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Did Any Baltic Soldiers Fight On The Soviet Side?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 11 Sep 2011, 16:07
In the Baltic states were there any who joined the Red Army and fought the Germans? I know that in Lithuania there was a unit formed but it consisted mainly of Lithuanian Jews. Were there any non-Jewish Lithuanians or major numbers of Baltic soldiers who fought the Axis?

Thank you for any information on this.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Resident Soviet
Post 11 Sep 2011, 19:44
8th Estonian Rifle Corps, a group comprising the 7th and 249th Estonian rifle divisions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_Estonian_Rifle_Corps

Details about the Lithuanian division you mentioned. In fact this one did not contain only Jews. Slightly more than 1/3 were of Lithuanian nationality, slightly less Russian Lithuanians and the other third Jews:

http://www.lithuanianjews.org.il/HTMLs/article_list4.aspx?C2014=14329&BSP=14062&BSS59=14055

201st Latvian Rifle Division (formed mainly from 76th Independent rifle regiment formed from retreating battles in 1941, along with other Latvians. This one was also composed of over 15% Jewish Latvians. Elements of this unit also formed the 308th Latvian Rifle Division in 1942, and together with casualties this made the 201st Division only 1/3 Latvian.:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/201st_Motor_Rifle_Division

See also this page, with more formations, including the 130th Latvian Rifle Corps:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvian_Riflemen_Soviet_Divisions


Many of these divisions were later reorganized or formed part of other divisions or armies. It is worth noting too that Balts regularly in the Red Army outside their own 'national' formations.

Citing G.F. Krivosheev's statistics on military casualties by nationality:

Estonians: 21,200 killed; .245% of total casualties
Latvians: 11,600 killed; .134% of total casualties
Lithuanians: 11,600 killed; .134% of total casualties

http://lib.ru/MEMUARY/1939-1945/KRIWOSHEEW/poteri.txt#w02.htm-186

The number of civilians killed (through fighting, famine, those sent to work in Germany and through Nazi executions of Jews, Bolsheviks, Slavs and others) is much higher:

Estonians: 61,300
Latvians: 313,800
Lithuanians: 370,000

Source: Ibid.

Given that these republics had tiny initial populations (Estonia 1.1m, Latvia 2m, Lithuania 2.8m), the military death figures, which don't account for wounded, or for those that served in the Red Army, are pretty high, and mostly in line with percentages of military deaths among other nationalities, even given the Baltics' special historical case of being more likely to align with the Nazis. That said, the Lithuanian Red Army death figures are somewhat lower in percentage terms compared to their Baltic neighbours.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 12 Sep 2011, 05:33
This further goes to rehabilitate the image of the Baltic republics. The fact that there were soldiers who fought with the Red Army and who died in great number proportionate to the populations goes to show that these countries were not all inherently fascist.

Thank you very much Soviet78 for the information on this subject.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 May 2011, 15:53
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Post 18 Nov 2011, 22:42
Where exactly did you get the curious notion that the Baltic States were "inherently fascist?"
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2007, 23:25
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Post 23 Nov 2011, 18:46
Klim Voroshilov wrote:
Where exactly did you get the curious notion that the Baltic States were "inherently fascist?"

When watching the modern history of those states, as well as their current political climate, which is fascist to the core, such a generalization is easily made. However, no country is "inherently" fascist, of course.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 06 Dec 2011, 14:30
Quote:
Where exactly did you get the curious notion that the Baltic States were "inherently fascist?"


A lot of people here like to call these republics fascist because it suits their pro-Soviet outlook. They have no feeling for these countries and so it is more convenient just to write them off as fascist states for opposing the Soviet Union. They also conveniently forget that in Ukraine and Russia today there are also skinheads but then say that a small minority of Estonians honoring the SS is a sign that the Baltic states are some sort of outstanding example of reaction. Its also important to remember that in none of the Baltic republics have any of these post-Soviet skinheads ever beheaded anyone, whereas this has happened in Russia.

Quote:
When watching the modern history of those states, as well as their current political climate, which is fascist to the core, such a generalization is easily made. However, no country is "inherently" fascist, of course.


