Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work

Title:
Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work
Author:
Steffen Werther: Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden Madeleine Hurd: Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2014
Volume:
6
Theme:
Theme: Social Movements - Ritual Space and Media Edited by Madeleine Hurd

Pages:
327-359
No. of pages:
33
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-04-17


This article uses social-movement analysis to understand the rituals, memory-work and spatialties of Waffen-SS veterans and their sympathizers. Most social-movement analysis focuses on left-wing protesters; our concern is with the marginalized counter-narratives, rituals and -spaces produced by the self-proclaimed misunderstood “heroes” of World War Two. This counter-hegemonic self-definition is essential to these former world-war soldiers who, despite an internal mythology of idealistic self-sacrifice, are vilified in West-European master narra-tives. We discuss how, during the 1990s, veterans and their sympathizers sought to replace rituals of memory-work in the newly-opened East. We look at how the Waffen-SS’s ritual memory-work is “replaced” in alternative settings, including – perhaps surprisingly – Russia itself. Here, Waffen-SS veterans use new, official, semi-sacred places to anchor both an alternative identity and an alternative definition of the central meanings of modern European history.

Keywords: Waffen-SS; veterans; memory work; ritual; place; commemoration; European mas-ter narratives; World War Two; Estonia; Ukraine; Russia

Volume 6, Theme: Theme: Social Movements - Ritual Space and Media Edited by Madeleine Hurd

, Article 18, 2014

Author:
Steffen Werther, Madeleine Hurd
Title:
Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327
References:

Articles and Books (including revisionist histories by veterans)

Carlos Berstain, Darío Paez & José Luis González (2000): ”Rituals, Social Sharing, Silence, Emotions and Collective Memory Claims”, Psicothema 12.

Burch, Stuart & David J. Smith (2007): “Empty Spaces and the Value of Symbols: Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’ from Another Angle”, Europe-Asia Studies, 59:6.

Bottici, Chiara (2010): “European Identity and the Politics of Eemembrance”, Karin Tilmans, Frank van Vree & Jay Winter (eds): Performing the Past: Memory, History, and Identity in Modern Europe, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Brüggemann, Karsten & Andres Kasekamp (2008): “The Politics of History and the ‘War of Monuments’ in Estonia”, Nationalities Papers, 36:3, 441.

“‘Der Freiwillige’. The Next Generation” (2001): Antifa Infoblatt,53:2. Available at: https://www.antifainfoblatt.de/artikel/%C2%BBder-freiwillige%C2%AB-next-generation (accessed 3 March 2014).

Elliott, Michael (2011): “Our Memorials, Ourselves”, American Quarterly,63:1, March. 229-240.

Ender, Morton, Paul Bartone & Thomas Kolditz (2003): “Fallen Soldiers: Death and the U.P. Military”, Clifton D Bryant. (ed.): Handbook of Death and Dying, Volume 2: The Response to Death (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference).Available on http://omnilogos.com/fallen-soldiers-death-and-the-u-s-military/ (accessed 3 March 2014).

Gray, J. Glen (1998/1970): The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, Lincoln, Nebraska.: University of Nebraska Press.

Halbwachs, Maurice (1941/1952/1992): On Collective Memory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hårseth, Espen Olavson (2010): Folk og Land 1967-75. Fra rehabilitering til nyfascistisk Opposisjonsorgan. Master thesis in history, Oslo university: http://www.webkontoret.no/NFF/NFF.htm (accessed 3 March 2014).

Heiber, Helmut (1968): Reichsführer!....- Briefe an und von Himmle: XE: Himmler, Heinrich, Stuttgart: DVA.

Krabbe, Oluf (1976/1998): Danske soldater i kamp på Østfronten 1941-1945, Odense: Odense Universitetsforlag.

Landwehr, Richard (1981): Narva 1944: The Waffen-SS and the Battle for Europe, Silver Spring: Bibliophile Legion Books.

Large, David Clay (1987): “Reckoning without the Past: The HIAG of the Waffen-SS and the Politics of ehabilitation in the Bonn Republic, 1950-1961”, The Journal of Modern History 59:1, 79-113. DOI: 10.1086/243161

Mabire, Jean (1980): La Division “Wiking”, Paris, Fayard.

MacAloon, John (1984): “Olympic Games and the Theory of Spectacle in Modern Societies”, John MacAloon (ed.):  Rite, Drama, Festival, Spectacle. Rehearsals Toward a Theory of Cultural Performance, Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.

Manning, Kathleen (2000): Rituals, Ceremonies, and Cultural Meaning in Higher Education,  Westport, Ct.: JF Bergin & Garvey.

Massey, Doreen (1994): Space, Place, and Gender, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Massey, Doreen (1995): For Space, London: Sage Publications.

Maimann, Kevin (2013): “Edmonton Ceremonies Mark Remembrance Day”, posted 11  November 2013: http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/11/11/edmonton-ceremonies-mark-remembrance-day  (accessed 3 March 2014).

Olick, Jeffrey & Joyce Robbins (1998): “Social Memory Studies: From Collective Memory to the Historical Sociology of Menemonic Practices”, Annual Review of Sociology, 24.

