33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)

The name comes from the King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans Karl the Great's (April 2, 742 until January 28, 814) French name Charlemagne, during whose reign the Frank Empire was formed and it included nowadays' Italy, France and Germany.

  • 57th Waffen Grenadier Regiment (February 1945)
  • 58th Waffen Grenadier Regiment

Division Leaders:

  • Waffen-Oberführer Edgard Puaud (until February 1945)
  • SS-Brigadeführer Doctor Gustav Kukenberg (until April 1945)
  • SS-Standartenführer Walter Zimmermann

The French Volunteer Legion battled from 1941 on the Eastern front. In August 1943 the French were accepted into Waffen-SS and the SS Sturmbrigade Frankreich was formed. In July 1944 the brigade was taken to Bohemia and Moravia, where it suffered great losses in battles. On September 1, 1944 both units were brought together in Greifenberg, Eastern Prussia, and after additions arrived the two units were merged to form the 7th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Charlemagne. In August 1944 they participated in the battles on the Carpathians' front in the area of Mielec and Sanok. The brigade suffered great losses and was reformed in the autumn of 1944 in Wildflecken. After being reformed, the unit battled on the Western front for a short period of time and from there it was sent to Pomerania. At the end of 1944 the brigade was expanded into the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division Charlemagne. The division was sent to rough battles in Neustettin, where the remaining men surrendered to the US troops in the Moosburg area. The other part of the division battled from April to May 1945 in Berlin and surrendered to the Red Army. The division had more than 10,000 French volunteers.

Insignia:

Cuffband Charlemagne, the symbols of swords and laurel leaves on the collar patches.

4 men from this division received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.