Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Pt. 2 - The Hidden Hatred Emerges in Several Forms
So, on to the first WWII combat reenactment. What did we need again? Oh, that's right! Germans! No fun to fight amongst ourselves, or we wouldn't have left the Civil War, right?
What kind of Germans? There are several different units and affiliations reenacted. Before we get into it too far, let's discuss some of the types available. There might be the Fallschirmjager, or paratrooper. They were an elite unit, used moreso early in the war, but encountered in Normandy. To be a Fallschirmjager, one did not have to be a Nazi party member, though many were.
You also had the basic Heer soldat, quite often a conscripted soldier with no political motivation to fight the war, and who cared little about the outcome. The typical conscript wanted only to survive the war and to return to whatever was left of his home and family. Some of the older soldiers were WWI veterans, and wished to avoid the war but couldn't.
There were Panzergrenadiers, and other specialty soldiers with special uniforms and abilities. Some were Nazis filled with hatred, and some were not.
The most ominous members of the German army, though, were the Waffen SS. They were the fighting branch of the SS, the dreaded Schutz Staffel. The SS were those given the task of initiating and carrying out "The Final Solution" to "The Jewish Question". They set up and administered the Nazi death camps, and were ultimately responsible for the deaths of 11 million people. They were diehard Nazis and were eternally and faithfully devoted to Adolph Hitler. They were hated but feared by most of the German populace, though to say so openly would result in torture, death, or both.
There were more types of German fighters, and more branches of service, but these are the ones most represented in the reenacting world.
Wait a minute! There are Waffen SS reenactors? Really?
Sadly enough, it is true! I was shocked when I ran into them for the first time. They use the guise of, "Well, the SS were the elite troops. They had the better uniforms and equipment. They were the shock troops, much like the US Marines!"...excuse me! I don't think they were at all like the US Marines. For a citizen of the US to even say that is an insult to every Marine who wore the uniform, and every member of their families. My Dad is a marine, and always will be proud of that fact. He has nothing in common with an SS stormtrooper!
Ok, maybe in your family lineage, there were SS troopers. That is something you have no control over, and though you shouldn't really be proud of it, it is part of who you are. It doesn't need to be glorified! Maybe the reason you portray a German Fallschirmjager is because you admire all airborne forces and want tyo be different. I understand that. Maybe someone in your family (not necessarily even German) was conscripted into the Wehrmacht and forced to fight, and that is who you choose to represent. My father's side of the family was in Poland. I might have ancestors who made weapons for the German war machine, or who fought for the Wehrmacht.
Maybe you just want to recreate history. You want to represent the German conscript, the poor peasant given a uniform and a rifle, but given no choice in the matter. Totally fine, and I feel they should be represented in WWII battles and living histories. They are a part of history, and should not be whitewashed or erased.
But, anyone portraying a unit who wore the Death's Head insignia above, should not be remembered, praised, or in any way honored, as that is a symbol of fanatical extremism taken to the max! Yet, they're out there!
I've seen them, and simulatedly fought against them. I've wandered through their camps, looked at their gear, and memorized details of their uniforms so I'd know them if I ever met them again. There was no admiration or respect, however. It was more a feeling of dread or disgust!
Through this information gathering process, I've come to uncover the hidden, hatist, cultist agenda. They are merely Neo-Nazis in disguise, and many would like nothing more than to see Adolph Hitler emerge from the grave amd lead them to the domination the original SS failed to achieve. Some think they themselves could be the next incarnation of der Fuhrer!
How do I know this?...read Pt. 3!