SS Soldbuch to SS Sturmmann Karl Heinz Ermke
Ermke joined the Waffen SS at 17 years old, he was born into a Catholic family in Köln in 1927.
His SS Soldbuch was issued to him in March of 1944, in Nuremberg Germany at the SS training unit for Radio communications. His rank designation was SS Funker (SS Radio Man).
Promotion: SS Sturmmann – SS Regiment Deutschland 1.4.1945
Ermke was assigned to the following frontline units:
SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen : Bataillon Nieschlag in mid 1944.
It would seem that the FPNR on the Soldbuch cover matches:
32208 E (8.9.1943-22.4.1944) – SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 37 (17. SS-Division).
It seems Nieschald to whom Ermke was assigned, was a war criminal. If Ermke was also involved we will likely never know.
”In Graignes 25 wounded paratroopers from the 3rd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and 30 civilians were killed after the village was captured by 2. Bataillon of the SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 38 under the command of SS-Sturmbannführer Nieschlag after two days of heavy fighting.”
The 17. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Götz von Berlichingen was raised October 1943 from replacement units and conscripts. It saw action against the US forces in Normandy from 10 June 1944 and suffered heavy losses. The surviving parts of the division refitted in the Saar during Sep and took of manpower from Heer and Waffen-SS stragglers. It fought around Metz in October and November before once again retreating to the Saar, seeing action there in December.
SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 3 “Deutschland” – Das Reich
On January 12, the enemy managed to break into the northern part of Les Tailles. On January 13th, after detachment, the regiment moved to the wooded areas east of Wilwerdingen. On January 14, the regiment moved to the woods north of Holler. On January 15 the regiment had to be withdrawn across the Ourthe. It marched via Burg – Reuland – Winterspelt – Bleialf to Brandscheid, where it passed between the West Wall bunkers. From February 8th to 13th the regiment was then transferred to the Hungary area. The regiment moved into accommodation at Bö – Sarkany. Subsequent replacements came to the regiment, the weapons and the regiment were repaired. On March 2, 1945, the regiment was alerted again. The II. Battalion remained in the accommodation room because it was not ready for action. The regiment was to take part in Operation Spring Awakening, the final offensive in the Southeast. The attack against the Russian troops began on March 6, but after a few initial successes, it got stuck after just a few kilometers. Heavy fighting broke out at Sarkeresztur. The fighting lasted until March 18, then the regiment was pulled out of the front. and transferred to the area north of Varpalota, where it was used against a Russian offensive towards the Vertes Mountains. On March 22, 1945, the area south-east of Raab was reached. The regiment had to fend off heavy Russian attacks in this area. On March 26, the regiment’s retreat began. On March 31, 1945, the regiment left the area south of Esterhazy with the last backups. The regimental staff moved to Wallern. The regiment was then used in early April in the defensive battles around Vienna. The regiment then marched further north-west. On April 19, 1945, the regiment replaced the “Der Führer” regiment in the Gansbach and Kirschlag security line. On April 20, the regiment prepared to attack St. Pölten from the west. But the attack was called off. The regiment was transferred to the Passau area, where it was used again against the Americans. On April 29th the regiment was relieved and Passau was lost. The regiment was up in the air. On May 5, it was still in combat contact with the Americans at Ernshofen and then secured the Danube – Enns – Ernsthofen line. On May 8, the regiment was taken prisoner by the Americans near Enns.
Issued a K98 Rifle and Bayonet: in March 1944 and again in May of 1944
Ermke was captured by US Troops, as per page 1 his POW number indicates.
This is a great SS Soldbuch to two famous SS Divisions. The line of when he was with who is grey, although with further research this could unveil more. He was certainly with SS-Sturmbannführer Nieschlag who was a known war criminal. This is over all a great example of a SS Soldbuch with clear uniform photo. According to the security stamps it seems like he was twice assigned to a training unit and twice sent to a different SS Division. What is certain was he spent the last months of the war with Das Reich. A little more research could be done with this one by the new owner.