Skip to comments.Latvian SS Veterans' March Sparks Anger
Posted on 03/17/2012 1:43:04 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Russian, Jewish minorities condemn 'horrible message'
Veterans from a Latvian Second World War SS division and their nationalist backers marched through Riga on Friday, sparking anger within the former Soviet republic's large, Russianspeaking minority at a sensitive time.
The marchers say their fight was for Latvian freedom against the Soviet Red Army after mass deportations under dictator Josef Stalin. Critics say it is wrong to honour men who fought on the same side as Nazi Germany.
About 100 counter-demonstrators, mostly Russianspeakers who say Latvia discriminates against them, watched in silence as several hundred grey-haired veterans and young nationalist supporters walked past them through the city centre.
Celebrate Diversity !
Shhh, can’t talk about opposition to Soviet crimes!
Was it the lavian SS that held the city, so the populace could evacuate and surrender to the US?
The German SS and their conscripts certainly were bastards bent on a genocidal agenda, but it’s certainly also understandable how some WWII era Latvians viewed the SS system as a bastion against another group of bastards with a genocidal agenda, namely the Russians/Soviets, that totally overran the Letts. How do you win a grudge fight like that. You can’t. A little understanding could overcome a lot of bad blood.
Sad. From what I recall, most of the non-German members of the Waffen SS recruited from the occupied countries had been victims of Soviet attrocities or hated the Communists more than the Nazis, up until that point. What an awful choice to have to make, in either case they’d be enslaved or die. A bargain with the devil. If you look at all the propaganda posters for those recruitments, it was to defeat
Bolshevism, not promote National Socialism. Not a dimes worth a difference if you ask me. Islam, too.
They are right, history does not lie.
Many were forced conscripts, some volunteered as Russia had invaded Latvia prior to the German invasion of Russia.
from Wikpedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvian_Legion
The Latvian Legion was created in January 1943 on the orders of Adolf Hitler following a request by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The initial core of the force was provided by Latvian Schutzmannschaft battalions, which were formed several years earlier and had been previously engaged in anti-partisan duties. Thus, technically, it was a volunteer unit, but one month after the unit was founded, German occupation authorities in Latvia started conscripting military age men, as close to none had volunteered. They were given a choice between “volunteering” for SS Waffen legions, serving in the German army (Heer) as “auxiliaries” (labourers behind the front lines), commanded by German officers and often treated as subhumans, or being sent to a slave labour camp in Germany. Those who tried to avoid one of those options were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
As a result, only 15-20% of the soldiers serving in the legion were actual volunteers.
With Nazi Germany losing the war, conscription was extended to larger and larger numbers of Latvians. The first conscription, in 1943, applied to all Latvian men born from 1919 to 1924. The subsequent conscriptions extended to Latvians born between 1906 and 1928.
The division commanders and most of the staff were German SS officers. The individual combat regiments were typically commanded by Latvian officers.
On 13 November 1943, the collaborationist Latvian Self-Administration took over mobilization from the Germans. On July 1, 1944 the Latvian Legion had 87,550 men. Another 23,000 Latvians were serving as Wehrmacht “auxiliaries”.
Die Gedanken sind frei....
I can make an honorable case for a Latvian fighting either against Germany or against USSR. Opposing what he saw as the greater evil. Can’t see how anybody could honorably fight FOR either side.
We shouldn’t forget USA enthusiastically fought alongside and supported the Soviets, seeing them (accurately, IMO) as the lesser of two weevils.
You're thinking of the Russian Vlasov Army, which saved the city of Prague from the SS only to be turned over to Stalin per the Yalta agreements.
“We shouldnt forget USA enthusiastically fought alongside and supported the Soviets, seeing them (accurately, IMO) as the lesser of two weevils.”
Most Europeans who dealt up close & personal with the Soviets seemed to disagree; they were between a rock and a hard place, and many Soviet ciitizens greeted the Nazis as liberators.
We probably should have listened to them.
One hundred years from now, will anyone really care what happened in 1943-45 in Latvia? I remember a Pole veteran telling me once that they fought the Germans for revenge and the Russians for pleasure. Looks like the Latvians went with the side that gave them the guns and ammo. I don’t think the Germans really needed the Baltic States other than for maneuvering their troops. Soldiers are soldiers, regardless of who they serve, for they are the ones who suffer the most from bad political leadership, and the decisions the political leadership make. :(
Nazis were such murdering maniacs that given the choice, most of Europeans would rather choose Al Quaeda over Nacis as their rulers.
For better understanding, Borg is more humane than nazis were.
Only good nazi is a dead one.
Most Soviet citizens greeted Nazis as liberators only until they found out the details of the Nazi racial ideology, which for Slavs was even worse than commie ideology.
My point was that the Nazis were the lesser of two weevils for us, not necessarily for people who lived in Eastern Europe.
Hopefully we can agree they were both among the most evil ideologies of all time. No good guys here.
the Latvians were caught between two pieces of hell. Unfortunately the Nazi hell was better for the Latvians as the Nazis considered the Lats as “aryan brothers”, while the Soviets wanted to destroy them. Terrible choice to make
“Most Soviet citizens greeted Nazis as liberators only until they found out the details of the Nazi racial ideology, which for Slavs was even worse than commie ideology.”
Russia has admitted within the past 10 years that the Soviet Union used partisans to attack Nazis behind the lines to cause reprisals against the civilians that preferred the Nazis; that was when the populations turned against their Nazi liberators.
“Hopefully we can agree they were both among the most evil ideologies of all time.”
Absolutely; I still can’t understand why we fought Nazism to rescue Stalin, while the Soviets had peace with Japan (which was killing Americans at the time). Like WWI, probably one we should have sat out.
The most likely result of the US “sitting out” WWII was Germany crushing USSR and having all the resources of Europe, Russia and the Middle East to use to build its military machine, including the development of the Bomb.
Not a good idea.
The basic issue is that the Germans, being efficient, were a greater threat than the commies, who weren’t. Given roughly the same amount of resources, the Germans were a much greater threat. And had they won the war in Europe, they would have had all the resources of what is now Russia plus the EU plus the Middle East. Within a decade they had the potential to vastly outbuild the military capacity of the Western Hemisphere, even assuming some Latin dictators didn’t decide they were a better bet.
The Nazis were, IMO, slightly more evil than the commies. But that’s not the issue. It’s which was the greater threat to American security. And that’s why I think we made the right decision in WWII, though quite possibly not for the right reasons.
“The basic issue is that the Germans, being efficient, were a greater threat than the commies, who werent.”
The Soviet Union showed who was the greatest threat, by sharing in the invasion of Poland (and Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland) without the German excuse (recapturing German territory), by beating the Nazis, and by the 45 years that followed the war; every American killed in Korea and Vietnam can be laid at their feet. For a war that was fought (at least by Britain) because of the invasion of Poland, it is hard to see how the West “won”. Germany’s military was made for short-range, short-term wars, and they lost the first one they fought that was neither of those.
In terms of comparing evil, they are the same (just different enemies lists); national socialism and world socialism are birds of a feather.