A British newspaper has revealed the hidden past of a 97-year-old gardening enthusiast living in a quiet Nottingham suburb, who was once a member of Hitler’s notorious Waffen SS Galizien.
The man, who now lives in a nursing home, had concealed his dark history, leaving neighbors stunned and his own family in the dark, the London-based Sun reported.
Documents suggest that the man, who joined the ranks of the Waffen SS Galizien as a teenager during World War II, may have participated in the infamous Huta Pieniacka massacre, where an estimated 1,200 innocent Polish inhabitants were brutally killed in modern-day Ukraine.
The Sun, with the assistance of a renowned Nazi hunter, tracked the man to a Nottingham nursing home, revealing that he had been living in the suburb since the late 1980s.
Neighbors expressed shock at the revelation, describing the man as “quiet” and someone who “blended in” with the community. Reflecting on interacting with the former SS soldier, one said, “He was alright. He liked gardening. He had lots of visitors from his home.”
Unaware of her father’s past, the man’s daughter told the Sun, “I know he left Ukraine when he was 16. I’m not sure if he fought for the German Army. Did he?”
Documents suggest that he indeed fought for the feared Waffen SS Galizien, a combat arm of Hitler’s death squads.
Residents recounted several cover stories constructed by the ex-SS soldier, with conflicting tales of working as an interpreter with the Allied forces, being in the French Resistance and even claiming to be Polish or Ukrainian.
Some neighbors were convinced by his fabricated history and vehemently denied any allegations against him.
Historical records indicate that 8,500 Galizien members arrived in the United Kingdom between May and June 1947, with many later integrating into civilian life. While there is no suggestion that the tracked-down man committed war crimes, historians believe that some Galizien members may have been involved in such activities.
The paper also discovered that another 96-year-old former SS soldier lives in a nursing home in the nearby town of Newark.