Continuing to review this historical piece by Vladimir Veretennikov. Where we left off, real historians are beginning to undertake some serious work in finding, and counting, bodies of the victims. Difficult as it is, after all these years. As mentioned, some skeletons of children were found in the woods near Ogre, Latvia. The Nazis were fairly cavalier about dumping bodies, until they started losing the war. Then, with an eye to future accountability, they became more cunning about disposing of the evidence.
With all of the empty debates sparked by History Rewriters from Eastern Europe about “how many people Hitler killed” and “how many people Stalin killed” — and these people pushing their own bogus theory of “Dual Totalitarianisms” sometimes known as the “Dual Genocide” theory — either way, it’s pure baloney –, one has to keep in mind one simple and sterling fact: The masses of people (in whatever numbers) executed by the Nazis were erased from this world due to their biological race or ethnicity. They had committed no crime other than being born with the wrong DNA. The other fact to keep in mind, is that this “Final Solution” was part and parcel of the Nazi philosophy and ideology. It was not a deviation from an otherwise worthy philosophy. To even mention such a hateful ideology in the same breath with the humanist and enlightened philosophy of Marxism is pure blasphemy.
Returning to the work of Alexander Rzhavin, a local historian (краевед) of the Ogre distict of Latvia: Rzhavin concedes that the Soviet propagandists may have exaggerated the number of victims murdered at Salaspils; Soviets would cavalierly toss out numbers in the hundreds of thousands without really being able to prove it. “I would estimate it could have been anywhere in the range of 2,000 to 53,000 persons. I know that you would like something more exact. After all these years? The archives were burned when the camp was burned down, and not all the graves have been uncovered. Many bodies were burned and then dispersed, and so on…”
And unfortunately, according to Rzhavin, with every passing year, the probability of giving a more exact number, diminishes. He blames Soviet “khalatnost” for not doing more when the years were still young, and eye-witnesses were still among the living.
[yalensis: Another factor that I might also adduce, as I have mentioned before, is that the Soviet authorities had their own motives for “letting bygones be bygones” — indeed, not only some of the victims still lived, but some of the perps as well, were now respected members of Soviet society! Why stir things up in Latvia? Did they really want another guerrilla war and be fighting Forest Brothers again? Soviet security forces were still involved in a Banderite guerrilla war in the Ukraine right up through the mid 1950’s! The Soviet government was exhausted by war and conflict. They believed that it was time for everybody to settle down and start making babies. At the risk of offending the Furries, let us chalk this negligence up as one more serious mistake made by Stalin…]
Rzhavin: “In Soviet times there were still a goodly number of eye-witnesses alive. But for some reason a Martyrology was never created, not even to account for citizens of the USSR who were tormented to death in Salaspils. Did it really never bother anybody visiting this memorial, that not one single grave was noted there? [….] It is sad to say, but the Soviet government occupied itself with building monumental statuary and prating on about tens of thousands of victims, and yet could not be bothered to mark even one grave or collect a list of names…”
And today, the anti-fascist movement is paying the price for that Soviet omission, because it allows the Latvian government to downgrade the Nazi crimes and (even more importantly) the crimes of the Latvian collaborators! Having said that, the Latvians are not really fooling anyone, like I said before…
They Drew My Blood For the Fascist Soldiers
In spite of everything — the cover-ups of the Nazis and the lackadaisical attitude of the Soviet government — thankfully some eye-witnesses did survive the camp and live to tell their story. Former Soviet POW Boris Sokolov wrote a memoir [yalensis: which I can’t find on google] about his experiences in Salaspils. When reading this quote, keep in mind that there were two main sections of the camp: one was for the Soviet POW’s, and the other was for civilian inmates:
“Towards the end of 1941, the Nazis began a campaign to exterminate the Jews. The Salaspils concentration camp, which was huge, was visited every day by two or three convoys of civilian Jews from France, Belgium, Germany and other countries. The people were packed like sardines in the cargo trains, and killed as soon as they stepped out of the wagons. Men, women, children, old people, everybody. At first this was done right out in the open, with no attempt at concealment. The people were killed right there, on the road. They were killed right along the stripes of the railway lines, in the sight of the people still locked inside the wagons of the other trains as they moved along to catch up. One time I saw this with my own eyes.”
Next: the stories of other survivors, including some who were children at the time.
[to be continued]