Why the Dutch SS? - A Short Answer Comment

Kandu

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Before I begin, this is not an excuse for the Dutch SS, none of my family were part of it nor were they members of the NSB. It is the result of my attempt to try to understand why so many Dutchmen joined the SS.

As a 70 year old Dutch-Canadian, I decided late in life to learn more about the experience of Canadian soldiers in WWII and my parents teenage experience in occupied Netherlands. I found various YouTube channels both in English and Dutch that provide good film footage, story-lines and personal accounts and in the course of that was shocked to learn how many Dutch were part of the NSB, i.e. Dutch Nazis.

In the early 1900's working people in the Netherlands, and most of the world, had no labour laws nor any social security and often worked in horrible conditions. My oma had been an identured child working for Van Houten chocolate factory. This resuted in various socialist political movents including attempts to unionize as well as various flavours of communism and national socialism. These latter two were acrimonious polar opposites. And that statement is the lead-in to answering the question "why did Dutchmen volunteer to join the SS?"

The answer for many, most or all was to 'go to Russia to destroy the root of communism". At that moment there probably was no thought that one day they would be betraying their own Nederland by being placed in the position of fighting against the Allies during Market Garden.
 
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Nemesis

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Well said. History is more complicated that people realize.

People forget that Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

It is always possible that people and movements that we praise today will become worthy of scorn tomorrow.
 

ChuckDyke

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Enough YT videos on the subject. It was 1940 and the queen and the government escaped to England. They were not exactly admired for that move and the average German soldier was professional and did the right thing with the people. Business in 1940 was doing OK the occupier paid for the goods purchased. Who could predict that a year later Hitler would declare war on the US and invade the Soviet Union? 25000 young men joined the Waffen SS to fight communism they were as politically Saffy as an ant in the kitchen.
 

Lethaface

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Before I begin, this is not an excuse for the Dutch SS, none of my family were part of it nor were they members of the NSB. It is the result of my attempt to try to understand why so many Dutchmen joined the SS.

As a 70 year old Dutch-Canadian, I decided late in life to learn more about the experience of Canadian soldiers in WWII and my parents teenage experience in occupied Netherlands. I found various YouTube channels both in English and Dutch that provide good film footage, story-lines and personal accounts and in the course of that was shocked to learn how many Dutch were part of the NSB, i.e. Dutch Nazis.

In the early 1900's working people in the Netherlands, as most of the world had no labour laws nor any social security and often worked in horrible conditions. My oma had been an identured child working for Van Houten chocolate factory. This resuted in various socialist political movents including attempts to unionize as well as various flavours of communism and national socialism. These latter two were acrimonious polar opposites. And that statement is the lead-in to answering the question "why did Dutchmen volunteer to join the SS?"

The answer for many, most or all was to 'go to Russia to destroy the root of communism". At that moment there probably was no thought that one day they would be betraying their own Nederland by being placed in the position of fighting against the Allies during Market Garden.

I think in for many the reason was not much different from the reason why my grandfather joined the Dutch army to fight in Indonesia after WW2. Young in a time of limited opportunities ('servant' at a farm for board and lodging, working in the mines) and the prospect of 'adventure'. Probably with the idea of doing something 'good'.
 

Kandu

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I think in for many the reason was not much different from the reason why my grandfather joined the Dutch army to fight in Indonesia after WW2. Young in a time of limited opportunities ('servant' at a farm for board and lodging, working in the mines) and the prospect of 'adventure'. Probably with the idea of doing something 'good'.
Interesting. I had one uncle who fought in Indonesia and one who went to prison in the Netherlands for refusing to go. The latter, Oom Dries, had been picked up by the Germans during a razzia in Amsterdam and sent to Germany to work as a slave laborer in a factory where he survived allied bombing. He returne home anti-war. The first uncle, had been living in Indonesia and had been interred by the Japanese, while his wife, my aunt was forced to become a 'comfort woman'. Another, Oom Ko, fought at the Grebbenberg as a Dutch soldier and survived having temporarily lost his hearing and permanently lost his balance. Pa's oldest brother was in the 'armed' resistance. Opa Mol (ma's side) was a typesetter for He Parool and used his skill to forge documents in '39 and '40 for people fleeing the country. For every person, a different story.
 

BornGinger

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Oom Dries... Oom Ko
Interesting and unusual name that one, unless Oom goes under the explanation I found when searching for the name:"Oom is the style of calling a male person as an uncle."

There's a Swedish-Dutch actress with the name Amanda Ooms. But if Oom means uncle I guess Ooms has another meaning if any.
 
D

din djinn

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Well said. History is more complicated that people realize.

