"Latvia"
50 Years of Terror Tyranny and Oppression 1940–1991
Home      Soviet Union NKVD World War II Operations
 
   
 
Soviet  Union NKVD World War II Operations
 
      
               NKVD Emblem
 
Prior to the German invasion, in order to accomplish its own goals, the NKVD was prepared to cooperate even with such organizations as the "German Gestapo". In March 1940 representatives of the NKVD and the Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane, to coordinate the pacification of Poland. For its part, the Soviet Union delivered hundreds of German and Austrian Communists to the Gestapo, as unwanted foreigners, together with their documents. However, some NKVD units were later to fight the Wehrmacht, for example the 10th NKVD Rifle Division, which fought at the Battle of Stalingrad. [Appendix XI - Soviet Union NKVD] [Appendix XV – German Gestapo]
 
During World War II, NKVD units were used for rear area security, including stopping desertion. At the beginning of the war the NKVD formed 15 rifle divisions, which were eventually expanded to a total of 53 divisions and 28 brigades by 1945. Though mainly intended for internal security, NKVD divisions were sometimes used in the front-lines, for example during the breakthrough in Crimea. Unlike the Waffen-SS, the NKVD did not field any armored or mechanized units.
 
In liberated territory the NKVD and “later” NKGB carried out mass arrests, deportations, and executions. The targets included both collaborators with Germany and non-Communist resistance movements such as the Polish Armia Krajowa. The NKVD also executed tens of thousands of Polish political prisoners in 1939–1941, inter alia committing Katyń Massacre. NKVD units were also used to wage the prolonged partisan war in the Ukraine and the Baltic, which lasted until the early 1950s.
 
The main function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union. This function was successfully accomplished through massive political repression, including the use of sanctioned political murders and assassinations.
There is a little and unknown and unpublished fact that the Soviet NKVD before the Nazi Army invaded the Soviet Union was responsible for handing over to the Nazi Gestapo, SS and SD Tens of thousands of Jews that had fled to the Soviet Union in the wake of the advancing Nazi Army. This was before the Nazi Army had invaded the Soviet Union on the 22nd of June 1941. Even the tens of thousands of Soviet Union Jews were not safe from being turned over to the Nazi Gestapo to be taken to Nazi Concentration Camps or just outright murdered. As for the exact number of Jewish people that the Soviet NKVD had turned over to the Nazi Gestapo is known today for the Soviet Union has had over 60 years to hide this information.
On the 16th of June 1940, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov presented the Latvian representative in Moscow an ultimatum to be answered within six hours. Based on unfounded accusations and accusing Latvia of violations of the pact. 
 
      
                                                                                                  Red Army entering the City of Riga Latvia on 17 June 1940
 
      
 
The Soviets demanded that Latvia immediately form a new government and allow an unlimited number of Soviet troops enter the country. Latvia could not resist the aggression and conceded. The Red Army occupied Latvia and the City of Riga on the 17th of June 1940.
 
On the 5th of August 1940, the Supreme Council of the USSR admitted Latvia as the 15th Republic of the Soviet Union “Lithuania had joined the Soviet Union on the 3rd of August, Estonia followed on the 6th of August”. Nevertheless, although it had lost its sovereignty de facto, Latvia continued to exist de jure, in international law, since many nations including the United States and Switzerland never acknowledged its annexation.
 
The Soviet dealt harshly with their opponents prior to the German invasion, in less than a year, at least "27, 586 Latvians were arrested; most were deported, and 945 Latvians were just plain murdered". While under German occupation, Latvia was administered as part of Reichskommissariat Ostland. Latvian paramilitary and Auxiliary Police units established by occupation authority participated in the Holocaust as well. More then "200,000 Latvian citizens died during World War II, including approximately 75,000 Latvian Jewish people were murdered during the Nazi occupation". Latvian soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict, including in the "Latvian Legion" of the Waffen-SS, most of them conscripted by the occupying Nazi and Soviet authorities. [Appendix XIV – Latvian Legion and History]