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Ss Celebrated In Latvia


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#1 yak_v

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1320 PM

They even have an official day celebrating SS Legion...

http://www.theaustra...5E31477,00.html

Twenty arrested at SS commemoration
AFP
March 17, 2005

RIGA: Around 20 people were arrested in the Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday after pro-Russian and Latvian nationalist groups clashed during marches to mark Legion Day, which commemorates Latvians who served in the German Waffen-SS during World War II.

Clashes broke out after the pro-Russian Rodina (Motherland) radical youth group joined hands in an attempt to form a human chain to block the procession of the ultra-nationalist "Klubs 415", whose members were moving towards the Freedom monument to pay tribute to the legionnaires who were forced to fight for Nazi Germany during the war.

According to an AFP correspondent at the march, the two sides faced off opposite the Freedom monument, in the heart of Riga, situated between the Old City at the top of Brivibas (Freedom) Street, the capital's main thoroughfare.

Several hundred people, including dozens of members of the international media, were at the monument, which was heavily guarded by the police, who had been put on high alert amid fears that the controversial march could erupt into violence.

The Latvian nationalists shouted "Latvia for Latvians" and sang the legionnaires' hymn while the pro-Russian group shouted back in Russian: "Shame" and "Fascism will not pass."






Many of the pro-Russian protesters were dressed in prisoners' uniforms, and some wore the yellow star of David that the Nazis forced Jews to wear during World War II.

Police intervened when the Russian group began throwing eggs at the Latvians, and arrested around 20 people from both sides for "inciting a riot", a member of the public order police force, who did not give his name, told AFP.

As the commemorative march moved towards the Freedom monument, about 20 members of another nationalist organisation, Visu Latvijai (Everything to Latvia), formed an alley of Latvian flags in front of the monument.

The leader of Visu Latvijai, Raivis Dzintars, told AFP that two of his organisation's members were among those detained, and that the police had questioned him briefly about his group's activities.

The former legionnaires themselves again refrained from marching this year in line with their policy over recent years to avoid drawing negative international attention to Latvia.

Instead, some 200 former fighters of the Latvian Legion went to lay wreathes at the Freedom monument, and then attended a religious service at St. John's Church, a landmark in the Old City.

Approximately 146,000 Latvians fought in German ranks during World War II, and more than one-third of them -- 52,000 -- died in combat. Another 130,000 Latvians fought in the Soviet army; 36,000 of them died.

According to the Latvian Occupation museum, under the Hague Convention of 1907 Germany was not allowed to conscript Latvians to serve in its military forces, but circumvented the rule by direct mobilisation.

The Latvian Legion was formed through direct mobilisation in 1943.

Russia, which occupied Latvia and the other Baltic states for nearly 50 years after World War II, is firmly opposed to any events being held in former Soviet republic Latvia to commemorate the legionnaires.

Latvia has the largest ethnic Russian minority of any of the Baltic nations, making up around one-third of the population of some 2.4 million.

The Latvian government is not taking part in any events to mark Legion Day, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has said in a statement.

Kalvitis stressed that, while it was "understandable" that the relatives of fallen soldiers should want to pay tribute to them, "remembrance should not be mixed with politics or extremism."
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#2 Jartsev

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1325 PM

Uups they did it again! :( Iīm wondering, our dear baltic nazis thinking, that this will not be payed in nearest future?


Extract from report[26.05.1944, Riga] to col. Poznjakov(Vlasov`s ROA) by lt. Baltinsh:

...23 апреля 1944 года пришлось мне быть в деревне Морочково. Вся она была сожжена. В погребах хат жили эсэсовцы. В день моего прибытия туда их должна была сменить немецкая часть, но мне все-таки удалось поговорить на латышском языке с несколькими эсэсовцами, фамилии коих не знаю. Я спросил у одного из них, почему вокруг деревни лежат трупы убитых женщин, стариков и детей, сотни трупов непогребенные, а также убитые лошади. Сильный трупный запах носился в воздухе. Ответ был таков: "Мы их убили, чтобы уничтожить как можно больше русских"...

