The Waffen-SS: A European History

The Waffen-SS

Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2017, with Jochen Böhler

This is the first systematic pan-European study of the hundreds of thousands of non-Germans who fought — either voluntarily or under different kinds of pressures — for the Waffen-SS (or auxiliary police formations operating in the occupied East). Building on the findings of regional studies by other scholars — many of them included in this volume — The Waffen-SS aims to arrive at a fuller picture of those non-German citizens (from Eastern as well as Western Europe) who served under the SS flag. Where did the non-Germans in the SS come from (socially, geographically, and culturally)? What motivated them? What do we know about the practicalities of international collaboration in war and genocide, in terms of everyday life, language, and ideological training? Did a common transnational identity emerge as a result of shared ideological convictions or experiences of extreme violence? In order to address these questions (and others), The Waffen-SS adopts an approach that does justice to the complexity of the subject, adding a more nuanced, empirically sound understanding of collaboration in Europe during World War II, while also seeking to push the methodological boundaries of the historiographical genre of perpetrator studies by adopting a transnational approach.

Link to the publisher’s website

The book has also been published in Polish.


“[an] important contribution to the history of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and the social and cultural history of the Second World War.” – Ángel Alcalde, Contemporary European History

“the authors unpack a complex and multivarious set of motives for joining the Waffen-SS … The result is a much more complete yet nuanced view of the Waffen-SS than has been typical. The volume editors deserve commendation for this important addition to the literature.” – Robert M. Citino, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“[O]utstanding.[P]rovides a comprehensive examination of the SS’s mobilization of Europe’s manpower for the German war effort” – Jeff Rutherford, H-German

“Mandatory reading on Nazi collaborators… Essential.” – CHOICE

“it will be essential reading to better understand this military and political institution in all its strange and malevolent detail.” – Adrian Gilbert, War Books Review