The National Socialist Rebels and the Ossewabrandwag
Not frequently referred to in the Nazification of the Afrikaner right is Robey Leibbrandt’s own organisation for even more radicalised Afrikaners seeking more militant action than that offered by the Ossewabrandwag – the National Socialist Rebels.
So how did that come about? Simply put, when Robey Leibbrandt was put ashore in South Africa by the Nazi German state for ‘Operation Weissdorn’ he was under the impression that he was to meet with the Ossewabrandwag leadership and inform them that he was now the only legitimate leader of the Afrikaner nation and take over control of the Ossewabrandwag.
Such was his megalomania, thuggery and aggression that even the radio operator who was earmarked to come ashore with him refused to do so, citing fear for his life and remained on-board the yacht instead (the Captain and crew were also relieved to get rid of Leibbrandt such an annoyance he had become). Naturally when Leibbrandt was finally able to get to the leader of the Ossewabrandwag to inform him of the leadership change as specified by his German handlers, Dr Johannes (Hans) van Rensburg, the leader and Kommandant General of the Ossewabrandwag would have none of it and refused to recognise Robey Leibbrandt outright, a row broke out and the two became irreconcilable.
So, no matter, Robey Leibbrandt would find within the Ossewabrandwag supporters who staunchly followed National Socialism, start his own organisation and he would overcome the leadership crisis by getting them to swear alliance to him in person – in blood. Taking a leaf out of his hero’s book, Adolf Hitler who used a similar oath to get the German military establishment to swear sole allegiance to him as the sole and legitimate leader of the German Volk by name, so too did Robey Leibbrandt get his followers to swear allegiance to him as the only legitimate Afrikaner leader, by name.
The blood signature oath read as follows:
“I stand before God and swear this sacred oath that I, as an Afrikaner, will faithfully serve my Volk and Vaderland with my whole heart, body, soul and mind, along the lines indicated to me by the leader of the National Socialist Rebels in the person of Robey Leibbrandt and no one else, from now until death. The deep seriousness with which I recognise myself as a National Socialist Rebel finds expression in the blood with which I forever bind my person through the medium of my signature. I am nothing. My Volk is all. God be with us. The Vierkleur on High.”
Not to miss out on the legitimacy of Adolf Hitler as the supreme leader (can’t usurp the Führer), the blood oath also partly read as follows:
“All my fight and striving is for the freedom and independence of the Afrikaner people of South Africa and for the building up of a National Socialist State in accordance with the ideas of Adolf Hitler.”
The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Posing a significant threat to the Ossewabrandwag – both in terms of drawing members, ideology and in leadership and overall control of the Afrikaner right-wing, the Ossewabrandwag would engage the tried old philosophy of the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and sell out the National Socialist Rebels and Robey Leibbrandt to the British. Yup, they used the British, their stated enemy, to get rid of them, and given the oath they only need to get rid of the leader.
According to Dr Garth Benneyworth, British Intelligence documents he uncovered in the British National Archives, whilst in the UK in 2005, revealed that Hans van Rensburg sold out Robey Leibbrandt’s base of operations to the British SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) who in turn tipped off General Jan Smuts, which in turn led to Leibbrandt’s capture by the Union of South Africa’s security forces on Christmas Eve, 1941.
Charged and found guilty of High Treason, Robey Leibbrandt was sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life in prison by General Jan Smuts, the South African premier, some sources say it was because Smuts and Leibbrandt’s father served together during the South African War (1899-1902) and Smuts had a high regard for Leibbrand’s Dad, other sources point to Smuts not wanting the blood of yet another Jopie Fourie martyr on his hands. In any event, when the National Party government came to power in 1948, Leibbrandt was officially pardoned and walked out a free man – much to the disgust of the hundreds of thousands of South African’s who had fought against Nazism during the war.
Now, for those out there who still believe the Ossewabrandwag was just a ‘cultural’ organisation, anti-British only, think of it this way – what if Johannes van Rensburg had abided the Nazi German requirement that Robey Leibbrandt, a pure Nazi thug, take control of the Ossewabrandwag and ultimately leadership of the Afrikaner right. What if he stepped aside? Could have happened, only it did not – but why?
