Christopher SimpsonBlowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War

Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War
Simpson, Christopher
ISBN: 9781555841065
YEAR: 1988, republished 2014 with new author’s foreword
PUBLISHER: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
"Blowback is the fullest and most authoritative account ever written of America's collaboration with Nazi after World War II, and of the long-range effect this has had on the nation's domestic and foreign policy. Drawing on extensive first-hand research and a wealth of documents previously classified or never before made public, Christopher Simpson has written a major and often startling work about the extensive connection between high-ranking American officials and ex-Nazis and collaborators, and about the effect this relationship has had on American society and the cold war." —First edition dust jacket

While a dated work, Simpson provides a fresh foreword for its 2014 republication as part of the "Forbidden Bookshelf" series.[1] Included also is his "suppressed" overview prepared for the government, but ultimately not released, overview of the 2006 declassification of CIA documents related to "former Nazis."[2] Simpson contends the declassification not only corroborates but amplifies his 1985 work.

Read the announcement of the CIA declassification here.

Simpson’s personal revalidation of his work renders it both current and relevant. Sifting through his historical summary, he alleges that the hunt for U.S. government-employed Nazis included "about 60,000 persons who are known to have been senior Nazi Party officials, members of the SS, identified as war crimes suspects during 1945–1947, or part of collaborationist murder squads the Nazis operated on the Eastern Front."

The question, of course, is how were these lists compiled? How to tell the relevant and factual from the spurious and false? With respect to the Waffen-SS, "Latvian Legion," does Simpson count legionnaires among the ranks of Nazi war criminals?

Focusing on the Simpson's allegation of a Latvian–Nazi connection, what can we say about the quality of his scholarship?[3] What damning information do declassified CIA documents reveal about that purported connection—information which caused Simpson to double down on his allegations in the 2014 reissue of his work?


[1]The series purports to bring suppressed inconveniences back to life. "Open Road Media announced today Forbidden Bookshelf, a series of books curated by Professor Mark Crispin Miller of New York University. Forbidden Bookshelf titles fill in the blanks of America’s repressed history by resurrecting books that focused on issues and events that are too often left in the dark, including abortion, organized crime, the CIA, and financial inequality." press release at markcrispinmiller.com/2014/06/forbidden-bookshelf/, retrieved 25 February 2015.
[2]These included CIA files on all Baltic individuals investigated as possible Nazi collaborators, largely based on Soviet-originated allegations. These files also include cables which demonstrate the Justice Department's collusion with Soviet authorities.
[3]Give Use Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Nazi Scientists review in the New York Times Book Review, May 8, 1988, by Serge Schmemann, the Bonn bureau chief for The New York Times and previously a Times correspondent in Moscow. Retrieved 13-January-2016

Updated: June, 2017

Daugavas Vanagi, Who Are They?” ala Simpson

Did you know?

Where the Latvians have the KGB's Daugavas Vanagi, Who Are They? to contend with, the Ukrainians have their own Soviet propaganda pamphlet, The SS Werewolves, published in Canada (1982) to strike at the leadership of its large and virulently anti-Soviet émigré Ukrainian community.

Simpson features the Daugavas Vanagi organization and its leadership prominently in the pantheon of Nazi conspirators. Simpson's contentions regarding the "Vanagis" [sic.[1]] are certainly damning, if true.

1Right-wing émigré organizations, which had once been little more than instruments of German (and later U.S.) espionage agencies, began to take on a distinct life and authority of their own during the cold war, particularly inside America’s large Eastern European immigrant communities. Through organizations such as the 2CIA-funded Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN), certain Ukrainian fraternal groups, and 3the Latvian Daugavas Vanagi alliance (each of which included in positions of leadership persons whom U.S. investigators have alleged to be Axis war criminals), these extreme-right-wing exiles gradually expanded their reach in American affairs.
Contention versus Fact

Simpson begins with his unfounded contention that organizations such as Daugavas Vanagi were sinister espionage operatives working first for the Nazis, then for the CIA after WWII, that is, Nazi agents before, during, and after WWII. Daugavas Vanagi is a veterans' self-help welfare group founded in Zedelgem POW Camp, where Allied guards shot Latvians for live target practice until they were informed the Latvians weren't Nazis. The contention they were in any way Nazi agents is sheer fabrication.

That legitimate anti-Soviet émigré organizations received CIA funding to support their operations does not detract from their mission to end Soviet subjugation of 100,000,000 Europeans.

Simpson casts a pall of illegitimacy on the aims and members of Daugavas Vanagi and other organizations by branding them and their leadership as right-wing, extreme-right-wing, fascist, and instruments of [Nazi] German espionage agencies.

A full third of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations' alleged Nazis were individuals of Baltic origin. The Ukrainians followed closely in count. And where did those names originally come from? From the Soviets. Soviet-fabricated accusations have morphed into "U.S. investigators," media, and other parties alleging the same. Indeed, Russian propaganda now cites disproven KGB propaganda reproduced in Western scholarship as historical fact.

Yet in several cases Nazi collaborators and sympathizers took control of key aspects of refugee relief agencies serving their nationalities in the United States. Among Latvians 4a secretive organization known as the Daugavas Vanagi (“ Hawks of the Daugava River”) gradually built up an influential political machine in Latvian displaced persons camps in Europe and, later, in Latvian communities in this country as well. The Vanagis began as a self-help and welfare society for Latvian SS veterans in Germany in 1945; 5many of its leaders had been involved in Fascist activity in Latvia since the 1930s. Like the OUN Ukrainian nationalists, 6some of the Vanagis’ leaders had served as the Nazis’ most enthusiastic executioners inside their homeland, only to be spurned by the chauvinistic Germans. 7The Latvian extremists held on tenaciously during the Nazi occupation, however, and many were rewarded with posts as mayors, concentration camp administrators, and—most frequently—officers of the Latvian Waffen-SS division sponsored by the Nazis during the last years of the conflict. 8Most of the Vanagis’ leadership fled to Germany with the retreating Nazis at war’s end. In the first five years after the war the Vanagis gradually came to control Latvian displaced persons camps in Germany. The semi-secret society also served as an organizing and coordinating force among the Latvian Waffen-SS veterans who enlisted in the U.S. Labor Service units. Many 9Vanagi members found their way to Britain, Canada, and the United States in the guise of displaced persons during this period. Highly disciplined and organized, the Vanagis maintained their linkages during their diaspora and used their international connections to expand their influence inside Latvian communities abroad. 10In the United States several Vanagis who had once been high-level Nazi collaborators created interlocking directorships dominated by party members among the American Latvian Association, the Latvian-American Republican National Federation, and the CIA-funded Committee for a Free Latvia. These organizations, which came to be controlled or strongly influenced by the Vanagis, 11exercised considerable unofficial authority over which potential Latvian immigrants would obtain visas to the United States—and which would not. Not surprisingly, their exercise of this power has consistently tended to reinforce Vanagi authority inside Latvian-American communities. It is clear today that several of these groups and a number of 12individual Vanagi Nazi collaborators enjoyed clandestine U.S. government subsidies from the CIA. This money was laundered through the CIA’s Radio Free Europe and Assembly of Captive European Nations channels or through private organizations such as the International Rescue Committee, among others. Whether or not the CIA approved of the 13Vanagis’ sometimes openly racist and pro-Fascist political behavior, the fact remains that it helped underwrite the careers of at least three—and probably more—senior Vanagi 14leaders that the U.S. government itself has accused of Nazi war crimes. The three beneficiaries were Vilis Hazners, Boleslavs Maikovskis, and Alfreds Berzins.
Contention versus Fact

The notion that the Daugavas Vanagi was or is a secretive organization comes directly from the pages of KGB propaganda. Along with the church, Daugavas Vanagi was, and continues to be, a center of Latvian community life. There is nothing sinister in its founding, membership, operation, or non-existent "secrecy."

