The “Liberating Germanisation” of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia: Documents and Facts




fascist occupation; Ostland; Lithuania; Latvia; Estonia; SS legions; Germanisation; independence


In many ways, the perception and comprehension of the Second World War form the basis for the historical self-identification of several generations. They are also a sphere of political manipulation. For instance, in the Baltic states, the Nazi occupation, interpreted as a means of “the liberation from the Soviets”, is a widespread ideologeme. Participation in military activities or service in the rear divisions under the swastika flag are interpreted as a “struggle for independence” there. Reference to archival documents about the actual plans, methods, and results of the leaders of the Third Reich as related to the Baltic states and their titular nations makes it possible to study the events that took place in the region between 1941 and 1944. The author refers to a collection of materials of the operational headquarters of Reichsleiter Rosenberg in Riga kept in the Latvian State Historical Archive (Latvijas Valsts Vēstures arhīvs), the documents of the “Riga Trial” kept the Central Archive of the FSB of Russia, and the most recent historiography. Special attention is paid to the actual plans of the Reich leaders concerning the process of granting Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia independence, the functioning of self-government, and the actions of the occupational authorities towards the national languages, cultures, and education of the “unpromising nations”, i. e. Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians. The article also examines the establishment of SS formations and other military units made up by representatives of the Baltic peoples and the economic aspects of Nazi policy in “Ostland”.

Author Biography

Julia Kantor

Dr. Hab. (History), Chief Researcher, St Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Professor, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

7, Petrozavodskaya Str., 197110, St Petersburg, Russia.

48, Moika Embankment, 191186, St Petersburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-0362-345X


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How to Cite

Kantor, J. (2020). The “Liberating Germanisation” of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia: Documents and Facts. Quaestio Rossica, 8(3), 763–776.



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