Memorial Malgré-Nous (Against Our Will) Wittenheim

The term "Malgré nous" (despite ourselves or in spite of our will) refers to men of the Alsace Lorraine region who were forcibly conscripted into Wehrmacht or the SS (Waffen SS), during the Second World War.
Some Malgré nous engaged in repression against French citizens and were involved in massacres such as the one that occurred at Oradour-sur-Glane.
Most of them fought on the Eastern Front, with some 130,000 men fighting there. Many of them ended up as prisoners of the Soviets and about 40,000 were killed or missing in action.
Many Malgré nous deserted the Wehrmacht in order to join the Resistance or escape to Switzerland, thereby running the risk of having their families sent to concentration camps by the Germans. This threat enforced the majority of them to stay in the German army.
After the war, they were accused of being traitors or collaborators, although they seldom had other options but to fight alongside the Germans.

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