The pre-war Latvian fascist organization, Pērkonkrusts was banned, its members arrested, its leader exiled. We would also make the point that those pre-war Latvian fascists were not pro-Nazi. Rather, they were rabidly anti-German because the Germans represented seven centuries of conquest and subsequent hegemony prior to Latvia's independence. Daugavas Vanagi has never welcomed or harbored fascists.

Beyond his generic accusations of racism and fascism, this is the most vicious and malignant of Simpson's contentions. Simpson brands Daugavas Vanagi and entire post-WWII leadership of the Latvian émigré community as Nazi war criminals with unrepentant Hitlerite hearts forged of German Iron Crosses. In a book dense with citations, he provides none for any of his ad hominem attacks—because no such evidence exists. Neither Daugavas Vanagi members nor leaders had any involvement in the Holocaust.

Simpson's contention defies comprehension. His allegation that fighting on the Eastern Front against the Red Army—Latvian units always ill-equipped and often sent in as cannon-fodder by Germans too fearful for their own safety—was some sort of "reward" for being a good Nazi is so historically inaccurate as to suggest prejudice and bias. Representing the Waffen-SS as "sponsored" ignores that by the end of the war the Nazis had conscripted every Latvian male born after 1905—under pain of death. Simpson's contention that Latvians ran Nazi concentration camps is similarly outlandish.

The tenacity of Latvians holding out to the end of the war in Kurzeme (Courland) enabled refugees to escape across the Baltic to Sweden or down the Baltic to occupied Poland. Many perished either in storms or as the Soviets bombed fleeing refugee ships. That Latvians, Legionnaires included, fled "to" Germany is not an indication of any alliance or sympathy with Germany or seeking safety with their Nazi masters, but, rather, a reflection of the limited options available in a war-time occupied territory and a measure of how brutal the year of Soviet occupation had been which culminated in the first mass deportations just a week prior to the German invasion. Indeed, many of those fleeing already knew from captured documents that they would be deported or killed upon the Soviets' return.

Yet another reprehensible cheap shot from Simpson. Latvians lived in Displaced Persons camps in Germany for years, having lost family, friends, all their possessions, and their homeland, until they could get sponsors to resettle, or, as many did, remain in Germany and help rebuild their lives and their new home.

That someone served in the Waffen-SS does not make them a collaborator in Nazi crimes. The Latvian Legion has never been accused of involvement in any war crime.

Simpson conjures more non-existent conspiracies, here, of suspiciously interlocked Latvian organizations. The Latvian community was and is relatively small. It is quite common for individuals motivated for the good of the Latvian people—and prior to the fall of the Soviet Union tasked with the very preservation of Latvian culture in the face of Soviet-threatened extinction—to serve on multiple cooperating organizations. That leadership was shared among these organizations is a testament to the honor, dedication, and industriousness of the individual, not a litmus test for a sinister conspiratorial dictatorship.

Other than providing form letters for Latvians still learning English to lobby Congress that the Waffen-SS were not Nazis (as Simpson notes in the next quoted section), Daugavas Vanagi had nothing to do with and no say in which Latvian refugees entered the United States.

The CIA subsidized a wide range of activities, whether broadcasting news and entertainment via Radio Free Europe or paying stipends to exiles to interview Soviet visitors to acquire information on conditions behind the Iron Curtain. None of these implies a pact with Latvian "Nazis."

Vilis Hāzners, for example, received a modest fee ("not to exceed $300 in any one quarter"[2]) for his services as field agent, digesting and translating Soviet Latvian materials, interviewing defectors and "Redskins" (visiting professionals, academics, etc. who were known KGB spies). However, the declassified CIA Hāzners files we've reviewed—129 in all—could not prove more banal and uninteresting to a Nazi conspiracy seeker.

The Legionnaires were honored for having held out to the end of the war in Kurzeme (Courland). Regardless that Latvians lost their homeland, regardless that most who served in the Latvian Waffen-SS were conscripted, pride in having fought against Soviet re-occupation was in no way an expression of fascism. There was no reason for any Legionnaire to hide their service.

Accusations, such as those levelled at Vilis Hāzners' deportation proceedings, were Soviet-originated lies which KGB propagandists fabricated and fed to the West. That U.S. government repeated those accusations verbatim did not make them any more factual than Russia now quoting scholars repeating that same KGB propaganda as historical truth.

These Vanagis did not hesitate to use their political clout and government contacts to 15sponsor former SS men and Nazi collaborators for U.S. citizenship. In fact, they waged a successful campaign to 16reverse U.S. immigration regulations to permit Baltic SS men, who had long been the primary beneficiaries of Vanagi assistance anyway, to enter the United States legally. The Latvian-language Daugavas Vanagi Biletens, for example, helpfully provided its readers with English-language texts to send to U.S. officials protesting exclusion of Baltic SS men from U.S. visas and citizenship. 17Their argument, in brief, was that the Baltic SS men had not “really” been Nazis, only patriotic Latvians and Lithuanians concerned about protecting their countries from a Soviet invasion. “My [brother] who is already a U.S. soldier,” the Vanagis urged their supporters to write to Washington, “is going to defend the Free World against Communist aggression [in Korea]. Whay [sic] are those Latvians who did the same in 1944—defend our country Latvia, against Communist aggression—not now admitted to the U.S.? These are not more fascists [sic] than those American boys who now die from Soviet manufactured and Chinese Communist fired bullets,” the appeal continued. 18Their effort bore fruit in late 1950, when Displaced Persons Commissioner Edward M. O’Connor forced through an administrative change that redefined the Baltic SS as not being a “movement hostile to the United States.” The decision cleared Baltic SS veterans for entry into this country. 19O’Connor’s maneuver was opposed by DP Commissioner Harry N. Rosenfield, but without success. Charitable organizations such as Latvian Relief Incorporated and the United Lithuanian Relief Fund of America made sure that the 20favored SS veterans were not only permitted entry but often given free passage, board, food, emergency funds, and assistance in finding jobs as well.
Contention versus Fact

There was no "Latvian SS." No Latvian was a card-carrying Nazi or held any position of any authority in the occupational regime, not even the Germans' most notorious collaborators. Anyone emigrating to the U.S. required a sponsor. That Daugavas Vanagi sponsored members is to be expected, and it is patently absurd to contend Daugavas Vanagi sponsored war criminals.

There's no "reversal" to speak of. The Latvian Waffen-SS were thoroughly investigated. They were granted permission to enter the United States based on not having been a criminal organization or adversarial to the interests of the United States. Indeed, the only action by legitimate Latvian authorities in WWII had been to place its merchant marine at the disposal of the Allies, where it served with distinction. Certainly, this change was a clarification and adjustment to policy, but there was no "reversal" that Nazi criminals would now be granted permission to enter, as Simpson contends.

Clearly Simpson equates the Waffen "SS"—forces largely illegally conscripted to fight the re-invading Red Army—with Hitler's elite and criminal "SS." The slightest research would have clarified the distinction for Simpson, whose hostile derision of the contention that the Waffen-SS "had not 'really' been Nazis" underscores, at best, ignorance by choice. As the Latvians serving in the Waffen-SS really had not been Nazis, Simpson's entire conspiratorial house of cards collapses.

As was stated in the judicial review of Hāzners' deportation case: "The Service's [INS's] contention wrongly assumes that the Soviet forces were the legitimate government of Latvia. The same assumption underlies the Service's contention that the respondent lied by testifying that he was never a Nazi sympathizer, based only upon his military service against the Russians. The Soviet Union had overrun his native country, terminating its independence. A more reasonable explanation is to conclude that a Latvian could fight against the Soviet occupying forces without necessarily being a Nazi sympathizer."

