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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:16 pm 
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Like the Spanish Blue Division and the Spanish Blue Legion, the Spanische-Freiwilligen Kompanie der SS was made up entirely of volunteers in the true sense of the Word. As Franco wanted to withdraw all Support for Germany in case the Allies saw fit to invade Spain, he decided to disband the Spanish Blue Division and shortly after, the Spanish Blue Legion. However, despite this there were still a number of Spaniards who were willing to fight alongside the Germans in the battle against the Soviets. With the disbandment of their unit in March 1944 they faced the option of either returning to Spain or volunteering for a new Spanish unit. Recruitment for this unit was to be as secretive as possible in order to prevent Franco from intervening and ordering a stop to it. How could they do this? Well much of the recruitment took place in Spain at Falange meetings and among Blue Division veterans.

The Spanish border was closely guarded and a potential recruits for this new SS unit had to first "escape" over the border to France. Border guards were under strict orders to shoot on sight any absconders and although many of these guards were sympathetic to their cause, their duty came first for fear of their careers and families. Many would-be recruits were shot as they attempted to cross the border into France. Those that made it were sent to a recruiting stations which had been specially set up for this task.

This new recruiting unit (Sonderstab "F") was set up with offices in Andorra, Puigcerdá, Port Bou, Hendaye and the Staff headquarters were situated at the holy town of Lourdes. From there they were transferred to Stablack in Oriental Prussia, Truppenburgplatz in the south of Köenigsberg, and Hall Tirol, near Innsbruck.
This recruiting unit was headed by Dr. Edwin Haxel who had previously held a liaison position in the old Spanish Blue Division.

The recruits were at first attached to Wehrmacht units such as the 357th Mountain Division and 3rd Gebirgs Division. Two training companies were set up at Stablack Training camp and were assigned to anti-partisan duties in Yugoslavia in August 1944, establishing their headquarters in Zalec. They were attached to 8th Company, 2nd Battalion 3rd Regiment Brandenburg Division which at the time was on anti-partisan duties in Italy. They took part in operations in Rome, Carsoli, Turni, Bevagna and at Cita da Castello before being withdrawn to France. A small contingent was left behind and was attached to 24th Waffen Gebirgs Division "Karstjäger". In September 1944, one of these companies was sent to the Oriental Carpathian Mountains, in the Bukovina region and were used as replacements for 3rd Gebirgsjäger Division, commanded by Leutenant Panther

About 50 Spaniards were attached to a special unit that operated around the Pyrenees mountains against the French resistance who were active in those parts until they were transferred to Otto Skorzeny's Jagdverbande 500 where it is thought they were used against the U.S 7th Army in the Black Forest. Near the end of the war in April, with the Reich collapsing, they were marked for the defense of the Alpine Redoubt which was to be Hitler's headquarters in the mountains of Bavaria. This audacious plan never took place and the unit scattered and fled to the Austrian mountains.

The other Spanish company was sent to Kangfurt training camp in Austria and later to another training camp in Vienna. This unit eventually evolved in the Spanische-Freiwilligen Kompanie der SS 101 which was made up of four rifle platoons and one staff platoon. The entire company which consisted of about 140 men were sent to the 1st Battalion, 70th Panzergrenadier Regiment of the 28th Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division which at that time (February 1945) was in Pomerania. After suffering serious losses against the Soviets the division was withdrawn to the River Oder where it formed a defensive line north of Berlin near Stettin. The Spanish 101st Company by some strange series of events ended up as part of the 11.SS Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier Division "Nordland" and saw it last action fighting in the ruins of Berlin alongside the 15th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS.

Some of the Spanish of the German-Croatian brigade, commanded by Colonel Klein, joined the SS forces of Leon Degrelle, the Valone Legion. They were 400 and were integrated in the 1st Battalion of 70th Rgmt. under the command of Cap. Deniè. Those that fought with Degrelle took part in the battle of Stargard in Pomerania, in German territory.
The volunteers in the Otto Skorzeny's Jagdverbande 500 protected the SE front, in the German-french frontier. Some dispersed, went to Berlin and joined the heterogeneous 'Ezquerra Unit' . The 21st. of April they went to Berlin centre using the underground, as all the capital was full of rubble, destroyed vehicles and smoky ruins. Berlin was a hell. Ezquerra conducted his Unit in the basement of the Air Ministry and fought in strategic points: Anhalter Bahnhof, Moritz Platz, Potsdammer Platz, Ubhan Anhalter. They fought bravery in the siege of the Propaganda Ministry and in the Chancellor Office.

