Forest Brothers
August 25, 2003 9:42 PM   Subscribe

The Forest Brothers spent years hiding in the woods of Estonia and Latvia. They lived alone, carefully covering their tracks, sleeping in clammy bunkers, no bigger than walk-in closets. Then things got less comfortable. (warning: nytimesfilter.)
posted by alms (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I find the loyalty of his sweetie the most amazing part of this story.
posted by alms at 9:43 PM on August 25, 2003

The story continues in the letters section of today's Times.
posted by alms at 9:44 PM on August 25, 2003

Wow, that's an amazing story. (Even if it is NYTimesFilter). I never knew about people like that.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:13 PM on August 25, 2003

Wow. I always think of how incredibly rich I am as a person. I always have enough to eat, and have friends and family to help if something went wrong. I don't have to suffer the weather, have a low chance of dying from disease or a wound, and even a low chance of problems from criminals. I don't even have to work hard on a daily basis. Compared to my ancestors and many more, I'm in heaven. It's strange to think that even today my life is much easier than many others.
posted by stoneegg21 at 10:36 PM on August 25, 2003

It is amazing what some people have been through. I guess it is testament to the human spirit that we go on surviving, no matter what.
posted by dg at 11:41 PM on August 25, 2003

In a land tossed between one occupier or another, Mr. Kaarmann makes no secret of preferring the Germans. "The conquerors from the West tried to enslave us," he said. "The conquerors from the East had another approach. They tried to kill as many of us as possible — to wipe us off the face of the earth."

Unless, of course, you were a Jew.

From early on, the Germans subjected Estonian Jews to harsh measures including confiscation of property and forcing them to wear yellow badges identifying them as Jews. These measures were only temporary as the Nazis prepared to murder all Estonian Jews. German SS and police units, together with Estonian auxiliaries, massacred the Jews of Estonia by the end of 1941. No ghettos were created in Estonia during the German occupation.

Starting in 1942, tens of thousands of Jews from other European countries were sent to forced-labor camps inside Estonia. The main camp was Vaivara. Jewish forced laborers built military defenses for the German army and mined shale oil. Thousands of foreign Jews were also murdered at the Kalevi Liiva camp.

Then the conquerors from the West were far more more murderous than the conquerors from the East. I read this story Saturday and was properly blown away--except for that glaringly little omitted detail: I should like to have known Mr. Kaarman's part in the fate of Estonian Jewry to his heroic struggle in proper perspective. One phrase the article avoids is Nazi collaborator--which Mr. Kaarman surely was. How would you feel to find out he worked directly with the SS? Even if he did not directly participate in the massacre of the Estonian Jews or the other European Jews sent to die in forced labor camp or to be massacred, he surely aided and abetted those who did. Let us not omit that fact.
posted by y2karl at 5:54 AM on August 26, 2003

I think the phrase you're looking for Karl is the conquerors from the West were more discriminate killers.

Sarcasm aside, you do raise some valid points.
posted by Dagobert at 7:09 AM on August 26, 2003

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