In keeping with his other smears, Simpson tars Displaced Persons Commissioner Edward M. O’Connor by contending he forced the change in the status of the Waffen-SS and other Baltic legions. O'Connor acted only after a full and independent fact finding was conducted in Germany. Simpson would have us believe that the change in the status of the Latvian Legion was in response to intense lobbying by Nazis.

Regarding the contention Rosenfield was attempting to protect the U.S. from an influx of Nazis but was shouted down—Simpson provides no detail other than the decision on the Baltic Waffen-SS was not unanimous—the source he cites provides no information on what objections might have been voiced.[3] What does matter is Rosenfield's official correspondence in the matter. We point you to Holocaust scholar Prof. Andrew Ezergailis' web site for the full exchange of correspondence—including Rosenfield's—on the matter.[4]

"Given" by whom? Latvians assisting other Latvians? Offering them an address to which to ship their single trunk of belongings, all that they possessed on this Earth? Every immigrant Latvian family, no matter how meager their own circumstances, has their own story of helping neighbors and newcomers with less. But Simpson paints such charity as conspiratorial and contemptible.

One of the most important characteristics of the 21war criminals who did come to the United States is that they did not arrive here as isolated individuals. As has been seen in the cases of the Croatian Ustachis, the Ukrainian OUN, and ...[as in the case of]... the Latvian Vanagis, to name only three ... , many of these immigrants were, in fact, part of experienced, highly organized groups with distinct political agendas that differed little from the Fascist programs they had promoted in their homelands. 22The anti-Communist paranoia of the McCarthy period gave these groups fertile soil in which to put down roots and to grow. In time they began to play a small but real role in the political life of this country.
Contention versus Fact

Simpson offers up more of his baseless conspiratorial fabrications. Neither the Daugavas Vanagi or individuals Simpson indicts came from any sort of fascist background or sympathized with or promoted any fascist "agenda." Nor did the Waffen-SS commit a single war crime.

It's not paranoia if your name was on a Soviet deportation hit-list which fell into the hands of the Western Allies.

Prior to the large-scale deportations on June 13 and 14, 1941, of Latvian citizens, many Latvian statesmen and prominent officials and politicians were arrested and deported by individual orders. This is an example of such an order, issued on July 31, 1940, by V. Lācis who was Vice-Premier and Minister of Internal Affairs of the then Latvian "People's Government". Lācis orders that the former Minister of War, General J. Balodis, and his entire family be deported to the U.S.S.R.[5]
George Kennan, Allen Dulles, and a handful of other foreign affairs specialists came up with the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) as a unique solution to a knotty problem. The U.S. government found it advantageous to maintain conventional, albeit frosty, diplomatic relations with the Communist-dominated governments of the USSR, Poland, Hungary, and the other satellite states. However, the Department of State and the intelligence community also wished to underwrite the anti-Communist work of the numerous 23émigré organizations that claimed to represent “governments-in-exile” of the same countries. It was impossible to have diplomatic relations with both the official governments of Eastern Europe and the “governments-in-exile” at the same time, for obvious reasons. The NCFE was therefore launched to serve as a thinly veiled “private-sector” cover through which clandestine U.S. funds for the exile committees could be passed. ...
Contention versus Fact

Simpson receives a failing grade in international law. All three Baltic States had functioning vested authorities operating in exile which continued to be recognized de jure as the legitimate holders and representatives of their respective nations' sovereignties. That the U.S. and other Western countries continued pre-existing diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. did not confer recognition of the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states. Indeed, the 1975 Helsinki Accords recognized no borders whatsoever. Parties only agreed not to violate existing "frontiers." This was seen as a big win for the U.S.S.R., as it meant the West would not invade any territory (including the Warsaw Pact countries) the U.S.S.R. controlled. Nevertheless, the Accords in no way legitimized the Soviets' illegal occupation of the Baltic states. The Soviet-occupied Latvian S.S.R. was no more "official" or legitimate than Nazi-occupied Reichskommissariat Ostland or Vichy France.

Similarly, the [National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE)] used its economic muscle to rent meeting halls and provide the public relations support that puffed up scores of otherwise minor émigré events into major “news” stories that enjoyed extensive play in the American media. 24Former Nazis did not control such programs, but they were sometimes able to make use of the prevailing anti-Communist hysteria to promote policies that they favored. The NCFE gave the annual Baltic Freedom Day Committee free use of Carnegie Hall once a year for at least three years, according to the organization’s annual reports, then used its influence to line up noted speakers, including a half dozen U.S. senators, the president of the NCFE itself, and a leading board member of the U.S. Displaced Persons Commission to grace the event. Most important to the favored Baltic politicians was a flood of endorsements arranged by the NCFE that included a proclamation by the governor of New York and public messages of solidarity from the then president of the United States, Harry Truman, and the man who was soon to be Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles. These were obviously not “Nazi” political gatherings. The major theme was support for democracy and for national independence of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia from the USSR. Even so, the Vanagis among the Latvians and other extreme-right-wing forces within the Baltic immigrant community succeeded in placing speakers at the rostrum at Carnegie Hall to 25promote the myth that the Baltic Waffen-SS legions were simply anti-Communist patriots and to press for changes in U.S. immigration regulations that would permit easy entry of such persons into this country under refugee relief programs.
Contention versus Fact

As already indicated, there was no such thing as a "Latvian Nazi." No Latvian ever belonged to the Nazi party. No Latvian ever held a position in the Nazi hierarchy. Neither the Waffen-SS nor Daugavas Vanagi were "Nazis" or supported Nazism in any way.

We arrive at Simpson's big lie. Field reports to Berlin unequivocally stated—rather worrisomely for the Germans—that the Latvian Legionnaires had no allegiance to Germany, that they could only be counted on to resist the Soviet advance. That Simpson has already described appointment as an officer in the Latvian Legion Waffen-SS on the brutal Eastern Front as a "reward" for Hitler well served makes his ultimate contention here regarding the "myth" of the Baltic Waffen-SS units as unsurprising as it is baseless and irresponsible. Latvians wore a Latvian flag under their uniform, next to their heart, a symbol of the day they would drive both Russians and Germans out of their homeland, as they had after WWI. That the Latvian Waffen-SS were patriots is a simple truth.


[1]“Vanagi” is already plural.
[2]per declassified CIA documents
[3]"One of the organizations which was the subject of considerable controversy with respect to the effect of membership in it [i.e., did it denote participation in a movement "hostile" to the U.S.] was the Baltic Waffen-SS, otherwise known as the Baltic Legion. Membership in the Baltic Legion was for several years considered by both the Commission and Visa Division to be a bar per se under the security provisions of section 13 of the Act. After extensive research and review, and on the basis of a change of view by the Visa Division, and strong evidence showing that membership in the organization was due to conscription and force by the Hitler regime, the Commission revised its policy on September 1, 1950, by holding the Baltic Legion not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States under section 13 of the Act. This view was not a unanimous decision with the Commission; an extensively documented statement of the minority views was filed by Commissioner Rosenfield." at page 101, The DP Story. It's not clear whether the head of the DP Commission, Harry Rosenfield, was with the dissenting minority or simply filed its views.
[4]Legionnaires Cleared of SS Status, retrieved 15-January-2016
[5]Original at Latvians.com, retrieved 15-January-2016

Updated: June, 2017

Vilis Arveds Hāzners

Excerpt of declassified CIA document certifying Hāzners as a field agent,
assigning him a pseudonym (Victor Halfond) and cryptonym (AEKILO-2).

Unsurprisingly, as the KGB's #1 target among Latvians in his position as a leader of the exile Latvian community and an employee of Radio Free Europe and eventual head of the Daugavas Vanagi, Simpson expends considerable effort to vilify Hāzners.

