Seventy-four years after the fall of the Third Reich, the German government is still paying foreign soldiers injured while assisting the Nazi war effort, including two Swedes who served in the armed unit of the SS.
Last week, Berlin assured that none of the 15 Swedish citizens receiving compensation for war-injuries had been members of the paramilitary Schutzstaffel organization. However, Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter has determined that at least two of those receiving monthly payments from Germany are indeed former Waffen-SS members.
Karl von Zeipel and Jan Dufv fought in the SS’ Aryan-only ‘Viking’ tank division which directly engaged in the destruction of civilian populations in Nazi-occupied territory, although the data does not indicate if the two mentioned personally participated in the war-crimes.
The report shows that Dufv took part in the Nazi conquest of Norway, fought communist partisans in the Balkans and likely even met with Heinrich Himmler, one of the main architects of the Holocaust. After the war, Von Zeipel fled to Spain where many Nazis took refuge under Francisco Franco’s regime.
Around 200 Swedes fought for the Reich in World War II, and were promised a lifetime of compensation payments in the event of injury on the same terms as German soldiers by Hitler himself. Data from the German Labour Ministry shows that 2,033 of “Hitler’s pensioners” still exist worldwide as of February. Whereas many became entitled to payments after being forced into service during the occupation, the fact that Sweden was never taken over by the Nazis strongly indicates that those who fought with them signed on voluntarily.
Almost 75 years after the end of WWII, a small number of Belgians who pledged allegiance to Hitler are still getting the promised loyalty bonuses that have never been taxed, local media reports. Germany denies the claims.
Twenty-seven Belgians continue to receive between €425 and €1,275 (US$482-$1,446) per month from the German government, according to Flemish newspaper De Morgen. The allowance was to guarantee their “fidelity, loyalty, and obedience” to Adolf Hitler under a Nazi-era decree that still remains in force 74 years after the fall of the Third Reich.
De Morgen quoted researcher Alvin de Coninck, who explained those who qualified for ‘Hitler’s pension’ were residents of Belgium’s border regions who acquired German nationality during the Nazi occupation. Others were Belgians who joined the Waffen-SS – the armed wing of the SS – or other branches of the German military.
Responding to inquiries from Belgian lawmakers, the German Labor Ministry said on Wednesday that only 18 people in Belgium are currently receiving war disability pensions and “there are no former members of the Waffen-SS” among them, according to AP.
There’s a particularly sad irony in the story, according to de Coninck, who also works for a local association of Nazi concentration camp survivors.
Belgians forced to work in Germany during the occupation only received €50 per month in compensation after the war, he said, while the 27 recipients of Hitler’s loyalty allowance have never been taxed on this additional income, as the German Embassy did not report their names to the Belgian government.
The revelation caused quite a stir in Belgium, with local MPs demanding the bizarre arrangement be put to an end. On Tuesday, a resolution was introduced in parliament calling on the government “to tackle this problem through diplomatic means as a matter of urgency.”
These people, however, are not the only ones that receive this kind of allowance. In 2015, it emerged that around €100,000 of German taxpayer money was paid to Spaniards who signed up for the notorious Blue Division that fought the Red Army between 1941 and 1944. The money was split between 41 veterans, eight widows, and an orphan.