History 26/01/20 Operation “Winter magic”: the most terrible crime of the Latvian punitive
From mid-February to early April 1943, on the border with Latvia Belarus the operation was carried out with the poetic name of “Winter magic”. For two months, the invaders burn the 439 villages, killed 14 thousand, and led him to work in Germany and Latvia 7 thousand people. Performers in addition to the punitive actions of the Germans were Latvian and Ukrainian collaborators, and the population of areas where operations had not regained its pre-war number.
in the Winter of 1943 the German command decided to hold on the territories, bordering with Latvia, Drissa, osveysky, Rosson and Russia – Sebezhsky district of Belarus counterinsurgency operation. It formed a center of resistance to the invaders, and the German administration could not control scattered across the forests and swamps of the village. As the products, information, and replenish the guerrillas receive from the local population, the German high command came to the conclusion that if these edges will not be residents, then the resistance will stop.
it Was decided to create the Latvian-Belarusian border the 40-kilometer “dead zone”, without villages and people. Before large-scale operation for “training”, from late January to early February 1943, the Germans burned more than 250 homes and killed 1200 of the peasants. Many were burned in their houses. Command “a Winter tale” was entrusted to SS-obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, and the main strike force steel 7 Latvian and one Ukrainian battalion. German units were to play a supporting role for communications and air defence. In addition to combat missions to locate and destroy the partisans and the economic mission, namely to collect food and labor.
As the operation is carried out
Sweep each locality passed on oneWMD plan. Going to the village or the village, the troops shot suspected of guerrilla activities, which include the entire male population aged 16 to 50 years. To replace them came the security service, looking for survivors, men, the elderly and infirm. These populations also were killed, and women and children were sent to so-called “second filter”, and then poor were driven to forced labor.
quite Often to save time and ammunition peasants were rounded up in the building of the local Church or club and burned alive. When the village was “cleansed” from the population at home were burned, and all products, cattle and valuable property was taken out of special teams. In addition to the destruction of villages punitive mined roads and poisoned wells.
the Tragedy in rosice
Most revealing was the massacre of the inhabitants of a large village Rosica. Partizan it was not, but the task force of Latvians still shot 206 local residents. In Rosica began to drive the inhabitants of the small villages nearby, some of which are subsequently taken to a concentration camp in Latvia. The remaining people locked together with priests in the local stone Church and burned alive. Just a few days only in rosice punishers destroyed to one and a half thousand people. Both the Catholic clergy, to the last trying to convince the Latvians to kill children was canonized.
to Bring its brutal action to end the Jeckeln were prevented by the guerrillas, including Latvian. Resistance was not enough time and energy to give prompt rebuff punitive, complicates the situation of thousands of peasants, fleeing death and seeking refuge in people’s Avengers. There was not enough food, warm clothes and shelters, and the decision to enter an organized struggle against the Germans and collaborators, was made only on March 1.
United forces of guerrillas began to ambush and attack convoys of the enemy. The Avengers skiing took place during the day, tens of miles lesiste location and appeared where the Germans did not expect. Since March 11, Soviet resistance gradually goes on the offensive and makes the attack on the garrisons and trains.
acrimony differed fights with Latvian policemen, who in partisan reports characterize as persistent soldiers with high motivation. They are also known for their cruelty. So General Commissioner of Riga Drexler recalled that while Ukrainians in horror watched and wept like children, and Latvians on the contrary felt confident and gladly boasted of their “exploits”.
The same Drexler wrote that the Baltic States first entered the villages and looting, after completion of the operation, returned home rich. The salary of the Latvian policemen came to 4 marks, which is 4.5 times higher than the Ukrainian or Russian traitor. Third of 7 thousand stolen in Belarus peasants were in Latvia, where they are using local Newspapers for 9-15 marks were provided to farmers.
in the Fall of 1943 Riga children registration item reported that the Russian and Belarusian child laborers in rags and barefoot from morning to evening work on the Latvian fields. Often children are beaten and going hungry for a few days.
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