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Special SS battalion "Dirlewanger"

(the first man on the left is Oscar Dirlewanger)

A squad which was originally called "Oranienburg poacher squad" (appeared in June 1940) later became a "Dirlewanger special squad". In November 1942 it was renamed and was called a special battalion. Still some time later it acquired the name of a regiment, and then finally of a Dirlewanger SS troops storm brigade. It also officially bore the name of the "36th SS troops Grenadier division". At the beginning it was made of prisoners arrested for poaching. Later prisoners from concentration camps started to arrive. They were mostly criminals, who committed serious and heinous crimes. The subordinates in the squad were often beaten, severely punished and shot. Often it was Dirlewanger himself who committed atrocities. The whole squad was notorious for its violent behaviour with civilians. The battalion participated in the following punitive operatins in Belorussia: "May-bug", "Nordsee", "Karlsbad", "Frida", "Horgnung", "Jacob", "Magic flute", "Kottbus", "Gunter", "German" and others.

Members of motorcycle riflemen platoon of the Dirlewanger SS battalion

From the summer of 1942 till the summer of 1944 Dirlewanger troops were mostly employed on the territory of Belarus. The battalion was stationed in the city of Logoisk. The 118th police battalion which was under Dirlewanger's supervision was just 28 km away from Logoisk, in the small town of Pleschinitsy. Over 200 villages were destroyed by the Dirlewanger squad and more than 120 thousand people were killed by them.

Apart from the major enumerated operations the special battalion and its subordinates outraged locally, too. They committed violence in the regions of Pleschinitsy, Logoisk and Begoml. So, the village of Khatyn was burned down on March 22.

In September 1944 the thugs stifled the "Polish people army" rebellion in Warsaw, and then neutralized the rebellious movement in Slovakia.

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