last year i contacted the german archive for former wehrmacht soldiers, they have the complete unit history of nearly every person who ever did anything in the german army. i had to wait 6 months for the answer letter, but the informations i got were very interesting.
my mothers' dad (i dont say grandfather to him because he died before i was born) joined the Waffen SS in 1940. in 1941 he participiated in 'Unternehmen Barbarossa', the raid on the soviet union, he was in a SS Division in the Heeresgruppe Süd (Krim, Oilfields of Baku...). in 1941 he got wounded for the first time, shot in the left lower leg by a russian semi auto rifle, joined the troops again 4 weeks later and was restationed with his unit in yugoslavia for anti partisan fighting. in 1943 he was wounded again in the same leg, but he staied with his unit, in 1944 he joined the 13. SS division "Handschar - kroatische Nummer 1", was wounded again in the _same_ leg and was then sent to germany as some kind of drill seargent in a SS training camp. in 1945 he got captured by the brits, braught to england where he had to repair war damages as a POW until 1948/9. they asked him to stay there but he refused and returned to austria, where he married my grandmother, who still lives in our hometown. he died in 1971 when my mum was 14.
im not proud that he was in the SS, but it was his choice and times were different.
my other grandfather was in a german mountain division until he got capured by the americans in 1944. in 1943 he got the iron cross second class, but i still dont know for what reason. his unit history was very undetailed.
he died in 1991, was a great man, i loved him.
a great uncle of mine was a flight technician in a messerschmidt facility, had something to do with the first jet engines and knew wernher von braun. sadly i dont know anything about him, except that the americans asked him to immigrate to the US for flight/rocket research proposes, but he refused for a reason i cant remember. hm.