"Mit Lettland leben - mit Lettland sterben". Der SS-Jagdverband Ost - Unternehmen "Wildkatze" und die Vorbereitungen von antisowjetischen Partisanen in Lettland (1944-1945)

Björn M. Felder

Abstract


In 1944 German Sicherheitsdienst together with other German intelligences, conscious of Nazi Germany's forthcoming defeat, as a last desperate measure started to prepare Underground Operations and to equip partisan forces in the occupied eastern territories. But it was only in Latvia that these plans were realized in late summer 1944 by bringing into being the „Operation Wildcat" (Unternehmen „Wildkatze" - Latvian Mezakakis), a unit subordinated to the SS-Jagdverband Ost. During the period of 1944 and 1945, when Courland, the western part of Latvia, was still occupied by German troops, but cut off by the Soviet Army, the Jagdverband performed police duties and fought against both Soviet partisans and Latvian resistance.
The character of the Jagdverband was ambivalent, with respect both to its Latvian staff and its activities. To one part it consisted of former SD-people - executors of the Holocaust, but to the other part of Latvian nationalists - members of the fascist Perkonkrusts, who had been in prison because of their participation in the anti-German resistance movement. The Jagdverband itself tried to enter into an alliance with the democratic Latvian Central Council, but then liquidated the Council's military arm, the Kurelis Army.
After the war the partisan project survived in Courland, where most of the Latvian national partisan groups were connected to the Organization of Latvian Partisans which had grown out of the Jagdverband. Studying the case of the Jagdverband can thus contribute to a more balanced perspective on „resistance" and „collaboration" in Latvia during World War II. For it shows clearly, that if individual motivations as well as the European context are considered, the partisan activities cannot be distinctly divided into these two categories.

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