Belgium also had fascists. Look at Leon Degrelle. Also remember that there were Belgians in the SS. I do not think it is fair for you to say that the Baltic states have a political climate which is fascist to the core. Their modern history does not reflect this either. We could write ten books refuting this claim but no one here would believe it. Obviously if your country is occupied by another you must just submit for the glory of Marxism-Leninism and thats all there is to it.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Nov 2010, 01:24
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Post 06 Dec 2011, 19:31
Mr apologist can you explain that the Baltic soldiers that did fight on the Soviet side nowdays have been in jail for terrorist activities(partisans too),are not allowed to wear their medals in public while Fascist graves are restored and visited en masse
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 07 Dec 2011, 23:28
Quote:
Mr apologist can you explain that the Baltic soldiers that did fight on the Soviet side nowdays have been in jail for terrorist activities(partisans too),are not allowed to wear their medals in public while Fascist graves are restored and visited en masse


I am not an apologist for anything. They honor those graves because they are the graves of anti-Soviet fighters. They honor them because they were anti-Soviet nationalists. Similarly they do not let the veterans wear their medals which while ridiculous comes out of this same anti-Soviet sentiment. Being anti-Soviet does not make you a fascist.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 08 Dec 2011, 17:58
yeah.. those anti-soviets "just happen to be" fascists...


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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
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Post 10 Dec 2011, 00:27
Quote:
yeah.. those anti-soviets "just happen to be" fascists...


Are you saying that all Estonians are fascist SS sympathisers? If you mean that during the Second World War the Baltic peoples were fascist I also do not agree. They committed horrible atrocities, no one will deny this, however you must not forget that not all of them were fascist and there were other European countries who were hardly much better. How come Romania gets off without any criticism?

In Lithuania they never had a fascist government. In fact they even suppressed the fascist movements when they tried to stage a military coup.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 03:25
soviet78 wrote:
[...]the military death figures, which don't account for wounded, or for those that served in the Red Army, are pretty high, and mostly in line with percentages of military deaths among other nationalities, even given the Baltics' special historical case of being more likely to align with the Nazis. That said, the Lithuanian Red Army death figures are somewhat lower in percentage terms compared to their Baltic neighbours.


(Italics by me)

Its still a widely spread myth that the Baltic states were on the side of Nazi-Germany. Yes -
there were some who despised the Sovjets and chose what they (in the beginning) thought was the 'lesser evil'. But the popular over-generalizing is in view of the figures without substance.

The strange thing is - that (for example) nobody mentions all the Norwegian, Swedes and Danes who joined The Waffen SS and later formed the core of the Waffen SS Division 'Nordland'. There were even a considerable number of french Waffen SS members.

Thanks to sovjet78 for providing the figures!

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 04:03
Pink Spider wrote:
The strange thing is - that (for example) nobody mentions all the Norwegian, Swedes and Danes who joined The Waffen SS and later formed the core of the Waffen SS Division 'Nordland'.
Didn't that exact detail play an important role in that Stieg Larson novel?

I was reading that initially they were not going to film it in Sweden, but decided in the end that it had to be set there.
How they would have got round that important plot detail if they'd set the movie in the UK or the US I'm not really sure though.

It certainly doesn't receive as much recognition that there was plenty of Nazi collaboration in those sorts of countries, but it always seemed to me that the general population was less in tune with Nazi attitudes than in the Baltic states: The case of Danish Jews during the war is a pretty interesting example.

Though the negligible size of the Jewish population in many of those countries might have been significant. The Albanian case supports this notion.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 04:21
Denmark at least had significant collaboration and significant resistance. Of course, it's hard to say what was what afterwards. Some people were resistance but due to their cover ended up being murdered or arrested as collaborators afterwards.

I know Denmark supplied a shamefull 7 or 8000 volunteers for the SS.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 23:08
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OFF TOPIC
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Shigalyov wrote:
Didn't that exact detail play an important role in that Stieg Larson novel?

Yes. In the novel: 'The Girl Who Played with Fire' ('Flickan som lekte med elden') the chief villain uses as his alias the name of a Swedish Nazi, Karl Axel Bodin — a real historical figure who traveled to occupied Norway during the war to join the Waffen SS. He (the chief villain) is a serial killer whose targets turn out to have been Jewish women.

Shigalyov wrote:
I was reading that initially they were not going to film it in Sweden, but decided in the end that it had to be set there. How they would have got round that important plot detail if they'd set the movie in the UK or the US I'm not really sure though.

I haven't seen the movie - but in Sweden (nominally neutral during WWII) the fact that many young men joined the Waffen SS, the fact that the Nazis pretty much could go where they pleased in the country and a certain level of collaboration (e.g. allowing the Nazis to transport ore from the mines in Kiruna/Sweden via railway to Narvik/occupied Norway are very touchy points and it is still not very popular to talk about those things...

