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Latvia & Lithuania: Viktors Arajs and the guy Klimatis

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations.
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Latvia & Lithuania: Viktors Arajs and the guy Klimatis

Postby Grellber on 06 Jan 2008 21:02

Two question.

1: Does anybody have any isight in the german trial against Arajs

Excerpt from the document:
http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Fil ... Europe.pdf
States that his trial started in Hamburg July 1977. Does anybody know any details (witness details) re. this trial. One some other website I saw the info that the tapes from the rieal were destroyed.

The Lithuanian partisan "Klimaitis". Does anybody know the history re. this individual and what happened to him?
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Arajs

Postby Grellber on 09 Feb 2008 14:07

Some additional info re. Arajs from the following source: http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/ministry/4265/4299/#1-26

After the invasion of Riga W. Stahlecker, assisted by the members of Pērkonkrusts and other local collaborationists, organised the pogrom of Jews in the capital of Latvia. Viktors Arājs, aged 31 at the time, former member of Pērkonkrusts and a member of a student fraternity, was ap­pointed direct executor of the action. He was an idle eternal student who was supported by his wife, a rich shop owner, who was ten years older than him. Arājs had worked in the police for a certain period of time. He stood out with his power-hungry and extreme thinking. The man was well fed, well dressed, and with his students hat proudly cocked on one ear.

On July 2 V. Arājs started to form his armed unit of men who were responding to the appeal of Pērkonkrusts to take arms and to clear Latvia of Jews and communists. In the beginning the unit mainly included members of different student fraternities, while later on many degraded and degenerated individuals also joined. In 1941 altogether about 300 men had applied. The closest assistants of V. Arājs included Konstantīns Kaķis, Alfrēds Dikmanis, Boris Kinsler, and Herberts Cu­kurs. On the night of July 3, Arājs Commando started arresting, beating and robbing the Riga Jews. On July 4, the choral synagogue at Gogoļa Street was burnt, and thereafter, the synagogues at Maskavas and Stabu Streets. Many Jews were killed during those days, including the refu­gees from Lithuania. In carts and blue buses the murderers of Arājs Commando went to different places in Kurzeme, Zemgale and Vid­zeme, killing thou­sands of Jews there. These killings were supposed to serve as an exam­ple to other anti-Semitic supporters of the Nazi invaders.
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Postby histgame on 09 Feb 2008 16:58

I have also heard that Viktors Arajs’ trial was recorded and the tape was later destroyed, but an Latvian journalist, called Stammers, made a stenographic transcription of the trial in Latvian language. His intension was to write a book, but no publisher has touched it yet. If his notes exist in public, they are probably difficult to scan.
Local (Andrew Ezergailis) and German historians work on the case. Anyway he get life sentence and died in 1988.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Exxu/InArbeit08
http://vip.latnet.lv/LPRA/fg_stahlecker.htm

Algirdas Klimaitis (“The Hotheaded neurotic”):
He eventually lived in Germany and died as an old man.
He is mentioned in Stahleckers (EG A) report to Heydrich that he "succeeded in setting off a pogrom without any discernible German order or instigation," and that "during the first pogrom in the night from June 25 to 26 [1941] more than fifteen hundred Jews were removed by Lithuanian partisans."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algirdas_Klimaitis

Some of Klimaitis’ friends: Juozas Luksa, Viktoras Vitkauskas, Petras Naujokas, Bronius Trumpa and Kazys Sirvys
Image

hg
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Postby Grellber on 09 Feb 2008 19:06

AjAj. Think were in for a discussion here re. who is a partisan hero or a war criminal. May I refer to this other thread:

viewtopic.php?t=68053

Some more re. Arajs (and Cukurs), from the book Latvians and Jews Between Germany and Russia, by Frank Gordon:

page 18:
In the first volume of his memoirs, published in Stockholm in 1983, the leader of the Latvian Social Democrats Brno Kalni¿‰mentions a certain young man, Herberts Cukurs. Cukurs was expelled from the Social Democrat youth group in LiepÇja in February 1919, for advocating Bolshevik propaganda. He was in contact with KÇrlis. Pïtersons, war commissar of the Latvian Bolshevik leadership. In the years of Latvia’s independence, Cukurs was a famous pilot. He became a rabid antisemite, and in the fall of 1941 personally participated in the shooting of Riga ghetto Jews in the Rumbula forest. He was assassinated on February 24, 1965, in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo by selfstyled “revengers” from an organization called “Those who do not forget.” Indeed, an odd destiny,
a strange fate.