...certain war criminals found a comfortable roost at RFE/RL. Radio Free Europe repeatedly featured Romanian Fascist leader (and Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church in America) Valerian Trifa, for example, in Romanian-language broadcasts, particularly during the 1950s.[1] 26Vilis Hazners, who was accused in a CBS-TV 60 Minutes broadcast of spearheading a Nazi gang that “force[d] a number of Jews into a synagogue [which was] then set on fire,” emerged as a prominent Latvian personality in Radio Liberation transmissions. Hazners, at last report, was still broadcasting for RL in the 1980s.
Contention versus Fact

Simpson introduces Hāzners with the accusations against him as featured on "60 Minutes." These are the same as accusations by "U.S. authorities," which all originate from the single original set of KGB fabrications. Simpson elsewhere indicates Hāzners successfully defended himself, but that has no bearing on Simpson's continuing characterization of Hāzners as a war criminal. Even Hāzners' return to Radio Free Europe after vindication is described as conspiratorial.

27Vilis Hazners is an SS veteran and a winner of the German Iron Cross. The 28U.S. government has accused him of serving as a senior security police officer in Riga, Latvia, for much of the war. The 29government records include reports that the men under Hazners’s command committed serious atrocities, including herding dozens of Jews into a synagogue and setting it aflame. 30Hazners successfully defended himself from these charges, however, during a deportation proceeding in the late 1970s. 31Hazners entered the United States in the early 1950s. Whether or not the CIA assisted him in this is unknown, but it is clear that it sponsored him and helped pay his salary once he was here. Hazners assumed the chairmanship of the Committee for a Free Latvia and a post as delegate to the ACEN in New York. Both organizations—including the wages of their officials—are now known to have been financed in part by the CIA. (The 32sponsorship of these groups was secret during the 1950s but was eventually admitted by the government during the series of scandals that rocked the agency during the 1970s.) “Liberation” committee chairmen like Hazners typically received a salary of 33$12,000 per year in the early 1950s, a pay rate that was better than that of most mid-level State Department employees of the day. 34Hazners did not hide his Fascist background. He practically flaunted it. At the same time he was active in ACEN, he served as 35chairman of the Latvian Officers Association, a thinly disguised self-help group made up in large part of Waffen-SS veterans. He also served as an officer of the American branch of the Vanagis and as editor of the group’s magazine for many years. He was 36meanwhile active in a number of more respectable groups like the American Latvian Association, which he served as an officer, specializing in immigration and “refugee relief” work on behalf of favored Latvian émigrés in Europe.
Contention versus Fact

Simpson continues his indictment of Hāzners as an "SS" member. Whether intentionally or by chance, his opening sentence here could pass for a verbatim quotation of Alan A. Ryan, Jr.'s protestations in the OSI's rejected attempt to appeal Hāzners' acquittal.[2] Indeed, the government's brief essentially maintained that membership in the Waffen-SS alone meant guilty war criminal.[3]

Hāzners first served as an adjutant preparing men to serve on the Eastern Front. While ostensibly intended for security, they were actually a recruiting reserve for the Eastern Front. Hāzners had no role in the Holocaust, no role repressing Jews.

Hāzners was conclusively proven to not have been present. Curiously, the Israeli-identified and coached émigré Soviet witness against him had the complete collection of KGB propaganda pamphlets in his possession, and introduced into evidence, which contained the burning synagogue accusation. Perhaps he thought he was doing a good deed, since Israeli authorities had introduced Hāzners' photograph as that of a confirmed war criminal, at least one of those pictures had Hāzners name written right on the front of it. Neither Hāzners or any Hāzners' men committed any Holocaust war crime. The accusing "government records" are yet another incarnation of the original KGB fabrications. There were no actual records. Hāzners' military records—which the Germans had thoroughly investigated, confirmed no evidence of any war crimes, and were provided to the U.S. Justice Department—were never introduced at Hāzners' deportation trial because they would have exonerated him.

Simpson's observation here is superfluous, since he continues with his accusations against Hāzners. He ignores that Hāzners was exonerated and the OSI's request for appeal denied in 1980, eight years before publishing his book. Reading between the lines, the judicial review of the case labels the Department of Justice's case for the witch hunt it was.

Simpson is mistaken in his facts. Hāzners entered the U.S. in 1956, as reflected in CIA files and also widely reported in the news at the time his deportation proceedings were launched. The CIA neither sponsored his entry nor provided aid once he arrived.

Declassified CIA confirmation of no resettlement aid to Hāzners.

The major "scandal" was accusations that individual such as Hāzners, targeted by KGB intelligence, were war criminals knowingly hired by the CIA. A subsequent GAO audit of the CIA concluded the vast bulk of allegations against the CIA had no factual basis, for example, only one individual confirmed to have been a former Nazi member had been brought to the U.S. under the auspices of the CIA. Unsurprisingly, that GAO audit did not satisfy those who were convinced the CIA was wading waist-deep in Nazis and Holocaust perpetrators.

There was nothing sinister in the CIA providing funding for anti-Soviet activities.

Hāzners wasn't even in the U.S. in the early 1950's. His formal "agent" role commenced only in 1962. CIA document Hāzners was earning $4,800 a year ("overt income") in the early 1960's, with the addition of up to $300 per quarter for intelligence summaries, interviews, and so on. We located one such quarterly payment record, for $200. Assuming that was all CIA funding, no more than $6,000 a year—and a decade later and at best half the amount that Simpson alleges. We can only surmise Simpson plucked a number out of thin air to provoke indignation that the government paid CIA-employed Nazis better than it paid State Department employees.

Hāzners work as a field agent to not be paid more than $300 any quarter, declassified CIA document.

What "fascist" background? Hāzners was not a fascist before, during, or after the war. Why shouldn't Hāzners be rightfully proud of his fight against Soviet reinvasion of his homeland?

No one in the Latvian Legion fought for Hitler's "New Europe." All who served in the Legion, whether volunteers or conscripts, hoped for it to become the backbone of a new Latvian army in a free Latvia restored after the war. In retrospect, we can all too easily dismiss such hopes as incredibly naive. But for those who had driven out the Russians with German aid, then turned on and driven out the Germans only 25 years earlier in Latvia's war of independence, hope sprang eternal from their own history.

We can only infer Simpson refers to his allegation they are a den of fascists who earned their officerships as rewards from Hitler, now "disguising" themselves as legitimate military veterans. Anyone who had been an officer in the Latvian army and had escaped being killed or deported by the Soviets was likely to have wound up in the Waffen-SS, including Hāzners, who had been a captain and military instructor when the Soviets invaded.

We must observe that it is only in Simpson's vituperative Latvian fascists fantasy that all the groups Hāzners belonged to or led were not respectable.

The official Latvian-American organization in the GOP’s nationalities council is the Latvian-American Republican National Federation, which was led for years by Davmants [sic.] Hazners (president) and Ivars Berzins (secretary). During the 1970s the group shared the same office and telephone number in East Brunswick, New Jersey, with 37the Committee for a Free Latvia. The latter group, it will be recalled, ... was led for most of the last decade by the by-now familiar Vilis Hazners (president) and Alfreds Berzins (treasurer and secretary) despite accusations aired by 60 Minutes and other media that both had been responsible for serious crimes during the war. Their associate 38Ivars Berzins is most recently noted as a leading proponent of the campaign to halt prosecutions of fugitive Nazi war criminals in the United States. There is 39no indication, it should be stressed, that Ivars Berzins or the other leaders of the Latvian-American Republican party group engaged in any sort of disreputable activity. Even so, the intimate ties between these two organizations and their leaderships 40raise legitimate questions concerning what the political agenda of the Republican organization may actually be.
Contention versus Fact

Simpson once again trucks out the debunked 60 Minutes Nazi allegations. As the accusations against Hāzners and Bērziņš were false, and every Latvian knew they were false because they came from Soviet propaganda, there was no issue where the Latvians were concerned.

