When the war came to Denmark on 9 April 1940, 1st Lieutenant Johannes Brennecke was serving with the Royal Danish 4th Artillery Detachment, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment in Ringsted, Denmark. He was born on 20 November 1911 and was a convinced enemy of communism, so, as well as several other of his fellow career officers, he had joined the "Danmark National-Socialistiske Arbejder Parti", or the DNSAP on 26 November 1940. he received the Party member No. PM 37.386.
In May1941, 1st Lieutenant Johannes Brennecke volunteered for the Waffen-SS and together with fellow Danish officers he was first sent to the SS-Junkerschule "Tölz", the principal officer's training school for European volunteers. After graduation , Brennecke was made an SS-Ustuf. and was sent to the famous European 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", where he served within the SS-Artillerie-Regt. 5 in the 3rd Batterie/I. Abteilung under SS-Hstuf. Hans Bünning.
In the "Wiking" Division he met as often as possible with some of his fellow Danish officers such as SS-Stubaf. Wodschov, SS-Hstuf. C.F. von Schalburg and SS-Hstuf. Paul Rantzau Engelhardt. They shared the newpapers "Fædrelandet" and "Kamptegnet", both official organs of the DNSAP, and discussed the future of Denmark and Europe after the war. Strangely enough the young SS officer was very much an Anglophile. He called himself "John" rather than "Johannes", his wife was English and he even use to speak English with a German accent. this was not very well accepted by other "Wikinger", and he had to leave the unit.
In the winter of 1941/1942, SS-Ustuf. Johannes Brennecke was ordered to the Artillery School in Münich, Bavaria. Together with the head of the DNSAP department in Münich, Afdelongsleder Milton Petersen, he created an SA-Motorsturmbann made up of Danish workers in the city. This Danish SA-Motorsturmbann was drilled by the Allgemeine-SS, and SS-Ustuf. Brennecke was able to convince several of these men to join the Waffen-SS.
After graduating from the Artillery School, Brennecke was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer and was transferred to the SS-Gebirgs-Artillerie Regt. 6 of the 6. SS-Gebirgs-Division "Nord". This division fought in Finland and was mostly composed of Germans along with ethnic Germans along with Germans from southeastern Europe. In addition to these men many Norwegians were attached to the "Nord" Division in the famous SS-Schi-jäger Btl. "Norge" and in some Norwegian SS and Police Companies. While serving within this divison and experiencing the brutal nature of the northern climate, SS-Ostuf. Brennecke was able to make good use of his experience with riding horses that he had gained during his service with the old-fashioned Royal Danish Army!
In the summer of 1944, SS-Ostuf. Brennecke served with the SS-Artillerie Regt. 11 of the SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland". Within this unit he participated in the battle for Estonia. In the fall of 1944 he was back in Münich serving with the SS-Ersatz-Artillerie-Regt. 9; while at this post he was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer.
In the last days of the war, SS-Hstuf. Brennecke was to be found in Berlin. On 1 May 1945, dressed as a civilian, Brennecke tried to take cover in the Royal Danish Embassy in Berlin, but the ambassador didn't want to help the deserter. On 2 May 1945, he was found lying dead on the street outside of the embassy, still wearing civilian clothes. Whether he was shot by the Russians or by the German Feldgendarmerie has never been fully determined.
Hans Peter Koch was a Volkdeutsch (ethnic-German) "Nordschleswiger" from Denmark. He volunteered for the Waffen-SS in 1942. Hans Peter Koch served in the I./SS-Pz.-Gren. Rgt. 6 "Theodor Eicke", 3. SS-Panzer-Division "Totenkopf" before joining the 32. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division "30 Januar" late in the war with the rank of SS-Ustuf. He fought in the battle for the "Kessel von Halbe" (Halbe Cauldron) aand was in fact one of the few survivors. He is still alive and is the author of the book "Ret eller vrang", (Right or Wrong).
19 July 1941 — 8 February 1942: Commanded "Freikorps Danmarks".History:-
On the 3 July 1941, as a Danish Army Lieutenant-Colonel and the commander of the 5th Artillery Detachment in Holbaek, C.P. Kryssing accepted the command of the Freikorps "Danmark", a Waffen-SS Danish volunteer legion formed to fight Soviet communism. The Friekorps was opened to all men who had completed their national military service sice 1931 and its shief-of-staff was the Danish Army infantry Captain Thor Jorgensen. Kryssing, a veteran of 32 years in the Danish Army — chiefly with the artillery branch — was given the Waffen-SS rank of Obersturmbannführer. It soon became apparent that Kryssing was not quite the man to command a modern, reinforced infantry battalion like the Freikorps, so after trying to build and train the unit with the help of a German training staff at Hamburg-Langenhorn and Posen-Treskau, Kryssing relinquished acting command to Hstuf. Jorgensen. Kryssing's removal was also partially political it seems, since some of the influential Danish National Socialist in the Freikorps considered him insufficiently partisan to their cause.
