Hitler loved the supernatural, and out of this came the Werewolves! During 1945, the Germans became desperate as the end of the war approached. They knew that they were on the losing side as the Allied forces moved constantly closer. Because of this, Hitler turned to his intense interest in the occult, more specifically, the werewolf. Hitler believed these creatures could cause fear and confusion in his enemies. Therefore he created an elite paramilitary resistance group named Operation Werewolf. This force tried its best to kill the Allies whenever possible and to disrupt them from advancing into Nazi Germany.
Hitler’s Werewolves: Fact Or Fiction?
These “Werewolves,” though not taken seriously by General Patton, were considered a credible threat by the American military in general, who saw these scattered groups as “one of the greatest threats to security in both the American and Allied Zones of Occupation,” according to historian Stephen Fritz. Therefore, let’s look at Hitler’s deadly, supernaturally inspired recruits to see why these late-war killers were more than just a fabrication of ancient folklore.
Folklore Comes To Life
The choice of the werewolf as the symbol of the propaganda-fueled recruitment campaign and the Nazi guerillas themselves was no random choice for Hitler. From the start of the war and even earlier in his military career, he had always been fascinated with anything “out of this world” or supernatural. Hitler’s obsession with the occult combined with his love for spectacle and Nazi pageantry to create an enemy for the Allied forces that was both unpredictable and unconventional.
While the war raged, Hitler’s inner circle simultaneously searched for ancient, fabled artifacts—including the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant (Indiana Jones ring a bell?). Bizarrely, witchcraft, astrology, and occult symbols and practices influenced Hitler’s motives and actions to varying degrees.
Who Were These Man-Beasts?
The members of the Werewolves came from various sources. Some were from the military and from sympathetic volunteers who wanted to assist in the war’s final days. Nazi SS officers Adolf Prützmann and Otto Skorzeny led Operation Werwolf. Their recruits embraced this supernatural being in both name and ferocity as they infiltrated Allied camps. These attacks were planned from this operation’s headquarters, aptly named the “Wolf’s Lair.”
Although their ranks were initially filled with true Nazi military, civilian members were recruited through media outlets, such as radio broadcasts and printed sources. Shortly after that, the Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, reached out to the German public and urged citizens to join the occult-based Werewolf movement to eradicate Allied forces and German collaborators, and he was quite successful.
One Nazi female who spread the word of recruitment over the radio stated, “I am so savage. I am filled with rage. Lily the werewolf is my name. I bite, I eat, I am not tame. My werewolf teeth bite the enemy.” This combination of military and civilian “beasts” was organized and directed to spill the blood of any Allied forces within reach or of any German person who sympathized with the enemy.
Propaganda is one thing, but actual attacking and killing is another, and the Werewolves accomplished a lot of both. However, it did little to stop the Allies to any serious degree. The Werewolves, as mentioned above, were a hybrid force of both military soldiers and younger, even teenage recruits. The experienced men often acted as snipers and killed from afar, while the teenagers were trained for sabotage and the silent killing of Allied men.
These young recruits often were left behind in Allied-occupied cities to create chaos through subterfuge and hit-and-run tactics. They would target individual soldiers, such as one parked alone in his jeep, MP guards on patrol, or even men out on a stroll with their sweethearts. No one was safe from the violent opportunism of the Werewolves.
They also left marks on the walls of buildings. The Werewolf insignia consisted of a vertical straight line intersected by a horizontal line with a hook shape on either end. This was essentially the mark of these “beasts,” and it worked to help spread fear among those Hitler’s Werewolves terrorized.
The propaganda that supported the Werewolves was fierce. In the minds of high-ranking German officers, anything that would slow down or disrupt advancing forces was needed. Newspapers ran headlines, such as Fury of Nazi’ Werewolves’ to Be Unleased on Invaders. Emphasizing that the army of volunteers would frighten away the conquerors of the Third Reich. Even then, however, there was the implicit realization by those spewing this propaganda that the Nazis would eventually fall and that the Allied forces would ultimately be victorious.
However, such propaganda did affect occupying forces. It especially led to much suspicion toward younger individuals living near Allied troops. If even a hint of such resistance arose in the minds of the Allied military, swift action often followed. This was illustrated in June of 1945 when an American firing squad quickly executed two German teenagers suspected of sabotage.
At this time, the war was nearing its end, and everyone knew this, including the Nazi hierarchy. The Werewolves, in actuality, accomplished little in the overall scheme of events that took place in occupied Germany. However, they induced fear within occupying Allied troops by making it impossible for them to trust the Germans around them entirely.
And when a sniper shot came their way, the Werewolf myth intensified the effect of these incidents. Even if they were carried out by what was essentially little more than children. However, what is certain is that the Werewolves made their mark on history as Hitler’s top “supernatural” assassins.