historical perspectives, latest
Comments 22

The Baltic Holocaust and Russophobia


by Frank Lee

Riga, Latvia, 23 June 2017 Right Wing Latvian Nationalists/Russphobes on the March

On 23 June 2017 in the Parliament Square of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, an official celebration of the uprising of 23 June 1943 against Soviet rule took place. The event was orchestrated mainly by veterans of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Association, a far-right militia group. During these celebrations an exhibit of more than 12 posters were hung which presented the anti-Soviet insurrection one that “drove terror into the Bolshevik occupying army and the lackeys of the occupation forces.”

Some historical context is needed here.

In June 1941, Hitler had launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union, overrunning the Baltics in a few weeks. As documented by eyewitness testimony, photographs, and Nazi records, the Christian majority welcomed the Germans as liberators and right-wing paramilitary groups began massacring their Jewish neighbours before German rule had even been firmly established. Over the next three years of German occupation, around 200,000 Jews, more than 95 percent of Lithuania’s Jewish population, were murdered—a more complete destruction than befell any other European country. In an of inversion of Denmark, the nation where massive local resistance to the Nazi occupiers saved the lives of most Danish Jews, in Lithuania, zealous local collaboration ensured near-complete extermination. One of the only ways for a Jew to survive the Holocaust in Lithuania—the deadliest place on a deadly continent—was the way Yitzhak Arad, a Jewish anti-fascist did: as a partisan fighting the Nazis and their collaborators in the forests.

Thus the ‘lackeys’ (as referred to above) comprised the usual target for Nazi extermination policy: Jews, Russians, Communists, Gypsies or anybody who didn’t co-operate with the collaborationist Latvian pro-Nazi forces or the German Einsatzgruppen, Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary death squads, both of whom were responsible for mass killings. In one incident thousands of Jewish families desperate to avoid capture were forced back by the Lithuanian partisans, arrested by the Lithuanian Activist Front, held in concentration camps until were executed without trial at Kaunas VII Fort during June/July 1941

Episodes such as this represent a little cameo forming part of the history of Lithuania during WW2– a history is generally unknown outside of the West. Sadly, such events were not restricted to Lithuania, but were also a similarly squalid human rights record in Latvia and Estonia. Like the western Ukraine these were collaborationist states who were only too eager to welcome their German Nazi brethren.

The situation in Latvia also followed the same pattern. Estimates suggest that approx. 75,000 Latvian Jews fell into Nazi hands. Moreover, even prior to the persecution of Latvian Jews by the German Nazi authorities, they had suffered anti-Semitic excesses at the hands of the Latvian militias. Chief among these were members of the Azsgargi para-military group and the fascist anti-Semitic organization – Perkonkrusts – which later collaborated with the Nazis in their annihilation of the Jewish community. During the October pogrom in Riga the Latvian Auxiliary Police, all the cities synagogues were destroyed, and 400 Jews were killed. According to German SS records some 38,000 Jews had been murdered by the end of December 1941.

By the beginning of 1942 Jews were imported from German home and militarily occupied territories and incarcerated in various concentration camps – the most notorious being Salaspils and Kaiswerwald. Conditions were so bad that many died of disease and hunger.

It could be said that the German SS authorities to a large extent outsourced their Baltic holocaust to local collaborationist Latvian nationalists who undertook their allotted role with considerable alacrity.

Not to be outdone Estonia had its own mini-holocaust. Given that the original Jewish population of Estonia was much smaller than either Lithuania or Latvia the numbers of Jews murdered was correspondingly reduced. Nonetheless Units of the Eesti Omakaitse (Estonian Home Guard; approximately 1000 to 1200 men) were directly involved in criminal acts, taking part in the round-up of 200 Roma people and 950 Jews. Units of Estonian Auxiliary Police participated in the extermination of Jews in the Pskov region of Russia and provided guards for concentration camps for Jews and Soviet POWs.