People forget that Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

It is always possible that people and movements that we praise today will become worthy of scorn tomorrow.
Forget? I'm pretty sure I never knew Hitler was MotY for Time. So, I looked it up, and want to correct the impression that Time might have been praising Hitler. Here is the cover for that issue:
1625655856502.png
 

Kandu

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Interesting and unusual name that one, unless Oom goes under the explanation I found when searching for the name:"Oom is the style of calling a male person as an uncle."

There's a Swedish-Dutch actress with the name Amanda Ooms. But if Oom means uncle I guess Ooms has another meaning if any.
Yes, Oom Ko means uncle Ko (Ko is short for Cornelis). Opa (Grandpa), Oma (Grandma), Oom (Uncle), Tante (Aunt).
 

Bulletpoint

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Forget? I'm pretty sure I never knew Hitler was MotY for Time. So, I looked it up, and want to correct the impression that Time might have been praising Hitler.

In Time‘s 1938 “Man of the Year” article, Hitler was labeled the “greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”
 

Magpie

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In the early 1900's working people in the Netherlands, and most of the world, had no labour laws nor any social security and often worked in horrible conditions.
Very few of the people I know seem to grasp this, or appreciate it.

Thank you for sharing your story.

My maternal grandparents were Dutch. Hearing their stories and seeing its mark on them made 'the war' more real for me than any movie or book (or game) ever could.
 

Kandu

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Interesting and unusual name that one, unless Oom goes under the explanation I found when searching for the name:"Oom is the style of calling a male person as an uncle."

There's a Swedish-Dutch actress with the name Amanda Ooms. But if Oom means uncle I guess Ooms has another meaning if any.
Yes, 'oom' is uncle and 'tante' is aunt. 'Ko' is short for Cornelis.
 

Ithikial

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Just saw this thread. I bumped in a Dutch SS unit when researching and putting together my scenario "Joe's Bridge" for CMBN - MG Module. (Community content). You can grab a copy on the Scenario Depot - H2H or Allies vs AI only. A battalion of Dutch SS were part of KG Chill that was scraped together to help defend the Dutch/Belgian border just before Market Garden. An interesting adhoc unit with a bit of everything.

Also a family connection of sorts. Story time.

My family came from the Maastricht / Heerlen area in the south and my grandparents said they just woke up one morning in May 1940 and the Germans were already there and in charge. My opa had a knock on his door that day and his best mate was wearing an NSB uniform and had a set for him. He promised a quick promotion in the organisation as part of the new order. My opa didn't even know before then that he was a member - but to be honest he wasn't very political according to my dad. My opa said no that he couldn't accept and just wanted to keep living a simple life as a coal miner (and a scallywag). A couple of years went by with him running around at night stealing additional foodstuffs for parents and siblings. He had his motorbike confiscated by the Heer in 1941 with an IOU note saying the Reich would compensate him at the end of hostilities. This was just before Barbarossa. :)

Sometime in 1942 he was picked up by the Germans as they did a roundup of males in the town and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was driven outside of Heerlen in a truck with the others and each of them were dropped off along the road, handed a pistol with one bullet and told to defend a high voltage power pole as part of the network feeding electricity back into the Ruhr industrial area. As the German truck disappeared over the hill, from the other direction came another truck picking up all the locals that had just been dropped off. It was the local resistance. Another mate from the coal mine was driving the truck and they exchanged a few laughs. My opa had no idea he was part of the resistance. He was given the ultimatum to get in the truck otherwise he'd be killed that night as the resistance was going to blow up the power lines. That's how my opa joined the resistance.

The next few years are a bit of an unknown as he refused to speak in any detail about what he did, even when his sons asked when they were adults. All we know is that he very likely personally killed someone. He married my oma to prevent her being shipped to Germany for labour (single women were being shipped across the border for war work). While my aunties and uncles were mysteriously born 9 months after each time he visited my oma during his fleeting visits while running around with the resistance. Once the Allies came through in early September 1944 (before Market Garden) the reprisals against the collaborators was quick. His pre-war mate who was an NSB man was thrown onto barb wire repeatedly until he bled to death. My opa was conscripted into the British army as an auxiliary and worked as a cook and battlefield clean up crew for the remainder of the war with other former resistance members. Despite fighting as a resistance member for years he was unarmed during this time. He came under fire a few times and just legged it.

