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Propaganda of Ethnic Hate in 1941

Mature Nazi Anti-Semitism.

Mature anti-Semitism differed from the varieties discussed above only in two particulars: it accused the Jews of the vilest of murders of Latvians and it demanded by implication, innuendo, or directl statement, the killing of Jews. Some of the statements, such as ”An end to the Jews the exploiters!” or ”Thou shalt not hide any snakes in your bosom.”[40] If delivered in a different time and place, the statements might have had a broader spectrum of meanings, but in the context of 1941, when the Jews were being killed in all towns of Latvia, the choice of interpretation is limited. The call for the ”final solution”, regardless how expressed, is the necessary part of ”mature anti-Semitism”. While the anti-Semitic statements discussed above were intemperate, and extreme, they did not deal explicitly with blood label accusations. The syllogism of the mature anti-Semitism was: the Jews have killed Latvians and therefore the Jews shall be killed. Most starkly the point was made by Viktors Šteinbergs, Tālavietis of August 7, 1941: ”Jews were the ones, who worked out the plan of Latvia's annihilation, and began to realize it—they shall die as a nation.” [41]

The editor of Nacionālā Zemgale, July 4, wrote: ”There should be no pity and compromises, and the tribe of the Jewish snakes may not flourish in the renewed Latvia.”[42]

July 1, issued of Nacionālā Zemgale contains an impossible anecdotal story about two young Jewish Red Guards, at the time of Red Army's retreat: ”At the time when the invincible army retreated from Jelgava, the two sons of Satan, with revolvers in their hand sauntered through the streets of the city, arrested and took away innocent people, to murder them. Yet this band of misfits will not escape their deserved punishment.”[43]

”The time has come once and for all for ever to end the terror of the Jewish/Communists.”[44]

A Silarājs writes: ”The road of the red oppressors was prepared by the Jews, whose hands never showed calluses, whose backs have never been bent in the fertile fields of our country, but who have always been the first to get hold of the goods, that have been created by the Latvian people.…Long too long have the Latvian people tolerated the Jews. That was already proven in the Bolshevik rule of 1919, when the parasites and the most vicious enemies of our people—Jews and their lackeys, spilt a sea of blood of our sons and daughters. On June 17, 1940 our nation for the second time returned to the grave of Jewish slavery.”[45]

An unsigned editorial of Zemgale: ”The concepts—Jewry and Communism are synonymous. Communism is the same as Jewry and Jewry is the same as Communism. Communism give social justice only to one people—the Jews. For Jews the Communist state is a paradise and only Jews enjoy a true liberty in a Communist state.” And it ends ominously as a threat although by that time the Jews of Jelgava had been killed: ”Now we know, that towards the Jews and Communists, we Latvians can only have one view. And it is—to destroy them, the same as they wanted to destroy our people. The Jews- Communists did not fulfill their goal. We shall fulfill ours![46]

The prolific Zeltiņš, although in a more complicated way, interwove the justification of murder of Jews in a short story, ”Staircase” (Kāpnes). The story is about a young Latvian woman who finds a housekeeping job with a Jew, of the most ugly visage. The Jew tried to rape the woman, but instead she is able to find an axe and killed the Jew. The author described the women descending the staircase: ”She did not feel the slightest of guilt, but to the contrary—a strange courage and joy, as if a sensation of just victory flowed in her arteries. No she is not descending the steps in humiliation or as a murderess, but in triumph…She had only carried out justice. But the steps in their cool serenity were silent, for they knew that sovereign democracy had sovereign justices, and sovereign laws, which knows only punishment for killing a Jew, regardless under what circumstances it occurred.”[47] The point of the story is not that she has murdered a rapist but rather a Jew, and that it is a morally justifiable murder.

Although women generally did not participate in this anti-Semitic orgy, one Velta Maldone did: ”All Latvians are aggrieved, seeing that there are still some people from our midst, who are slaves to gold, who permit themselves to be bought for Jewish bloody pennies. …Regardless how painful it may be, we still see people … who say: ”Yes but these Jews are innocent. The murderers have ran away!” Let the simpletons note and not forget, that in the Jewish holy writ is said: ”Every Jew who spills the blood of a non-Jew, is doing service to the God, equal to sacrifice .…You give milk and bread to them, while Latvian children go without food. Are they Latvians who allow themselves to be bought by this godless people, the murderers of the Latvian nation!”[48]

J. Zalcmanis, known Pērkonkrusts member, specialized in exposing the connection between Masonry and Jewry. The two forces that in anti-Semitic literature form a conspiratorial and invisible underground that hold nations and states in subjugation. He wrote:

