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Propaganda of Ethnic Hate in 1941

The Arrival of Nazi Anti-Semitism.

The first dosage of anti-Semitism the Latvians experienced, via the air-waves from Königsberg, where Ernsts Treigüts-Tāle with the first hours of the war started beaming messages to the Latvians[13]. While the full contents of those broadcasts we do not have, some were transcribed in Kurzemes vārds, the Liepāja newspaper, and from those transcripts, we can see that all the essentials of Nazi anti-Semitism were there. Already in the broadcasts a heavy emphasis was placed on the Jew/Bolshevik/Chekist label.

Nacionālā Zemgale on June 30, in Jelgava, was the first Latvian language newspaper that appeared under the Nazis. In time it outranked Tēvija by two days. Jelgava was a city on the way to Rīga, where Stahlecker had stopped and organized a Latvian SD unit. He installed Mārtiņš Vagulāns, who was a professional journalist, both as the editor of Nacionālā Zemgale, and as the commander of Latvian SD detail in Jelgava. In the lead article of the first issue of Nacionālā Zemgale, we see the first references to the Jews and in it we can already espy a variety of a heightened anti-Semitism that one would not have seen in the pages of the press of independent Latvia. The linkage of the Jews with Communists/Bolsheviks is especially to be noted:

“In the afternoon on June 29, the soldiers of Great Germany, inspired and lead by Führer ADOLF HITLER, in lightning fast actions, ousted the rule of the Muscovite Kremlin degenerates and Jews.“

Two more times Vagulāns in a short article refered to the Jews as servants of the Communist rule. In the last paragraph he once more thanked the National socialists, mothers, and soldiers for ”… risking their lives, in order to abolish the bondage of hated Jews—the servitude of plutocrats and terror.”[14]

The drumbeat of the Jewish/Bolshevik theme was kept up unabated, not a single issue was without it. July 3 issue of Nacionālā Zemgale, under the headline ”Free of Jewish Bolshevik Looters and Murderers”, reported:

”There is no name in human language that would in a true and right way describe those that kept our nation for a whole year under a sadistic, instantly dictated regime of devastation, ravage, murder and pillage. …With lies these Bolshevik bands of Stalin entered our land… [In reference to the deportations of June 13/14, 1941] There was no longer a struggle with Latvian men, but with infants, old, sick women and all were exiled to the ghastly Jewish and Bolshevik bondage. Women who had given birth but yesterday, sick with pneumonia, children suffering from Scarlet fever, yanked out of cribs and then thrown into trucks, so to freeze them in sealed cattle cars, where there was no air, no light, so to rush them off to the land of the Cheka, behind our frontiers.”[15]

[13]   Treigūts-Tāle, Ernsts, Latvieši kaŗš ir sācies!, Vol. I and II, Gauja, 1990/91. Especially in the second volume Treigūts described his work in the radio, that formally opperated under the Anti-Comintern logos.
[14] Nacionālā Zemgale, June 30, 1941, No. 1.
[15] Nacionālā Zemgale, July 1, 1941, No. 2.