page 62-53:
Two Latvian antisemitic fanatics, Viktors ArÇjs and Herberts Cukurs, actively collabourated
in carrying out the plans of Hitler and Himmler, Stahlecker and Jeckeln. ArÇjs was a
major in the Latvian security section, and was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer. He was
awarded the German medal Kriegsverdienstkreuz mit Schwertern—war service cross with
swords. One must say he earned it. In the first days of July he formed the group, known as the
ArÇjs gang, that roamed from city to city brutally settling accounts with Jews. When the German administration organized the extermination of Jews “in an orderly fashion” (in geordnete
Bahnen), ArÇjs made sure that his men were not left without work in the new arrangement. He
personally shot Jews in the streets of the Riga ghetto and in the Rumbula forest. After the war
he hid in Germany under an assumed name, but was found out and sentenced to life imprisonment
at a trial in Hamburg.
As mentioned in an earlier chapter, Herberts Cukurs in 1919 was a Bolshevik sympathizer.
In independent Latvia he became famous as a pilot. Between 1924 and 1936 he designed
and constructed a glider and three airplanes. In 1933–1934 he flew from Riga to Gambia
and back in one of his own planes, the C–3. (Gambia, in West Africa, had been a colony of
the Duke of Kurland in the seventeenth century.) Two years later he flew from Riga to Tokyo.
He also visited Palestine, and his reports of the visit were colored with strong antisemitism. As
soon as the German army entered Riga, Cukurs joined those who were shooting Jews. At the
end of 1941 he personally participated in the shooting in Riga’s ghetto and Rumbula, killing
infants and dancing with joy by the graves. After the war Cukurs found refuge in Brazil, running
a boat and plane rental service on the Rio de Janeiro beach and later owned a banana plantation.
On February 24, 1965, he was killed in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo by members of a
secret group called “Those who do not forget.” It is said that they were Israeli “Mossad” agents.
Last edited by Grellber on 10 Feb 2008 16:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Other threads on Arajs

Postby Grellber on 09 Feb 2008 22:07

I saw that Arajs is mentioned also under some other subjects:

viewtopic.php?t=124290

viewtopic.php?t=9938&highlight=viktors+arajs

viewtopic.php?t=129071

Members of commando and other suspected war criminals:
viewtopic.php?t=123557
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Postby Grellber on 10 Feb 2008 17:39

More on Arajs:

http://www.denmark.mid.ru/7e10.html

In the Fall 1941 the head of the "Perkonkrust" G. Celminš, promoted by then to the rank of Sonderfuhrer, called upon the Latvians to join the volunteer "security team" under the command of V. Arâjs - a former Latvian Army corporal and a Riga University graduate - who headed the entire Riga police at the moment the team was formed. During the first weeks of its emergence the "Arâjs team" burned a Riga synagogue together with the people who had barricaded themselves inside and also exterminated about 2000 Jews and Communist party members. The overall strength of the "Arâjs team" sometimes amounted 3000 men (ÖÀ ÔÑÁ. Ô.16. Îï.312. Ä.308. Ë.147-152)..

The Arâjs team’s personnel wore uniform of the former army of the Latvian Republic and had on their sleeves an armlet bearing raw head and bloody bones and an inscription: "Auxiliary security police". Later on, the team was outfitted with the SS troops uniform.

According to the archives, in July-December 1941 the personnel of this unit together with other police battalions carried out the executions of Jews in the Bikernieku forest (total number of victims - 46500), as well as in Liepaja, Talsi and at the railway station Carnikava (over 10000 persons). Also, the Arâjs team participated in mass shootings in the Rumbule forest (during the occupation - about 38000 persons were shot) (Êîëòàíîâ À. Äåëî ¹2783 Âîåííûå ïðåñòóïëåíèÿ íå çàáûòû. Íåçàâèñèìîå âîåííîå îáîçðåíèå. 2000, ¹16, ñ.7.). During consequent years of the Great Patriotic War the V.Arâjs unit was periodically dispatched to perform punitive operations in the vicinity of the cities of Velikie Luki, Baranovichi, Slutsk, Minsk.

