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zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes) Letters of Jūlijs Jogints - an SD-man

4 Names: Jogints, Jurkovičs, Gulbis, Krauklis

Here I am publishing 10 letters from the correspondence of Jūlijs Jogints. He wrote 9 of the letters to his mother and to his brother Paulis Jogints, and one of the letters he received from Paulis.

These 10 letters were bought at an old book shop, where they occurred as a byproduct of their envelopes. Nowadays a pretty good demand for Nazi occupation time collectibles exists. The envelopes from Latvia with the cancellation stamps of the Nazi Army are valued very high in West Europe. Easy to understand - if a collector collects the cancellation stamps of various troops and now has nearly all possible stamps (they bear numbers and other information on them), then he will be ready to pay good money for an envelope with a stamp lacking in his collection. Just to remind you, the soldiers did not stick a postage stamp on their letters, the Field Post only canceled them with a cancellation stamp. The stamps on the envelopes with J.Jogints letters were really rare, because they were the stamps of the Field Post of security forces. The letters in envelopes are usually thrown out, because they have no value for the envelope collectors, so I got them without competition though paid much for them also, because it was known they were of great interest for me, and I was explained this was a very rare offer. And really the letters are unique, I am sure.

I even was not offered to buy an envelope, so I can not scan a cancellation stamp and show it to you, but I have seen them and can say that the stamp contained inscription: Sipo und SD Weissruthenien. In German of that time Weissruthenien stood for Belarus. Sipo is the acronym SIcherheitsPOlizei what means - security police and SD is an abbreviation of SicherheitsDienst that is security service. For this Site it is without great importance what the difference between both organizations was and why they were united. This organization - Sipo and SD was made responsible for the extermination of Jews, and they created for this goal 5 special units called Einsatzkommandos from which the Einsatzkommando 1 covered Ostland that included former Latvia.

These Einsatzkommandos consisted of several squads, and the best known of them in Latvia is a squad named the Arajs Command after its leader Viktors Arājs. The men in this company were mainly ethnic Latvians, which I add for those who think the ethnicity is extremely important. The Command was the main actor in the Holocaust events in the region of Latvia. When practically all Latvia's Jews were killed to the end of 1941, the Command was increased to about 200 or may be to 300 men and split into several parts. Some of the parts remained in Ostland, the others in early 1942 were taken to the Nazi SD training school in Fürstenberg near Ravensbruck concentration camp. I do not know how the men were grouped in the different units of the Command - how it was decided who went to study police operations against the partisans, who were to acquire necessary skills for Ghetto annihilation, etc. I just think that it was not done in secret, and the SD beginners knew well from the beginning what they will be paid for.

One of their goal in the Fürstenberg school was to train in the operating of a new Nazi technique - gas vans, that were just invented and built. Of course, the concentration camp gave good possibilities of elaborating an effective technology to gas people to death, however the Ravensbruck women camp was not a death camp - here the people were not sent to for the immediate death. When the education was over, the graduates, and may be others, who were not trained in the school, totally about 120 persons and 4 gas vans went to Minsk region in Belorus and exterminated Jews in Minsk Ghetto and in surrounding towns. Do not think, that this Command was the only Nazi unit busy with extermination in Minsk and its surroundings. I suppose that the total amount of the SD people engaged in this activity was several thousands, but they played different roles, of course.

Additional information on the activities of the Command in Belorus is available on the Internet site that published information on the Lieutenant Ozols of this company who lived in Australia. Unfortunately, I have no other sources to check the information from this Internet site about the specific activities of Arājs' Command in Minsk.

As for Jūlijs Jogints, he was a man who joined Arajs Command at the age of 17 presumably in March or April 1942 and went to the training in Fürstenberg and after that to Minsk. His letters from his "battlefield" do not inform on the job he was busy with, because he was not allowed to write about his activities, I suppose, and I do not think he wanted his mother to know what his duties and successes actually were, but from the very beginning I was not in doubt about his tasks. When I found his name on the list of Arājs' men in the book of A.Ezergailis /Ezergailis/, it became absolutely clear that J.Jogints took part in the extermination of Jews.

Jūlijs Jogints did not survive the war. His name was found on the list of perished soldiers /Kaŗavīri/, and it was mentioned he perished on February 11, 1945 as a man of the 15th division of the Waffen SS, to which the men of Einsatzkommandos were joined after all ghettos were annihilated. In 1945 this division participated in warfare in the region of contemporary Poland (westwards of Bydgoszcz, then called Bromberg), and the personnel had no contacts with Rīga.

You may wish to connect to the Page with postcards of another SD-man E.Sarkanis.

It is also advised to study the Page with general information about Latvians in the Waffen-SS troops

Here follows my translations of the letters in English. I am trying to preserve the peculiarities of the original style and the author's education level. By the way, he writes practically without spelling errors, but his texts prove quite clear that commas are really needed in the orthography.

Original texts of the letters in Latvian are available in another page.



East, 1 June 1942.

