An autobiography, edited by the author’s daughter, that provides a unique and provoking view of war in the East. This account demonstrates many aspects of WWII and the upheaval of populations that is rarely covered adequately. – Highly Recommended
NAME: Storm Trooper on the Eastern Front, Fighting With Hitler's Latvian SS FILE: R2853 AUTHOR: Mintauts Blosfelds, editor Lisa Blosfelds PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 160 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: World War 2, World War II, WWII, Second World War, Eastern Front, SS, Waffen SS, foreign legion, Latvia, PoW care
IMAGE: B2853.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y6okqq7z LINKS: DESCRIPTION: An autobiography, edited by the author's daughter, that provides a unique and provoking view of war in the East. This account demonstrates many aspects of WWII and the upheaval of populations that is rarely covered adequately. – Highly Recommended The author served in the Latvian SS on the Eastern Front and many would simply write off his story was just another SS thug trying to rewrite his history. This would be extremely unfair and, as with so many aspects of WWII, accept a caricature created by propaganda and ignorance. As the Germans advanced into the Soviet Union they desperately needed more men in the frontline and more people to fill the jobs in the war industry at home. Advancing into the Baltic States, they found many with views compatible with the Nazi creed but, although this provided a rich recruiting ground to fill the death squads and join the SS 'foreign legion', the Germans did not confine their recruitment to real volunteers. The author was given a very simple choice, join the SS as a soldier, or become a slave worker in Germany. He was not alone but we really have no idea what percentage of SS troopers from the occupied territories were really freely volunteering and how many were pressed into service. Once serving in the SS, any failure to follow orders was punished brutally. It might be summary execution, or transfer to a penal battalion, the latter being used as cannon fodder, with the survivors sometimes being taken back into regular units. That meant that foreign 'volunteers' had to fight hard, and to carry out duties that included genocide, or suffer themselves. Certainly no easy choice. From the author's own account, he did become an instructor, he was wounded several times, and he was decorated, suggesting that he made the best of his situation. In return, he was automatically liable for brutal execution if captured by the Soviets and would have been fortunate to eventually be returned to Germany in the 1950s as part of the 8% of German POWs to survive Soviet captivity. Not surprisingly, in the closing stages of the war the author escaped Soviet capture and surrendered to the Americans. He may have escaped extreme Soviet treatment but his account of imprisonment by the US does not sit well on the US reputation. This could be written off as an account of bias by a soldier indoctrinated by the SS, but there are many accounts by German POWs in US hands who have told similar stories of their experiences. The author then joined the army of Displaced Persons. Many thousands were held for years in camps that were little better than POW camps while the Allies had to try to do something with them. Very many were never to see their homelands again. The author eventually moved to England, found work in the coal mines, married and formed a family. This is a very human story and provides a unique set of insights.