Páez, Dari, Nekane Basabe & Jose Luis Gonzales (1997): ”Social Processes and Collective Memory”, J.W. pennebaker, Dario Páez, Bernard Rimé (eds): Collective Memory of Political Events, Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Ehrlbaum.

Raabe, Jan &Andreas Speit (2005): “Hiag-Jubiläum: Generation Erlebnis”, jungle world, 1:6.

Roche, Helen (2013): Sparta’s German Children, Swansea: The classical press of Wales.

Scutts, Joanna & Brad West (2008): “Enchanting Pasts: The Role of International Civil Religious Pilgrimage in Reimagining National Collective Memory”, Sociological Theory,26:3.

Smith, David J. (2008): “‘Woe from Stones’: Commemoration, Identity Politics and Estonia’s ‘War of Monuments’”, Journal of Baltic Studies 39:4, 419-430. DOI: 10.1080/01629770802461191

Steiner, Felix (1958): Die Freiwilligen, Idee und Opfergang, Göttingen: Presse Verlag.

Straßner, Peter (1971): Europäische Freiwillige: Die Geschichte der 5. SS Panzerdivision Wiking, Osnabrück: Munin.

Troebst, Stefan (2005): “Jalta versus Stalingrad, Gulag versus Holocaust. Konfligierende Erinnerungskulturen im größeren Europa”, Berliner Journal für Soziologie 15:3. DOI: 10.1007/s11609-005-0206-3

Turner, Terence (1977): ”Transformation, Hierarchy, and Transcendence: a Reformulation of Van Gennep’s Model of the Structure of Rites of Passage”, Sally Moore & Barbara Meyerhoff (eds): Secular Ritual, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Wegner, Bernd (2006): Hitlers Politische Soldaten: Die Waffen-SS 1933-1945, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh.

West, Brad (2009): ”Battlefield Cemeteries, Pilgrimage, and Literature after the First World War: The Burial of the Dead”, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 52:4.

Wildt, Michael (2003): Generation des Unbedingten, Das Führungskorps des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition.

Wilke, Karsten (2011): Die “Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit” (HIAG). Veteranen der Waffen-SS in der Bundesrepublik, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh.

Wulf, Meike (2007): “The Struggle for Official Recognition of ‘Displaced’ Group Memories in post-Soviet Estonia”, Michal Kopecek (ed.): Past in the Making: Recent History Revisions and Historical Revisionism in Central Europe after 1989, Budapest, New York: Central European Press.  

Journals

Der Freiwillige:
Der Freiwillige 1993/39/2 (February): “Eine Reise nach Uspenskaja”.

Der Freiwillige 1993/39/4 (April): “Ein Brief aus Estland” and “Spendenaufruf”

Der Freiwillige 1993/39/5 (May): “Brief aus Estland”.

Der Freiwillige 1993/39/9 (September): Ehrhard Schmidt, “Das Kreuz von Uspenskaja”.

Der Freiwillige 1993/39/11 (November): “Wiedersehen in Elva/Estland”.

Der Freiwillige 1994/40/10 (October): “Freiheitskämpfer”.

Der Freiwillige 1995/41/7 (July): “50 Jahre danach. Treffen der Europäischen Freiwilligen an der ehemaligen Grosskampfstätte”.

Der Freiwillige 1995/41/8 (August): “Mit Veteranen der Division Wiking nach Uspenskaja”.

Der Freiwillige 1995/41/11 (November): “Mit Flugzeug und Schiff nach Uspenskaja”.

Der Freiwillige 1997/48/5 (May): “Gedenkrede des Bürgermeisters Vello Kärsten”.

Der Freiwillige 1998/44/1 (January): Henri Frenet “Festrede”.

Der Freiwillige 2000/46/2 (February): “Geschichte”

Ein Fähnlein - Zur Erhaltung von Tugend und Tradition, Das neue Magazin für junge und alte Freiwillige:
Fähnlein 2012/1, cover-page; Henrik Ostendorf, “Veteranentreffen der europäischen Freiwilligen in Estland, Ein Reisebericht vom 28. Juli – 2. August 2011”, 6ff.

Fähnlein 2012/1, “SS-Division ‘Charlemagne’ – Gedenken in Bad Reichenhall. Ein Bekenntnis zur Duetsch-Französischen Freundschaft”. 

Fähnlein 2012/3, “Pommern”, www.freies-pommern.de, “HIAG section in NRW in Siebengebirge”.

Folk og Land:
Folk og Land 1983/8, “Minnevarde over falne frontkjempere i Bamble”.

Folk og Land 1993/10, “Bamble-Bautaen. Den taler for de tause”.

Folk og Land 1994/9, “Bamble – 3. Sept. 1994”.

Folk og Land 1996/7, “Regiment Norges falne har fått sin minnestein”.

Folk og Land 1996/8, “Minnesteinen i Vaivara, Borgermesterens tale ved avdukningen”.

Folk og Land 1998/7, “Legionærenes minnesten avduket i Krasnoye Selo”.

Folk og Land 2002/3, “Slik treffes tidligere fiender”.