After the war, my opa was 'sick of dutch people' because of the war and what he had witnessed. because of his British Army service the UK Govt co-funded his family's migration out to one of the colonies. Initially they were meant to go to South Africa but instead went to Australia. They didn't even know where Australia was on the map when they boarded the boat in early 1951, my own father being a new born baby in my oma's arms. He hated all the cold war era Hollywood attempts to tell the WW2 story as they were so off the mark with their presentation of the war. The old TV show 'Combat!' was "an insult" as he considered from his personal experience he didn't rate the US army very highly. (He was working at the intersection of US 9th Army and the UK XXX Corps). Saying that, the best show on TV that he loved to death was 'Hogan's Heroes'. :D

A bit of a story... :)
 

Lethaface

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Just saw this thread. I bumped in a Dutch SS unit when researching and putting together my scenario "Joe's Bridge" for CMBN - MG Module. (Community content). You can grab a copy on the Scenario Depot - H2H or Allies vs AI only. A battalion of Dutch SS were part of KG Chill that was scraped together to help defend the Dutch/Belgian border just before Market Garden. An interesting adhoc unit with a bit of everything.

Also a family connection of sorts. Story time.

My family came from the Maastricht / Heerlen area in the south and my grandparents said they just woke up one morning in May 1940 and the Germans were already there and in charge. My opa had a knock on his door that day and his best mate was wearing an NSB uniform and had a set for him. He promised a quick promotion in the organisation as part of the new order. My opa didn't even know before then that he was a member - but to be honest he wasn't very political according to my dad. My opa said no that he couldn't accept and just wanted to keep living a simple life as a coal miner (and a scallywag). A couple of years went by with him running around at night stealing additional foodstuffs for parents and siblings. He had his motorbike confiscated by the Heer in 1941 with an IOU note saying the Reich would compensate him at the end of hostilities. This was just before Barbarossa. :)

Sometime in 1942 he was picked up by the Germans as they did a roundup of males in the town and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was driven outside of Heerlen in a truck with the others and each of them were dropped off along the road, handed a pistol with one bullet and told to defend a high voltage power pole as part of the network feeding electricity back into the Ruhr industrial area. As the German truck disappeared over the hill, from the other direction came another truck picking up all the locals that had just been dropped off. It was the local resistance. Another mate from the coal mine was driving the truck and they exchanged a few laughs. My opa had no idea he was part of the resistance. He was given the ultimatum to get in the truck otherwise he'd be killed that night as the resistance was going to blow up the power lines. That's how my opa joined the resistance.

The next few years are a bit of an unknown as he refused to speak in any detail about what he did, even when his sons asked when they were adults. All we know is that he very likely personally killed someone. He married my oma to prevent her being shipped to Germany for labour (single women were being shipped across the border for war work). While my aunties and uncles were mysteriously born 9 months after each time he visited my oma during his fleeting visits while running around with the resistance. Once the Allies came through in early September 1944 (before Market Garden) the reprisals against the collaborators was quick. His pre-war mate who was an NSB man was thrown onto barb wire repeatedly until he bled to death. My opa was conscripted into the British army as an auxiliary and worked as a cook and battlefield clean up crew for the remainder of the war with other former resistance members. Despite fighting as a resistance member for years he was unarmed during this time. He came under fire a few times and just legged it.

After the war, my opa was 'sick of dutch people' because of the war and what he had witnessed. because of his British Army service the UK Govt co-funded his family's migration out to one of the colonies. Initially they were meant to go to South Africa but instead went to Australia. They didn't even know where Australia was on the map when they boarded the boat in early 1951, my own father being a new born baby in my oma's arms. He hated all the cold war era Hollywood attempts to tell the WW2 story as they were so off the mark with their presentation of the war. The old TV show 'Combat!' was "an insult" as he considered from his personal experience he didn't rate the US army very highly. (He was working at the intersection of US 9th Army and the UK XXX Corps). Saying that, the best show on TV that he loved to death was 'Hogan's Heroes'. :D

A bit of a story... :)
Nice story :)

and it's a small world lol. While I was born and raised in Utrecht both my parents families come from Heerlen area.
 

Gunner

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We should tour Market-Garden/ the Hurtgen and Bulge.
Maastricht would be a good central location.
Should only take a day or two ;)
@Bootie knows and excellent guide who has been doing virtual Market-Garden tours in the time of the CoVid.
 

Lethaface

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Maastricht has good restaurants too! :) (when there's no lockdown lol).
I'd be up for a real life tour as well
 

Ithikial

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We should tour Market-Garden/ the Hurtgen and Bulge.
Maastricht would be a good central location.
Should only take a day or two ;)
@Bootie knows and excellent guide who has been doing virtual Market-Garden tours in the time of the CoVid.
I'm game if I can ever leave Fortress Australia freely. :D Hurry up world and successfully supress COVID! :p
 
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