At the beginning of the Second World War Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway, but left neutral Sweden alone. Less than a year later citizens from all three of those Scandinavian nations volunteered to join the Nazi Waffen-SS and go and fight on the newly formed Eastern Front against Stalin's Soviet Union. By the end of the war in 1945 the number of Scandinavians who had fought in the Waffen-SS had reached the thousands. Casualties were high, but there were survivors and they returned home, often to face retribution and condemnation. As time marches on the veterans are passing away. This book is about the war they fought in their own words - their last testament before they are all gone.
The motivation of these men was complex: many volunteered through a deep hatred of communism, particularly in light of Moscow's invasion of Finland in the Winter War. Some, of course, simply believed in Hitler's vision of a new world order, while others were just young men with a craving for adventure.
The Scandinavian Waffen-SS, in various configurations, saw action on The Eastern Front from 1941 onwards - at the siege of Leningrad, in the cauldron of the Demyansk Pocket, in the Caucasus, and famously at Narva in Estonia and back into Germany itself with the remnants fighting to virtual extinction in the ruins of Berlin as the war came to a bloody close. For these men who had chosen the `wrong' side, the war was certainly not over. Some fled to Germany, some returned home to recrimination and prison. The author has interviewed some of the last survivors who tell their story with absolute truthfulness: after so many years, they have nothing to lose. The interviews and images gathered by Jonathan Trigg are vital historical documents.
Having passed out from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Jonathan Trigg served as an infantry officer in the Royal Anglian Regiment, completing tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, as well as in the Gulf. After working in the City, he now has his own business training the long-term unemployed to get them into work. His previous books include Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front.