Shigalyov wrote:
It certainly doesn't receive as much recognition that there was plenty of Nazi collaboration in those sorts of countries, but it always seemed to me that the general population was less in tune with Nazi attitudes than in the Baltic states: The case of Danish Jews during the war is a pretty interesting example.

You are right - the Swedes (at least the vast majority) didn't harbor antisemitic sentiments.
When the Nazis finally decided to ship the Jews of occupied Denmark to Auschwitz (October 1st, 1943)the Jewish community was given a heads up, and only som 200 were arrested initially. 7,500 managed to flee to Sweden, ferried across the Øresund strait mostly by Swedish and Danish fishermen.

Shigalyov wrote:
Though the negligible size of the Jewish population in many of those countries might have been significant.

Yes - it may. As I said before: The general population in neither Sweden nor Denmark didn't harbor antisemitic sentiments.

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 09 Jan 2012, 23:11
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runequester wrote:
I know Denmark supplied a shamefull 7 or 8000 volunteers for the SS.

I will post about the non-german Waffen SS divisions in a different thread, because the discussion is going OT.




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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 10 Jan 2012, 17:33
When I said that the Baltics "special historical case...[made them] more likely to align with the Nazis," my comment was based on historical conditions, and not of course on any national or ethnic predispositions. The historical conditions are as follows:

1) the Baltic states were created or 'liberated' by the Germans in the aftermath of World War 1 in the midst of the disintegration of the Russian Empire.
2) By the late 1930s, like virtually all of Eastern Europe, the Baltic states had fascist and autocratic governments.
3) The Baltic states were absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1940, and immediately the local populations (or at least the urban, educated part of them) resented the method by which the states were integrated and the often brutal and unjust means by which the Soviet government attempted to neutralize opponents and to institute reforms.
4) As was the case virtually in all of Europe, the Baltics experienced strong anti-Semitic and anti-Bolshevik sentiments. These were compounded by the region's proximity to the USSR. When the time came, it would only take a spark, and the support of the state or occupational authority, for people to act on their ancient hatreds and prejudices. The Nazi propaganda talking about 'Jewish Bolshevism' would be especially effective in the Baltic case, for obvious historical and geographical reasons.

So, given the region's special historical circumstances, the Baltics were "more likely to align with the Nazis." I for one also subscribe to the idea that even if the USSR did not absorb the Baltics in 1940, the other conditions, together with territorial demands and the region's proximity to the USSR, the Baltics would still have aligned with Germany and made the war that much more difficult for the Soviets. Again, this would only be the result of peoples unfortunately happening to live in between two national and ideological superpowers, and not due to any national predispositions.

Pink Spider wrote:
The strange thing is - that (for example) nobody mentions all the Norwegian, Swedes and Danes who joined The Waffen SS and later formed the core of the Waffen SS Division 'Nordland'. There were even a considerable number of french Waffen SS members.


This is very interesting. I've found that even in detailed web searches, the most common results for these national SS divisions are fascist sympathizer 'memorial' sites. Given that collectively perhaps hundreds of thousands in occupied Europe served the Nazis, while at the same time radical socialists and communists made up the vast majority of armed resistance, these figures could perhaps serve as an indicator of a European-wide civil war between radical socialism and the fascist manifestation of capitalism in crisis. Obviously there are reasons to obscure or downplay these figures even today, given the embarrassment of the fact that it would mean that fascism had significant support in wealthy, democratic Europe, and that it took armed communist insurgents and external Soviet, American and British intervention to stomp fascism into the ground.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Oct 2010, 00:20
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Post 10 Jan 2012, 23:29
soviet78 wrote:
[...] the most common results for these national SS divisions are fascist sympathizer 'memorial' sites. Given that collectively perhaps hundreds of thousands in occupied Europe served the Nazis, while at the same time radical socialists and communists made up the vast majority of armed resistance, these figures could perhaps serve as an indicator of a European-wide civil war between radical socialism and the fascist manifestation of capitalism in crisis. Obviously there are reasons to obscure or downplay these figures even today, given the embarrassment of the fact that it would mean that fascism had significant support in wealthy, democratic Europe, and that it took armed communist insurgents and external Soviet, American and British intervention to stomp fascism into the ground.

Check out this thread: viewtopic.php?p=875173#p875173

What you say is true. It is very difficult to find accurate numbers. Embarassment is one reason. Even in todays Sweden (for example) the topic is more or less taboo.


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