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  • A Rehabilitation Letter from SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger; 36th Waffen Grenadier Division
  • A Rehabilitation Letter from SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger; 36th Waffen Grenadier Division
  • A Rehabilitation Letter from SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger; 36th Waffen Grenadier Division

Item: G26455

A Rehabilitation Letter from SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger; 36th Waffen Grenadier Division

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A Rehabilitation Letter from SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger; 36th Waffen Grenadier Division

Measuring 20.8x14.2mm, dated 1945, signed by SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger, sent to the SS-Führungshauptamt (Leader Headquarters) in Berlin, department IIb (rehabilitation of NCOs and crews).The letter is signed with a stamp carrying the Feldpost (field mail) number 00512. In March 1945, this number was assigned to the Staff of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger, named after their commander, Oskar Dirlewanger (1895–1945). The letter carries his signature in blue ink.

Footnote: Oskar Dirlewanger has been described by several historians as one of the most brutal and sadistic Nazi soldiers, one going so far to call him “the most evil man in the SS”. He fought in the First World War, was wounded six times, and earned the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class. During the Second World War he led the 36th Division, which was made up of convicted criminals. They were put to fighting against partisans, but also to kill civilians in occupied Belarus and in the Warsaw Uprising. The unit is infamous for possibly being the one unit that committed the most, and most atrocious, war crimes. For his actions in Belarus, Dirlewanger received the German Cross in Gold, and after the Warsaw Uprising, he was promoted to SS-Oberführer in August 1944, and received the Iron Cross of the Knight’s Cross in October. He went on to lead his unit in the suppression of the Slovak National Uprising. The letter states that several infantrymen ((B)-Schützen) are to be rehabilitated since January 30, 1945. The names came with an additional list. Their personnel records are to be updated. Since the men in Dirlewanger’s unit were criminals who could seek rehabilitation in fighting for the German Reich, this is a letter about several men who had redeemed themselves in this way. The letter is dated to O.-U. on March 1, 1945. O.-U. stands for Ortsunterkunft (cantonment). This was used when the actual location was not revealed for security reasons.

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