Simpson also smears Ivars Bērziņš, Hāzners' lawyer, accusing him of actively blocking the prosecution of fugitive Nazi criminals.

Simpson backs off immediately, that he does not allege impropriety. But, then, there would be a completely different conspiracy to investigate were Simpson to properly refer to Bērziņš as "a leading proponent of the campaign to halt the use of KGB-supplied fabricated evidence to target and persecute individuals by falsely alleging they are Nazi war criminals."

Simpson's innuendo proves his exculpation of Bērziņš is less than sincere.

[footnote] Daugavas Vanagi Biletens (February 1951). 41Hazners was editor of the Biletens at this point; the president of the organization at the time was ... V. Janums, who is also ... accused of war crimes by the present Soviet Latvian government.
Contention versus Fact

Buried in a footnote, Simpson confirms the illegitimate, occupying Latvian Soviet "government" is the source of allegations against both Janums and Hāzners.


[1]Romanian defectors communicated information to the OSI that the Soviet-installed Romanian regime had manufactured evidence against Trifa, however, the OSI labeled this information unreliable. This despite the INS's and OSI's proven inability to tell propaganda from fact, and, in the case of Hāzners, here, willfully suppressing exculpatory German service records.
[2][Evidence which merits granting of appeal includes] " an Iron Cross decoration given to the respondent bearing the signature of Adolph Hitler and the designation, Waffen S.S.", Judicial Review, July 15, 1981.
[3]See DOJ Trial Brief, page 2.

Updated: June, 2017

In the Eyes of the Beholder | Holtzman's Crusade

We find the last mention of Hāzners, and last parroting, via a footnote:

[footnote] ... See also Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, “Alleged Nazi War Criminals in America,” Congressional Record, December 3, 1980, no. 169, pt. II (concerning Soobzokov, Hazners).

The Congressional Record Simpson cites regarding Hāzners is largely Holtzman's personal exposition on her crusade to root out the post-war Nazi infestation. Regarding Hāzners:

"42Several of the alleged Nazis had contacts with the CIA. ... Vilis Hazners of Albany, N.Y.. worked for Radio Liberty which for many years was funded by the CIA. ... It is 43interesting to note that the General Accounting Office conducted an inquiry into the matter and 44issued a report in May 1978 confirming the astounding truth—that more than 20 Nazi war criminals had been hired by the U.S. Government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, State Department, and Department of Defense."

Holtzman's Contention versus Fact

Holtzman ignores that Hāzners had already been exonerated, awaiting only whether the OSI would be granted an appeal. But for both Simpson and Holtzman, that the government failed to prove its case is superfluous. As Holtzman herself had declared, "All Latvians are Nazis."[1] All that matters is the allegation.

Holtzman is not above entering innuendo into the Congressional Record, questioning, how deep does U.S. collusion with Nazi war criminals go? The CIA had been alleged to have engaged hundreds of known Nazis.

Holtzman ignores that the "more than 20" identified in the GAO inquiry included the innocent, such as Hāzners, alleged to have Nazi ties. The conspiracy would be far less "astounding" if, instead of the 100's alleged, or the more than twenty alleged confirmed by the GAO, Holtzman admitted to the simple fact that the GAO uncovered only one individual with known Nazi ties whom the CIA had engaged.

The same Congressional Record Simpson cites also includes the status of Hāzners' case at the time, our emphasis:

A Justice Department summary of all Nazi war criminal cases now in litigation follows:

[Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice]
DIGEST OF CASES IN LITIGATION
November 26, 1980
DENATURALIZATION CASES
. . .

17. Hazners, Vilis

Case pending: Board of Immigration Appeals, File No. A10 305 336.

Date filed Defendant was served with an Order to Show Cause on January 28, 1977.

Date and place of birth: July 23, 1905, Latvia.

Entry date: August 23. 1956, under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, as amended.

Immigration status: Permanent resident.

Summary of allegation: As an officer in the Latvian Self Defense Gorup [sic.] and later the Schutzmannschaft[2], a police organization under German supervision and control, defendant directed and participated in the arrests and beatings of Jews, and in their internment In ghettos of Riga, Latvia.

Progress to date: Deportation hearings commenced on October 25, 1977, and continued on various dates until their conclusion on May 18, 1979. On February 27. 1980, the Immigration Judge terminated the proceedings, concluding that the government's evidence was insufficient to prove defendant's deportabillty. The Government appealed this decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals on March 5, 1980, and oral argument before the Board was held on September 4, 1980.

The parties are currently awaiting a decision by the BIA in this case.[3]

We remind the reader that all that was necessary to deport Hāzners was to show that he made misrepresentations on his application to enter the United States, requiring no more than hearsay deemed to be credible as "evidence." The bar of "proof" is much lower in deportation—administrative—proceedings, where the accused has no right to representation, than in a court of law.


[1]Quoted, per eyewitness account of spontaneous news interview.
[2]Hāzners served in the Selbstschutz, not Schuzmannshaft, which included units of Latvians which collaborated in the Holocaust. This mistranslation of German sources was the least of factual inaccuracies and outright lies in the government's case.
[3]Alan Ryan's motion to appeal was on the basis that Hāzners had served in the Waffen-SS and been awarded the Iron Cross for bravery, signed by Hitler. Allan's motion was denied.

Updated: June, 2017

“Selected Bibliography”Excerpted

Once we examined Simpson's bibliography, we were not surprised that Simpson parrots KGB propaganda. He confirms his bias by including not one, but two, KGB-fabricated propaganda tomes targeting and smearing Latvians and Ukrainians, respectively:

  • Avotins, E.; Dzirkalis, J.; and Petersons, V. Daugavas Vanagi. Riga: Latvian Publishing House, 1963.
  • Styrkul, V. The SS Werewolves. Lvov: Kamenyar Publishers, 1982.

Simpson confirms he is fully vested in KGB-originated fabrications of history.

Citations and Sources

Other than allegations born of propaganda, what other materials has Simpson consulted on alleged "Latvian Nazis"? He lists the following:

  • On Vanagis’ postwar role in Displaced Persons camps, see Daugavas Vanagi Biletens (November 1955), available in the New York Public Library.
  • On Latvian militia participation in pogroms and mass murders,
    • see Hilberg, op. cit., pp. 204– 205 and 254,
    • and Gilbert, Holocaust, pp. 155– 57 and 388.
  • On their flight to Germany at war’s end, Dallin, German Rule, p. 621n.
  • For the Vanagis’ own version of their role in the SS and in Nazi collaboration in Latvia, see Daugavas Vanagi Biletens (November 1951, January 1953, February 1953, March 1953, and April 1953).

Daugavas Vanagi Biletens — DP Camps

While Simpson cites Daugavas Vanagi materials, he does so with the preamble: "For the Vanagis’ own version..., implying their portrayal of events is at the very least self-serving.

We hope to digitize Biletens in the future.

Relevance? Simpson gives short shrift to Latvian accounts except to denounce them. Clearly, nothing stated by any Latvian source served to soften Simpson's view that the Latvian Legion were Nazi war criminals.

Raul Hilberg

Raul Hilberg (June 2, 1926 – August 4, 2007) was an Austrian-born American political scientist and historian. He was widely considered to be the world's preeminent[1][2][3] scholar of the Holocaust, and his three-volume, 1,273-page magnum opus, The Destruction of the European Jews, is regarded as a seminal study of the Nazi Final Solution.[4]

We cannot fault Simpson for taking a highly respected work on the Holocaust at face value. However, even renowned scholars such as Hilberg were not immune to falling prey to Soviet propaganda, viz. Volume 1 regarding the Rumbula massacre, the single largest organized slaughter of Jews in the Baltic states:

On the involvement of Latvian auxiliaries in the [Rumbula] massacre, see Avotins, J. Dzirkalis. and V. Petersons, Daugavas Vanagi—Who Are They? (Riga, 1963), pp. 22-24.

