Abwehrgruppe 218

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Abwehrgruppe 218, known under the codename "Edelweiss" (German: "Edelweiß") was an Nazi German anti-partisan unit operating in Slovakia during World War II.[1][2] Unit was led by SS-Sturmbannführer Erwein von Thun-Hohenstein. It was constituted during September 1944. In the period from September 1944 to April 1945 carried out more than 50 missions, which resulted in killing around 300 people, including civilians, another 600 were taken prisoners. One of the most famous actions of the unit is capture of members of American OSS mission under command of Lieutenant James Holt Greene and British SOE mission under Major John Sehmer od 26 December 1944 in the Nízke Tatry Mts. Unit is known for a number of war crimes, especially the massacre of civilians in the villages Ostrý Grúň a Kľak, which are considered among the most brutal war crimes committed on Slovak territory during the war.

Abwehrgruppe 218 "Edelweiss" had around 250-300 man in 4 sections:

  • so called "Partisan" section, about 25 men under the direct command of SS-Sturmbannführer von Thun-Hohenstein
  • so called "Russian" section, about 50 men under command of SS-Oberscharführer Berlisov
  • so called "Caucasian" section, about 50 men under command of SS-Oberscharführer Khan
  • so called "Slovak" section, about 131 men under command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Nižňanský


  1. ^ Encyklopedický ústav SAV. Encyclopaedia Beliana (A-Belk). I. vydanie. vyd. Banská Bystrica : Veda, vydavateľstvo SAV a Stredoslovenské vydavateľstvo, a. s., 1999, ISBN 80-224-0554-X, p.36.
  2. ^ "Slovak Volunteers in the Special Units of Otto Skorzeny (II.)"