The Annihilation of Jewish Latvians
Many members of the Waffen-SS being again honored on Sunday, had participated in the annihilation of Jewish Latvians. Right after Kārlis Ulmanis’ putsch May 15, 1934, Jewish Latvians employed by the government were fired. Jewish businesses were obliged to close. Immediately following their invasion in June 1941, the Germans carried out their first massacres, with Latvians’ practical assistance. Soon Latvian auxiliary police units were created, for imprisoning and guarding Jews, as well as to carry out assassinations. Only 15,000 of the 90,000 Jewish Latvians were able to flee with Soviet troops in the summer of 1941 ahead of the Nazis’ invasion. Less than a thousand of the remaining 75,000 Jews survived German barbarism. Many of the Latvians, who had participated in the murders, joined the Latvian Waffen-SS, which in 1944 were engaged in the effort to defend the German killing fields from the Red Army. Around 140,000 Latvians had collaborated with the German occupiers.