmacht soldiers differed from the SS soldiers, where strict discipline and a strict policy of division into officers and soldiers were put at the forefront.

The new chief of the combat unit

Adolf Hitler attached special importance to the newly created own troops, which were distinguished by their perfect loyalty and loyalty to their Fuhrer. The main dream of the leader of fascist Germany was the creation of an elite formation capable of fulfilling any tasks that the National Socialist Party put before them. This required a leader who could cope with this task. Thus, in January 1929, on the recommendation of A. Hitler, the Reichsführer of the SS becomes Heinrich Luitpold Himmler, one of A. Hitler's loyal assistants in the Third Reich. Personal personnel number of the new SS chief is 168.Soldiers SS

His job as a leader of the elite division of the new boss began with a tightening of personnel policy. Having developed new requirements for the personnel, G. Himmler cleared the ranks of the fighting formation by half. The SS Reichsführer personally studied the photos of SS members and candidates for hours, finding flaws in their "racial purity". However, soon the number of soldiers and officers of the SS increased significantly, almost an increase of 10. The SS chief achieved such successes in two years.

Thanks to this, the prestige of the SS troops has grown significantly. It is Himmler who is credited with the authorship of the famous gesture, familiar to everyone on the films about the Great Patriotic War - "Heil Hitler", with the right rectified hand raised at an angle of 45º. In addition, thanks to the Reichsfuehrer, the form of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht (SS including) was modernized, which existed until the fall of fascist Germany in May of 1945.

Order of the Fuhrer

The authority of the Schutzstaffel (SS) grew significantly thanks to the personal order of the Führer. The published order said that no one had the right to give orders to SS soldiers and officers, except their immediate superiors. In addition, all units of the SA, assault detachments known as "brownshirts" were recommended to assist in every way in staffing the SS army, supplying the latter with their best soldiers.Form of soldiers of the Wehrmacht SS

Uniform of the SS troops

Henceforth, the uniform of the SS soldier was noticeably different from the clothing of the assault detachments (SA), the security services (SD) and other combined arms divisions of the Third Reich. A distinctive feature of the military uniform of the SS was:

  • black jacket and black trousers;
  • White shirt;
  • black cap and black tie.

In addition, on the left sleeve of the jacket and / or shirt, from now on, there was a digital abbreviation indicating that it belonged to one or another of the standard of the SS troops. With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939, the uniform of SS soldiers began to change. Strict fulfillment of the order of G. Himmler on the uniform black and white color of the form, which distinguished the soldiers of A. Hitler's personal army from the combined arms of other Nazi formations, was somewhat relaxed.

The party factory for the tailoring of military uniforms, due to the huge workload, was unable to provide uniform for all units of the SS. The servicemen were asked to change the signs of belonging to Schutzstaffel from the general form of the Wehrmacht.

Military ranks of the SS troops

As in any military unit, the SS army had its own hierarchy in military ranks. Below is a comparative table of the equivalent of military ranks for servicemen of the Soviet Army, Wehrmacht and SS troops.

Red Army

Land forces of the Third Reich

Troops SS

Red Army man

Private, shooter

Mann SS


Ober Grenadier

Rottenfuehrer SS

Lance Sergeant

Non-commissioned officer

Unterscharführer SS



Sharfyurer SS

Staff Sergeant


SS Oberscharfuhrer



Hauptscharführer SS






Untersturmfuhrer SS

Senior Lieutenant


Obersturmfuhrer SS


Captain / Hauptmann

Hauptsturmfuhrer SS



Sturmbannfuhrer SS

Lieutenant colonel

Oberst Lieutenant

Obersturmbannfuehrer SS



Standartenfuehrer SS

Major General

Major General

Brigadefuhrer SS

Lieutenant general

Lieutenant general

SS Gruppenfiihrer


General of the troops

Oberstgruppenfuhrer SS

Army General

General-Field Marshal

Oberstgruppenfuhrer SS

The highest military rank in the elite army of Adolf Hitler was the Reichsfuehrer SS, which up to 23 May 1945 belonged to Heinrich Himmler, which corresponded to the Marshal of the Soviet Union in the Red Army.

Awards and decorations in the SS

Soldiers and officers of the elite division of the SS troops could be awarded orders, medals and other marks of distinction, as well as servicemen of other military formations of the army of Nazi Germany. There were only a small number of distinctive awards, which were developed specifically for the "favorites" of the Fuhrer. These included medals for 4- and 8-year-old service in the elite division of Adolf Hitler, as well as a special cross with a swastika that was handed to SS men for 12 and 25 years of dedicated service to their Fuhrer.Soldiers of the SS troops

Faithful sons of his Fuehrer

Recollection of the SS soldier: "The principles that motivated us were duty, loyalty and honor. Defense of the Fatherland and a sense of comradeship are the main qualities that we brought up in ourselves. We were forced to kill all those who were in front of the barrel of our weapons. A feeling of pity should not stop a soldier of great Germany, either in front of a woman praying for mercy, or in front of children's eyes. We were motivated by the motto: "Accept death and bear death." Death must become an everyday affair. Every soldier understood that, by sacrificing himself, he thereby helped the great Germany in the fight against a common enemy, communism. We considered ourselves warriors for the future of the world, the elite of Hitler. "

These words belong to one of the soldiers of the former Third Reich, an ordinary infantry unit of the SS Gustav Frank, miraculously survived after the Battle of Stalingrad and was captured by the Russians. Were these words of remorse or a simple youthful bravado of a twenty-year-old Nazi? Today it is difficult to judge about this.

The trial of accomplices of Nazi Germany

At the Nuremberg trial, officers and soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the SS were convicted as members of a criminal organization, so veterans of the mentioned combat formations were deprived of many of the rights enjoyed by their other compatriots who had been through military operations.

However, German SS soldiers, whose age at the time of the end of World War II did not exceed 18 years, were released from conviction and fully justified due to the underage age of the recruit.What distinguished the soldiers of the Wehrmacht from the SS soldiers

It should be noted that to date the training system for soldiers of the Waffen SS has been adopted in the modern army of some countries of Europe and the United States of America.

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