BLOOD IN THE FOREST: The End of the Second World War in the Courland Pocket
With eyewitness accounts, detailed maps, and expert contributions alongside rare newspaper archive, photographs from private collections, and extracts from diaries translated into English from Latvian, German, and Russian, the author assembles a ghastly picture of death and desperation in a tough, uncomfortable story of a nation both gripped by war and at war with itself.
While the eyes of the world were on Hitler's bunker, more than half a million men fought six cataclysmic battles along a front line of fields and forests in Western Latvia known as the Courland Pocket. Just an hour from the capital Riga, German forces bolstered by Latvian Legionnaires were cut off and trapped with their backs to the Baltic. The only way out was by sea: the only chance of survival to hold back the Red Army.
Forced into uniform by Nazi and Soviet occupiers, Latvian fought Latvian - sometimes brother against brother. Hundreds of thousands of men died for little territorial gain in unimaginable slaughter. When the Germans capitulated, thousands of Latvians continued a war against Soviet rule from the forests for years afterwards.
Compiles eye-witness accounts of veterans who fought in the Latvian Legion, including former partisans and a refugee who fled the Soviet advance to later become President -- Vaira Vike-Freiberga. He was a survivor of the little-known concentration camp at Popervale and founder of Riga's Jewish Museum, Margers Vestermanis has never spoken about his personal experiences. He also gives details of the SS new world order planned in Kurzeme, his escape from a death march, and subsequent survival in the forests with a Soviet partisan group -- and a German deserter.
NEW-pb, available mid March 2020 ......$30.00 rct
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Updated as of 9/28/2023ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
rct - recent arrival or pending publication, spc - OMM Special Price