“The answer is very simple: the state power usually is in the hands of the brothers of the secret organization—Free Masons. People must live without knowing it. … Having obtained its aims, Jewry knows no barriers. Millions of people have died in war and in famine. Millions have been tortured in the most hideous manner, and while people are recuperating from physical and spiritual wounds, the Jew, in quiet triumph, gropes further—closer, ever closer to the centuries old desired goal—the suppression in slavery and then the gradual extinction of non-Jews. … How fully the Jews carry out their secret laws, destruction of all peoples, now every Latvian, remembering Communist rule, knows very well… A new world view has born, which leads Europe towards the final victory over Jewish domination.”[49]

Vagulāns, perhaps more fiercely than any one, touches upon the problem of the non-Jewish collaborator with Communists, so to say with Jews:

”It seems that no one doubts that those who have supported the Jewish doctrines of torture and domination, are not usable members of the society, therefore we must distance ourselves from them. There is no punishment big enough for these beast- people and there may not be any difference to be drawn between the Jews and their helpers. This bunch of animals must be spat out—they dare not breath the holy air of Aryan race and that of other honest people of the world.”[50]

F. Pomelnieks in the provincial Smiltenietis, ”Why a Jew Needs to be Hated” wrote:

” [The hatred toward Jews] has deeper causes, to wit—a difference in races. The Semite race lives at the expense of the others.…But the Aryan was followed by a Jew every step of the way. The Jew became the keeper of the taverns and usurer to the weak-natured Aryan; the honor of men and women became an item of sale; Jews exploited Aryan inventions and discoveries, circumvented their laws, ridiculed religion and traditions of family, fostered immoral life and permeated it with corresponding literature, dances, pictures and movies. That all was done in the name of freedom and 'culture'. … But now an end has come. … too long have the Jews lived in their lair, too long have the people kept a snake in its bosom. Now their hour has struck. They still want to save themselves; they still hope, that they will be saved by their friends—the Communists. But it is too late—their hour has come.”[51]

Anti-Semitism even reached the sports pages, and under the pen of a well-known sports writer Arnolds Šmits it became very vicious:

”The Jews forging their plans for the conquest of the world, in expediting the plan, have not forgotten sports. … It is an indisputable truth about which as immeasurable amount of information has been given by Bolsheviks and Jews themselves. This time we shall speak about the latter although the concepts of Jewry and Bolshevism is inseparable one. The Jewish athlete has become a disgusting and obnoxious participant in the stadiums of the world. … Now, when the triumph of Aryans has begun, the final push to the Jews has also been given to the Jews in sports arena, where the Jews already for decades have been an uninvited, although constantly repulsive guest. The false mask has fallen and this time —for ever!”[52]

Martinson writes, that the Latvians have learned about the Communists and that ”now there is an opportunity to fight at the front, but not only at the front.”[53]

The anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda during the occupation to date has not been studied sufficiently. For example, it would be very useful to see how it corosponded with the propaganda in other occupied lands, East and West. Was it similar or the same in France as in Ukraine? Both the similarities and differences would be useful to see. As far as Latvia was concerned, the propaganda shifted from time to time according to need. Although the occupation press was never free of anti-Semitism, its intensity abated after the killing of the Jews. In the army newspapers of 1942-45, the anti-Semitic content is minimal. In the above analysis the emphasis was placed on the writings of Latvian authors, but it must be noted that there was also a great many reprints from the German press, such as excerpts from Hitler's writings and speeches of Goebels or Göring. During the final phase of the occupation, the threat of the return of the Jewish /Bolsheviks was again invoked frequently.

[40]    Nacionālā Zemgale, July 1, 1941, No. 2. It is to be noted that this story appeared as early as the second day of occupation of Jelgava. The Latvian word used for snake was odze (adder), the only poisonous snake in Latvia.
[41]Tālavietis of August 7, 1941. And then Íteinbergs attached a warning to the Latvians who were pitying them: ”There is no need to pity them—lets not forget that the star of David can also be hung around the necks of those who are standing in lines for Jews and are helping them.”
[42]Nacionālā Zemgale, July 4, 1941, No. 5.
[43]Nacionālā Zemgale, July 1, 1941, No. 2. The fictional nature of this story is indicated by the reference to Red Guards. During the Soviet rule there were various auxiliary police organizations, but none of them were called Red Guards.
[44] Nacionālā Zemgale. July 2, 1941, No. 3
[45]Nacionālā Zemgale. July 7, 1941, No. 7
[46]Zemgale. August 20, 1941, No. 3
[47]Zemgale, September 3, 1941, No.15
[48]”Be Smart!” Daugavas Vēstnesis, October 23, 1941.
[49]J. Zalcmanis, ”The Huge Underground”, Zemgale, September 18, 1941. No. 28.
[50]Taisnā vaga, semi-monthly, Nr. 1, 1941.
[51]Smiltenietis, No. 1, July 18, 1941.
[52] Sporta Pasaule, August, 1941.
[53] Tēvija. December 1, 1941