In March 1942 the dynamic, pro-National Socialist Stubaf. C.F. von Schalburg took over the Freikorps and wthin a few weeks had it ready for combat. In the meantime, Kryssing, who remained in the Waffen-SS, attended training classes at a German Army artillery school and then was assigned to the staff of the 3. SS-Panzer-Division "Totenkopf" as an artillery officer. He later served a short stint in the same capacity with the 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking". In the summer of 1943, during the formation of the III. SS-Pz.-Korps (germanische). Kryssing, who now held the rank of Standartenführer was made the Corps' artillery commander.
He accompanied the Corps to the Oranienbaum Front to the west of Leningrad, and quickly proved his worth by his ability to make effective improvisations during critical combat situations. This was all the more important since III. SS-Pz.-Korps(germanische) had few reserves or replacements to count on (most were being sent to the southern part of the Eastern Front). Following the desperate retreat to the Narwa River line, Kryssing (now a Brigadeführer) was given the job of organising a mixed battle-group to defend the northern Estonian coast to the west of Hungerburg. This formation, called Kampfgruppe "Küste". consisted of about 9,000 European volunteers (German, Estonian and Scandinavian), culled from a variety of units. In febraury 1944 this Kampfgruppe under Krtssing's direction (with the help from his Danish chief-of-staff Ostubaf. Englehardt), successfully eliminated a major Soviet amphibious landing west of Hungerburg. This would probably be the highlight of Krssing's lengthy military career.MORE TO FOLLOW
February 1943 — 20 May 1945: Commanded "Freikorps Danmark".
During the years 1908 - 1911 he went to an army school and in 1911 he started his military career as a recruit in the Royal Danish Engineer Regiment. By 1912 he had already been promoted to Corporal , making Sergeant in 1914. Denmark did not participate in WWI, remaining a neutral state. On the 21 October 1921, Viffert was promoted to Lieutenant; by now his qualifications as a soldier were well proven.
During the years 1923 to 1926, Viffert was educated as an engineer officer, but after that he left the army and went to the far east to work as a railway engineer. Following his eventual return to Denmark he worked for a short time for the Royal Danish Railways, building bridges etc. But the situation in Europe was unstable, and Viffert felt that his rightful place was to serve his country, so he re-enlisted in the army and in 1934, as a Captain, he was placed in command of a company in the 2nd Engineer Battalion. While holding this rank he was decorated by the King of Denmark with the Knight of Dannenbrog Order (the Dannenbrog is the Danish flag).
Viffert continued his quiet duty until the 9th April 1940, when the German Armed Forces, under "Operation Weserübung made its entry into Denmark without encountering any real resistance at all. The fighting was stopped by the Danish government and the King after only two hours, but not before 11 Danish soldiers had died in actions in front of the advancing Germans. Viffert joined the "Danmarks National Socialistiske Arbeiter Parti", the DNSAP of Fritz Clausen, on the 12th June 1940, receiving the Party Member number PM 30.095.
While the Danish soldiers and their officers were allowed to keep their uniforms and small arms, the whole army was ashamed and sad over the 9th April 1940, when 11 of their comrades had died for nothing. Then came 22nd June 1941 and "Operation Barbarossa". Four days later the official Danish government severed relations with the Soviet Union and only afew days later the King and government permitted the formation of a Danish contingent to fight against the Soviet Union on a newly created Eastern Front. Within days about a thousand young Danes had volunteered, among whom were several career Danish officers. Several thousand more volunteers would follow them over the next four years.
A short time after severing relations with the Soviet Union, the Danish Foreign Minister signed the Axis anti-comintern pact, which if not officially, at least effectively placed Denmark at war with Russia. Despite his age, Captain Viffert was one of the first to join up with the new "Freikorps Danmark", being accepted with the rank of Legion-Hauptsturmführer which is equivalent to his last rank in the Danish Army. He served with it first at Hamburg-Langenhorn and then later in at Posen-Treskau. The "Freikorps Danmark" left from this latter location for the Eastern Front on 7th May 1942, and Legion-Hauptsturmführer Viffert was with it.
In the so-called "Demyansk Cauldron", Leg.-HStuf. Viffert was decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd Class and after being wounded, received the Wound Badge in Black. Following the fighting around Velikiye Luki in the winter of 1942/43, he was accepted as a full SS-officer and promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer.
After further training dealing with German combat engineering equipment, SS- Stubaf. Viffert was made the Korps-Pionier-Führer of the newly created VI. Waffen-Armee Korps der SS (lettisches) in late 1943, under the command of SS-Ogruf. u. Gen.d.W-SS Walter Krüger. SS-Stubaf. Viffert would stay in this position until the end of the war. He was later promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer and decorated with the Iron Cross 1st Class. The Latvian Waffen-Obersturmführer Oskars Perro remembers him as "a hell of a nice old chap".
The VI. SS Latvian Army Corps was part of the undefeated Kurland Army, and they didn't lay down their weapons until all hope was gone on 8th May 1945. Along with his many German and Latvian friends , SS-Ostubaf. Viffert then went into sovieet captivity. Viffert and other Germanic POWS werer gathered together in the POW Camp 7162/13 at Damitye to the south of Kiev. Here Viffert did a great job of keeping the morale of the other Danish captives up. In the manner of a school teacher he lectured them about Danish history, and he explained to them the Danish wars against Prussia in 1848/50 and 1864.
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