Latvian soldiers in Germany

After the war 25 400 Latvian soldiers captivated by the Allies were found in the internee camps in Germany, guarded by the occupation forces. The majority of Latvian soldiers (about 20 400) were in the captivity of the British Army.

Immediately after the war the biggest number of former Latvian soldiers found in the internee soldier camps was as follows: 9735 in Putlos (Schleswig-Holstein), 4500 in Fallingbostel (later in Westerburg), more than 2331 in Heide and 1850 in Neuengamme. In the autumn of 1945 more than 12 000 former Latvian soldiers were taken to Putlos from other camps.

In September 1945 the Latvian soldiers were taken from Putlos to Cedelheim camp in Belgium where they had to spend all winter in harsh conditions. Releasing of war prisoners from there started only on 7 March 1946 and was completed on 28 May. The British military government granted the rights of the DP (displaced person) to the war prisoners released in Belgium without individual inspection.

The UNRRA refused to provide care for the released war prisoners therefore after being sent to the British Occupation Zone in Germany they were settled in eight special military camps. From there part of former soldiers moved to their relatives in the American Occupation Zone where they were either forced to settle unofficially in the refugee camps or to live on the charity of their compatriots. The released soldiers in the American Occupation Zone could apply for their admission to the UNRRA camps only when a special commission after an individual examination had determined that they were not war criminals, collaborators or traitors.

At the end of 1945 in Westerburg a captives camp was closed down and a group of about 4000 former Latvian soldiers freed themselves from the captivity and settled privately in the civilian refugee camps.

Release of Latvian soldiers from captivity was actively supported by the Latvian Central Committee. Release from the British captivity was completed in the autumn of 1946, while release for the USA captivity lasted longer.


Latvian Central Committee information on release of Latvian ex-soldiers. 2 December 1945.
LVA, 2176. f., 2v. apr., 7. l., 116. lp.
Postcard sent by Latvian prisoner of war in France to Latvian Red Cross. 16 March 1946.
LVA, 2176. f., 2v. apr., 12. l., 172. lp.
UNRRA Latvian committee letter to the Latvian Red Cross about donations to Latvian soldiers from Latvians of the Altenstadt camp. 6 March 1946.
LVA, 2176. f., 2v. apr., 13. l., 21. lp.
Postcard sent by Latvian prisoner of war in Italy.
LVA, 2176. f., 2v. apr., 13. l., 89. lp.
In Adelsdorf camp for prisoners of war. Year 1945.
LVA, 2250. f., 4v. apr., 1. l., 3. lp.
Near Waterschei coal mine Limbourg, Belgium. Year 1947.
LVA, 2250. f., 4v. apr., 1. l., 14. lp.
Gunârs Stopnieks in service. Nürnberg guards’ company No 8920.
LVA, 2250. f., 21v. apr., 1. l., 3. lp.
Means of payment. (Military Payment Certificate)
LVA, 2250. f., 21v. apr., 1. l., 7. lp.
IRO letter on labour service of the Baltic peoples. 15 February 1949.
LVA, 2335. f., 1. apr., 217. l., 76. lp.
Terms for postal shipments for prisoners of war. May 1946.
LVA, 2176. f., 2v. apr., 148. l., 4. lp.
Putlos Latvian soldiers’ article collection ’Nameja gredzens’. August 1945.
LVA, 2250. f., 4v. apr., 3. l., 2. lp.

The beginning of displacement

DP camps in Germany



Latvian soldiers in Germany

Care for refugees

Children in DP camps

Culture and sport activities


The Church

Latvian National Committee

Latvian National Committee in Bavaria

Latvian Central Council,
Latvian Central Committee


Organization “Latvian Red Cross” in Germany

Organization “Daugavas vanagi”

Youth organizations

Latvian Central Council

Latvian National Council

Public holidays

The Statehood representatives – Latvian envoys in DP camps

Unity of the Baltic States

The dispersal of refugees

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