Shameful! Barbaric! No, not a bit of it. Celebrations of indigenous neo-Nazi and SS reunions have been ongoing events in the Baltics since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Baltic states’ integration into the EU/NATO bloc. (Well how could we leave such decent chaps outside NATO’s warm and protective embrace!?) In addition to the celebrations in Lithuania, there was earlier in the year – 16 March 2017- a march through the Latvian capital, Riga, in honour of the Latvian Waffen-SS Volunteer Legion [1]. International protests failed to prevent this event from taking place just as they failed earlier. Marches honouring the Latvian SS-men have been a regular event in Riga since 1990. In 1998, the Latvian government even went so far as to make that date a national holiday.

Suffice it to say that Russophobia is akin to a state religion in the Baltics (as is also the case in Poland and Ukraine). This is evident in both theory and practise. In a February 2012 referendum, Latvians roundly rejected Russian as an official second language. It is analogous to what happened in Ukraine after Yanukovich fled the country: The parliament overturned a law that would have granted official status to the Russian language. It was one of the post-revolution developments that seemed to alarm Moscow.

In Estonia, things are if anything even worse. Ethnic Russians are somewhere between one-fifth and one-quarter of the population. And yet, after Estonian independence in 1991, they were not given citizenship, even if they were born there. Russians who weren’t living in Estonia before Soviet times are given a grey passport connoting their official status as “aliens.” They can’t vote in national elections and have trouble finding work. To get citizenship, they must pass an Estonian language exam. (Estonian, which is not an Indo-European language but an Ugro-Finnic one, is notoriously difficult, with 14 cases.) The Language Inspectorate, which Russia Today derisively labelled “the language police,” performs spot checks on bureaucrats and teachers to make sure they know Estonian. If they fail the test, they lose their jobs. This is little more than a system of apartheid as was once evident in South Africa and is still the case in Palestine.

In the world of pop music there are so-called Tribute bands. Musical acts who appropriate and perform songs and sport other trappings from world famous groups. Thus, we have a Beatles tribute band, an Elton John tribute band…and so forth. In the case of the Baltics we have Tribute Nazism complete with songs, flags, symbols and the rest of the fascist bric-a-brac.

This being the political situation it should come as no surprise that the ethnic Russian population has fallen from 1,726,000 in 1989 to 1,052,520 this was the figure in the last consensus which took place in 2011. This raises further issues. Namely, the record of the Baltics’ membership of the EU. Whatever happened to the golden land of EU milk and honey and the promises held out to the Baltic populations by the EU? In short, they were sold – I can’t put it politely – a crock of shit. Economic and social conditions in the Baltic nations are among the worse in the whole Eurozone.

The reality: The latest Eurostat report on the situation in Lithuania shows that up to 29% of the inhabitants are living on the verge of poverty, with the situation remaining unchanged for eight consecutive years. At the same time, Lithuania is among the top five states of the EU where people are being employed for meagre salaries.

The sad reality of this trend is evidenced by historical records showing an unprecedented drop in the population of Lithuania, that fell from the level of 3.7 million back in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2016, a drop of no less than 25%. Income inequality and the striking poverty of some Lithuanian residents is only getting worse over the years, putting Lithuania in the list of poorest EU states. The same inexorable population decline is also evident in Latvia. After obtaining independence from the Soviet bloc in 1991, the population of Latvia has been diminishing annually with the rate of 23,000 people a year. These frightening figures were unveiled last March by a professor of the University of Latvia, demographer Peteris Zvidriņš who would note that the sad reality is that Latvia loses some small town every two weeks.

In raw figures, that is 55 people a day, or 1,650 people a month. Another Latvian demographer, who heads a local office of the International Organization for Migration of the United Nations, Ilmar Mezhs, has recently told Skaties.lv that most of those who are leaving Latvia are not planning to go back. Referring to the forecasts of Eurostat, Mezhs suggested that in sixty years in the place of 2.7 million people who had previously resided in Latvia, one would find less than a million people still dwelling in this country. According to preliminary reports, the country’s population has already been reduced to 1.946 million people. Latvia has been plagued by high mortality rates along with the massive exodus of its people since 1991.

