Estonian SS Waffen


Alfons Rebane, Harald Nugiseks and Harald Riipalu in Neuhammer. They where the  only Estonians who were awarded with Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

The formation of the Estonian Legian was announced on 28 August 1942 by the German occupying powers in Estonia and formally established on October 1. 1942. Oberführer Franz Augsberger was nominated to be the commander of the legion and the later 3 Estonian SS Volunteer Brigade. 500 volunteers had appeared and signed up for the Legion by October 13, 1942. In the Spring 1943 additional men were drafted from the police forces and the number rose to 1280.

By January 1944 the German military situation in the Eastern front had worsened so far that a general conscription call was announced in Estonia on February 1, 1944. In the hopes of restoring the independence of Estonia the last prime minister of Republic of Estonia Jüri Uluots gave his support to the draft. As the result about 38,000 men were conscripted, the units of Estonian Legion, the Finnish Infantry Regiment 200 were returned to Estonia and were reformed into the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian).


The Battle of Tannenberg Line, second to Stalingrad, the bloodiest conflict on the Eastern Front. Volunteer infantry battalions from Denmark, East Prussia, Flanders, Holland, Norway and Wallonia within the Waffen-SS fight off Soviet Army’s thrust at Germany. 

Half of the SS infantry consists of local Estonian conscripts motivated to resist the looming Soviet re-occupation of their small country. Motivated until they meet their brothers in the Soviet Army. Estonian men, deported by Stalin in 1939, now brought out of Siberian labour camps and returning home in enemy uniforms. 

The historical film  “1944” considered the military events in Estonia in 1944, during the period from July of fights Sinimäe until November, when the peninsula of Sorve was already conquered by the Soviet Army.

Published in: on November 8, 2016 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment