Letter of Mr. A. Ozolins to the British Newspaper “The Guardian” regarding a story by Gyula Hegly.
Zemak teksta ir mana vestule “The Guardian”, kas piemin dazas mulkibas Gyula Hegyl raksta.
LATVIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL IN GREAT BRITAIN
72 Queensborough Terrace, London W2 3SH
13 April, 2007
119 Farrington Road
London EC1R 3ER
I should be very grateful if you would publish the letter below, regarding, 11 April Gyula Hegyl’s Comment article “ Nationalists are exploiting history as discontent grows”.
A. V. Ozolins
Chairman of LNC
Gyula Hegyl’s Comment article “ Nationalists are exploiting history as discontent grows”, The Guardian (11.04.2007), will seem plausible to those who do not know much about Eastern Europe history and as ‘The Truth’ to those who accept the USSR version of history which today, to a large extent, is continued by Moscow. The Soviet version conveniently forgets the USSR’s role in starting WW2 by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August 1939 with Nazi-Germany. Less than a month later the USSR collected its share of Poland and within a year, at the time when Nazi troops occupied Paris, the USSR occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
A reign of terror ensued in the Soviet occupied lands culminating in mass deportations to the Gulag just eight days before Nazi Germany launched its attack on the USSR on 22 June 1941. To the people who had suffered Soviet terror, the arrival of the Germans seemed like liberation from the Soviet nightmare, and gave them the conviction that the return of the Soviet occupation had to be prevented at all costs. In Latvia, one year of Soviet occupation turned centuries old anti-German sentiments into accepting them as liberators. At that time only Germans could prevent the return of Soviet terror. The fact that Estonians and Latvians were willing to fight against the Soviets must be viewed in this context. Because of this, to call these men Nazis is a travesty of historical facts in line with false Soviet historiography.
Close on 50% of the members of the so called Latvian Legion were killed in frontline fighting. Those who were captured by the Soviets spent many years in Soviet forced labour camps. Returning survivors to Latvia were victimised by Soviet authorities. After the restoration of independence they began holding a memorial event for those who, died in fighting and the camps, by attending a church Memorial service and a walk to the Freedom monument to lay flowers. To call these events “state-sponsored Nazi parades and SS rallies” is a gross lie which Moscow began to spread to prevent Latvia joining NATO. To provide a spectacle for mass media, some Soviet time Russian settlers and those who call themselves ‘Bolsheviks’ began to organise so called anti-fascist demonstrations, which are now being countered by some right-wing factions.
Yes, monuments to the glory of Soviet power and functionaries have been removed but cemeteries of fallen Soviet solders are respected.
In independent Latvia, Jews were a respected minority and there was no animosity towards them. It is sad that there were Latvians who, at the beginning of the German occupation, succumbed to Nazi anti Jewish propaganda and participated in the killing of Jews. However, most of the killing was done by special Nazi death squads and not by Latvian police as Gyula Hegyl asserts.
The Baltic States suffered three occupations: Soviet 1940 – 41, Nazi-German 1941 – 1944/45, Soviet 1945 – 1991. For them the start of the second Soviet occupation was not a liberation but the continuation of brutal occupations which began in 1940. Contrary to what happened to Germans and Nazi collaborators in various countries when WW2 ended, in the Baltic States there has been no violence against Russians and Soviet functionaries when the occupation ended with the collapse of the Soviet (Russian) empire in 1991.
The USSR joined the anti-fascist coalition only after Nazi Germany attacked it. History may well have taken a different course if the USSR had joined Britain, France, Poland and other countries in containing Nazi Germany, rather than allying with Nazi Germany in the hope that the war would eventually lead to world communism.