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Item:
ON4356

Original German WWII SS Identity Dog Tag Disc - 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian)

Regular price $295.00

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Genuine German WWII SS identity disc (aka; Dog Tag) Erkennungsmarke. Made of steel in very good condition. It is marked as follows:

 AUSB. U. ERS. BTL. 
LETT SS FRW. DIV.
This soldier was a member of the  Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division which was also known as the 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian). 
The 15th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Latvian) (German: 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lettische Nr.1), Latvian: 15. ieroču SS grenadieru divīzija (latviešu Nr. 1)) was an Infantry Division of the Waffen SS during World War II. It was formed in February 1943, and together with its sister unit, the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian) formed the Latvian Legion.
After forming of Latvian Police Battalions in Reichskommissariat Ostland, Heinrich Himmler formed Latvian legion (Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Legion) in January 1943. In February 1943 Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division was formed which later received the numerical designation 15. The Legion was renamed the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Brigade, with the numerical designation added soon after. 
The unlawful conscription of Latvians for military service by the Germans, was based on Alfred Rosenberg's compulsory labor decree of 19 December 1941. It was carried out by Department of Labor of the Latvian Self Administration, commencing in early 1943 with the compulsory recruitment of Latvian citizens born between 1919 and 1924. The 15th Waffen SS, together with the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian) formed the Latvian Legion.

The 15th Waffen SS was swept up in the chaos of the collapse of the Eastern Front and lost much of its manpower fighting in districts surrounding Leningrad (Ostrov, Novosokolniki and Novgorod Oblast). In September 1944 the surviving elements of the division was sent by boat to Danzig. The division fought on the Pomeranian Wall defences and then retreated through Pomerania and Germany to Berlin.

In postwar Poland soldiers of the division had been accused in killing 32 Polish soldiers (bound with barbed wire and burned alive) of the 4th Company, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Polish First Army's 1st Infantry Division on 2 February 1945, at Podgaje, Poland.

Part of the division with a total of 824 men, under Waffen-Standartenführer Vilis Janums, surrendered 27 April 1945 to the advancing Americans at Güterglück near the Elbe River. Other elements of the Division, amounting to approximately 4,500 men, surrendered to the Americans south of Schwerin on 2 May 1945.

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