Further, the police Arâjs teams and later Latvian battalions guarded the concentration camp in the city of Salaspils where prisoners were brought not only from Latvia but also from Austria, Czechoslovakia, France and other countries77 ("Ïàëà÷è". Âîåííî-èñòîðè÷åñêèé æóðíàë ¹7. 1990. ñ.34.). During the entire occupation period 101100 Soviet citizens were exterminated in this camp.
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Postby DamnKimPhilby on 10 Feb 2008 19:53

histgame wrote:He is mentioned in Stahleckers (EG A) report to Heydrich that he "succeeded in setting off a pogrom without any discernible German order or instigation," and that "during the first pogrom in the night from June 25 to 26 [1941] more than fifteen hundred Jews were removed by Lithuanian partisans."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algirdas_Klimaitis

Some of Klimaitis’ friends: Juozas Luksa, Viktoras Vitkauskas, Petras Naujokas, Bronius Trumpa and Kazys Sirvys
Image

hg


First, in 1941 there were no Lithuanian Partisans yet- they first had to taste the horrors of Russian Occupation. Second, for the few collaborators with the Nazis there were hundreds of Lithuanians who risked their lives to shelter their Jewish neighbours. You can find their memorials in Israel.
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Arajs, more

Postby Grellber on 10 Feb 2008 21:22

The court case in West Germany

Source: http://www1.jur.uva.nl/junsv/brd/Angeklengfr.htm

Verfahren Lfd.Nr.856
Tatkomplex: Andere Massenvernichtungsverbrechen
Angeklagte:
Arajs, Viktor Bernhard lebenslänglich
Gerichtsentscheidungen:
LG Hamburg 791221
Tatland: Lettland
Tatort: Riga
Tatzeit: 411208
Opfer: Juden
Nationalität: Lettische
Dienststelle: Polizei Lettische Hilfspolizei Riga ('Kommando Arajs')
Verfahrensgegenstand: Massenerschiessung der im Grossen Ghetto von Riga lebenden Juden im Wald von Rumbula

Veröffentlichung in Vorbereitung
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Arajs, more

Postby Grellber on 11 Feb 2008 19:11

From the following site:
http://www.roots-saknes.lv/Ethnicities/ ... s_WWII.htm


These Einsatzkommandos consisted of several squads, and of them the best known in Latvia is a squad named the Arājs Command after its leader Victors Arājs. The men in this company were mainly ethnic Latvians and they joined the Command voluntary. The Command was the leading actor in the Holocaust events in the region of Latvia and committed their crimes in the localities outside Riga. According to various information sources the biggest killing actions in Riga on November 30, 1941 were carried on by a special team of killers brought from Germany with the support of the local forces, of course.

After practically all Latvia's Jews were killed to the end of 1941, the Arājs Command was increased to about 200 or may be to 300 men and split into several parts. Some of the parts remained in Ostland, the others in early 1942 were taken to a Nazi SD training school in Fürstenberg near Ravensbruck concentration camp. They were trained there either in the extermination of ghettos or for counter-guerilla actions and they really took part in both activities during 1942 and 1943. Later they, as well as the other men from Einsatzkommanden, joined the Latvian Legion (see below). Additional information about the activities of this Command in the Minsk Ghetto is available in the Page about a participant of the group.

...
I do not know how the men were grouped in the different units of the Command - how it was decided who went to study police operations against the partisans, who were to acquire necessary skills for Ghetto annihilation, etc. I just think that it was not done in secret, and the SD beginners knew well from the beginning what they will be paid for.

One of their goal in the Fürstenberg school was to train in the operating of a new Nazi technique - gas vans, that were just invented and built. Of course, the concentration camp gave good possibilities of elaborating an effective technology to gas people to death, however the Ravensbruck women camp was not a death camp - here the people were not sent to for the immediate death. When the education was over, the graduates, and may be others, who were not trained in the school, totally about 120 persons and 4 gas vans went to Minsk region in Belorus and exterminated Jews in Minsk Ghetto and in surrounding towns. Do not think, that this Command was the only Nazi unit busy with extermination in Minsk and its surroundings. I suppose that the total amount of the SD people engaged in this activity was several thousands, but they played different roles, of course.


Additional information on the activities of the Command in Belorus is available on the Internet site that published information on the Lieutenant Ozols of this company who lived in Australia. Unfortunately, I have no other sources to check the information from this Internet site about the specific activities of Arājs' Command in Minsk.

