In November 2004, a Norwegian Media gathered political opinions of a former member of the Panzer Division Wiking SS Olav Tuff. In his remarks, the Norwegian veteran assumed the usual position of the members of these groups formed with non-German volunteers: the denial of any involvement in criminal actions.
Olav Tuff, photographed with his SS uniform. Photo taken in 1941.
Confronted with the statement that the Division had participated in the systematic slaughter of Jewish and civilian population in Russia and Ukraine, he claimed resounding: "That's a lie." According to him, I never saw or heard anything about possible massacres of Jewish population, the Wiking Division simply other soldiers clashed on the battlefields of Eastern Europe.On the contrary, in the interview Tuff went on the offensive and referred to the liquidation of Ukrainian intellectuals by the Russians. Also it reaffirmed its commitment to fight communism he saw as the main danger to his country, which was shared by the entire liberal press of the time. Therefore, at the time of enlistment, asked not fight England but on the eastern front.However, in 2013, nine years after the same Olav Tuff provided a very different view of his experience in World War II. Speaking to NRK1, Tuff jutted into the crimes committed by the forces of Nazi Germany, including non-German battalions of volunteers, and their nationalist collaborators.In his account, Tuff tells how German units operating against the Jewish population. As they approached, their villages and their houses were burned. They took one at the entire resident population. Those who resisted or tried to flee were shot on the spot and synagogues were destroyed systematically.Tuff draws attention to the "bestiality" of the local Ukrainian nationalists and the "monstrous" within the German SS and mentions that on one occasion, saw the civilian population was driven like cattle into a church. Soon after, the soldiers of his unit poured gasoline on the church and between 200 and 300 people were burned inside. Was in Ukraine in the autumn of 1941. "I was on duty and nobody came," says Tuff. By his count, cries and whispers inside the church were heard, and I could hardly believe they were part of that criminal action. But there was little they could do. "We had to do what we are ordered." For that reason, he never claims to have felt guilty. "I'm just counting how I lived," he said. To Tuff, the church incident was terrible but just one of the many episodes of the war. Over time, as the war developed and focused on the battlefields, death was so present that it was impossible not used to it.tuff2
|Anti-Bolshevik propaganda, SS|
Originating in a very poor family, with just 18 Tuff was influenced by one of his brothers, who had already enlisted to fight communism. Another motivation for enlistment was the promise of delivering 300 acres of fertile land of Ukraine after the war, an empty promise that is now repeated.Tuff statements have a double interest. In the human aspect it is striking change representing happen to deny any connection with the crime point the shock that supposed the experience of incomprehensible German Jew hatred. Besides hunger and hardship, that led him to warn his little brother Hermod that did not enlist. By then, he had done
But the story of the Norwegian SS soldier helps to understand the role of these divisions of foreign volunteers in the liquidation of the Jewish population in the Ukraine in 1941. Tuff first came to the country in August 1941.Already on the way from Germany he faced a foretaste of what awaited him. During his trip by train through Poland, in the city of Krakow he saw a group of Jews had been hung from trees and lampposts. "The bodies hung like rag dolls," he recalls.On arrival at Soviet territory in western Ukraine, he returned to face similar scenes. During the capture of Lvov, Tuff claims to have seen Jewish population killed by the road. Tuff also remembers hanging bodies began to move when the soldiers did move up a bridge.All this would have been impossible in Ukraine without the position collaborationist sectors of the local population. Another member of the Wiking Division, Dutch, showed in a July 1941 report absolute pleasure of the Ukrainian local population with the Germans. Everywhere they were greeted shouting "Heil Hitler", with the support of local groups of the Ukrainian National Committee.It is the other part of an action presided from the German side, by a ruthless attitude towards the Jewish population. According to the Dutch SS soldier, it was often the local population which concentrated Jewish residents to receive the "comeuppance". It was the German and Ukrainian version eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, a cruel mockery of justice that was intended to legitimize with previous killings at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists and Soviet Jews.
|Governor Otto Wächter, under the Nazi shield. To his right, Volodymyr Kubiiovych|
Olav Tuff involved in extensive battles, both in Ukraine and in Chechnya, for which he came to receive the Iron Cross. After the war, Olav Tuff was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for treason. And it just started talking about what really was almost 70 years later, as noted elsewhere in the 2004 interview, because he attended and saw things that left a mark forever, something he could never get to forget. Some of them, only he could get to count after turning 90 years.
Tuff statements not would be an example of the need to accept their personal responsibility for the crimes of the past if it were not for the idealization that part of Ukrainian nationalism, and some other parts of Europe, makes those who committed them. Speaking again the speech about the danger of communism , SS units as the Wiking are again reference in policy strategies destruction opponent Europe. A Europe in which some groups, such as Misanthrophic Division, recovering ideas, aesthetics and symbols of those who, in the 30s and 40s of last century, tried to apply this policy of destruction through the different lands of Europe.
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