Ukrainian “Flakhelfers” in German Luftwaffe in 1944—1945.

The increasingly difficult state of affairs facing the German Reich’s military machine since 1943, caused by the heavy losses on the East front and bombings of German industrial cities by the Western Allies necessitated the shifting of focus on reinforcing the manpower pool with youth resources. In the sphere of anti-aircraft defence already in 1943 with the aid of Hitler-Youth (HJ) movement infrastructure the young Germans were employed for the needs of the armed forces in auxilary role on considerable scale. At the beginning of 1944, however, the non-German youth also entered the combat in similar capabilities. Ideological service of the SS system, co-ordinating the campaign of employing the foreign youth, defining foreign Waffen SS formations as “international European anti-Communist armed forces”, envisioned the SS-Youth as the reserve base for the elder comrades-in-arms and future “European youth front”, as gradually part of the German SS-Youth was transferred for frontline service in German divisions.

via 1.JmA – Ukranian Flak gunners in german service