Kriegsgräberstiftung Wenn alle Brüder schweigen”, Mitteilungsblatt
Wenn alle Brüder 2004:4 (October): “Letter from the editor”.

Wenn alle Brüder 2005:1 (February): “Letter from the editor”.

Wenn alle Brüder 2006:3 (September): “Baltikumbeauftragten”.

Wenn alle Brüder 2006:4 (December): “Denkmal für die Freiwilligen der Sturmbrigade ‘Wallonien’ eingeweiht”.

Wenn alle Brüder 2010:2, “Uspenka – nur noch wenige Meilensteine für ein außergewöhnliches Projekt”.

Neues vom Kameradenwerk Korps Steiner e.V.
Neues Korps Steiner 1996/8/16, “Einladung” and “Unsere diesjährige Estland-Fahrt vom 10. - 22. Juli 1996”.

Neues Korps Steiner 1997/9/18, “Zum Geleit”, “Kameraden” and “Estlandfahrt des Kamaradenwerks Korps Steiner”.

Other Newspapers and Newsjournals cited:
Aftonblad (2013): “SS-veteraner sammaldes i Tallin”, July 11.

The Algemeiner (2012): Per Anders Rutling, “The Waffen-SS as freedom fighters”,January 31.
Junge Welt (2012): “SS-Ehrung per Gesetz?” February 29.

Kultuur ja Elu (2009): “Eesti Leegioni Sõprade Klubi ootab aktiivseid kaasvõitlejaid”, No. 2, p. 68, to be read at http://kultuur.elu.ee/ke496_leegion.htm.

Monitor 1991/1, “Skammens monument”.

taz 2012/11/01, William Totok, “Verzerrte Geschichte in Osteuropa - Auferstehung der braunen Ungeheuer” and Reinhard Wolff, “Ehrung von Alt-Nazis - Die SS als Freiheitskämpfer”.

Telemarkavisen 2012/10/26, “Statspolitiman og frontkjemper”.

Telemark Arbeiderblad  1993/10/27, “Frontkjemper-bauta ribbet” and “Ingen kommentar, sier frontkjemper”.

Websites cited (several extreme right-wing):

“Anniversary Korean War” (2013): “60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, Schedule of Events”: http://www.c-span.org/video/?313959-1/60th-anniversary-korean-war-armistice&showFullAbstract=1 (accessed 3

arch 2014). Daserste.ndr.de (1998): http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/1998/erste7110.html (accessed 3 March 2014).

“Ein Zeitzeuge berichtet über seine Jugend” (2001): http://web.archive.org/web/20010413022319/musikerfuermeinungsfreiheit.virtualave.net/doku/feder/koblenz.htm (accessed 3 March 2014).

“Hintergrund Munin”: http://braunzonebw.blogsport.de/2011/01/13/hintergrund-munin-verlag-und-der-freiwillige/ (accessed 3 March 2014).

Huffingtonpost (2012): Richard Brodsky, “The Nazi Resurgence in Europe: The Waffen-SS Marches Again”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-brodsky/the-nazi-resurgence-in-europe_b_1331666.html (accessed 3 March 2014).

Info14.com (2006): http://www.info14.com/2006-08-01-under_bla_himmel_i_de_bla_bergen.html. Now to be found under: https://www.realisten.se/2006/07/31/under-bla-himmel-i-de-bla-bergen/ (accessed 3 March 2014).

Info14.com (2008): http://www.info14.com/2008-07-26-info-14_reporter_utvisad_fran_estland__svartlistas_i_tio_ar_utan_skal.html. Now to be found under: https://www.realisten.se/2008/07/26/info-14-reporter-utvisad-fran-estland-svartlistas-i-tio-ar-utan-skal/ (accessed 3 March 2014).

Latvian-ss-legion (2010): text to photo dated March 15, 2010, “The Problem of the Latvian Legion”, and subsequent commentary, in: http://latvianhistory.wordpress.com/tag/latvian-ss-legion/ (accessed 25 September 2013).

Metapedia (2013): “Esti Relvagrenaderide SS diviisi”, http://et.metapedia.org/wiki/20._Eesti_Relvagrenaderide_SS-diviisi_kokkutulek (accessed 3 March 2014).

Union Grove (2013). Union Grove, USA, 15th Veterans Memorial Ceremony: http://veteransceremony.org/. See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDYoZVgHscY (accessed 3 March 2014).

Vespen.no (1999): “SS-veteraner møtt avrasende demonstranter”: http://www.vepsen.no/monitorarkiv/artikler/ss299.htm (accessed 3 March 2014).

www.volksbund.de: Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V  http://www.volksbund.de/kriegsgraeberstaette/uspenskaja-uspenka.html (accessed 3 March 2014).
www.eestileegion.com (accessed 3 March 2014).

Volume 6, Theme:: Theme: Social Movements - Ritual Space and Media Edited by Madeleine Hurd

, Article 18, 2014

Author:
Steffen Werther, Madeleine Hurd
Title:
Go East, Old Man: The Ritual Spaces of SS Veterans’ Memory Work:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146327
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
No citations available at the moment
 

Export in BibTex, RIS or text