Pogulanka


Just under eight kilometres northwest of Daugavpils is a forest area called Pogulanka and about 15,000 Jews were murdered here, mainly from the ghetto in Daugavpils. These were Jews who were not considered fit for work or superfluous. The Jews were forced to march to Pogulanka where they were shot by Nazi mobile murder units and Latvian voluntary nationalist units. Some executions in Pogulanka were larger than others, but the largest single murder took place between 8 and 10 November 1941 when more than 11,000 Jews were murdered. The Nazis were even forced to request the assistance of murder commands from Riga to cope with the task.

Current status: Monument (2010).

Location: 55°54'20.94" N 26°28'21.44" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Former Western Europe called the perpetrators as nazis while in communist Eastern Europe they were called german fascists, hitlerists or as in the former Transnistria, Killed out of Nazi ideology. Firstly, (1) the concept of (national) Socialism was problematic for the Communists. Socialism is a central concept in communism, but so it was in National Socialism, although they had different interpretations of Socialism. The perpetrators could not be linked to Socialism and therefore the communist regimes simply had to omit the concept of Socialism. That is why the perpetrators are called German fascists or hitlerists. This problem did not exist in Western Europe.

Secondly, (2) the nationality of the forewarners was omitted because several of the Nazi collaborators in the occupied countries were anti-communist, especially in the Baltic states and Ukraine. These nationalists had to repress the communist regimes because they did not fit into the political petition of a united communist front against the German fascists or hitlerists. No breeding ground for nationalism could be fomented because nationalism is a threat to the Communist basic idea. Neither could it describe the perpetrators as Germans because parts of Nazi Germany became communist East Germany after the war. This problem did not exist in Western Europe.

What, after the fall of communism, could be a correct term for the perpetrators can be difficult to determine. As long as it was German Nazis who committed the crimes, everything is clear, but this was not always the case. Several of the perpetrators were Germans but not Nazis, other perpetrators were of other nationalities and not always were the convinced nazis or anti-Semites. Many of the perpetrators, especially in the Soviet Union, were nationalists who saw the Jews as representatives of communist rule. In this case, they took part in the executions for anti-Semitic reasons but sought an independent state without German interference. Those who took part in the executions came from all walks of life and from different backgrounds. What united them was that they all served the Nazis’ purpose of exterminating the Jewish population of Europe.

There is a description that I came in contact with when I traveled around Eastern Europe that feels right and it is the following, Killed by the Nazis and their Collaborators. It shows that the murders are based on Nazi ideology but are at the same time nationally unbound.

Follow up in books: Arad, Yitzhak: Holocaust in the Soviet union (2009).