Poles in Latvian Legion SS

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. Hosted by George Lepre.
JanJ9088
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Location: Poland, Warsaw

Poles in Latvian Legion SS

Post by JanJ9088 » 14 Nov 2021 01:54

In 1943, the mobilization of the inhabitants of Latvia to the Latvian legion began. The distrust of the Germans towards the Poles was also confirmed in this case: Poles [were not mobilized and] could join the legion on a voluntary basis. Although the vast majority of Poles went to the labor service or went into hiding, there were individual cases of Polish youth, even from the Iłuksztański district, joining the legion in order to fight the Red Army and delay the return of Soviet power. This fact, taking into account the general attitude of Poles to Germans, proves that Latvian Poles understood the situation of the Latvian nation and did not fully identify the legion with the German army.

Julians Vaivods, the then vicar and dean of the Catholic diocese in Liepāi, recalled that Poles who declared Latvian nationality during the 1935 census in Latvia (most of them were in Riga and Liepāi), were conscripted into the legion, despite their attempts to prove their true nationality .7 This fact means that many inhabitants of Southern Latgale and the Iłuksztański poviat of Polish nationality, whose questionnaires were forged during the census in 1935 (entering Latvian nationality and thus artificially increasing the number of Latvians), were also mobilized.8 For example, one of the most active Polish social activists of the Latvian Atmoda period - Władysław Pers (born in 1918), was also drafted into the legion (due to his health condition, he was assigned to a guard company in Daugavpils) for the same reason. Władysław Pers's father, according to his testimony, was a Latgalian, but the only language used in the family was Polish, he himself graduated from a Polish school and belonged to the Polish scouting movement.

A former member of the Polish scouting movement in Riga, Jan Gajbiszel, recalling his hiding from conscription to the Red Army in 1944, emphasizes that he did not want to fight against the Latvian legion, to which his brother was mobilized.9 Mieczysław Surdeko was also included in the Latvian legion - brother of an active member of the Polish diversionary network in Rēzekne and Stolarowo - Henryk Surdeko. In turn, the former officers of the Latvian Army of Polish nationality were mobilized. For example, the former lieutenant of the sappers regiment, Wincenty Karmazo, who, however, avoided mobilization and hid (after the war he settled in Poland).

At the same time, a certain number of Latvian Poles joined the Soviet partisan movement in Latgalia, some of them found themselves in the USSR in various ways and were called up to the People's Army, e.g. Poles from Rezekne Adolf Groc, Pjotr ​​Grzybowski, Stanisław Krukowski, Leonard Arcichowski, Aleksander Łukaszewicz, Leonard Iwanow, Paweł Cirulis, Michał Jankiewicz and others. Many of them went to Warsaw and Berlin in the fighting, and after the war they stayed in Poland. Some Poles - former Soviet activists - joined the Red Army voluntarily. The most striking figure among them was undoubtedly the later deputy minister of defense of the People's Republic of Poland, "political general" Józef Urbanowicz, who in 1941-1943 served in the 201st Latvian infantry division [the Red Army].

From: http://www.polak.lv/80/okupacja.shtml
Do you have more information about the service of Poles in the Latvian Legion?

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