As for Jūlijs Jogints, he was a man who joined Arajs Command at the age of 17 presumably in March or April 1942 and went to the training in Fürstenberg and after that to Minsk. His letters from his "battlefield" do not inform on the job he was busy with, because he was not allowed to write about his activities, I suppose, and I do not think he wanted his mother to know what his duties and successes actually were, but from the very beginning I was not in doubt about his tasks. When I found his name on the list of Arājs' men in the book of A.Ezergailis /Ezergailis/, it became absolutely clear that J.Jogints took part in the extermination of Jews.

Jūlijs Jogints did not survive the war. His name was found on the list of perished soldiers /Kaŗavīri/, and it was mentioned he perished on February 11, 1945 as a man of the 15th division of the Waffen SS, to which the men of Einsatzkommandos were joined after all ghettos were annihilated. In 1945 this division participated in warfare in the region of contemporary Poland (westwards of Bydgoszcz, then called Bromberg), and the personnel had no contacts with Rīga.

...
Here I am publishing two postcards that were written in 1942 by an SD-man Edgars Sarkanis. He wrote both of them to Jānis Jansons, who was the school principal in Valmiera and presumably his schoolteacher. The first postcard was sent without the address on it and I decided it was addressed to J.Jansons, because the both postcards were found in the bunch of cards from his archive.

The first postcard was sent from Fürstenberg in Mecklenburg from the school of the SD (Security Police), what was situated quite near to Ravensbruck concentration camp. This was the school where the men from Arājs Command were sent to for the acquisition of necessary qualification. The information about this Command and about another its member J.Jogints is published in another Page.

The group with E.Sarkanis were educated for other tasks than that of J.Jogints. From the second postcard it follows, they were trained for the counterpartisan warfare. Both E.Sarkanis and I.Andersons mentioned in the postcard were not found in the A.Ezergailis' List of the Arājs Command members engaged in the extermination of Jews /Ezergailis/. The name of Edgars Sarkanis was found on the list of fallen soldiers of the Latvian SS-Legion /Kaŗavīrs/ with additional information that he was born Nov. 21, 1922 and perished July 11, 1944. The members of Arājs Command later joined the Waffen SS divisions. The name of Imants Andersons, who is mentioned in a letter, was also found on the list of the perished soldiers, but this is a much more common name, so it is quite possible that there were more people with the name Imants Andersons
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Postby Lit. on 11 Feb 2008 20:48

histgame wrote:I have also heard that Viktors Arajs’ trial was recorded and the tape was later destroyed, but an Latvian journalist, called Stammers, made a stenographic transcription of the trial in Latvian language. His intension was to write a book, but no publisher has touched it yet. If his notes exist in public, they are probably difficult to scan.
Local (Andrew Ezergailis) and German historians work on the case. Anyway he get life sentence and died in 1988.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Exxu/InArbeit08
http://vip.latnet.lv/LPRA/fg_stahlecker.htm

Algirdas Klimaitis (“The Hotheaded neurotic”):
He eventually lived in Germany and died as an old man.
He is mentioned in Stahleckers (EG A) report to Heydrich that he "succeeded in setting off a pogrom without any discernible German order or instigation," and that "during the first pogrom in the night from June 25 to 26 [1941] more than fifteen hundred Jews were removed by Lithuanian partisans."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algirdas_Klimaitis

Some of Klimaitis’ friends: Juozas Luksa, Viktoras Vitkauskas, Petras Naujokas, Bronius Trumpa and Kazys Sirvys
Image

hg


Is this forum for open anti-Baltic or this is "historical forum"?!

If the latter, please stop anti-Baltic insinuations like marked red above.

If you have any documentary proof or any reliable source that a.m. Klimaitis (who is under suspition of war crimes discussed here) is or was a "friend" (as you noted) of the Lithuanian National Heroes such as Juozas Luksa, Viktoras Vitkauskas, Petras Naujokas, Bronius Trumpa and Kazys Sirvys, please give your source or proof it here. If not, please remove your post. This is the second time I'm asking you to do this. What you have done is a great calumny against these noble men.

