X

News

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has made a new documentary “Zedelgem”

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has made a new documentary “Zedelgem”

2015. gada 20. novembris

It is dedicated to the centennial of Latvian independence.

In February 1943, the Fuehrer of Nazi-Germany, Adolf Hitler, ordered the formation of a Latvian Legion under the aegis of Heinrich Himmler's Waffen-SS. It consisted of two divisions, numbered 15 and 19, and other units that were involved in war action under German High Command against the forces of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. In order to circumvent the Hague Convention of 1907 that forbade the recruitment of inhabitants of occupied areas, the legionnaires were designated as "volunteers", although almost all were conscripts.

By the summer of 1944 it had become clear that Nazi-Germany had lost the war. The 15th Division, which had sustained heavy losses in battles against the Red Army on Latvian soil, was sent for reorganization to German-annexed West Poland. During the massive Soviet offensive in early 1945, the division and other Latvian units fought many heavy rearguard battles as they were inexorably retreating westward.

When the German capitulation was imminent, the highest Latvian commanding officers of the Legion – colonel Arvīds Kripēns, colonel Vilis Janums and major Pēteris Balodis, urged their soldiers preferably to surrender to British forces in closed units, rather than ending up in the US and French occupation zones. The main aim was to stay together, because it was unclear as yet how the Soviet militarists would deal with Latvian legionnaires.

In the end, 11,727 Latvian soldiers surrendered to the British forces, causing problems of finding facilities for internment. The Brits made an agreement with the Belgians to accommodate Latvian prisoners-of-war in Zedelgem, in a pre-war ammunition storage complex.

The documentary film Zedelgem is the story about eight months of emotional experiences and humiliation for the Latvian prisoners-of-war in this camp.

Film author and director is Andris Feldmanis, length - 57 min, language - Latvian with English subtitles.

The staff of the Occupation Museum of Latvia also congratulates the “DAUGAVAS VANAGI” (“Hawks of Daugava”) organization on its 70th anniversary with this documentary.

You can buy the DVD in the Museum

Other news

The Museum of Occupation has lost a loyal friend and supporter.2019. gada 5. jūlijs
Dr. Zigfrīds Zadvinskis was one of the small group that met in Garezers in 1996 to form a support organization for the recently founded...
Daily Tours in English2019. gada 1. maijs
From 1 May, we are offering daily guided tours of the museum in English. The tours will start everyday at 14.00 and 16.00. Each tour...
Museum Working Hours On the May National Holidays2019. gada 29. aprīlis
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia will be open as usual during the national holidays in May 2019. We are open from 11:00 to 18:00...
A Previously Unknown Photograph of the 25 March 1949 has been Donated to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia2019. gada 14. aprīlis
On the Remembrance Day of the 25 March 1949 Deportation, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia gave the public a unique view of...