Translation: 23 april 1944 i visited villge Morochkovo. All village was burned-out. Cellars were occupied by SS-troopers[latvian SS]. At the day of my arrival they must be changed with german unit, but I managed to talk with some of them using latvian language<...>. I asked one of them, why around village laying bodies of murdered women, old men, and cields, hundreds of bodies are un-buried...<...>
There was strong smell of decomposion of deads... Answer was: "We kill them, because we want to destroy as more russians as possible"...

Edited by Jartsev, 16 March 2005 - 1347 PM.

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#3 Zaraguina

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1351 PM

Wasn't Waffen-SS a volunteer only thing ?
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#4 Jartsev

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1359 PM

Wasn't Waffen-SS a volunteer only thing ?

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In theory- volunteer, but in practise estonian and latvian SS units were semi-conscripted. In any case this not excuse theyr crimes against civilian population. Even german troops were shocked with extrime sadistic brutality of baltic units of SS...
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#5 Ken Estes

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1443 PM

In 1943-44, the Waffen-SS formed several divisions from various types of volunteer military, police and paramilitary units previously used for antipartisan operations in the Baltic regions. These took the field in Army Group North and ended up in the Courland Pocket and in the last battles around Berlin: 15th SS Infantry Division (Latvian #1), 19th SS Infantry Division (Latvian #2), 20th SS Infantry Division (Estonian #1) were the major formations, but separate brigades and regiments also formed during the period.

The Baltic police and special commando units were the worst in terms of committing atrocities and collaborating with similar German police and special commando units in erradication of Jews and other 'undesirables.' The Waffen-SS, while never 'clean,' were more occupied with fighting on the deteriorating Leningrad,Baltic and Courland fronts.

I just had occasion to read in Militaergeschichtliche Zeitschrift
60 (2001): 509-513 this article:
"Between "hammer and sickle:" armed resistance of the population in east
central Europe during the Second World War and the reaction of the German
and Soviet occupying powers. Annual meeting of the German committee for the
history of the Second World War on June 29-30 2001 in Dresden."

Among the papers read at this meeting was that of Donald O'Sullivan
(Eichstaett, Germany) who covered the case of Lithuania, and I wonder if
Latvia roughly corresponds [although with a much smaller Jewish population]. After
the experience of 39/40 under the Rus, the population accepted German
occupation other than the Jews who fled the ghettos for the forests and did
organize a partisan resistance. After 1941 links with Russian partisan orgn
improved their effectiveness. On the other hand, the resistance served well
as an excuse for the Germans and puppets to organize systematic killing of
Jews and Communists that could be detained [Befriedensaktionen]. The Rus
sent agents to the "Waldbrueder" to improve their national-democratic
'orientation' and one of these agents led one of the most effective groups
resisting the Soviet occupation. Both regimes used terror and mass murder
extensively, with the Rus also resorting to mass deportation as well. Both
systems used the terms 'terrorists' and 'bandits' to designate the
resistance bands, the Rus propaganda adding charges of collaboration with
the Nazis or lastly with Brit and US secret services. In neither case was
an exile command possible, for political reasons. During 1944-47, some
30,000 were active in the Lith. Underground, and the Rus declared victory
in 1948. Actually, combat continued until 1952 and the last commander of
resistance troops, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas was only captured in 1956.

The last Latvian partizan was also brought to bay in the middle 50's but in true Lativian style drowned himself rather than let the KGB have him.
One of my pals has read several accounts of the "resistance" in the woods, and the Latvian Museum of the Resistance/Occupation in Riga has several panels devoted to the phenom. "My sense of it has been that life in the woods would have been short, brutish, and not terribly effective. In the Latvian experience communication between cells was problematic ( making coordianted attacks difficult), weapons were a problem (to get and to feed), recruits were always a danger because of infiltrators, and in most case no or very little outside support. And how do you feed the ocean that sustains you since it is being brutalized by the occupation forces?"
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#6 B777

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1854 PM

Greetings,

While I certainly donít like the SS, I donít have much sympathy for the Russians/Soviets either in this case. Latvia suffered tremendously from Soviet occupation before the war when they crushed Latvia as well as Lithuania and Estonia after making a deal with Hitler via the Ribbentrop/Molotov pact. The war and the years following were incredibly difficult with many Latvians were killed outright, sent to the gulag, or had to flee to other countries in order to survive. Around 1/3 of the Latvian population disappeared. No wonder there was a resistance movement!

