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Why the Dutch SS? - A Short Answer Comment

Kandu

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Before I begin, this is not an excuse for the Dutch SS, none of my family were part of it nor were they members of the NSB. It is the result of my attempt to try to understand why so many Dutchmen joined the SS.

As a 70 year old Dutch-Canadian, I decided late in life to learn more about the experience of Canadian soldiers in WWII and my parents teenage experience in occupied Netherlands. I found various YouTube channels both in English and Dutch that provide good film footage, story-lines and personal accounts and in the course of that was shocked to learn how many Dutch were part of the NSB, i.e. Dutch Nazis.

In the early 1900's working people in the Netherlands, and most of the world, had no labour laws nor any social security and often worked in horrible conditions. My oma had been an identured child working for Van Houten chocolate factory. This resuted in various socialist political movents including attempts to unionize as well as various flavours of communism and national socialism. These latter two were acrimonious polar opposites. And that statement is the lead-in to answering the question "why did Dutchmen volunteer to join the SS?"

The answer for many, most or all was to 'go to Russia to destroy the root of communism". At that moment there probably was no thought that one day they would be betraying their own Nederland by being placed in the position of fighting against the Allies during Market Garden.
 
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Nemesis

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666
Well said. History is more complicated that people realize.

People forget that Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

It is always possible that people and movements that we praise today will become worthy of scorn tomorrow.
 

ChuckDyke

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Enough YT videos on the subject. It was 1940 and the queen and the government escaped to England. They were not exactly admired for that move and the average German soldier was professional and did the right thing with the people. Business in 1940 was doing OK the occupier paid for the goods purchased. Who could predict that a year later Hitler would declare war on the US and invade the Soviet Union? 25000 young men joined the Waffen SS to fight communism they were as politically Saffy as an ant in the kitchen.
 

Lethaface

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38
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Before I begin, this is not an excuse for the Dutch SS, none of my family were part of it nor were they members of the NSB. It is the result of my attempt to try to understand why so many Dutchmen joined the SS.

As a 70 year old Dutch-Canadian, I decided late in life to learn more about the experience of Canadian soldiers in WWII and my parents teenage experience in occupied Netherlands. I found various YouTube channels both in English and Dutch that provide good film footage, story-lines and personal accounts and in the course of that was shocked to learn how many Dutch were part of the NSB, i.e. Dutch Nazis.

In the early 1900's working people in the Netherlands, as most of the world had no labour laws nor any social security and often worked in horrible conditions. My oma had been an identured child working for Van Houten chocolate factory. This resuted in various socialist political movents including attempts to unionize as well as various flavours of communism and national socialism. These latter two were acrimonious polar opposites. And that statement is the lead-in to answering the question "why did Dutchmen volunteer to join the SS?"

The answer for many, most or all was to 'go to Russia to destroy the root of communism". At that moment there probably was no thought that one day they would be betraying their own Nederland by being placed in the position of fighting against the Allies during Market Garden.

I think in for many the reason was not much different from the reason why my grandfather joined the Dutch army to fight in Indonesia after WW2. Young in a time of limited opportunities ('servant' at a farm for board and lodging, working in the mines) and the prospect of 'adventure'. Probably with the idea of doing something 'good'.
 

Kandu

FGM Sergeant
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I think in for many the reason was not much different from the reason why my grandfather joined the Dutch army to fight in Indonesia after WW2. Young in a time of limited opportunities ('servant' at a farm for board and lodging, working in the mines) and the prospect of 'adventure'. Probably with the idea of doing something 'good'.
Interesting. I had one uncle who fought in Indonesia and one who went to prison in the Netherlands for refusing to go. The latter, Oom Dries, had been picked up by the Germans during a razzia in Amsterdam and sent to Germany to work as a slave laborer in a factory where he survived allied bombing. He returne home anti-war. The first uncle, had been living in Indonesia and had been interred by the Japanese, while his wife, my aunt was forced to become a 'comfort woman'. Another, Oom Ko, fought at the Grebbenberg as a Dutch soldier and survived having temporarily lost his hearing and permanently lost his balance. Pa's oldest brother was in the 'armed' resistance. Opa Mol (ma's side) was a typesetter for He Parool and used his skill to forge documents in '39 and '40 for people fleeing the country. For every person, a different story.
 

BornGinger

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Oom Dries... Oom Ko
Interesting and unusual name that one, unless Oom goes under the explanation I found when searching for the name:"Oom is the style of calling a male person as an uncle."

There's a Swedish-Dutch actress with the name Amanda Ooms. But if Oom means uncle I guess Ooms has another meaning if any.
 
D

din djinn

Guest
Well said. History is more complicated that people realize.

People forget that Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

It is always possible that people and movements that we praise today will become worthy of scorn tomorrow.
Forget? I'm pretty sure I never knew Hitler was MotY for Time. So, I looked it up, and want to correct the impression that Time might have been praising Hitler. Here is the cover for that issue:
1625655856502.png
 

Kandu

FGM Sergeant
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Interesting and unusual name that one, unless Oom goes under the explanation I found when searching for the name:"Oom is the style of calling a male person as an uncle."

There's a Swedish-Dutch actress with the name Amanda Ooms. But if Oom means uncle I guess Ooms has another meaning if any.
Yes, Oom Ko means uncle Ko (Ko is short for Cornelis). Opa (Grandpa), Oma (Grandma), Oom (Uncle), Tante (Aunt).
 

Bulletpoint

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Forget? I'm pretty sure I never knew Hitler was MotY for Time. So, I looked it up, and want to correct the impression that Time might have been praising Hitler.

In Time‘s 1938 “Man of the Year” article, Hitler was labeled the “greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”
 
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