Monday, May 14, 2012

Weissruthenische-Polizei(SD)-Bataillon No 13

The 13th (Belarusian) Battalion of the SD Auxiliary Police, also known as Schutzmannschafts Bataillon der SD 13, was formed in Minsk, Belarus, on January/February 1943. The battalion has three companies and consisted 1,000 strong Belarusian auxiliary police SD. The officer and NCO corps was mixed and included both the Germans and the Belarusians—many of the latter were former Polish and Soviet non-commissioned officers.

A characteristic feature of the 13th SD battalion was using a white-red white shoulder badge, which was worn on the left sleeve above the elbow. The battalion was equipped and armed in compliance with the standards presented by German field units Waffen-SS.

The battalion main task is to fought guerillas, included participated in Operation Kottbus, one of the biggest anti-partisan operations in Belarus (20 May – 21 June 1943). But the Germans also used theirs Belarusian cohorts as guard unit in a few concentration camps in Belarus and took part in the extermination of Jewish people living in the ghettoes in Nie´swiez and Horodyszcz. 

After the withdrawal from Belarus in the summer of 1944 it probably took part in the suppression of Warsaw’s Uprising. Its companies later were scattered around the whole Europe: some served in Eastern Prussia, the remaining were send to Czechoslovakia and Italy. Demoralized, some of her members deserted and fought together with the Red Army in Poland and the resistance movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Italy.

When the war ended, about 150 ex-members of the 13th SD battalion that fought the Red Army in Eastern Prussia managed to get to Denmark and then surrendered to the Allies. The remaining were captured by the Red Army or tried to hide among Polish civilians, by posing as war refugees to escape from Stalin retribution. However, the Communist secret services succeed to track down some former members of the 13th battalion who were tried and convicted for the atrocities committed against civilians.

Jerzy Grzybowski, "An Outline History of the 13th (Belarusian) Battalion of the SD Auxiliary Police (Schutzmannschafts Bataillon der SD 13)". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 23, Issue 3, 2010.

Antonio J. Munoz and Oleg V. Romanko. Hitler's White Russians: Collaboration, Extermination and Anti-Partisan Warfare in Byelorussia, 1941-1944.  Axis Europa, 2003