Christopher HaleHitler's Foreign Executioners: Europe's Dirty Secret
Waffen-SS Part of Himmler's “Genocidal Strategy”Historians have it all wrong
Hale categorically and repeatedly dismisses any notions that the Latvian Waffen-SS were simply front-line combat units whose assignments had nothing to do with the Holocaust—denouncing authorities and choosing "alternate" conclusions to those held by majorities of historians.
[F]rom the summer of 1942, Himmler simultaneously authorised recruitment of Waffen-SS non-German combat divisions in occupied Eastern Europe. Many of these Waffen-SS recruits had previously served in the Schuma units and now took part in so-called anti-bandit operations, which in many cases served to liquidate any Jews who had somehow survived the ‘Holocaust by bullets’. Since the recruitment of Schuma battalions and foreign Waffen-SS legions or divisions formed part of the same evolving genocidal strategy, it is quite wrong to argue, as Ezergailis and others have, that the combat divisions have no connection with the Holocaust.
Hale tars the Waffen-SS based on his imagining they are part of an "evolving genocidal strategy." We expect that "evolution" refers to Hale's allegation that Himmler was a mastermind with a race-based plot for the SS to rule the world. Hale ignores the simple historical fact that the Latvian Waffen-SS was solely a front-line combat unit organized in 1943 after the Holocaust. Moreover, he constructs the false paradigm that the Holocaust was somehow an ad hoc "evolving" crime. The Nazis meticulously planned the Holocaust in Eastern Europe before ever invading the USSR, and subsequently micro-managed every aspect of its execution.
Arājs Kommando directly participated in the killings of the Holocaust; some units served as guards and work details but not executioners. The Schuma battalions which initially populated the Waffen-SS were front-line units from their inception. Collaborator units such as Arājs' were joined to the Waffen-SS late in the war as conditions deteriorated at the Eastern Front. Hale uses these to smear the Waffen-SS as a whole.
Ezergailis is only one among numerous historians whose conclusions Hale dismisses because they fail to indict the Latvian Waffen-SS as the instruments of Himmler's "evolving genocidal strategy", as willing agents of Hitler's "war of annihilation," und so weiter.
Hale contends that:
- the entire Latvian Waffen-SS are guilty because Shuma units formed its core; there is no dispute over those subordinated to the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) who collaborated; while the activities of the Shuma battalions sent to the front continue to be an area of contention, it is also true that they were victimized in Soviet show trials of "Latvian Nazis" whose fiction lives on;
- the entire Latvian Waffen-SS are guilty because SD collaborators were joined to it late in the war, regardless that the Waffen-SS was established after the Holocaust and no one has ever been accused of a war crime in service of the Waffen-SS; Hale specifically denounces contending such facts as a "callous argument";
- the entire Latvian Waffen-SS are guilty because Himmler had a secret plot which was race-based, genocidal, and anticipated a world run by the SS—a contention which Simpson himself confesses is dismissed by historians;
- the entire Latvian Waffen-SS are guilty because they are "SS," that is, identical in form, function, philosophy, and goals to the German Waffen-SS Himmler created at the start of the war; this contention is simply untrue as the Latvian and other foreign "armed" (Waffen)-SS were front-line units tactically under the Wehrmacht. While ostensibly under Himmler, these front line units reported to the Wehrmacht and were not politically or administratively affiliated with the "general" (Allgemeine) SS.
The simple fact is that both the Nazis and Bolsheviks had their collaborators, by that, meaning true traitors actively siding with the enemy against the well-being of their fellow citizens.
But this is not the tapestry Hale weaves. The more one delves into Hale, the more he reveals himself as Latvian-Nazi conspiracy theorist and patsy, unwitting or not, of Russian interests—astonishingly describing professional Kremlin "anti-Nazi" lackey Josef Koren as a humble "beekeeper." Why did Hale reach out to so many eminent historians only to disagree with their conclusions to substitute his own fiction?
Updated: May, 2017