Arajs and Augstkalns

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Juanjo
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Arajs and Augstkalns

Post by Juanjo » 18 Jul 2007 21:58

I´m looking some info on the following SS officers:

Sturmbannführer Viktor Arajs
Born 13/01/1910
Kdr. I Bataillon/Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment 34

Sturmbannführer Karlis Augstkalns
Born 11/10/1904 in Drewiena

Thanks in advance

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VJK
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Post by VJK » 19 Jul 2007 17:04

Hi Juanjo!

Not much info, I’m afraid.

Kārlis Augstkalns
Born: 11 Oct 1904 in Druviena
Died: St. Petersburg, Florida

Served in the Latvian Army in the Operations Dept. of the General Staff.

Appointed Chief of the 1. Section of the Ordnungsdienst der Stadt Riga on 9 January 1942. On 24 February 1942, appointed Chief of the Training Dept. Joined the Latvian Legion on 25 February 1943 as Hauptsturmführer, Operational Adjutant of the 15. Lett. SS-Freiw. Division. Served as Head of the Inspection Department on the Staff of the Latvian Legion HQ from 30 Jun 1944 - 2 Aug 1944. Promoted to Sturmbannführer. After the war emigrated to the USA, lived in Minnesota, later in Florida.


Viktors Arājs
Born: 13 Jan 1910 in Baldone
Died: 13 Jan 1988 in Kassau, Germany

Arājs was head of the infamous „Arājs Kommando” responsible for war crimes during the war. He was attached to the Latvian Legion for a very short time only. After completing a battalion commander course in Berlin, he was attached to the Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 (lett. Nr. 5) II Btl. for a couple of days for practical experience, before being appointed to command I Bataillon/Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment 34 on 21 February 1945. The then commander of the II Bataillon, Sturmbannführer Fricis Mežgrāvis reports that they were difficult days. Rarely was it possible to establish contact with the Btl. - Arājs was an indivdualist Bataillon commander who couldn’t be relied on for cooperation. On one occasion he received a secret order from Division. HQ which was to passed on further to the II Btl. for it to withdraw. Arājs read the order and fled, having left the order on his table without passing it on. When Mežgrāvis was appointed Kdr. of the Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 on 2 March 1945, he relieved Arājs of command of the I Btl. and sent him to the Divisional reserve.

Sources:
Latviešu karavīrs otrā pasaules kara laikā

Regards,

VJK
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Juanjo
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Post by Juanjo » 19 Jul 2007 22:40

VJK, Thanks very much

Best regards

Mikedc
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Post by Mikedc » 20 Jul 2007 13:09

Hello VJK,

Very interesting info.
I didn't had much on Augstkalns so that info was very welcome indeed.
On Arajs I already did had quite alot but I didn't know he was commander from the
II. Bataillon during that period. So this was welcome info, just as the fact that he followed a course to bataillonscommander.
I had his DoD as 1986...


I also checked my file on Mezgravis and all I've is that he was CO from I. Bataillon with
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34. Is this correct or was he only CO from II. Bataillon???
And what can you tell us more about Fricis Mezgravis, I also don't have his DoB/birthplace and such?????


Greetings,
Mike

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VJK
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Post by VJK » 20 Jul 2007 19:59

Hi Mike!

Here is the little I have on Mežgrāvis:

Fricis Mežgrāvis
Born: 21 Mar 1905 in Dundaga parish
Died: 1 Oct 1987

Dec 1942 - ?: Kdr. 4. Kp./271. Aizputes Schutzmannschaft Bataillon
? - Oct 1943: Kdr. 5. Kp./II/Lett. Frw. Pol. Reg. 1. Riga
Kdr. II/Lett. Frw. Pol. Reg. 1. Riga
1 Apr 1944 - 29 Jun 1944: Kdr. III/Lett. Frw. Pol. Reg. 3.
5 Feb 1945 - 2 Mar 1945: Kdr. II/ Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 (lett. Nr. 5)
2 Mar 1945 - 19 Mar 1945: Kdr. Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 (lett. Nr. 5)
19 Mar 1945 - May 1945: Kdr. II/ Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 (lett. Nr. 5)

Awards:
EK II: 27 June 1944

I have no record of Mežgrāvis having commanded the I Btl.

Sources:
Latviešu karavīrs otrā pasaules kara laikā
Par zemi, ko mīlam...

