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Latvian Legion

Latvian Legion

Books and encyclopedias on the Holocaust and Judaica continue to variously conflate or equate the pre-war Aizsargi, Latvian fascist Pērkonkrusts, Sicherheitsdienst ("SD units"), Schutzmannschaft ("Schuma"), Waffen SS ("Latvian Legion"), and Askaris—Russian POWs of the Germans but described in Soviet archives as Ukrainians, Latvians, and Lithuanians (no mention of Russians); affirming that all actively participated in the Holocaust, even independently of the Germans.

A derivative of this line of accusation is that Daugavas Vanagi (Daugava's Hawks) was established as an umbrella haven for the leadership of these various Latvian fascist and anti-Semitic Holocaust-perpetrating organizations to escape to the West—a Soviet fiction. DV was founded as a veteran's welfare organization in the Zedelgem POW camp in Belgium—where Allied guards shot Latvians for sport as live target practice until someone was thoughtful enough to inform them that the Latvians weren't Nazis. The Soviets subsequently sought to discredit DV leadership—outspoken and anti-Communist—as Nazis, most infamously in their propaganda tome Daugavas Vanagi, Who Are They?, authored by a former Nazi propagandist[1]. The KGB apparently valued his prior experience.

[1]Paulis Ducmanis was working as a sports columnist when the KGB called at his door after the show trial of the 18th Police Battalion and execution of five of its officers. The goal? No less than to discredit all Latvians who had fought against the Red Army as Nazi war criminals and to brand their veterans' welfare organization as a haven for the perpetrators of "unspeakable crimes" now spreading "all kinds of lies about their homeland and its people" and "false information about the Soviet Union." The purported trio of authors of the publication: E. Avotiņš, J. Dzirkalis, V. Pētersons were all fabricated pseudonyms. (Daugavas Vanagi, Who are They? quoted at page 3.)