Azeri SS Volunteer Formations were volunteers (mostly) prisoners of war from the USSR, and from the countries annexed by Russia after 1939. They were organized to fight against the Soviets on the German side.
The sweeping initial victories of Operation Barbarossa produced hundreds of thousands of non-Russian soldier prisoners in the POW cages of the German Army. All of them were hungry, many were starving. In a mere eight months of 1941-42, the invading German armies killed an estimated 2.8 million Soviet POWs through starvation, exposure, and summary execution. Conditions in the prison camps were atrocious. "There were no barracks or permanent housing. The camps were simply open areas fenced off with barbed wire. The prisoners had to lie in the sun, then in mud, and in the fall—with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius—faced the possibility of freezing to death."
The foreign Waffen beginnings were shrouded in great secrecy, for fear of Hitler who was categorically opposed to any form of participation of Soviet citizens in the war against Russia. But the needs of the army on the Eastern Front induced German commanders to accept the services of volunteers to fight the Soviet regime even against the clear orders of the Supreme Command.Russian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht in WWII by Lt. Gen Wladyslaw Anders and Antonio... Read More