UNSERE WAFFEN SS "UNDER COVER"
UNSERE WAFFEN SS "UNDER COVER"
WAR REPORTER : BAUMANN
The postcard series Our Waffen SS was issued by permission of the SS - Fuhrungshauptamt (the SS Main Office for guidance, led by Heinrich Himmler) and was a part of the Nazi propaganda machine.
All the Waffen SS divisions had attached to them a Waffen SS Kreigsberichter ( war reporter ) company or platoon. All the postcards from this series are based on the images taken by these war reporters.
The postcards series Our Waffen SS consists of 60 different postcards, divided into two sets. The sets have either the number 373 or the number 374 printed on the top right of the card within the area where a stamp would placed.
All the postcards have on the reverse (address side), at the top left, two lines of text. The top line is Unsere Waffen SS and below that, a smaller format text describing the image on the front side. Furthermore, on the reverse of all postcards, at the bottom left, is text indicating the name of the war reporter who took the photograph and an authorization for publication which translates to "permission from the SS-Fuhrungshauptamt".
The postcards are all a standard size of 4.2 x 5.9 inches (10.5 x 14.8 cm) and are printed by the Kunstverlag E.A. Schwerdtfeger & Co AG., Berlin. This information is printed on the reverse of all the postcards with vertical text in the center, dividing the card into two sections. All postcards are printed on a good quality cream base photographic stock with letter press printing on the reverse in black.
Our Waffen SS postcards were found to have several variations of the text on the reverse. This may be due to several printing editions, or printing at multiple facilities.
The earliest used postcard so far seen is from December 23, 1942. From this we surmise that the postcard images are all from Spring of 1941 through the Fall of 1942, starting with the attack on Greece and the Balkans and then the invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941 (attack named Operation Barbarossa after Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of the holy Roman Empire), where 129 German divisions, divided into three Army groups, implemented Adolf Hitler's dream of Lebensraum (living space) for the population of Germany. Operation Barbarossa ended in December 1941.
At the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the Waffen SS had only six divisions and approximately 160,000 men. By May of 1945 it contained 39 divisions and approximately 900,000 men. The Waffen SS units participating in Operation Barbarossa were the divisions Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Das Reich, Totenkoft, Polizei, Wiking (from July 1, 1941), Nord , 9th SS Standarte (SS Infantry Regiment 9) and SS Volunteer Battalion Nordost. There were also additional reserve and independent units from Administrative Department, Concentration Camp Inspectorate, SS Officer & NCO Schools, SS Guard Battalions, and SS Garrison Posts.
I believe the postcards are images from the battles on the Eastern Front ( June 1941 - May 1945 ) and from the Greece campaign ( Operation Marita, April 6, 1941), where 21 German divisions, including the Waffen SS Division Leibstandarte, attacked Greece and Yugoslavia due to the reverse suffered by the Italian forces and their weak performance in the region.