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The Photo Collection of Georg Westermann

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SS Recruitment Campaign in Kosovo in 1944

The following photos, from the database of the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), were taken in the Second World War by the German war photographer (Kriegsberichter) Georg Westermann who accompanied the Waffen-SS in the Balkans. Westermann was with the SS Handschar Division in Croatia and Bosnia from November 1943 to April 1944, and with the SS Prinz Eugen Division from January 1944. In May 1944, he was in Kosovo to photograph a recruitment campaign to set up a new Albanian SS division, the so-called Skanderbeg Division. This division of some 6,000 men, headed by SS Commander August Schmidhuber (1901-1947), was formed late by the Nazis (recruitment began in February 1944 and it only received its name in August 1944). It never reached its operational strength, and after some infamous operations, such as the arrest of 281 Jews and of 210 so-called Communist functionaries in Kosovo, it was disbanded on 1 November 1944, by which time most of the recruits had deserted and run away. The young men in these photos, looking for work, do not seem to realise what are getting themselves into. Other photos show street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war, men who had fought in the Yugoslav Army, had been captured by the Germans in 1941, and were finally released and returned to Kosovo in May 1944 on condition that they join the SS Skanderbeg Division or other units to “fight against Bolshevism.”

Die Fotosammlung des Georg Westermann

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Rekrutierungskampagne für die SS Skanderbeg

im Kosovo im Jahre 1944

Die Fotos dieser Sammlung, von der Website der United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), wurden im Zweiten Weltkrieg vom deutschen Kriegsberichter Georg Westermann aufgenommen, der auf der Balkanhalbinsel verschiedene Divisionen der Waffen-SS begleitete. Westermann war vom November 1943 bis April 1944 in Kroatien und Bosnien mit der Waffen-SS Division Handschar und ab Januar 1944 mit der Waffen-SS Division Prinz Eugen. Im Mai 1944 befand er sich im Kosovo, wo er eine örtliche Rekrutierungskampagne für eine neu zu schaffende albanische Waffen-SS Division, die sogenannte SS Skanderbeg, fotografierte. Diese vom SS-Kommandeur August Schmidhuber (1901-1947) geleitete Division wurde von den Nazis spät ins Leben gerufen. Die Rekrutierung fing erst im Februar 1944 an, und die Bezeichnung SS Skanderbeg wurde erst im August 1944 amtlich verwendet. Ihre volle Stärke hat sie nie erreicht. Nach einigen berüchtigten Operationen, z.B. die Verhaftung von 281 Juden und von 210 sogenannten kommunistischen Funktionären im Kosovo, wurde sie im November 1944 aufgelöst. Die meisten Rekruten waren bis dahin geflohen. Die jungen Arbeitssuchenden in diesen Fotoaufnahmen scheinen nicht zu wissen, worauf sie sich eingelassen haben. Weitere Fotos zeigen Straßenszenen zur Begrüßung albanischer Kriegsgefangener, Männer, die in der Jugoslawischen Armee gedient hatten, von den Deutschen im Jahre 1941 gefangengenommen wurden, und schließlich im Mai 1944 freigelassen und nach Kosovo zurückgebracht wurden, unter der Bedingung, dass sie sich in die SS Skanderbeg oder in andere Einheiten einreihen, um am „Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus“ teilzunehmen.

Koleksioni fotografik i Georg Uesterman

[Georg Westermann]

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Fushatë rekrutimi i SS Skënderbeut në Kosovë

në vitin 1944

Fotografitë e këtij koleksioni, të marra nga faqja interneti e United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), u kryen në Luftën e Dytë Botërore nga fotografi gjerman i luftës, Georg Westermann, i cili shoqëroi divizionet e ndryshme të Waffen-SS-it në Ballkan. Nga nëntori 1943 deri në prill 1944 ishte në Kroaci dhe në Bosnje me Divizionin Hanxhar, dhe nga janari 1944 me Divizionin Princ Ojgen. Në maj të vitit 1944 Westermanni ndodhi në Kosovë ku fotografoi një fushatë rekrutimi për divizionin e ri shqiptar, të ashtuquajturin SS Skënderbeu. Ky divizion, i udhëhequr nga komandanti nazist August Schmidhuber (1901-1947), u krijua vonë. Rekrutimi filloi në shkurt 1944 dhe divizioni mori emrin zyrtar vetëm në gusht 1944. Nuk arriti kurrë numrin e plotë të efektivëve të parashikuar. Pas disa operacioneve famëkeq, ndër të tjerat arrestimi në Kosovë të 281 hebrenjve dhe të 210 kuadrove komunistë, divizioni Skënderbeu u shpërbë në nëntor 1944. Deri në atë kohë pjesa më e madhe e rekrutëve ishte arratisur dhe kthyer në shtëpi. Të rinjtë punëkërkues në këto pamje duket se nuk hamendësojnë se çfarë i pret. Fotot e tjera tregojnë festat për kthimin në Kosovë të të burgosurve politik shqiptarë – burrat të cilët kishin shërbyer në armatën jugosllave, ishin marrë peng nga forcat gjermane në vitin 1941, dhe në maj 1944 me në fund u liruan dhe u kthyen në Kosovë, me kusht që ti bashkëngjisin divizionit Skënderbeu ose forcave të tjera progjermane në “luftën kundër bolshevizmit.”
Robert Elsie Early Photography in Albania
KGW001: German officers recruiting for the SS Skanderbeg in Kosovo (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW002: Bedri Pejani (1885-1946), head of the Second League of Prizren (l.), talking to SS Commander August Schmidhuber (1901-1947) (r.), Kosovo (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW003: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW004: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW005: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW006: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW007: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW008: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW009: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW010: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW011: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW012: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW013: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW014: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW015: Young Kosovo Albanians being recruited into the SS Scanderbeg (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW016: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW017: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW018: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW019: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW020: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW021: Arrival in Kosovo (Prishtina?) of a train bringing back released Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW022: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW023: German SS Commander August Schmidhuber in Prishtina on the occasion of the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW024: German SS Commander August Schmidhuber speaking in front of the one-time Skanderbeg Hotel in Prishtina through his interpreter on the occasion of the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW025: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW026: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW027: Street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). KGW028: Drummer at street celebrations marking the return to Kosovo of Albanian prisoners of war (photo: Georg Westermann, May 1944). jquery image lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1