Freiwillige Schutzstaffel

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FS symbol

Freiwillige Schutzstaffel ('Voluntary Protection Corps', abbreviated FS) was a paramilitary organization in the World War II Slovak Republic.[1] FS was founded in late 1938.[2] Modelled on the German Sturmabteilung (SA) and the Allgemeine SS, FS organized members of the German community in Slovakia.[3][4][5] It functioned as the paramilitary wing of the German Party (DP).[5][6] Walter Donath served as the national commander (Landesführer) of FS.[7][8]

Two government regulations issued in 1939 provided the legal cover for FS; decree no. 240 issued September 27, 1939 and decree no. 311 issued December 21, 1939.[2][9] Through the latter decree the Slovak government recognized FS and the German Youth (DJ) as paramilitary organizations operating in the frame of the German Party.[9] FS members were assigned to protect infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, railway stations) and persecuted deserters from the Polish front.[9] FS also sent fighters to take part in the German war effort against Poland.[10] Along with its Slovak counterpart, the Hlinka Guard, FS conducted attacks against the Jewish communities in Slovakia.[6]

As of March 1939 FS was organized into three Sturmbannen ('Strike Battalions').[2] The title of the commander of a Sturmbann was Sturmbannführer ('Strike Battalion Leader').[11] The geographic area covered by a Sturmbann corresponded to the territorial units of the German Party: Pressburg (Bratislava), Kremnitz-Deutsch Proben (Kremnica - Nemecké Pravno) and Zips.[2] At this point FS had 4,604 members.[2] At the time of its foundation FS membership was open to ethnic German males aged 18-35, who could provide proof of Aryan lineage three generations back.[2] In June 1941 membership was opened up to party members up to the age of 50.[2] The uniform of FS was largely identical to that of Allgemeine SS.[5] Its symbol was an eagle carrying a shield with a swastika (the shield with swastika was the symbol of the German Party).[5]

On February 15, 1940 the number of Sturmbannen was increased to six;[4][12]

  • I. - Pressburg (urban), Commander Hans Hofstäter, 3 companies
  • II. - Pressburg (rural), Commander Zoltan Absalon, 4 companies
  • III. - Kremnitz, Commander Jozef Jacklin, 7 companies
  • IV. - Deutsch Proben, Commander Ladislav Wässerle, 4 companies
  • V. - Oberzips, Commander Willi Kunzmann, 6 companies
  • VI. - Unterzips, Commander Hans Dolinsky, 4 companies.[2][13]

However, the six Sturmbannen did not cover all of the FS membership. In areas with small German populations, FS members adhered directly to the national headquarters of FS.[2] At this point FS had 4,622 members.[2][12] As of early 1941 FS membership stood at around 5,500, by October 1941 it stood at 6,810.[2][4] FS was again reorganized on September 14, 1942 with the creation of a seventh Sturmbann in Považie.[2] From that point onwards all FS members were included into a Sturmbann.[2]

FS participated, along with the Hlinka Guard, in the deportation of Jews from Slovakia in 1942.[3][14]

Not all FS members were in active military service, by late 1942 5,832 out of 7,646 FS members were in active service.[2] And whilst membership in FS continued to increase throughout the war (7,818 in mid-1944), the percentage of FS members in active service declined (4,179 in mid-1944).[2] The decline was a result of recruitment into Waffen-SS.[2] In this process the German Party leadership gradually lost some of its influence over FS, as the organization became increasingly subordinated to SS.[2] In 1943 Donath left his post as FS commander to fight on the Eastern Front.[7][9] F. Klug, hitherto leader of the German Youth organization, was named the new FS commander.[9]

Again in 1944 FS participated in deportations of Jews from Slovakia.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jiří Doležal; Jan Křen (1964). Czechoslovakia's Fight: Documents on the Resistance Movement of the Czechoslovak People, 1938-1945. Orbis. p. 59.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Vojenská história. Vydáva Ministerstvo obrany SR, Vojenský Historický Ústav. 2006. p. 81.
  3. ^ a b Stanislav J. Kirschbaum (10 May 2010). The A to Z of Slovakia. Scarecrow Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-4616-7215-9.
  4. ^ a b c The Expulsion of the German Population from Czechoslovakia. 1960. p. 143.
  5. ^ a b c d David Littlejohn (1 January 1994). Foreign Legions of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-912138-29-9.
  6. ^ a b Studia Historica Slovaca. Vydavatel̕stvo Slovenskej akadémie vied. 1978. pp. 170, 200.
  7. ^ a b Jiří Jožák (1992). Za obnovu státu Čechů a Slováků, 1938-1945: slovníková příručka. Státní pedagogické nakl. p. 31. ISBN 9788004261344.
  8. ^ Studia Historica Slovaca. Vydavatel̕stvo Slovenskej akadémie vied. 1963. p. 164.
  9. ^ a b c d e GABDZILOVÁ, Soňa. The changes of attitudes of German minority in Slovakia in course of World War Second. Individual and Society, Vol. 5, No. 1.
  10. ^ Hans Dress (1972). Slowakei und faschistische Neuordnung Europas 1939-1941. Akademie-Verlag. p. 79.
  11. ^ Igor Baka (2010). Politický systém a režim Slovenskej republiky v rokoch 1939 - 1940. Vojenský Historický Ústav. p. 211. ISBN 978-80-969375-9-2.
  12. ^ a b Europa Ethnica. W. Braumüller. 1939. pp. 177, 319.
  13. ^ Historický časopis. Vyd-vo Slovenskej akadémie vied. 2006. p. 491.
  14. ^ Milan Stanislao Ďurica (1989). The Slovak involvement in the tragedy of the European Jews. Piovan. p. 10.