I can guess that a possible reason for the current strife is due to friction between Latvians and the large Russian minority, who ruled during the occupation. Many Russians living in Latvia today feel as though they should have special rights to maintain their own culture, while many Latvians believe that the Russians are ďguestsĒ and should become citizens, learn Latvian language, etc. Some people donít care, but this friction between Russian/Latvian splits through some families and is a source of constant societal stress.

This is a difficult situation for a small country trying to find its way. So far, they have been relatively successful as demonstrated by an improving economy and a building boom. Continued economic success appears to be the best way to avoid cultural problems in the future. Maybe the next generation will be able to put the past behind them.

Cheers,
Richard Stewart
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#7 Paul F Jungnitsch

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 1930 PM

When I was headed to Ethiopia a couple years ago the university held some predeparture training. One part of this was a meeting in which they linked up those of us heading out with a native of the country in question. One fellow was going to the Baltics, another to Moldova. For the Baltics they found an old guy who had immigrated here from Lithuania or Latvia years and years ago, for the Moldova they had a (very beautiful) young ethnic Russian woman who was here studying. Wow, great, I thought.

Well, it turned out this nice old guy had fought with the Germans all through WWII against the Russians and still bitterly resented them.

Of course this hot Russian chick (who may well have been born in Moldova as a result of the Russification drives there) was all gung ho on how great Russia and 'russification' was.

As long as they were kept well apart things were ok, but we couldn't let them start talking to each other or all hell would break loose.
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#8 Rubberneck

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 2006 PM

A good friend of mine wife's is a Russian who was born and raised in Latvia. Great gal, sickeningly smart, good looking, etc..but she becomes really annoying when she starts talking about how bad Russians have it in Latvia since 1991. Well, if you invade a country, try and eradicate the culture and language, and forcefully colonize the place with Russians, how do you expect they are going to feel?
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#9 Old Tanker

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 2014 PM

Well, it turned out this nice old guy had fought with the Germans all through WWII against the Russians and still bitterly resented them.


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One of my best friends in HS was a Latvian refugee . I don't know exactly what his father did. However he said his dad worked for the German gov't during WWII .

He was strongly anti-Russian and anti- Jewish claiming the Russians killed and murdered Latvians and the Jews betrayed Latvia.

I have attempted to track down this HS friend but he seems to have disappeared .

He volunteered for VN and was a Huey pilot shot down multiple times. I last saw him in 1980.
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#10 yak_v

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 2235 PM

Greetings,

While I certainly donít like the SS, I donít have much sympathy for the Russians/Soviets either in this case. Latvia suffered tremendously from Soviet occupation before the war when they crushed Latvia as well as Lithuania and Estonia after making a deal with Hitler via the Ribbentrop/Molotov pact. The war and the years following were incredibly difficult with many Latvians were killed outright, sent to the gulag, or had to flee to other countries in order to survive. Around 1/3 of the Latvian population disappeared. No wonder there was a resistance movement!


Resitance movement and Waffen-SS are different things (even if many of the same people were in both), and had Latvians simply celebrated the resistance movement a lot of people would not have a problem, but they specifically chose to celebrate the SS part of it. And whatever you think of fighting Russians, the slaughtering of the jews by the Baltic nation SS units, is enough to brand them all warcriminals.

I can guess that a possible reason for the current strife is due to friction between Latvians and the large Russian minority, who ruled during the occupation. Many Russians living in Latvia today feel as though they should have special rights to maintain their own culture, while many Latvians believe that the Russians are ďguestsĒ and should become citizens, learn Latvian language, etc. Some people donít care, but this friction between Russian/Latvian splits through some families and is a source of constant societal stress.