If this downward, demographic trajectory continues there is no possible future for these states, at least on present policies, since these policies are the problem. Any coherent national strategy would have to involve a break with the West and NATO/EU, a normalization of diplomacy and the establishment of trade links with Russia. But of course, this is completely taboo; Russia is the eternal enemy; the pervasiveness of this a pernicious dogma is comparable to heroin addiction, and is just as destructive. Such is the poisoned chalice of Russophobia. Sup it up and enjoy. It couldn’t happen to nicer people.

[1] During WW2 some 150,000 thousand Latvians served on the side of the III Reich. The served in the so-called Volunteer Legion of the SS consisting of the 15th and 19th Grenadier Divisions of the SS (or first and second Latvian Divisions), the Latvia Luftwaffe Legion German Divisions and Police battalions. They were responsible for many war crimes.

22 Comments

  1. Under the photo: Vilnius, Latvia… How to understand this? Vilnius is Lithuania. And on photo are Riga and people with Latvian flags

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  2. I, for one, wouldn’t mind knowing your sources, Frank. The details you relay are all new to me. None of it surprises me. I know enough about the world, and the rise of Nazism globally, to find your report totally believable. For which reason, I’d like to get an idea about the books you’ve read revealing the above info. I have enough books to read right now to keep me busy for a few years, but they, and the list of ‘to buy’ books I have, came from careful attention to sources and authors. Gone are the days (when I was young) when I would satisfy my curiousity by just grabbing any book off a shelf.

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  3. Big B says

    Russophobia: is the conceptual keystone of an integrated EU-NATO ‘defence’ strategy, amalgamated procurement, and a consolidated common foreign policy. [China and DPRK are integral: but just don’t tap into the same ‘Le Carre’ or ‘new McCarthy’ sinister psycho-historical overtones: and Daesh-ISIS-AQ is a defeated non-entity – as far as a threat to predicate an increasingly large military budget on.] The shared defence budgets are staggering – with Congress authorising $696bn for FY2018 – and their EU counterparts spending $253bn (which is seen as not enough – you can add another $100bn to that figure as they endeavour to reach their 2% GDP benchmark targets by 2024 [2015 figures – FT]) Call it a round $trillion and growing: that’s an awful lot of money without a permanent credible full-spectrum threat: just building and building, expanding its capabilities, planning – waiting to bust across the borders under the ruse of Zapad ’18?

    One man has done more than his fair share to bring us to this point. Apart from personally trying to start WW3 in the Donbass (with Lindsey Graham); and being the puerile purveyor of the ‘pissgate’ dossier: John McCain was the Chairman of the committee and lead author of the NDAA – giving the combined military more than it requested; and streamlining redundant spending toward their “warfighting capability.” The ‘Secretary of the Deep State’ – on behalf of the MIC – is doing their ordering for them. Based on a threat he helped conjure up. Ain’t that a fitting legacy for a real life ‘warfightin’ hero’?

    The ’09 Clinton-Lavrov kitsch publicity ‘Russian Reset’ stunt was meant to be an end to frayed relationships. Clearly, they hit the wrong button! [They did: it said “overcharge”, not “reset”] In October 2015, the “World’s Elite” warned Russia to stay out of Syria – when they didn’t: the promised tame Russophobe media onslaught was duly unleashed. In response to Russia’s deemed ‘interference’ in Syria and the Ukraine (and to counter Putin’s “Union of Europe” – a clear and present danger to unipolar hegemony) came the Obama-Brennan (CIA-FBI sanctioned) ‘revenge’ – the Trump-Russia collusion scandal. The rest, they say, is history.

