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Useful survey of the Second World War as experienced by the Baltic States
on 19 November 2013
This is a thorough account of the way that the Second World War affected the three Baltic countries.
Buttar notes that the Nazis planned to deport to Siberia 85 per cent of Poles and Lithuanians, 75 per cent of Belorussians, 65 per cent of Ukrainians, and 50 per cent of Russians, Latvians and Estonians.
He points out that all too many Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians collaborated with the Nazis. The Lithuanian Activist Front started an uprising against Soviet forces on the first day of the Nazi invasion. Estonian guerrillas also operated at once against the Red Army. The Estonian Legion in 1944 became part of the new 20th SS Waffen Grenadier Division (First Estonian). All too many Latvians joined the 19th SS Waffen Grenadier Division (2nd Latvian).
These bodies were not just anti-Soviet. They were anti-Semitic, and killed Jews in what Buttar rightly calls the Baltic Holocaust. Lithuanian police battalions killed 78,000 people, mostly Jews. The Latvian Arjas Kommando killed at least 26,000 Jews, gypsies and other `undesirables'.
But not all Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians sided with Hitler's genocidal reaction. In 1942 the Red Army raised the 16th Latvian Rifle Division, the 130th Lithuanian Rifle Corps and the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps, which all played their part in driving the Nazis out of the Baltics.
After the war, each country had to defeat a US-backed counter-revolutionary terrorist organisation. In 1947 the Armed Resistance League was formed in Estonia, and was active until 1951. The Latvian Central Council, founded in 1943, operated until 1948. In 1944, the Nazis created the `Lithuanian Defense Force', which was active until 1949.