Last night as I watched the HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” I heard Maher say that Waffen SS soldiers in the Viking Division had “slaughtered Jews in Hungary.” The discussion at that point was about Rich Iott, the Republican candidate who is challenging Democrat Marcy Kaptur in Ohio’s Ninth District. Iott is a member of a group of Ohio World War II reenactors and he has been known to dress up as an SS soldier in the 5th SS Wiking (Viking in English) Panzer Division. Journalist Josh Green was a guest on the show and he introduced the subject.
The photo below shows Viking reenactors with an arrow pointing to Iott in an SS uniform.
I was amazed to hear Bill Maher say that Waffen SS soldiers had “slaughtered Jews in Hungary.” Did he know that, right off the top of his head, or did he do some research before the show?
The Hungarian Jews were rounded up in May 1944 and sent to Auschwitz to be killed; you can read all about the Hungarian Jews and the Holocaust on my website here.
Germany and Hungary were allies in World War II, and Hungarian soldiers were fighting in Waffen SS divisions. The Waffen SS Viking Division fought in battle on the Eastern front during World War II, so why would Viking Division soldiers have been killing Jews in Hungary?
To find the answer, I had to do some research myself, so first I got out my book about the SS divisions, entitled Hell on the Eastern Front. I skimmed through all the pages that mentioned the Viking Division but found nothing about killing Jews in Hungary, nor even fighting in Hungary.
Then I searched the web and found this quote here:
A 90-year-old former member of an elite Waffen SS unit has been charged with killing 58 Hungarian Jews who were forced to kneel beside an open pit before being shot and tumbling into their mass grave.
The man, named in the German press as Adolf Storms, becomes the latest pensioner to be prosecuted for alleged Nazi war crimes as courts rush to secure convictions before the defendants become too infirm and the witness testimony too unreliable.
Mr Storms was found by accident last year, as part of a research project by Andreas Forster, a 28-year-old student at the University of Vienna.
The case against him was led by Ulrich Maass who is also the prosecutor in the trial of Heinrich Boere, 88, who is accused of shooting three Dutch resistance fighters.
Note that Adolf Storms was charged with killing “Hungarian Jews,” not with killing “Jews in Hungary.”
According to this website, Storms died before he could be brought to trial:
Soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March/April 1945. (10) On 17 November 2009 Adolf Storms was charged with the murder of 58 Hungarian Jewish forced labourers near Deutsch Schuetzen in Austria on 29 March 1945 but he died before he could be brought to trial. (11)
The Viking Division was fighting in Austria at the end of World War II, and again, it was “Hungarian Jews” who were killed, not “Jews in Hungary.”
I also found this information here:
As with his other formations, Heinrich Himmler had decreed that SS Viking should not fight in the front lines. Rather, it would be deployed against “partisans,” a code phrase widely understood to mean Jews, Party activists and other “undesirables.” The division moved out in Army Group South’s second echelon, and only saw its first action against on 29 June at Tarnopol. Ten days later, its supply column proved themselves true SS men, participating in the massacre of about 60 Jews in the Lviv ghetto.
Why only 60 Jews? Why not kill all the Jews in the ghetto? Could it be that the 60 who were killed were fighting as “partisans”? If these 60 Jews were, in fact, fighting as partisans, they were “illegal combatants” under the Geneva Convention of 1929 and it was legal to “massacre” them.
Note that the quote says that “partisans” was a “code phrase” for Jews and “undesirables.” The Germans always used code words and euphemisms in World War II, never really using any words that could be used to convict them of war crimes. Did the Germans really anticipate that they would lose World War II and be charged with war crimes at Nuremberg, so that’s why they always used code words and euphemisms?
Still, I am impressed that Bill Maher apparently did some research so that he could bring up this incident, involving the Viking Division of the SS, in his continuing effort to discredit candidates in the coming election, just as he smeared Christine O’Donnell by dredging up an old clip of her talking on his show about being a witch.
I always liked Bill Maher before he started his campaign against conservative political candidates in the coming elections.
You can read more about this here. Note that the author has trouble distinguishing between the Nazi (National Socialist) political party and the German military. The Huffington Post made the same mistake, which you can read here. The SS men were not necessarily in the Nazi political party.