The answer simply is both Robey Leibbrandt and Johannes van Rensburg where equally megalomanic – both admired Adolf Hitler, both admired National Socialism and both abided the ‘Blut und Boden’ principle and the ‘Führer’ principle, both had Stormjaers (Stormtroopers) as followers, both were Afrikaner Christian Nationalists, both were anti-Semitic, both were fierce anti-Communists, both were anti-British/Judaeo Capital, both had secret oaths and ceremonies and both were wired into the Nazi spy network directly supporting the Nazi war effort. The only difference; Leibbrandt was a thug and Dr Hans van Rensburg was a skilled politician.
It was always going to be bloody power struggle for sole dictatorship such is the nature of the National Socialist ideology (like Adolf Hitler – the ‘skilled politician’ exterminated Ernst Röhm – the ‘thug’) – and that’s exactly what happened – the Ossewabrandwag wanted Robey Leibbrandt dead (the inner circle of the Ossewabrandwag even issued the instruction for his ‘liquidation’) and no doubt Leibbrandt and the National Socialist Rebels wanted Dr Hans van Rensburg dead.
Written and researched by Peter Dickens
For more on the South African organisations flirting with Nazism, here are some easy links to previous Observation Posts;
The Ossewabrandwag “Mein Kampf shows the way to greatness for South Africa” – The Ossewabrandwag
Robey Leibbrand: Treason! Robey Leibbrandt
The New Order: South Africa’s Nazi ‘Neuordnung’ and Oswald Pirow
The South African Christian National Socialist Movement (SANP) Greyshirts; South Africa’s Nazi Party; The ‘Gryshemde’
The Broederbond; Education Whiteout! The Broederbond
Dr Evert Kleynhans – Hitler’s Spies, Secret agents and the intelligence war in South Africa, 1939-1945. Published 2021
Dr Garth Benneyworth – Sol Plaatje University – Correspondence 16/2/2023
I have read in a book that the radio operator went ashore with Leibbrandt, and that he was later murdered by Leibbrandt in the presence of another member of the OB, that came to pick them and the radio up. Thie description of this murder was relayed in detail to Van Blerk, another OB member. Leibbrandt did not mention this murder in his outobiography.. It has also been written in the past, that the vehicle of Van Rensburg was seen occasionally at night at Irene during WWII, but this was shot down by hard line supporters of Van Rensburg. Now the truth is out, and it seems that Van Rensburg was indeed a traitor to his organisation and his members
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Interesting – I went with the radio operator story as outlined in Dr Evert Kleynhan’s latest work “Hitler’s Spies”.
Dear Peter, Having read this Observation post and the oath to hitler in particular brings to mind Sir Captain Barry Liddle’s book “On the other side of the hill” in it he writes that after interviewing numerous high ranking German officers on their capture and also at the Nuremberg trials he discovered that after the successful invasion of Poland many officers in the General staff did not want to carry on with the war but Gen Kriegler ( I think was the name) who was the commander of the troops in Berlin dissuaded them as he said that the troops guarding Berlin had sworn an oath to Hitler and any attempt to overthrow him would result in civil war.
Incidentally Guiderain who basically led the subsequent invasion of France through the low countries was a disciple of Barry Liddle who had read and then applied Liddle’s theories on armoured warfare.
Stay well. Noel
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Thanks Noel, great contribution – see you on the weekend.
Thanks for yet another excellent post!
As an aside, my dad competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Robey Leibrandt was also in that Springbok team – a light-heavyweight boxer.
Cheers and thanks again,
So Hans Van Rensburg sold Leibrandt out, now there’s a turn up for the books.
It appears ‘Broedertwis’ was a problem all the way through the Nationalist party and other right wingers period of influence.
Good stuff Peter.
Looking forward to your book!!!!
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Thanks Peter – I would love to chat to you about this very interesting article – greetings Hennie