This is a difficult situation for a small country trying to find its way. So far, they have been relatively successful as demonstrated by an improving economy and a building boom. Continued economic success appears to be the best way to avoid cultural problems in the future. Maybe the next generation will be able to put the past behind them.

Cheers,
Richard Stewart

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The problem with that argument is that Russians are even denied the right to become Latvian sitizens. Latvian parlament passed the law that to become a citizen you had to be born in Latvia of Latvian parents, if that is not discrimination I don't know what is... Especially since Soviets actually gave historical parts of Russia to Latvia. In the area of Narva, people have never been latvians and have been assigned to Latvia by the soviets, but they have now became second class sitizens in their homeland, in the place that they have lived forever. Those are main reasons for the conflicts in Latvia, closing of all of the Russian schools and elimination of the Russian language programs from most of the scools are just symptoms.

Vladimir
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#11 NickM

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0043 AM

Guys:

On a 'slightly related note'; my sister in law was telling me about a show she saw on PBS in Sacramento about the Holocaust; she told me that they interviewed some old Ukrainians or Balts; anyhoo...they were all VIRULENTLY anti semitic & quite supportive of the 'final solution'; as one said: "They(I guess 'they' meant 'the jews') started the first world war, they created the USSR, they pushed the collectivisation--they had it coming!"

NickM
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#12 B777

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0314 AM

Resitance movement and Waffen-SS are different things (even if many of the same people were in both), and had Latvians simply celebrated the resistance movement a lot of people would not have a problem, but they specifically chose to celebrate the SS part of it.† And whatever you think of fighting Russians, the slaughtering of the jews by the Baltic nation SS units, is enough to brand them all warcriminals.

Vladimir,

I'm not going to defend the SS. While I admire the fighting quality of some of the Waffen SS units and individuals, the criminal acts perpetrated by many of the members against Jewish people and many others should never be forgiven. My point wasnít to overlook the SS or their sympathizers, but to point out the suffering inflicted on the Latvians by the Soviets.

I think we can agree on the SS issue. Perhaps we can also agree that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic Countries was brutal and murderous Ė at least for the first decade.

The problem with that argument is that Russians are even denied the right to become Latvian sitizens.† Latvian parlament passed the law that to become a citizen you had to be born in Latvia of Latvian parents, if that is not discrimination I don't know what is...

Non-Latvians (pre-1940) have been able to become naturalized citizens since the mid 90ís. Becoming a citizen requires some rudimentary knowledge of the Latvian language and government, but itís a quick process for anyone living in Latvia wishing to do so. If things were truly so bad, I would expect to see hoards of Russians leaving Latvia. This isnít happening in part because Latvia provides more opportunities and a higher standard of living than many of these people could expect in Russia.

Especially since Soviets actually gave historical parts of Russia to Latvia.† In the area of Narva, people have never been latvians and have been assigned to Latvia by the soviets, but they have now became second class sitizens in their homeland, in the place that they have lived forever.† Those are main reasons for the conflicts in Latvia, closing of all of the Russian schools and elimination of the Russian language programs from most of the scools are just symptoms.

There are still many Russian schools in Latvia. The government has gradually increased the Latvian language requirement in order to teach Russian speaking children basic Latvian language skills. Itís been a publicly stated plan for years and is a logical plan since Latvian is the national language.

I donít want to come off sounding like Iím ant-Russian, because Iím not by any measurement and I donít think that the Latvians have been perfect in the way that they handled the situation. As far as life in Latvia goes, there is certainly some tension over cultural issues, but my Russian friends who live in Latvia are able to be very successful living in Latvia and have income far exceeding that of the average citizen.

Cheers,
Richard Stewart

Edited by B777, 17 March 2005 - 1052 AM.

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#13 swerve

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0609 AM

Especially since Soviets actually gave historical parts of Russia to Latvia.  In the area of Narva, people have never been latvians and have been assigned to Latvia by the soviets, but they have now became second class sitizens in their homeland, in the place that they have lived forever. 
Vladimir


I think you're confusing Latvia & Estonia now.