    McCain did his bit; but the real heroine of the baseless anti-Trump collusion and interference scandal was HRC. She (and her reverential supporters) did her best to project Russophobic blame away from her venerated personage: culminating with the book and the tour of “What Happened”. It was going so well: until this week. With the story – and the subsequent investigations led by Mueller (a co-conspirator?) – losing momentum and on the point of stalling: the CIA (WaPo) threw Hillary under the bus. The fact that she is (now) the Russia collusion scandal embodied would be fucking hilarious: apart from the fact the story is fixed firmly in the national (and global) consciousness (and was ignored by much of the tame media outlets.) There it remains. Whether with Republican or Democrat: or whether with base or without base – Russia still ‘colluded’ and ‘interfered’. They are still presented to the national psyche as a (reverse-engineered) credible cross spectrum; multi-domain; cyber-conventional-economic-nuclear ‘shadow’ entity. It was an easy ghost to resurrect: but (as in Hamlet) – not so easy to vanquish or forget.

    With more than a $trillion being sucked from countries that can no longer afford to provide decent economic prospects; infrastructure; social welfare; healthcare; pensions; etc: cui bono? Who benefits from the resumption of the familiar psycho-historic enmity?

    Much less a joke; it’s beginning to look as though after 2015 – there was an ‘MIC-Powers That Shouldn’t Be’ plan forming all along???

    Liked by 1 person

      • Big B says

        Yes. First powered flight – 1903; via subsonic, supersonic, to hypersonic flight = 58 years. All predicated on war and destruction. What could we achieve if we equated progress with peace?

        Liked by 1 person

        • All predicated on war and destruction. What could we achieve if we equated progress with peace?

          Indeed. Homo Sapiens are a particularly vicious and bloodthirsty animal…no other species regularly kills its own on such a massive scale. As individuals people are generally civil to one another, even to those they dislike. But in groups, even small ones, when competing for status and power (a favourite human pastime) there is no limit to the depraved violence and ritual degradation they are willing to inflicted on the “other” of the moment.

          The current tend in the social sciences is to pretend all human behavioural traits are socially constructed and amendable through robust “re-education” practices. But the patterns of domination and subjugation present in all societies throughout history suggest this is not the case.

          Sigmund Freud understood something about this and how power and violence are linked to sexual desire. It has become fashionable to roll one’s eyes and snicker at mention of Freud and dismiss him as a sexist fantasist whose thought has no relevance in the 21st century. Never mind that most people’s knowledge of the man is limited to popular cliches and cigar jokes. They remain ignorant of the fact that Westerners default understanding of the structure of the mind and the drives and instincts influencing human behaviour are straight from Freud…and that nobody has yet offered an alternative explanation.

          Never underestimate the stupidity and ignorance of humans and their capacity for self-deception.

          The late J.G. Ballard was right when he said “Civilised life, you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.”

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  4. Frank says

    Apropos of Lithuania. Let’s get the record straight.
    Setting the Lithuanian record straight. Here’s an account by somebody who should know.

    Lithuanian Hypocrisy

    by Adv. Joseph A. Melamed – Head of Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors’ Association

    ”Rarely have I seen such cynical and uncultured hypocrisy as that of the Lithuanians. I read their newspapers and their internet sites, and I cannot believe what I read. And I wonder: do they intentionally fool themselves, for it cannot be that they themselves actually believe the nonsense that they write. I will give you a few examples:

    The Soviet “Conquest” of Lithuania.