While Daugavas Vanagi—Who Are They? accuses Latvians, we know from detailed records that it was Frederich Jeckeln's hand-picked squad of a dozen Germans taking turns in the slaughter of 25,000 Jews in two days, six shooting at any time while the other six rested.

Hilberg—who here cited Soviet propaganda as a scholarly source—was employed by the U.S. Justice Department as an expert witness in INS and OSI proceedings against Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, the most well known case being that of Karl Linnas. In one of the very few times the OSI prevailed, mainly because the judge preferred to take the Soviet-provided depositions at face value and denounced the lack of concrete proof of accused fabrication as the casting of innuendo by the defence, Linnas was eventually deported to the Soviet Union based on witness depositions provided by Soviet authorities—the same authorities who accidentally published transcripts of portions of Linnas' show trial in absentia before it took place. Given the USSR conducted show trials (including one for Hāzners), manufactured "archival" records, and deposed the dead for witness accounts, and decades after the war even produced "evidence" indicting as Nazi collaborators troublesome anti-Soviet activist exiles who were only children during WWII, all testimony coming out of the USSR was suspect as fabricated.

Simpson's narrative typifies the choke-hold Soviet propaganda has over the scholarly narrative of the Holocaust in Latvia and the wider Baltic states, symptomatic of the U.S. Justice Department's blind embrace of Soviet evidence and consequent pollution of the justice process. Everyone remembers and repeats the accusations, as does Simpson. No one remembers the mostly abject failure of the OSI to deport any Baltic individuals based on Soviet-provided evidence. Instead, the OSI's accomplishments have been hailed as Herculean.[5]

No citation can be taken at face value or accepted based on the credentials of the author—every citation must be traced back to its original source to determine fact or fabrication.

Even Hilberg is not immune to KGB propaganda.

Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert, CBE, FRSL (25 October 1936 – 3 February 2015) was a British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He was the author of eighty-eight books, including works on Winston Churchill, the 20th century, and Jewish history.[6]

Gilbert's account is best exemplified through the following passages:

In 1543, Martin Luther set out his ‘honest advice’ as to how Jews should be treated. ‘First,’ he wrote, ‘their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it.’ Jewish homes, he urged, should likewise be ‘broken down or destroyed’. Jews should then be ‘put under one roof, or in a stable, like Gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land.’ They should be put to work, to earn their living ‘by the sweat of their noses’, or, if regarded even then as too dangerous, these ‘poisonous bitter worms’ should be stripped of their belongings ‘which they have extorted usuriously from us’ and driven out of the country ‘for all time’.

From the first hours of Barbarossa, however, throughout what had once been eastern Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as in the Ukraine, White Russia and the western regions of the Russian Republic, a new policy was carried out, the systematic destruction of entire Jewish communities. These were the regions in which the Jew had been most isolated and cursed for more than two centuries, the regions where Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Ethnic German and Jew had been most marked in their distinctive ways of life, in which language differences had been a barrier, social divisions a source of isolation, and religious contrasts a cause of hatred. The German invaders knew this well and exploited it to the full. In advance of the invasion of Russia, the SS leaders had prepared special killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, which set about finding and organizing local collaborators, Lithuanians and Ukrainians, in murder gangs, and were confident that the anti-Jewish hatreds which existed in the East could be turned easily to mass murder. In this they were right.

Those Gilbert thanked for materials include:

  • Eli M. Rosenbaum[7] (United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC), and
  • Neal M. Sher[8][9] (United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC)

Those surely included Soviet-influenced accounts. Our evidence for that contention? The Soviet propagandistic version of the Nazi invasion and occupation of Latvia featured prominently in the U.S. government's filing to deport Vilis Hāzners, its first case based on KGB disinformation.

Gilbert's is a gripping account and powerful in its relating of testimonies. But, starting with visiting Martin Luther's German anti-Semitism upon the Eastern Europeans, Gilbert, as did Hilberg, proselytizes accepted "truths" about the Holocaust in Eastern Europe without pulling back the Nazi veil of disinformation and the "self-evident" reason the Holocaust in Eastern Europe could have been so thoroughly devastating in its genocide. Gilbert's account echoes Zuroff's contentions of "fanatic" support for the eradication of centuries-old neighbors, the Nazi propagandistic account of the Germanless Holocaust, and the OSI's blind acceptance of Soviet evidence.

Gilbert invests himself in the meme that Eastern Europeans only had to hear that the Nazis were on their way to bludgeon Jews to death. We take umbrage at Gilbert's blanket characterization of Eastern Europe's Jewry being "isolated and cursed." For example, the Jewish merchant class was vibrant and active in Latvia, and Jews were politically active—fielding multiple factions (parties) in elections. As Prof. Andrew Ezergailis documents in his research, the Nazis' anti-Semitic campaign gained little if any traction among the Latvian people. (Indeed, Latvians took exception to the tarring of their Jewish neighbors.) In Lithuania, documents confirm that Germans themselves cleansed the Lithuanian countryside of Jews while reports sent back to Berlin and shared as the official status stated it was the Lithuanians. Simplistic and overarching contentions such as Gilbert's regarding Hilter's collaborators in Eastern Europe and the eagerness of its peoples to murder their Jewish neighbors mark the point at which Gilbert's anti-Slavic, anti-Baltic bias supplants scholarship. That Baltic individuals subsequently collaborated in the Holocaust is not in question; what is disputed is Gilbert's portrayal of widespread support for the xenophobic extermination of a supposedly already marginalized ethno-cultural minority.

Gilbert visits 16th century German Christian anti-Semitism upon the Eastern Europeans. Therefore it was only natural the Eastern Europeans would eagerly kill all the Jews. He thanks representatives of the OSI, whose direct predecessor lied on the record and suppressed exonerating evidence in their attempt to deport Hāzners at any cost. Ultimately, Gilbert's historical account is no more than a compendium of morally offensive prejudices.

Alexander Dallin

The footnote Simpson cites relates to the Vlasov movement, which had nothing to do with Latvians:

The Baltic émigré groups and their military counterparts had likewise moved to the Reich by late 1944; they are omitted from further consideration since they maintained no direct contact with the Vlasov movement, which, in fact, never claimed to represent the Baltic States.

Dallin provides no clarification for "moved." Certainly, the "Self"-Administration authorities had found themselves in an untenable situation throughout the German occupation—these were not Nazi sympathizers—and did not "move" to the safety of the Reich. Civilians and civil authorities fled the Soviet advance via the Courland Pocket, their only possible destinations being a perilous journey to Sweden or down the Baltic coast to occupied Poland. The Latvian Legion held out in Courland to the end of the war. Other units retreated toward Germany and surrendered to the British or Americans. Latvians wound up in Germany by necessity and little if any choice in wartime, not out of Nazi sympathies.

Examining Dallin's chapter on German administration of the Baltics, his only mention of the Latvian Legion is that Latvians pressed for more autonomy, even a return of sovereign authority, as conditions on the Eastern Front deteriorated for the Wehrmacht—and there were those within the Nazi administration who were prepared to grant it.

Dallin concludes his chapter on the Nazi German occupied Baltics as follows:

Just as elsewhere on Soviet soil, three years of Nazi rule in the Baltic states had turned the mass of the population into foes of the Germans. Of the activists, thousands joined the legions which the Germans recruited to fight the Communists[10], but many more rose against the Nazis—without thereby endorsing Soviet rule. Objectively, Nazi rule in the Baltic region was a notch less oppressive than elsewhere; economic standards, cultural and political opportunities, and even the behavior of the average German official were slightly better than on old Soviet, Slavic soil. But these privileges were too insignificant to stem the tide of anti-German feeling. Tragically, for the Baltic peoples the only alternative to German rule in 1944 was renewed Soviet conquest.