Estonia now has the sames borders as Soviet Estonia, but that's less territory than independent Estonia between the world wars, which included Ivangorod (definitely Russian, across the river from Narva), & the Setumaa region in the south-west, which is largely Estonian-speaking & is now part of Russia. The USSR took away land, not added it.

True, Narva is mainly Russian-speaking, & most of the locals aren't happy with Estonian rule, but it's not "historical parts of Russia". It's like Berwick, in England, a long-disputed border town. The history of Ivangorod is interesting in this regard: the castle of Ivangorod was built by Russia to counter the castle at Varna, across the river - which was not then part of Russia.
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#14 Jartsev

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0625 AM

I think you're confusing Latvia & Estonia now.

Estonia now has the sames borders as Soviet Estonia, but that's less territory than independent Estonia between the world wars, which included Ivangorod (definitely Russian, across the river from Narva), & the Setumaa region in the south-west, which is largely Estonian-speaking & is now part of Russia. The USSR took away land, not added it.

True, Narva is mainly Russian-speaking, & most of the locals aren't happy with Estonian rule, but it's not "historical parts of Russia". It's like Berwick, in England, a long-disputed border town. The history of Ivangorod is interesting in this regard: the castle of Ivangorod was built by Russia to counter the castle at Varna, across the river - which was not then part of Russia.

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Estonia get some territories on the eastern coasts of Narva river and Peipsi Lake as result of Tartu peace treaty. This was the price, paid by bolshevics for elimination of the threat of so-called North-Eastern Army(under command of gen. Judenich). Not too big price...
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#15 swerve

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0634 AM

Estonia get some territories on the eastern coasts of Narva river and Peipsi Lake as  result of Tartu peace treaty. This was the price, paid by bolshevics for elimination of the threat of so-called North-Eastern Army(under command of gen. Judenich). Not too big price...


Jartsev,

where in Estonia are you from? I've only been to Tallinn, Tartu, Valga & the Lahemaa national park (hiking in the snow, walking on lakes - carefully - in April). Wouldn't mind seeing more of the country. Be interesting to see how it's changed in 10 years.

Paul
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#16 Jartsev

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0643 AM

Jartsev,

where in Estonia are you from? I've only been to Tallinn, Tartu, Valga & the Lahemaa national park (hiking in the snow, walking on lakes - carefully - in April). Wouldn't mind seeing more of the country. Be interesting to see how it's changed in 10 years.

Paul

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Iīm from Tallinn. City is very changed since mid-90s. Tartu... Tartu is more recognizable.
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#17 swerve

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0704 AM

Iīm from Tallinn.  City is very changed since mid-90s.  Tartu... Tartu is more recognizable.


I can imagine that. I was there April 1995. It looked as if the economy was just beginning to revive from the crash. Lots of derelict factories, etc, with just a few signs of rebuilding. There was a bar near the railway station on a Soviet railways theme. I wonder if that's still there? Run by a young bloke.

The boozer in one of the towers in the city walls was nice at night with snow swirling past the windows.
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#18 Jartsev

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0711 AM

I can imagine that. I was there April 1995. It looked as if the economy was just beginning to revive from the crash. Lots of derelict factories, etc, with just a few signs of rebuilding. There was a bar near the railway station on a Soviet railways theme. I wonder if that's still there? Run by a young bloke.

The boozer in one of the towers in the city walls was nice at night with snow swirling past the windows.

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That bar near railway station("Wagon Lits") is closed for 3 years now... Restaurant in the tower is still working- how to close one of capital`s most distinctive plases? :lol:

Edited by Jartsev, 17 March 2005 - 0712 AM.

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#19 swerve

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0822 AM

That bar near railway station("Wagon Lits") is closed for 3 years now... Restaurant in the tower  is still working- how to close one of capital`s most distinctive plases? :lol:


Indeed. But I bet the prices have gone up :(
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#20 Jartsev

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 0919 AM

Indeed. But I bet the prices have gone up  :(

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they are still acceptable for tourists from the west :D
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