When whole Europe sided with the Nazis to destroy the Soviet Union

Few words about Hitlerian Europe On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War by Soviet people, articles dedicated to this war won't appear only in Russia. Recently, the Spanish newspaper ABC posted an article called "Horrendous way and icy deaths: The Blue Division's road to the Russian hell" which heroizes the Spanish participation in Hitler's acts of aggression against the USSR. ABC talks about how the Spanish minister Ramón Serrano Súñer announced the formation of the Blue Division and the recruitment of volunteers in front of a crowd and how he proclaimed: "History and Europe's future require the annihilation of Russia!". "There were countless volunteers" ABC wrote.

Seeing off the blue division in Madrid
Seeing off the blue division in Madrid


Today, Blue Division soldiers having participated together with Hitler in the blockade of Leningrad are described as heroes. The Spanish newspaper tells enthusiastically the story of how 5.9 thousand light-armed Blue Division soldiers resisted the "massive onslaught" (38 battalions, assisted by artillery and tanks) of the Red Army for several hours in Krasny Bor, a suburb of Leningrad.


The blue division marching cheerfully around the USSR.


Yet, Spanish readers won't be told that its compatriots have looted and behaved with brutality towards prisoners of war and the local population. While freeing the village Dubrovka in the Novgorod region, Red Army soldiers discovered mutilated corpses of Soviets which have been tortured by Blue Division soldiers: "Two corpses have been scalped (...). The facial bones of one of them were fragmented. The fingernails have been ripped off. The hands' wrists were blackened with smoke and there were burn marks on them. One eye of each corpse has been poked out. Their ears have been cut off as well. All these atrocities have been committed by the cutthroat Spanish Blue Division", the journalist of the newspaper Izvestia wrote in a report about the front.


The Reports of the Extraordinary State Commission (ESC) confirm that looting was a habitual activity Spanish volunteers were doing on the Eastern front. The investigations of war crimes have begun even before the end of World War II. The Spanish stole from Russians as well as from Germans. When freezing temperatures of 40 degrees below zero hit them in the winter of 1942, the heat-loving Spaniards stripped ruthlessly local residents. If the people disobeyed the orders or refused to give their warm clothes and felt boots, they have been shot. Ivan Alekseevich Mitrofanov from the village Gvosdets testified:

"In the same winter of 1942, some Spanish ripped the Valenkis (felt boots) off the feet of Grishin Michail Alekseevich who was walking on a field on a roadside. In bare feet and battered, he hardly arrived in the village. Many took the Valenkis from disabled persons, who lived in homes for invalids there. The Spanish took also all Valenkis from Filippova Praskovya Alekseevna, a further citizen, and beat her really badly up by using hand grenades. I have been threatened with a hand grenade either."


Boris Kovalev, Doctor of Historical Sciences and chief Researcher at the Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, witnessed that the conducted large-scale looting operations by the Spanish weren't different in Pushkin and Pavlovsk, near Leningrad...

"They smuggled out furniture. They smuggled out some tapestries. They could take some masonry ornamentals with them if they liked them. Many local residents remember that the Spanish took out everything that was possible to take out. They were attracted by paintings, by icons, by everything that hasn't been tied or fastened with nails. All of this was grabbed".

Today these looters and war criminals are represented as heroes in Spain.


Accompanied by Hitler, whole of Europe went to the East to seek glory. Soldiers from Hungary, Romania, Holland, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Slovakia and Croatia - in total about two million people - fought among the German Wehrmacht. "And France?"  Y. Leshchenko wrote in his book "How Europe fought against Hitler":

"This country is a special case. It's an ally and one of the four victorious countries. But during the Second World War twenty thousand fighters of the French Resistance died. 200 thousand French fought against us, on the Soviet-German front. So, who was France fighting against?"


French legionnaires go to the USSR


In May 1945, the Reichstag was defended by picked French SS troops. And near Stalingrad, Hitler and Mussolini sent an entire Italian army, which was totally defeated there. Hungarian punishers left blood trails behind in the Belarus Polesye and in Ukraine and did not take Partisans and Red Army soldiers as prisoners - but shot them on the spot. Dutch from the SS Division "Nordland" killed, burned and raped near Leningrad and Rhzev. Even hefty German cutthroats were shocked by the atrocities the Croatians committed against survivors near Stalingrad. The Brest Fortress was bombed by Austrians, they destroyed the first Belarusian villages on June 22nd and 23rd 1941.


Europe helped Hitler not only by providing "cannon fodder" - the whole European industry worked for the Nazis.

"In Poland," Y. Leshschenko wrote "it were the main metallurgical and machine building plants as well as the coal mines of Upper Silesia - in total 294 great, 35 thousand middle and small industrial enterprises. In France - the metallurgical and steel industry in Lorraine, the complete automotive and aviation industry, the reserves of iron, copper, aluminum, magnesium, cars, precision mechanics, machines and the rolling stock. In Norway - its powerful mining, metallurgical and shipbuilding industry and the manufacturing facilities of ferroalloys. In Yugoslavia - copper and bauxite deposits. In the Netherlands - besides the industrial enterprises, its gold reserves (171.6 tons of gold)."


Germans at a tank factory in the Czech Republic


According to the German war economy's control center, the military costs of France, Belgium and Holland for the Third Reich amounted to 81 billion 35 million Reichsmark only on March 31st 1944. Nearly 13 billion 866 million weapons and equipment of the shops of 857 factories, formerly connected to the Czech Republic and especially to Austria, were at the disposal of the Fuhrer. France and the Czech Republic have together provided Germany with about 10 thousand tanks and self-propelled guns. This is almost twice as much the amount as the official allies of the Reich, Italy and Hungary, provided Hitler. In the city on the Neva, people still remember that Germans fired heavy French guns at Leningrad.


The end of Hitlers accomplices in the USSR


The European Union continues to put pressure on Russia by imposing economic sanctions, just like whole Europe participated in the aggression against USSR back then. This has been a Hitlerian European Union and this can be seen even today: the monument to Ivan Konev, liberator and Marshal of the Soviet Union, was removed in Prague.

Vladimir Malyshev

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