The Latvian National Armed Forces, during ceremonies, use songs “that accompanied killing of people and the spread of ideology declaring the superiority of Aryans over other ethnic groups: - this news was sent by Russian news portal Федеральное агентство новостей (Federal News Agency) (FAN), using the video of LTV news service from the infantry school of National Armed Forces (NAF) in Alūksne, where on 25 August (the news erroneously states that on 24 August) 38 reserve soldiers, who had voluntarily completed military training and given their oath of the soldier, as the main argument for the news. The ceremony was visited by the Minister of Defence Raimonds Bergmanis and NAF Commander, Lieutenant General, Leonīds Kalniņš. At the moment when the flag of Alūksne Infantry School was carried along the formation, there are a few times in the march arranged for the brass band, where the correspondent of FAN managed to hear and recognise a popular legionnaire song Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs. The similarity of the fragment with the popular song is actually rather vague and could be disputed, but, to be objective, it must be said that Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs is used by NAF as a song in soldier formation. “And who, after all that we have seen, would dare to say that annual memorial marches of “Waffen SS” legionnaires in Riga, which have been organised for 24 years, are held without the support of the state?” FAN rejoices.
The aforementioned song is nothing like “lyric poetry”, it is similar to the German Wehrmacht soldier march “Erika”. Legionnaire songs of this type are traditionally sung on 16 March at the Monument of Freedom by the deputies of the National Union, who are constituting the ruling coalition of the Latvian Parliament. “Now, after the deaths of 27 million Red Army soldiers and civilians of the USSR during World War II, after the destruction of six million Jews, after the Nuremberg Trials, which condemned “Waffen SS” as a criminal organisation, the Latvian NAF carries flags accompanied by a legionnaire march melody without remorse,” rages the Russian portal. The news contains heaps of other imprecisions and lies on the Latvian Legion, characteristic of Russian media. The most colourful of them is, for instance, the statement of the “expert” Jānis Kuzins that Latvian legionnaires also have a military song, where they sing that they will first overpower all of the “lousy” and then all of the “swarthy”...” The text by Kuzin, presumably, not without provocative intent, literally states - “swarthy”, although, as it is well known this song actually has the words “bluish - grey” in the respective line.
The total number of views of the news by FAN is around 1,200, which, for the conditions of Russia, is not a lot to put it mildly, however, the performance of legionnaires’ songs, especially by the male song group “Vilki” (Wolves), is used from time to time to illustrate the “rebirth of Fascism” in Latvia.
Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs has nothing to do either with Nazism or the killing of humans and a person must be “especially gifted” to claim that the fact of the song being sung by Latvian legionnaires, whose link with the crimes of Nazism and SS, as it is well known, was not established by the Nuremberg trials, makes it such. Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs was written in 1942/1943 by Ēvalds Siliņš (1919 – 2015), who was conscripted to the German Army and his fellow serviceman, military medic, and for a short period of time - cook Ādolfs Urbāns, who, by the way, worked as the director of Garkalne Secondary School after the war. Siliņš was the author of the melody and the lyrics of the refrain, while Urbāns authored the lyrics of the song. However, these details only became known after the renewal of the independence of Latvia, because an opinion that Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs was a folk song without particular authors was the dominant opinion for a long time. Ēvalds Siliņš, even during the years of Soviet occupation, was a renowned educator, conductor and composer, who created more than 100 songs and folk song arrangements. His children’s songs are excellent and the children of the Soviet times might remember his Mikausis, Runcis Ūšuks or Kāda katram dziesma. The songs of Siliņš have been frequently sung at the song festivals and he himself has been the guest of honour at these song festivals. As a methodologist, he wrote approximately 40 books on musical education. Mr Siliņš worked at Rūjiena Secondary School for almost 50 years and was elected first Honourable Citizen of the town of Rūjiena in 1998. The listing could be continued and the interested people can be advised to watch the film Paliec sveiks, mans mazais draugs produced in 2010 by the producer and operator Andrejs Edvīns Feldmanis, which narrates the story of the life of the legendary song in the people, as well as the rich life of Ēvalds Siliņš himself. “It is actually a folk song about love, which is played at the parties, in the streets, in daily life! It is void of any ideology, apart from the fact that it was written during the war. It has nothing to do with Nazism! It is a story of a youth, who accepts his fate and bids farewell to his girl,” Lelde Neimane, the head of the Audiovisual Material Department of the Museum of Occupation, says. The materials collected by the museum inspired the producer to make the film named after the song.