Wiking: A Dutch SS-er on the Eastern front (Eyewitness 1939 - 1945)
Henk Kistemaker wrote a unique report about his war experiences as a member of the Waffen-SS. Percentage wise most volunteers for the German Waffen-SS, about 25,000 men, came from the Netherlands. The first division in which a contingent Dutch men served, was the SS Division Wiking. This division was deployed shortly after the invasion of Russia in 1941. She fought among others in Ukraine. During the summeroffensive of 1942 Wiking was able to penetrate deep into the Caucasus. In 1944 the Russian encirclement at Tsjerkassy was broken. In May 1945, most Wikingers became American prisoners of war. Also the 18-year-old Henk Kistemaker volunteered, in a thirst for adventure and on the advice of his German-minded father, to be a participant in this war. On the Eastern Front he experienced the heavy and gruesome battles; first as an infantryman and later as a member of a Panther tankcrew. He was wounded three times. At the age of 22, when the war has ended, he was a warveteran. In the years before his death, in 2003, Henk Kistemaker wrote his memories. It became a fascinating and shocking report about a young Dutchman in the vortex of the war.
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