Voldemärs, Veiss

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Voldemärs, Veiss
germanySS StandartenführerWaffen SS
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Voldemārs, Veiss, born 07-11-1899 in Riga Russia, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Latvian Army and a prominent Nazi collaborator, SS Standartenführer in the German Waffen-SS. When Riga, the capital of Latvia fell to the Germans on 01-07-1941, the Germans began forming self-defence and police forces. Lieutenant Colonel Voldemārs Veiss was appointed the commander of such a Self Defence organization. Veiss broadcast a radio call for volunteers to enlist and rid Latvia of “traitors”, including Soviet functionaries, communists and Jews. Many enlisted, and the “cleansing” started. On July 20 the Nazis disbanded this organization and ordered the formation of auxiliary police forces instead, with Oberstleutnant Veiss being appointed Chief of the Auxiliary Police. At the end of 1941, he became First Deputy Director General of the Director General of the Interior when the Latvian Self-Administration was reorganized. As early as autumn 1941 Latvian auxiliary police units, temporarily attached to the Wehrmacht,  were first used in front line duties. This occasional employment continued until the 2nd Latvian Brigade was formed from six Latvian battalions, four of which had combat experience. At the end of April 1943 a three battalion formation fighting under name of Latvian Legion

 Lettland beging seinen Nationalfeiertag. Anlässlich der 25. Wiederkehr des lettischen Nationalfeiertages [18.11.?] fand ein Standortappell der Einheiten der lettischen Freiwilligen-SS-Legion statt. UBz. die Formationen der Legion auf dem Wege zum Appellplatz. Bei Abdruck nennen: Scherl Bilderdienst, 2.12.43 [Herausgabedatum] 532-43 was withdrawn from the front line and renamed 1st Volunteer Regiment of the SS (Latvian), with a change of Wehrmacht ranks to those of Waffen-SS. Voldemārs Veiss was given command of this regiment, which was a part of the 2nd Latvian Brigade, and received a rank of Legion- Obersturmbannführer. In September 1943, during the battle of Leningrad, Veiss earned an Iron Cross 1st Class  for his actions during the Battle of Spaskaya Polist and in October he was promoted to Legion-Standartenführer and appointed Infantry Leader of the brigade. In January 1944 Veiss led a battle group (Kampfgruppe) bearing his name and for his defence of Nekokhovo and personal valour he became the first Latvian to receive the Knight’s Cross. When the 2nd Latvian Brigade became the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvia)  he continued as the Infantry Leader of this unit. The commander of the 2nd  SS Infantry Brigade, SS-Oberführer Hinrich Schuldt  became the first commander of the division. After Schuldt was killed in action by an anti-tank shell, age 43, on 15-03-1944, SS-Standartenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock temporarily took command, being replaced on April 13 by SS-Oberführer Bruno Streckenbach , who led the division until the end of war. Streckenbach died age 76, on 28-10-1977 in Hamburg.

Death and burial ground of Voldemärs, Veiss

  On 17-04-1944 Veiss died after having been wounded by a grenade seven days earlier and is buried on the war cemetery, Brothers cemetery, in Riga.

 

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