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Thread: Classify "The Last Knight of Flanders" Remy Schrijnen

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    Classify "The Last Knight of Flanders" Remy Schrijnen



    SS-Sturmmann Schrijnen in the front, with his Commander, Conrad Schellong and the unit adjutant, Willy Teichert on during the October 1944 awarding of Schrijnen's Knight's Cross.

    Schrijnen to the left with SS-Untersturmführer Koslovsky on the right.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SS-UNTERSCHARFUHRER REMI SCHRIJNEN
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Remi Schrijnen, the first Belgian to win the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was born in Kumtich in Flanders on Christmas Eve, 1921. As a volunteer in the Waffen-SS he served with Freiwilligen Legion Flandern on the Eastern Front. From 1942 to the end of May 1943 he fought on the northern sector of the front, seeing action around Leningrad. At the end of May the Legion was withdrawn from the front and sent to Czechoslovakia, to a training depot where it was strengthened by the influx of new personel from Flanders. With the addition of a Finnish SS volunteer unit, the new formation reached brigade strength and was renamed SS-Freiwilligen Sturm Brigade Langemarck. At the end of 1943 it returned to the front in the region of the Ukraine.

    Schrijnen served with the brigade as a gunner with a heavy 7.5cm anti-tank Kompanie. Only five days after reaching the front Schrijnen was involved in fierce combat with attacking Soviet tank units, supported large numbers of infantry. In this first engagement he personally destroyed three T-34 tanks. The ferocity of the combat can be gauged by the fact I by 3 March Schrijnen had been wounded seven times. He was awarded I Iron Cross Second Class on 28 May 1944 and the First Class on 3 August of the same year.

    On 21 September 1944, SS-Sturmmann Remi Schrijnen was decorated for an act of singular skill and gallantry. A ferocious artillery barrage on is had been followed by a massive armored breakthrough on 26 June. The SS-Grenadiers had been overwhelmed. Schrijnen calmly waited in his position as the enemy tanks rolled even closer. Opening fire, Schrijnen knocked out four T-34s and disabled two others. The enemy push continued however and gradually the German losses grew until Schrijnen's entire gun crew were killed and all the German infantry had withdrawn from there positions. Schrijnen was also ordered to pull back but refused, determined to stop the enemy, loaded, aimed and fired the 7.5cm anti-tank gun himself. When the supporting Soviet infantry surged forward there was no German infantry to stop them. Among the thirty-plus attacking enemy tanks were five of the new super-heavy Joseph Stalin models. Schrijnen destroyed three of these and four T-34s before a direct hit from yet another Stalin only thirty meters from his position blew his gun up and flung Schrijnen away from his position.

    A dying German radio-operator managed to call down an artillery barrage on the SS positions, desperately trying to blunt the Soviet attack. This succeeded and when the counter-attacking German forces recovered the position, the battered and bleeding body of Remi Schrijnen was found amid the wreckage of a dozen of the best tanks the Soviets could field, all destroyed by this gallant soldier. Schrijnen, on recovering from his wounds, he went on to serve in Pomerania with his Belgian comrades. By this point the Brigade been expanded to Divisional strength, but it was slowly decimated during the remaining months of the war.

    A hero to the Germans, Schrijnen was, however, considered a traitor by the ‘liberated’ Belgians at the end of the war. He was imprisoned and held in extremely harsh conditions for ten years. Released in 1955, he moved to West Germany where he lives today in retirement near Hagen.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ** Scanned from his short Biography from my copy of ‘Aces of the Reich’ pages 76-77.
    'Aces of the Reich' http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0853689865/qid=1111955945/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-7653238-0847164?v=glance&s=books
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    Typical Mediterranid with, maybe, some Alpinid admixture because of his slightly rounded head.

    In my opinion and as far as I can see from the pictures his hair looks very dark (raven black, perhaps) and his eyes are dark brown. His stature also seems to be short (do you know his height?) and his body type is really gracile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyr
    Typical Mediterranid with, maybe, some Alpinid admixture because of his slightly rounded head.

    In my opinion and as far as I can see from the pictures his hair looks very dark (raven black, perhaps) and his eyes are dark brown. His stature also seems to be short (do you know his height?) and his body type is really gracile.
    No, I unfortunately know only what I read of his berserk tank-killing frenzy in the face of a ‘no-win situation’. I do know that the pictures I have access to are not of the best quality, and older B&W photos tend to make even blondes look darker haired due to needs of photographer to expose the shot enough to show shadows of face, which of course does not even take into account reproduction influences to the image.

    I would not assume a Mediterranid would be recruited into the SS. :

    I will see if I can find more details about the Knight of Flanders’ stature, and look for other photos….

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    Sub-Nordic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todesritter
    No, I unfortunately know only what I read of his berserk tank-killing frenzy in the face of a ‘no-win situation’. I do know that the pictures I have access to are not of the best quality, and older B&W photos tend to make even blondes look darker haired due to needs of photographer to expose the shot enough to show shadows of face, which of course does not even take into account reproduction influences to the image.

    I would not assume a Mediterranid would be recruited into the SS. :

    I will see if I can find more details about the Knight of Flanders’ stature, and look for other photos….
    I am not an expert on the SS but I think there were Mediterranids (among other non-Nordish subracial types) serving as volunteers.

    You're right. Black and white pictures aren't the best for classification. Though this individual, in my opinion, does not have any Nordish trait, as far as I can see. (Skull measurements are also of great significance, though!).

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