As with "moved," Dallin is similarly ambiguous with his intent regarding "activists." Certainly these were not thousands of the Nazi faithful taking up the cause of the Reich. Nor is "recruited" the proper term. While the battalions deployed to the Eastern Front shortly after the German occupation was established did consist of volunteers driven by revenge against the Soviets, by the end of the war the Germans had conscripted every Latvian male under the age of 40 into military service.

There is nothing in Dallin's account which indicates Latvian refugees who escaped, eventually, to Germany, had any Nazi sympathies or affiliations..

Daugavas Vanagi Biletens — Waffen-SS

Per our note above, we hope to digitize Biletens. Again, we expect it to be relevant only in providing Simpson with fodder to denounce.

Questions of Relevance

Simpson's list of sources appears balanced and reputable at first glance. But pulling back the covers, he derides the "myth" of Latvian Legion heroism and discounts Latvian sources. And the sources Simpson does cite do nothing to support his Latvians-are-Nazis narrative. Simpson ultimately provides no support for his alleged continuum of Latvian Legion and Daugavas Vanagi involvement with the Nazis before, during, and after WWII.


[1]Joffe, Lawrence. Obituary: Raul Hilberg, The Guardian, 25 September 2007, accessed 9 January 2010. LINK
[2]Wyman, David. Managing the Death Machine, The New York Times, 11 August 1985, accessed 9 January 2010. LINK
[3]Woo, Elaine. Raul Hilberg, 81; scholar was an authority on the Holocaust, Los Angeles Times, 7 August 2007, accessed 9 January 2010. LINK
[4]Raul Hilberg article at Wikipedia, retrieved 18 February 2016.
[5]USA Today reported (January 29, 1997) that OSI possessed "a tremendous success record, [having] uncovered and won more cases than any other Nazi-hunting operation in the world."
[6]At Wikipedia, retrieved 15 July 2016.
[7]Per the New York Times, April 21 1985: Anthony B. Mazeika, vice president of the Baltic American Freedom League, said the group sought ""solidarity with our Jewish brethren" in pursuing war criminals by "constitutionally correct" procedures. He called for Congressional hearings into his charges that the procedures that have been used by the Office of Special Investigations were unfair and risked deportation of defendants who may be innocent. But Eli M. Rosenbaum, a consultant to the World Jewish Congress who was formerly a prosecutor in the Office of Special Investigations, said that "clearly this campaign to thwart the efforts of the Department of Justice to bring Nazi war criminals to justice is fraught with anti-Semitism."
[8]Per a letter from the Secretary of State to the American Embassy in Moscow dated February 1982: "Alan Ryan and Neal Sher would like to meet with Procurator General Rekunkov as a courtesy call if he is available. Ryan feels that face to face meeting will be helpful to renew and refresh joint commitment to cooperation, and to assure Soviets that past efforts have not gone unappreciated. Such a meeting hopefully will provide lubrication for further dealings and assure the Soviets that their extensive efforts in taking protocols, arranging depositions and providing documents have contributed substantially to an unbroken string of OSI victories to U.S. courts to date." at Lituanus retrieved 15 July 2016.
[9]CIA classified documents confirm that OSI attorneys (including Sher) deposing Imants Lešinskis after his defection "tried very hard" to persuade him that the Soviet wouldn't forge documents! Given Lešinskis is the KGB operative who delivered fabricated allegations to the West, Sher and company can only be labelled delusional. "Mr. Sher talked at length about the difference between propaganda (which DOJ/OSI would NOT use) and actual archival documents which DOJ/OSI believed to be authentic and which they would use in court." Sher was clearly attempting to negate OSI use of possible forgeries. Retrieved at foia.cia.gov retrieved 15 July 2016.
[10]Dallin does refer specifically to the conscription of Latvians and discussions among the Germans regarding Latvia's status in international law in that regard.

Updated: June, 2017

Assessment | The debunker debunked

In the denouement of WWII, the Western Allies and Soviet Union raced to capture top scientists and engineers and other key figures who had worked for or served in the Third Reich. That race and its aftermath should be enough to fill a book without resorting to sensationalism and baseless charges.

In seeking the roots of Simpson's outlandish and unattributed contentions such as "some of the Vanagis’[sic.] leaders had served as the Nazis’ most enthusiastic executioners", one inevitably arrives at Simpson's systemic bias:

“the myth that the Baltic Waffen-SS legions were simply anti-Communist patriots”

Simpson would not be the first to equate Hitler's elite SS and the Latvian Waffen-SS. But as a celebrated "internationally known expert" in propaganda, he would know that essential to its success is enlisting the unwitting to repeat lies until they take root as truths in the common consciousness.

That Soviet-originated KGB-authored fabrications manifested themselves as accusations via multiple channels:

  • "the U.S. government itself,"
  • "U.S. authorities,"
  • "U.S. investigators,"
  • "CBS-TV 60 Minutes,
  • and other media"

does not impart truth through repetition. Yet repetition is the very technique Simpson uses to purportedly debunk the "myth" of anti-Soviet Latvian heroism and sacrifice, and to smear the

  • Latvian Legion (Latvian Waffen-SS),
  • post-WWII Daugavas Vanagi veterans' organization,
  • post-WWII Latvian émigré community,
  • and their collective and often overlapping leadership

as harboring Nazi war criminals. Blowback exhibits none of the rigorous fact-checking one expects in the unmasking of a conspiracy.

The discredited KGB fabrications[1] Simpson includes in his "selected bibliography" set the tone for his baseless anti-Latvian conspiratorial fulminations.
One starFor the factual portion of Blowback. That the CIA reached out to émigrés to gather information from inside the USSR and provided funding for anti-Soviet Baltic and Eastern European émigré organizations is informative. That the members of those organizations were fascists and Nazis whom the CIA and other U.S. agencies knowingly recruited endorses propaganda as factual.

[1]Paulis Ducmanis, the author of Daugavas Vanagi, Who Are They?, and Imants Lešinskis, the KGB operative who delivered it into the hands of Nazi hunters, both subsequently confirmed it was a concoction of lies, part of an extensive, organized information war against émigré leadership.

Updated: June, 2017

The Kremlin's Propaganda Network Interviews Simpson

Simpson's lauded scholarly expertise in the field of propaganda makes his psychotic break with factual reality and wholesale heaping of vitriol upon the Latvian émigré community and its leadership all the more unfathomable:

Christopher Simpson
Professor
America University
School of Communication

Chris Simpson is a professor of Journalism known internationally for his expertise in propaganda, democracy, and media theory and practice. He has won national awards for investigative reporting, historical writing, and literature. His books include Blowback, The Splendid Blond Beast, Science of Coercion, National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, Universities and Empire, Comfort Women Speak and War Crimes of the Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank. Simpson’s work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. His current teaching and research includes macro-social dynamics of communication technologies, impact of geographic information systems on democratic decision-making and some aspects of communication law. [1]

In seeking to better understand Simpson's perspective, our background research on his allegations regarding the CIA, Latvians, and the Holocaust uncovered a number of interviews on Russian state media. Embedded, below, is the most pertinent one—a discussion which begins with Latvian Legion Commemoration Day.

“Author claims U.S. government supported Baltic Nazis”

A brief analysis follows our transcription on the following page.


[1]Retrieved at www.american.edu/soc/faculty/simpson.cfm, 14-January-2016

Updated: June, 2017

“Author claims US program supported Baltic Nazis”

“In an interview with RT's Lucy Kafanov, author Christopher Simpson talks about the US role in whitewashing World War II-era crimes in the Baltics in the name of supporting anti-communists.”