Rodriguez del Castillo, the last representation of the Spanish Embassy in Hitler's Berlin suggested that thousands of Spaniards could escape from the hell and the Soviet's claws with false credentials of displaced workers. Other testimonies talk about the presence of Spaniards in the battles near Trieste and the Brennero, under the orders of Martínez Alberich.

These Spaniards were under the command of SS-Obersturmbanführer Miguel Ezquerra who had seen much service with the German armed forces. He served on the Eastern Front as a part of the 250th Spanish 'Blue' Division in action in the Leningrad Area. With the disbandment of all Spanish units Miguel Ezquerra was one of the Spaniards who decided to stay on. As a soldier with no army, he volunteered for the Waffen-SS and was given a similar rank to that of his army service (SS-Obersturmbanführer).

In the last days of the Third Reich, his unit known as Sturmabteilung "Ezquerra", fought with great tenacity, Ezquerra himself claims to have destroyed 25 Soviet tanks. He also claimed that he had a conference with Hitler himself who awarded him the Ritterkreutz although he never received it due to the war ending. He escaped from Berlin under the disguise of a Spanish worker, went to Paris and then to the Purines, in Spain.

In all, during the years of 1944-1945 there were around 1,000 Spaniards who had served within the ranks of the German army but who officially did not exist due to Franco's order to disband all Spanish formations. Their collective contribution during the last year of the war was minimal when compared to their former achievements with the Blue Division.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:24 pm 
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Hello Krupp,

This is why I said to you in the other post about your abbreviation that perhaps you would find the reference to Miguel Ezquerra with your sign. I think he lived in Spain after the war.

It is an interesting story?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:41 pm 
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I could use Kampfgruppe or Sturmabteilung or even Gruppe Ezquerra. I have seen all of them used in my findings. We'll have to sit down and decide which one is the winner. The camp sign would be mostly for the public. Most do not even know that Spain was with the Germans or even in the SS :shock: . Thanks for your replies. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:52 am 
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
I am planning on doing a diorama this year on the theme of the Blue Division or Spanische-Freiwilligen Kompanie der SS 101.

Does anyone know what uniforms they were using in the latter stages of the war when fighting in Berlin? I could only assume most them retained some of their Blue Division uniforms and insignia, as at that stage of the war resources may have been too limited to re-issue a new kit?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:52 am 
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Krupp wrote:
About 50 Spaniards were attached to a special unit that operated around the Pyrenees mountains against the French resistance who were active in those parts until they were transferred to Otto Skorzeny's Jagdverbande 500 where it is thought they were used against the U.S 7th Army in the Black Forest. Near the end of the war in April, with the Reich collapsing, they were marked for the defense of the Alpine Redoubt which was to be Hitler's headquarters in the mountains of Bavaria. This audacious plan never took place and the unit scattered and fled to the Austrian mountains.


My grand father Max Heidenreich was born in Barcelona, he was Volksdeutsche and was conscripted along with his brother Hans in middle 1943. He was sent to an artillery unit in France stationed in Verdun. He spoke and read fluently five languages (six if we count Catalan) and suddenly was transferred to another unit integrated in the “Lehrregiment Kurfürst” who was forming at Brandenburg, there he meet again with his brother Hans and to his surprise found the rest of the soldiers in the unit were all Volksdeutsche born in Spain and all of them spoke Spanish and Catalan, they were trained in a variety of skills including demolitions an enemy weaponry handling.
In July 1944 his unit, Abwehr Trupp 263 was sent to France for anti partisan duties, they operated in little groups, they patrolled the French Pyrenees mountains dressed in civilian clothes and armed with varied non German weaponry, (he remembered English weapons). I don’t know if my grandfather unit it’s amongst the 50 Spaniards you mention, but if it is, they were not from SS. When not on patrol they wore Heer uniforms, and they used them until they were captured somewhere in Czechoslovakia one week before the war’s end.

Cheers.

Max.

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