American Diplomats in Tallinn Saluted Soldiers of SS Divisions

Translated by Ollie Richardson


The military attache of the US Embassy in Maarjamäe honoured the memory of those who died in battle in World War II, reported the US Embassy in Estonia. It is possible to see in the photos who exactly the American diplomat saluted.

American diplomats working in Estonia took part on May 8th in a ceremony of honoring the perished of World War II. The event took place on the territory of Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn. In a photo from the place of the event it is possible to see how the military attache of the US Embassy and their two attendants salute facing the memorial plaques on which the names of the SS divisions of Hitler’s army are embossed. In particular, the 20th Estonian Grenade Division (20.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS), which was created in February, 1944.

Also, in front of the saluting military attache there is a plaque with a mention of the 36th Estonian Police Battalion, the members of which carried out in 1942 in Belarus actions to exterminate the local population (mainly Jewish origin).

“Today the military attache of the US Embassy in Maarjamäe honoured the memory of those who died in battle in World War II,” reported the US Embassy on its page on the social network Facebook.

Information about the latest event attracted the attention of the Facebook user Aleksandr Efremov. In his opinion, it only remains to wait now for when Americans honor the memory of SS-men at an annual meeting of SS veterans and their admirers in the town Sinimäe.

“Wreaths and flowers were laid at Maarjamäe too? Well now they only need to go at the end of July to Sinimäe and to celebrate something like the day of resistance to troops of the anti-Hitler coalition. At the same time to be photographed in front of a swastika in remembrance,” wrote Efremov under the message of the American diplomatic mission.

Reference of names of units that the memorial in Maarjamäe was built to honour

  • The 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland was created in July, 1943. The division fought, generally, in the Eastern front, and in May, 1945, surrendered to allied troops on the Elba.

  • 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division was formed on October 1st, 1939, as the Police division of employees of the German police, fit for military service. On February 10th, 1942, the transfer took place of a division to the Waffen-SS, which it earlier belonged to organizationally, but not formally. On October 26th, 1943, the order on reorganization of the division in the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division was issued.

  • The 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) is the Estonian legion of the Waffen-SS created in February, 1944.

  • 5th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade. On June 1st, 1943, the legion “Wallonia” was deployed in the SS Assault Brigade “Wallonia” (SS-Sturmbrigade Wallonien). 1600 veterans of the legion and the Belgian army and about 400 recruits who received training in Wildflecken were a part of the brigade. On October 22nd, 1943, this division received a new name — the 5th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade “Wallonia”.

  • 6th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade. The 27th SS Volunteer Division Langemarck (Flemish Nr.1) was created on October 18th, 1944, after the renaming of the 6th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade “Langemarck”, which was staffed from the voluntary SS unit “Nordvest”.

  • The 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade “Nederland” was created on the basis of the SS voluntary legion “Netherland”. After the legion suffered heavy losses on the Eastern front, it was transferred in April, 1943, to Sonneberg where it became the nucleus of the created 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade “Nederland”. In October, 1943, panzergrenadier regiments 48 and 49 received the honourable title of “General Seyffardt” (who was killed in 1943 by a Dutch resistance movement) and de Ruyter (a Dutch admiral of the times of the Anglo-Dutch naval war). At the end of 1943 the brigade was attached to the III SS Panzer Corps (German) as a part of the “Nord” army group.

  • 54th SS Artillery Regiment.

  • 36th Police Battalion. In August, 1942, near the city of Novogrudok (Belarus) the German occupational authorities carried out actions to exterminate the local population (mainly Jewish origin). Soldiers and officers of the 36th Police Battalion, created at the beginning of 1942 from volunteers on the territory of Estonia, took part in executions (Tartu, Kuressaare, Hiiumaa, Saaremaa). According to testimonies of the former participants of the actions detained after war, on August 3rd-4th, 1942, the entire 36th Police Battalion was sent to Belarus where it was unloaded at Novoelnya station, sent to Novogrudok, and placed in the barracks in the suburb of the city. Mass executions were done near Novogrudok, Novoelnya, and near the village of Dyatlovo – 20-30 km from the mountains. At night police officers surrounded houses, expelled inhabitants (including women and children) on the square, forced them to wait for loading laying prone on the ground, and then in the morning masses were taken away by trucks and in “mobile gas chambers” to execution places. Detainees dug ditches in which they were then dumped after being shot. In total, near the city of Novogrudok, according to testimonies of detainees, about 1000 people, and in the village of Dyatlovo — 1000–1500 people were destroyed. The battalion was in this area for about a month, then it was transferred to Stalingrad.

  • The 37th and 40th battalions were placed in the Pskov area, and similar tasks near Luga-Pskov-Gdov were carried out by the 38th battalion. The 286th battalion participated in punisher operations in East Prussia and Belarus. The 288th battalion was used to eliminate the so-called “Ronson’s Partisan Republic”.

  • The 658th Eastern Battalion under the leadership of A. Rebane performed punisher operations against civilians around Kingisepp and the village of Kerstovo (Leningrad region), committed brutal murders to intimidate partisans, and burned whole villages (Babino, Khabalovo, Chigirinka, etc).

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