3rd ss division totenkopf

The men from the Totenkopf Division giving humanitarian aid to the poor and affected people in the Baltic states, as they push towards Leningrad during Operation Barbarossa in 1941.

Red Army soldiers and personnel being searched by soldiers of the Totenkopf Division in Demyansk area during Operation Barbarossa in the autumn 1941. Some of them were dressed in civilian clothes to escape captivity.

The commander of the Totenkopf Division Hermann Prieß (center) and other officers observe the battlefield at Kursk in July 1943.

Soldiers of the Totenkopf Division pose in front of their truck on a rural road in France, May-June 1940. The division quickly established its fighting reputation during the Western Campaign, which Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein later stated to be ‘great dash in the assault and steadfast in defence’.

The men of the Totenkopf Division in Kharkov in March 1943, just after the recapture of the city. The morale of the division had been dealt a blow when its commander, Theodor Eicke, was shot down and killed during an aerial reconnaissance on 26 February 1943. The aircraft crashed behind enemy lines, but a party from the division managed to retrieve his body. Despite his death, the Totenkopf Division continued to fight the way Eicke had taught it. As he himself said: “Hardness saves blood. In fact hardness saves more. It saves bitterness, it saves shame, it saves worry, it saves sorrow.”

Crewmembers of a Tiger of the Totenkopf Division poses in front of they tank at the rest area in Budy (southwest of Kharkov) at the end of May 1943.

Moments before attack. The armoured fighting vehicles of Totenkopf Division carrying Panzergrenadiere in the run-up to a combined-arms attack during Operation Zitadelle in July 1943.

The commander of the Totenkopf Division SS-Brigadeführer Hermann Prieß (right) and the commander of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 5 SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Baum (center) photographed in July of 1943 in the southern sector of Kursk salient, where the division was heavily committed to the huge tank battles around Prohorovka.

The crew of a Volkswagen Schwimmwagen from Totenkopf Division got lost and had to ask for directions. Belgorod region, summer 1943.