    There is no doubt that most Lithuanians were not pleased when the Red Army entered Lithuania, just as they were not pleased when the Lithuanian Fascists revolted in 1926. Here, the opposite occurred: In 1926 the liberals resisted and the nationalists rejoiced, while in 1940, it was the leftists who rejoiced and it was the fascists who resisted. In both cases the Lithuanians eventually collaborated. From 1926 onwards the fascist ranks continued to become stronger while in 1940/41 the communist ranks grew in strength and there was a long “line” of Lithuanians who wanted to join the party. In both these cases, it was the Lithuanians who managed the country on a day to day basis, and politically they could not oppose the decrees that were directed towards them. In the Fascists period, Lithuania should have surrendered to Poland (1938), returned Memel and the surrounding regions to the Germans, and eventually they should have invited the Soviet army to receive their basis in Lithuania. This they should have done after they received Vilna from the Soviets and the regions conquered by the Polish. But the Lithuanians always portray the Soviet period as if they were innocent victims. Moreover, they have someone to blame in the Soviet “conquest”-naturally, the Jews.

    The German “Conquest” of Lithuania.

    There is no doubt that the Germans were not invited to invade Lithuania. But surely, all of the world knows that most of the Lithuanians expected and longed for their invasion. Naturally, the Germans had plans of their own that did not at all take into account the expectations of the Lithuanians, with one exception where both sides agreed upon, and this was the destruction of the Jews. With respect to this, the Lithuanians outmatched the Germans: they executed the German policies with such alacrity that the Germans did not have to worry at all about the policies’ execution, and therefore were free to send their soldiers to the field, to fight against the Soviets. Despite the fact that the Lithuanians did not get the independence they wanted, they collaborated with the Nazis, to the great satisfaction of the Germans. Like in the Soviet period, in the Nazi period the Lithuanians managed their day to day life. Despite this, even in the Nazi period, the Lithuanians always portray themselves as being innocent victims.

    Murder of the Jews.

    But the most disgusting insolence of the Lithuanians was reflected in the genocide of the Jews’ murder. Everybody knows that the violence with which the Lithuanians murdered the Jews of Lithuania and Galicia exceeded all norms. So much so that they even roamed long distances outside of Lithuania in order to kill more hundreds of thousands of Jews. The Lithuanians did not wait until the Germans conquered Lithuania; Already on the day of the invasion thousands of Lithuanians that were organized in the underground cells by the Fascist Organization L.A.F., whose leaders then sat in Berlin, attacked the Lithuanian Jews and decided that they were going to commit the biggest bloodbath in history. The slaughter was so violent that it even upset the Germans who were afraid that it could badly influence their soldiers. From around July 10, 1941, onwards the “activist” weapon was accepted: the murder of the Jews within the city was no longer done spontaneously but according to a plan prepared in advance, and was implemented by the Germans and Lithuanians in cooperation. The slaughter itself was almost single-handedly left in the hands of the Lithuanians and from then on it was carried out by Lithuanian battalions that were established specifically for this purpose.

    Despite this fact, the Lithuanians continue to deny their participation in the murder of the Jews, and until today they have not been punished, not even one out of 23,000 murderers that killed close to half a million Jews in Lithuania, the former Soviet Union, Poland and other places.

    And what is the biggest insolence of the Lithuanians? That even after their abominable murder they continue to attack, curse, and abuse the Jews, and whoever surfs their internet sites can learn about this. The truth is that they are not embarrassed to advertise the despicable material even in their own newspaper.”

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  5. Stop the BS says

    What a bullshit: Vilnius is in Lithuania, yet picture is from Riga. Riga is in Latvia indeed. Fact check? Seems authors never heard of that.

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    • Frank says

      Apologies, should have been Riga. But these events are commonplace in both Latvia and Lithuania.

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  6. Dmitry Peskov says

    “BS” article with 80% of fake content clearly serves Russian propaganda authors interest to discredit all the countries who dared to resist the barbarians atacks during the last century incl these days… These dirty blood money you got paid for this fake creation won’t make you happy for life guys… wake up and get a real job…

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    • padre says

      How adamant you are, you must be a historian, specialized on Baltic, since you are so certain!But you did not give any proof of what you are saying.And please, please drop that “Russian propaganda”, it is becoming boring!And what attacks are you talking about, do you think others don’t know, what is going on?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Big B says

    “If this downward, demographic trajectory continues there is no possible future for these states, at least on present policies, since these policies are the problem.”

