Two divisions were to be formed on the Latvian soil during the Second
World War. They were to form the core of the Latvian Legion which was
created in order to prevent a new Soviet occupation. The 15th -- Latvian
1st Division and 19th -- Latvian 2nd Division along with the other
Latvian military units it had a combat strength up to 165,000 men at its
The Latvian Legion was an unique battlegroup what was
built on what stood on patriotism and high fighting moral. The
legionaries continued the fight till the bitter end -- some dedicated
their entire life fighting against the Soviet occupation.
Western countries yielded to the pressure of the Soviet Union and did
not object to Latvia and other Baltic States remaining part of the
Soviet Union. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia found themselves the only
occupied states, whose independence was not restored after the Second
World War. Only in 1991 it became possible to eliminate this historical
injustice and the Baltic States regained their national independence.
the end, the Latvians were vindicated - they were cleared of any war
crimes in 1950 by the US Congress statement which recognized the
difference of the Baltic SS Legions from the German SS. Not many
surviving members of the Latvian Legion are left today in Latvia. But
each year the veterans, meet to remember their suffering and sacrifices.
They see themselves as Latvian patriots who believed that they were
fighting for the restoration of a free Latvia. For this reason, March
16th, the anniversary of a major Latvian Legion battle in Russia, was
chosen as a day of solemn remembrance.