Translated from the Third Reich original Aufbruch: Briefe von germanischen Freiwilligen der SS-Division Wiking. The first edition was published by the Reichsführer-SS – SS-Hauptamt on April 20, 1942. This short book consists of letters from Waffen-SS war volunteers from Holland, Flanders, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as a few from their family members. These letters deal with enlistment, training and the front, but all above with what the men themselves felt and thought. These men were volunteers who came from lands where National Socialism had more foes than friends. The seven obituaries at the end of the original book are also included in English translation.
Yesterday it was a year. It still stands so clearly before our eyes. At a lightning pace came blow after blow. It was Germany’s eternal energy that paved the way against every enemy, even the Belgian enemy, the misfortune of us all. What a difference to now! Back then, in khaki blouse, I had to defend the lazy Belgian state, today I wear field-grey. How far forward have we come in Flanders. That is certainly not owed to us ourselves, rather above all to Germany. For the longer I am hear, the more I understand what a non-commissioned officer once told us: all of you must feel happy that you could and were allowed to come here. Yes, it is only all too true that the Reich wants to elevate us from our dismemberment and deep decline of a millennium long suppression to its height: not under it, rather next to it! Our Hauptsturmführer spoke to us so beautifully in the lecture hall: “When I see you sitting here before me in field-grey, when I view your heads and faces, then I cannot distinguish you from German lads. You Flemings belong to our race, you are one of our tribes. You belong, like we, in the same, great Reich of all Germans!” And then he spoke about the strength, the greatness and the life will of Germanic men, about their invincibility, and see, comrades, I felt a soul living within me, and I thought: “If the comrades were here as well!”
* * * * *
Yesterday and today we made an excursion into the surrounding area. What beauty! A master folk lives here. Do you still remember how the NSKK man with you at home said each German feels himself as master! Now I can comprehend that, because I discern and see it daily. Thus the whole German folk as well stands unified and ardently thankful behind the man who created all this: Adolf Hitler. And that he permits us Flemings to learn that here and to absorb it into ourselves, in order to later carry it out and build it up among us in Flanders, must fill us with love and gratitude toward him.
With pride and gratitude in our heart we entreat the leader of all Germanic men to accept us into the great Reich and to lead us into a happy and blessed future of all Germanic men!
* * * * *
It may be that it is not downright pleasant with “lying down”, that means taking cover in meter deep snow, but one must close the eyes and fight one’s way through. “Service is service and brandy is brandy” is a perfect expression that is often used here. “War is war and peace is peace” I would figure; for now there is time for nothing but proving our race, i.e. its superiority. To bring the proof that we are the ones who have the right to life, to life and through our vitality also to rule! One day, when the third Asiatic invasion is eliminated and when England is vanguished and there as well the common good goes before the individual good, when it marches along in the European New Order with open eyes, then I can rest and relax. And I will see you again one day without yearning, without pain, without war and struggle; filled with sun, happiness, freedom, peace and genuine culture; then I will come again. And if it should come to pass that at the age of twenty I must fall for Europe’s and Sweden’s freedom, I will have nonetheless accomplished my task, carried out my manly deed.
* * * * *
These three months were a great and eventful time. In these three months, namely, I have transformed into a soldier, a soldier of the kind such as the Germans want him. I have learned to behave as is appropriate for a soldier and have really entered into the soldier’s life. At first it was difficult to become accustomed to everything new; but now I am familiar with everything. It was, for example, without a doubt unusual to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning and to wash naked from the waist up in cold water; but now I can’t image any other way to start the day. It is refreshening and toughening at the same time, as is the whole of soldier life. That is probably also the reason why I feel so fresh here such as never before in my life. One must get into shape with 4 – 5 hours exercise daily and additional sports. And I have learned something else during these months, namely to be conscientious and pure and to reply on oneself. Furthermore, this time was a kind of housewife school. After all, one must do everything oneself. Making the bed in the morning, doing the wash oneself, polishing boots. In the latter, a have enormous experience. In geography and German I have acquired substantial knowledge; for I have been in almost all of Germany’s important cities. I didn’t hike around everywhere, but travelled through them by train. And, whether you believe it or not, I have not seen a trace of bombs. Here, where we’re at now, there hasn’t even been an air alarm.