Arājs did indeed die in 1986 - a typo on my part.
On Arajs I already did had quite alot but I didn't know he was commander from the II. Bataillon during that period.
He commanded the I Btl. (I think a typo on your part).

Best wishes,

VJK
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Mikedc
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Post by Mikedc » 20 Jul 2007 22:33

Hello VJK,

Little or not, every piece of info is welcome.
I'm already very happy with even the smallest bit of information so don't worry, what you have posted here on Mezgravis is more then enough for me.

Regarding Arajs, well, we all can make typing-mistakes.
I also did found this on Arajs.
As you can see they also mention 1988 as his DoD here and they say he died in prison, don't know if that is correct or not.....

Arajs, Dr. jur. Viktor Bernhard (1910-1988) -- lawyer; commander, Latvian auxiliary police Riga (Lettische Hilfspolizei Riga), also known as the "Arajs Commando"; battalion commander, SS 15th and 19th Latvian Divisions {arrested at Frankfurt-am-Main using the name "Zeibot" 10 Jul 1975 by West German police on charges of complicity in the murders of 10,000-30,000 Latvian Jews between 1941 and 1943 (NYT 29 Aug 1975:1:2); put on trial 1976 by a West German court at Hamburg for war crimes committed in Latvia, including mass shootings of Jews from the Riga ghetto in the Rumbuli forest 8 Dec 1941; convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 21 Dec 1979 (JuNSV Verfahren Lfd.Nr.856; LG Hamburg 791221[(37) 5/76]); died 1988. It has been estimated that perhaps as many as 30,000 Latvian Jews were killed by the "Arajs Commando", which functioned as an auxiliary Nazi mobile killing group. (Holo Ency 851; Hitler's Willing Executioners p. 518n; Perpetrators pps. 100, 102).}

The unit was also known as the Arajs Kommando after its leader Viktors Arajs, who was convicted by a German court and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1979 for committing wartime atrocities. (Arajs died in prison.)


I did found this info in the following thread here at the Axis Forum:
viewtopic.php?t=9938&highlight=viktors+arajs


Greetings,
Mike

Mikedc
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Post by Mikedc » 21 Jul 2007 11:07

Regarding Mezgravis,

At the same time that he was CO from II. Btl. with Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 24 I also have Peteris-Arturs Balodis as being the CO from this Btl.

Do you have anything more on Balodis then what I've here???
Peteris-Arturs Balodis.
Born on 21-6-1907.
Waffen-Sturmbannführer der SS.
Between January and April 1945 he was commander from the II. Bataillon with the
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34 from the 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS(lettische Nr. 1).
In April and in May 1945 he was commander from the Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34.
He received the 1939 EK II and the 1939 EK I.
Died on 1-1-1978.


Greetings,
Mike

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VJK
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Post by VJK » 21 Jul 2007 13:38

Hi Mike!

Hi Mike!

Pēteris-Arturs Balodis
Born: 21June 1907 in Mālpils parish
Died: 1 January 1978 in New York, USA

Waffen-Sturmbannführer der SS.

Graduated from 1st Riga High School in 1928, from the Military Academy in 1930. Served in the 1. Liepāja Inf. Reg., then in the 6. Rīga Inf. Reg. In 1938 appointed Deputy Chief of the Riga branch of the Army Economical Store, in 1939 as Chief of the Rezekne branch of the Army Economical Store. Promoted to Captain in 1940.

Joined the Latvian Legion in February 1943 as Chief of Transport, 15 Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Division.
15 Nov 1944 - 5 Feb 1945: Kdr. II/Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34
5 Feb 1945 - 29 Mar 1945: hospitalised
29 Mar 1945 - 1 Apr 1945: Acting Kdr. Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34
1 Apr 1945 - 27 Apr 1945: Kdr. I/Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34
27 Apr 1945 - 2 May 1945: Kdr. Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 34

Awards:
EK I: 25 Jan 1945
EK II: 25 Jan 1945

Sources:
Latviešu karavīrs otrā pasaules kara laikā
Par zemi, ko mīlam...

As regards Arājs, he did indeed die in prison, but I am now uncertain as to whether it was 1986 or 1988.

Best regards,

VJK
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Juanjo
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Post by Juanjo » 21 Jul 2007 18:04

Hi Mike

More info on Sturmbannführer Balodis
Promotion:
Hauptsturmführer: 30/04/1943
Sturmbannführer: 30/01/1945

Greetings

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