19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian)

  • 42nd Waffen Grenadier Regiment of the SS Voldemars Veiss(October 1944)
  • 43rd Waffen Grenadier Regiment of the SS Hinrich Schuldt
  • 44th Waffen Grenadier Regiment of the SS Imanta (?)

Division Leaders:

  • SS-Brigadeführer Hinrich Schuldt (until March 1944)
  • SS-Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock
  • SS-Gruppenführer Bruno Streckenbach

The permission to form the division was received on February 26, 1943. The formation began in the summer of 1943 out of the 5 Latvian police battalions in Krasnoye Selo and in addition men without training came from the homeland. From these men the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Legion was formed and it was sent in summer 1943 to the Volkhov River front. By that time the unit with 17,900 men was renamed to the 2nd Latvian SS Brigade. From October to November 1943 the number of men decreased in rough battles to 5,637. On January 7, 1944 the unit was renamed after getting 2,000 additional men and after the third regiment was formed to the 19th Latvian SS Division. On January 14, 1944 the division with the partly formed third regiment was sent to the front. They retreated while battling to the Velikaya River's line, where the Red Army's attack was stopped.

31,446 Latvians wore the Waffen-SS uniform by July 1, 1944. At the end of July and the beginning of August they participated in rough battles in the Lubana area and retreated to the Gauja River's valley, where they managed to keep the enemy trapped for quite a long time. In September 1944 the division tried to maintain the Võnnu front in difficult battles, thanks to which the German troops managed to retreat from Estonia to Courland. On October 7, 1944 the division abandoned the Gauja front and retreated to the Dzukste area and into the Courland pocket.

The division took part in all Courland battles. On May 9, 1945 they surrendered to the Red Army, but many men escaped to the woods and battled on as the Forest Brothers.

Insignia:

First runic symbols SS on the collar patches, later a big swastika (there are no proof whether a double swastika was worn).

11 men from this division received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.