    The Baltic States are fully integrated into the EU-NATO development plan – only it is not an economic one (not for these marginal affiliate-member states, at least.) The Baltics are not to be sustained as limited sovereignty client states – with dependant, but functional economies. The only value these states have – to the ‘powers that shouldn’t be’ – is as a collective territorial Lebensraum for the economic heartland – France and Germany (and, of course, the UK and US.) Along with providing a (sparsely populated) military theme park – to host the incessant joint-operability EU-NATO (cold) wargames. There is only one future – join the integrated military.

    There is plenty of money (for defence): for example, from the US FY18 NDAA – $4.6bn for a “European Deterrence Initiative”; $500m for “defensive lethal” assistance to the Ukraine; $100 m for a “joint program of the Baltic nations … to deter Russian aggression”; $65m for the development of a ground-launched intermediate-range missile (to be stationed in Europe?)… from the European side – Lithuania has $110m to purchase Norwegian SAM missiles; there are ongoing inter-Baltic negotiations toward a future purchase of US Patriot missiles; Poland is to increase its land army by 50% – as part of a $42bn 10 year update to its military. It is just that there is no money for economic development – unless it is the military industrial complex that is to be developed. All profits built on human misery and fake Russian aggression.

    And that is not all that is predicated on fake Russian aggression: Permanent Structured Cooperation of the EU military is to be initiated in December (with an EU Treasury by June 2018 – if Donald Tusk gets his way.) That involves further pan-European defence sector cooperation, amalgamation, and inter-operability – streamlining toward future EU military integration – a centralised EU militarised economy (built on defence).

    [And unless Treason May comes out and says otherwise – that includes the UK – we are attending all the {unreported, behind closed doors} meetings; and the policy document is titled for the “EU 28”.]

    So the “present policies” are for an integrated streamlined EU-NATO glacial confrontation with Russia. The Baltics will be abandoned as an inter-glacial strip: sparsely populated (except for the integrated EU military and its shiny new war material); controlled by “Tribute Nazism.” The current “Baltic Holocaust” will continue: the young forced to leave to avoid being (conscripted) cannon fodder (death, as always, being equal opportunities employer.) The Baltics have been betrayed – sold out by politicians and bureaucrats that they have no recourse to – for the profit of the very few. It seems clear to me what the powers that shouldn’t be have planned – a Cold War? The new “Ice Age”, perhaps?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. NATO is simply continuing the policy of France, Great Britain and the USA (FUKUSA) from before WW2: promoting Nazi takeover of Eastern Europe as “our bulwark” against Russia. They are playing with fire now as then; only this time the fire will be nuclear.

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  9. Serge Lubomudrov says

    “On 23 June 2017 in the Parliament Square of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, an official celebration of the uprising of 23 June 1943 against Soviet rule took place.”

    Vilnius in 1943 was still occupied by the Germans. You probably meant to say 1941.

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  10. This touches me deeply, because in a massacre of the Einsatzgruppe A at the Yom Kippur on 2 October 1941 all Jews where cruely killed by the Lithuanian population at the marketplace and buried in Naryshkin Park in Zagare, Lithuania, formerly the estate of my great-uncle Georgiy Dmitrievich Narishkin who had fled to London with his wife and children (his wife was English) shortly after the Russian Revolution. His son, Boris, died in London in 1922 and my great-uncle died in London in 1924. There is a small memorial to the Jewish victims buried there, but if I had the means, I’d pay for a large one to honour all these victims.

    My great-uncle’s and his son’s grave in London:


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

    NATO protects these anti-Semitic nazis – they should have been put on trial at Nuremberg, even if it meant rounding them up in their thousands(it’s what they did to the Jews)or hunted down like the vermin they were.

    Liked by 3 people

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