How would you like if I'll start to place analogical insinuations here? For example that such accused war criminals and sadists like Nachman Dushansky (still hiding in Israel) is a good friend of National Heroes of Israel with pictures of such It'll be OK in this forum? What are you seeking here by such hateful anti-Baltic remarks?
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Postby histgame on 12 Feb 2008 00:48

I know the civilians where caught between two powers and had extremely suffered. I “just” want to find out and ask: Did your Heroes participate in pogroms? (maybe before occupation of the Nazis’)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juozas_Luk%C5%A1a

hg
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Postby George Lepre on 12 Feb 2008 02:08

Hi Histgame -

It is okay to inquire whether certain individuals partook in excesses against one group or another, but taunting other members with such admonishments as "your heroes" clearly violates forum guidelines.
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Postby Lit. on 12 Feb 2008 08:59

histgame wrote:I know the civilians where caught between two powers and had extremely suffered. I “just” want to find out and ask: Did your Heroes participate in pogroms? (maybe before occupation of the Nazis’)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juozas_Luk%C5%A1a

hg


Why you asking such a rude and simple question after you already declared your superb "knowledge" of my Heroes' past even naming friend of my Heroes'.

Please give us your source of your statement above or delete it. If you really want to know the past of my Heroes, you have to apologize for your insinuations and tone first.
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Re Klimaitis only

Postby Grellber on 12 Feb 2008 19:21

First: I´m sorry this discussion came up again, and in a thread created by myself. I think we from now on should stick to Arajs on this thread and refer Klimaitis to this other thread that is about him only:

viewtopic.php?p=1164020#1164020

Could a moderator help out with this?

Secondly: When I myself first started to take an interest in Lithuania (After focusing on Latvia) I also did mistakes as I believed to much in information on the net, such as:

http://lithuanianjews.org.il/HTMLs/arti ... BSS6=13971

As a result, we got into the same discussion as above in this other thread about "the garage": viewtopic.php?t=75091&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=lietukis&start=15

An interesting detail is that at the time I myself quoted Wikipedia (See page 3 on the mentioned thread) and at the time the sentence "is reported he particpated in a pogram against Jews June 25, 1941" was NOT on Wikipedia.

All this "desinformation" is very sad, and I tend to agree with Lit and other Lithuanians that if there was any truth to such accusations, more facts would be readily available WHICH IS DEFINETELY NOT THE CASE.

Third: Now, please respect the fact that it is very easy to make a wrong step among all the crap-info floating around. THE BEST THING WE CAN DO IS TO HELP EACHOTHER UNDERSTAND. So, please help me out with learning more about Klimaitis, what his role really was, what he did and did not do and what happened with him after the "documented" days of June 1941.

P.S Lit: I am now watching the three other DVD´s in the "Slaptieji XXa archyvai"-box. Any other recomended films/books for those of us who want to learn more about Lithuanian modern history?
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Re: Latvia & Lithuania: Viktors Arajs and the guy Klimatis

Postby Grellber on 08 Feb 2009 16:52

Victor Arajs was the Commander of the infamous Arajs Kommando, which operated in Latvia together with Karlis Ozols unit as a killing squad for the German authorities. In 1979, the German authorities captured Arajs in Hamburg and placed him on trial. He was convicted of mass murder and received a life sentence. The extent of the Arajs Kommando's atrocities were amongst some of the worst in World War II (Konrad Kalejs was also an officer serving under Victor Arajs). The German trial indictment noted that in only one period, between July and December 1941, 70,000 Jews in Latvia were murdered by the Kommando in 'killing actions'.
Found the following in a news article (this link):
http://www.join.org.au/aijac/97-10-01/ozols.htm


The State Court of Hamburg requested in 1979 that the Australian Government assist them with their investigations into the Arajs atrocities. The Review has learned from SIU documents that German authorities travelled to Melbourne to obtain testimony from Karlis Ozols. When interviewed on October 8 1979, Ozols stated that he was in Riga when the Germans arrived in 1941 and former officers of the Latvian reserve were requested to offer their services. He had been a Lieutenant and reported to Colonel Weiss. Ozols stated that in the spring of 1942 he had joined the second battalion of Victor Arajs' Kommando. Ozols testified that he had only performed guard duties, but that he had been at Furstenberg until about June 1942, then to Riga and after that Minsk. Ozols told the German authorities he had no knowledge of Victor Arajs or his men taking part in the execution of Jews.

The presiding Judge of the State Court of Hamburg, Dr Wagner, dismissed Ozols' evidence stating "This witness is suspected of already having been a member of the Arajs Kommando as early as Summer 1941. His testimony is not suitable."
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