2x58 min WW2 Documentary
What makes a young person leave his own country to fight for the enemy? During the Second World War it was illegal for Swedes to join Hitler ́s army. Nonetheless, 270 Swedes voluntarily left neutral Sweden to fight in Hitler ́s special force Waffen SS. Who were they? And why did they risk their lives for such an atrocious cause?
Why this film?
History does not repeat itself but humans seem to do just that. Today we see a lot of young radicalised Europeans leaving their own countries behind to fight for ISIS. During the second world war Waffen SS was an elite army of volunteers recruited with the purpose of executing Hitler ́s Nazi ideology. We see a common trace that continues throughout history â€“ young people leaving their own democratic societies following a belief strong enough for them to risk their lives for an undemocratic ideology.
The Swedes who left to fight for Germany were under constant surveillance by Swedish secret service. Their letters and diaries were scrutinised and their phone calls tapped by eager agents. Until a few years ago these documents were classified. By digging deep into the, recently opened, archives we can now get closer to the truth behind who the Swedish SS-soldiers really were.
They came from different backgrounds â€“ upper to working class â€“ and they were all promised money, women and a prosperous future if they proved to be devoted enough to the ideological struggle. They left family and friends behind for an unknown but enticing destiny. A few of them fled unemployment, boredom, crime and dysfunctional families. Some of them were convinced Nazis others more attracted by the adventure.
The new recruit Hans Caspar Kreuger writes in a letter to his family in Sweden:
And all of us volunteers in Waffen-SS are on our way to the front line. I ́m the only Swede but I still feel at home. I have so much more in common with these comrades than I had with most of my â€śdemocraticâ€ť countrymen (...).
The story is told in 2x58 min documentaries that are built up by letters and diaries with voice over, unique archive material, reconstructions and contemporary interviews with relatives and survivors. The material takes us back in history far behind the scenes of the Second World War. The documentaries Hitler ́s Swedish SS soldiers give us the perspective of the defeated with an in depth look into the life of 10-12 Swedish SS soldiers. Their fate leads us right up to modern time.
The story arch starts and ends with the â€śinnocentâ€ť setting of neutral Sweden before and after WW2. From the start in Sweden the story stretches along the chronology of the war. The SS-Swedes participate in all cardinal events from the beginning of the war to the devastating defeat of the Germans in Berlin. The Swedish SS-soldiers fight in the final battle
in Berlin and did some of the survivors bear eyewitness to Adolf Hitler ́s and Eva Braun ́s macabre wedding only few hours before they commit suicide?
The story is told with a human touch â€“ the soldiers are portrayed through excerpts from their correspondence with worried families, friends and girlfriends and also through their own documentation of their experiences of life at war. This is a psychological story â€“ Hitler ́s Swedish SS soldiers depicts the human being behind the soldier rather than the battles.
While some of the Swedish SS soldiers witnessed the atrocities of the war and started to doubt Hitler ́s ideology others returned to Sweden more convinced than ever. The returning survivors were never punished in Sweden. A few of them â€śDie alten KĂ¤mpferâ€ť â€“ the old combatants â€“ kept on proclaiming their racist ideas fostering new generations of Nazis in Scandinavia.