Uploaded by RT on May 19, 2010

VIEW ORIGINAL VIDEO AT www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3G5EJeTC5c

Transcript | RT's Lucy Kafanov Interviews Author & Professor Chris Simpson

LK: As in other years, the world reacted with outrage to the march of hundreds of Latvian Waffen-SS Legion veterans who gather annually in the [sic.] Rīga to pay tribute to their comrades who fought the Soviet Union in World War 2. But unlike their Russian and European counterparts, not a single U.S. politician condemned the event. Coincidence? Or a reflection of the darker chapter of U.S. history? For a closer look I'm joined by Christopher Simpson professor at American University here in Washington and the author of Blowback, an account at the U.S. recruitment of Nazis and its disastrous effect on the Cold War and U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Professor Simpson, thank you so much for joining us. CS: Thank you. LK: I want to start by turning our attention to a recent event in the Baltics. 45We saw about a thousand former Nazi veterans marching in the [sic.] Rīga essentially glorifying the former Waffen-SS legions in that area and this event caused widespread condemnation by foreign officials in Europe, yet not a single U.S. politician mentioned this here at home. We haven't seen in the press nor in the political discussion. Why the silence in the U.S.? CS: Well, personally I, I feel it's shameful that a 46mass rally of former Nazi criminals or their supporters can take place in an important part of the world—the Baltics, and not get attention in the U.S. media. But I think that, that it's not about sympathy from the U.S. media so much as it is about ignorance. LK: Well, let's talk about the political aspect of this chapter in history. Are there any reasons why the U.S. might not necessarily be interested in highlighting this chapter? CS: Sure. There was a systematic program by the United States government, in particular its intelligence agencies, to use refugees from Baltic states, including Nazi criminals, or people who collaborated with the Nazis during the war, for intelligence purposes. And what this has created is a situation in which if there is a person 47who claims to be a freedom fighter or an anti-communist from Eastern Europe, that person in U.S. media tends to be automatically regarded with respect or even as a hero. But in reality, a 48significant portion of those people had in fact collaborated with the Nazis. In the first years of the Cold War, these people, the former Nazi collaborators, came together as new political units and they attempted to, on the one hand, re-establish themselves as anything other than a Nazi collaborator because they feared they would be prosecuted, and in this specific circumstances [sic.] as being great Democrats and so on and freedom fighters, and became a political force within that nationality. And one of the first steps that they took was to, to 49attempt to engineer immigration schemes that would get them out of Europe into the United States and re-establish themselves with new identities. There's a 50clear track record through which the immigration agencies, National Security Council in the United States, CIA, other intelligence bodies of that sort recruited these people for military and intelligence missions at that time. LK: I mean, that sounds shocking. Whby, why would the U.S. want to recruit someone with that kind of an atrocious background. I mean, 51the idea of recruiting former Nazi collaborators or actual Nazis themselves doesn't, I feel like it would sound shocking to most American viewers hearing this. CS: Right, and it was systematically denied at that time, but nevertheless it took place, and we can, we can track it through the document record over a period of 40 and 50 years in some cases. During the war, of course Nazis were the enemy, but then, during that time period, there was a policy that if you could, you could capture the enemy and switch his or her loyalties then you wanted to get information from them—very logical. Okay. But that period there was a sentiment that even if you got information from them, that didn't mean that they were free of responsibility for the crimes. It simply meant that the crimes would be tried later. When there was a large-scale political shift in the United States in which the Soviet Union in general and Russia in particular became a prime enemy at the United States, then 52those conditions that had been attached to the criminals, those were lost in the shuffle. LK: What was, just very briefly, briefly, for our viewers, the historical background that led to this? CS: It is inescapable that Stalin's government committed very serious crimes against the Baltic states that have left a deep scar in the Baltic States. Okay. So you have people who were Nazis sometimes during the same period, they come to the United States, and they say, look at the crimes of Stalin. And everybody goes, oh my God, the crimes of Stalin. Horrifying. Genocidal. So, the United States government doesn't like Stalin, right? But, all of the sudden, 53it becomes not simply a ordinary country, but a deeply criminal country. In that circumstance, the very extreme views of the Baltic lobby coincide and become a political lever for the right wing of the Republican Party. And the right wing of the Republican Party, which already has a domestic presence in the United States, relies on these people for propaganda, for local political organizing, turn people out at rallies, all this type of thing. So the, the political forces begin to feed on each other and are useful to each other. LK: [interjects] To this day? CS: To some extent to this day. Okay. LK: [interjects] In what ways does the Baltic lobby shape U.S. foreign policy and domestic policy? CS: In the U.S. for sixty years, and really, still today, to be anti-communist is the only possible political religion. The roots of the Baltic lobby were primarily the post-World War 2 immigration to the United States that 54included a number of public leaders and also religious leaders who had collaborated with the Nazis. This meant two things. One, is that they were militantly anti-Russian and anti-Communist. Two, that that they had something to hide. And the best way to hide was to be very hostile to Russia. In the relatively small population of Balts in the United States, this group had a 55disproportionate influence. It was more influential than you might otherwise think. They were able to link up with earlier generations of Balts who were nationalist but were not fascists or Nazis, they were simply nationalists. They wanted independence. This doesn't make somebody a Nazi, but what it did mean is that these people could be 56exploited politically by people who had been Nazis. [Music and graphics cut in at this point with no expression of thanks to Simpson, leading us to believe this clip is part of a longer interview.—Editor]

Analysis

Contention versus Fact

There could not have been 1,000 Latvian Legion veterans as Russian media contends, we doubt there are that many left alive in total. (The RT interviewer appears to not be familiar with Latvia, as she refers multiple times to "the Rīga" as a location.)

Simpson gets right to his point, which is that Waffen-SS = Nazi criminal. Curiously, he doesn't even address the Holocaust.

To "claim" is Simpson's code word for to "lie."

The charge that a large percentage of Baltic immigrants were criminal collaborators is, simply, false.

Simpson believes Latvian Nazis lobbied U.S. authorities to allow former war-criminal-by-definition Waffen-SS to enter the U.S. and that the finding that the Latvians were not Nazi supporters was a conspiratorial smoke-screen to allow that entry.

If Hāzners—whom Simpson expended considerable effort to vilify—is any indication, Simpson's contention is all conspiratorial conjecture as proven by the CIA's own declassified documents.

RT's question is founded on a false premise. But the casual viewer could well be hearing these contentions for the first time and believe them to be true, anti-American being in vogue.

More of Simpson's conspiratorial fantasy. The CIA was neither importing Latvian Nazi war criminals nor forgetting to prosecute them.

What "extreme" views? Simpson falsely alleges fascism, then alleges the Republican Party is in bed with fascists, with whom they share a common purpose (!).

Those Latvians who weren't very hostile to Russia were those to be looked on with suspicion. It would be incomprehensible to not bear hostility toward an occupying power which has deported and killed family, friends, relatives, which has ravaged your people, and which is now Russifying your homeland and culture.

As we have discussed, in a comparatively small exile community, its leaders wore multiple hats more often than not. That they did so testifies to their indefatigable dedication, not to conspiracy.

We have to ask, "exploited" for what purpose? To hate the USSR? When nearly every Latvian who survived WWII personally knew or was related to a victim of Stalin's wartime or post-war mass deportations, virulent anti-Sovietism was the norm.

Scholar or shill?

Simpson basks in the media limelight fomenting anti-Latvian attitudes as he levies a broad swath of accusations emanating from his prejudice that the Latvian Legion are war criminals. Meanwhile, Hāzners' family—and all Latvians—continue to live with the anguish of false accusations immune to the crucible of truth. But if not the truth, whom does the lie of "all Latvians are Nazis" serve? That Simpson appears on Russia's global propaganda channel to hawk his denunciations offers the most straight-forward answer.

Updated: June, 2017

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