Hello dear mother!
I am writing some lines to you with love. Because yesterday I received a parcel from you. Cordial thanks to you that you have not forgotten me in my birthday, but how a mother could forget her son when he becomes 18 and she can be happy that he is a young man. Thank you, dear mother, for biscuit and candies. I feel myself unhappy that you are sick and I can not be together with you, because in this case at least you should not worry about me. I am alive and kicking. I was not wounded, to this moment it has not happened. If it had happen I would have inform you. Let me tell how the rumor arose. I wrote to Paulis that Rolands is ill, that was correct because his foot was rubbed sore and some furuncle occurred in this place and was cut through. Rolands wrote just for fun that I am also wounded because his mother wrote to him and asked why he did not wrote that he is wounded. So it arose. In fact neither I nor he is wounded or ill. I think that now you have nothing to worry about. Dear mummy, it is a pity that you are sick and I can not help you now. Paulis writes that you can not get a doctor and drugs. Here the dad could take a bit more care, what profit you are the mother of an SS-man if it does not give any help. Father should go to the military school and have a talk. He should go to the personal department and tell them the things and get a paper for your treatment. Then you will get the drugs and will be able to visit a doctor and if that will not help then the father should insist that I should be let home to arrange everything. And then please sent a doctor's conclusion that you are very ill. Otherwise I can not prove that you are ill. Currently no leaves are possible because the effectives that left Riga now are distributed in different places, the main thing is that the offensive has begun now. We were informed that by August we shall be home. A leave can be awarded only in the special cases if one of the parents is ill or any accident in the family. Tell father that I cordially ask him to do this, I do not like that you there have that drinking-bouts. Tell father that he should not course you. Because I am very uneasy that you are ill and if you are treated like this I will not afford it.

P.S. How is Paulis? The confirmation is over, now the life continues. By the way, I almost forget that I have received two letters from you. Excuse me, that in the letter that you will receive in Riga I am so angry that you do not write. You may send me a parcel with biscuits. But all this is available here and I shall try to send something to you. I should finish writing because it is late now.

See you later, mummy!

Sincere regards to father and Paulis

Meet you in Riga!



Additional notes and comments:
The fun with the illness. To my knowledge, there were at that time only two armies in the world that wore high boots - the German Army and the Red Army. Instead of socks, the foot-cloths were used that should have been skillfully wrapped around the feet. Beginners, who got new-made boots, quite frequently paid not enough attention to the wrapping and as the result the feet were rubbed sore. It had happened to Rolands. The story could help to estimate the time when they began the military service. The events step by step:
- Rolands receives new boots, rubs a foot sore, gets a furuncle that is cut;
- Jūlijs writes to Paulis that Rolands is wounded, and Paulis informs Rolands' mother about the wound;
- Rolands' mother writes to Rolands and asks why he did not inform he was wounded;
- Rolands writes to his mother that Jūlijs was also wounded;
- Rolands' mother informs Jūlijs' mother about the wound and Jūlijs' mother inquires Jūlijs in a letter.
- Jūlijs answers the letter on June 1.
I believe Rolands received new boots at the beginning of April.

The military school. Here the building of the former military school is meant at the address Kr. Barona str. 99, where the commanders of this SD unit were located.



Fürstenberg 22 June 1942


Hello, dear folk at home!

What are your health, I am well now and marching in Fürstenberg. If you wish you can sent me something that does not go bad. You know what I like most. It is allowed to sent one kilogram. Now we have lessons in classroom and everything is O.K. Sunday we shall be allowed to go to the town. It will happen earlier than we thought. Write what is your life in Riga, what is Dad's health and you, mummy, are you in good health. I think Paulis has no problems. I forgot to tell you, mummy, that the meat should be bought at Jurkovičs' son. That is at Broņka and that is all. Here smoking is not a problem, however oranges and candies were not supplied yet. Every day we have German lesson. Two weeks will be more difficult later no problems are expected. With best regards to all of you.

See you soon! In Riga.



Additional notes and comments:
Fürstenberg. This was the school of SD where the staff of concentration camps and other SD personal was trained. On June 22 Jogints had just arrived or may be had spent a week there. According to the sources, (see, for example, information on Ozols) this was the place where the training in the operating of gas vans was carried out. The gas vans were invented as a tool to exterminate women and children, because Nazis discovered that the traditional shooting in these cases could make the men of Einsatzkommandos too cruel. See, for additional information the materials either of Nuremberg trial or A.Eichmann's trial that are possible to find on the Homepage of Wiesental center.

Oranges and candies. I think it was a joke of Jūlijs. Sometimes he joked. There should be some difficulties to supply oranges in Germany during the wartime, but who knows.




Hello, dears!                                   30 sept 42 g.

Greetings to all of you! How are you? I am well, a lot of work to do so I am not let home. I received your letter in Baranoviči. It is not possible to list the places where I have been. Now I am in Minsk. I live well, the food is also very good . I have grown fat. I think Gulbis has told you what was the food in Fürstenberg. I also have cigarettes and tobacco for dad but what I do not like is that dad works at Krauklis. Really was it not possible to get better place? Do you care of the apartment also? I shall be in Riga soon, may be even faster than the letter. One can not know that because the War is going on but I should have a long leave by Christmas, that is the latest time. How is mummy, she should not worry, I am well. What is your life, any changes? How Kārlis lives in the countryside, send my regards to him? May be you have better rationing. I am writing in a great hurry because I should ride further again. Here a merry life is running, drinking-house without end, and what is well everything is available to eat and drink. Not like in Riga. However it costs very good money, but I have no shortage in money. I can not tell you about my life, but I shall to in Riga. That's all. Regards to everybody I was acquainted with.

Well, see you soon.

30 Sep.

Your forgotten son and brother.


Additional notes and comments:
According to the available information, the Nazis themselves reported the killing of 19,000 Jews around July 31, 1942 in Minsk. This was the first mass killing in Minsk Ghetto. J.Jogints and other trainees arrived in Minsk about July 24 according to the sources, (see, for example, information on Ozols)

Gulbis - Two persons with the name Gulbis were found on the list of SD-men compiled by A.Ezergailis /Ezergailis/- Gulbis Hugo and Gulbis R. May be Rolis, or Rolands, who is frequently mentioned in the letters, was Gulbis R., but this is only a guess.

Baranoviči (Baranovichi) - I have the information that the Generalkomissar of Belorus Wilhelm Kube wrote to the Reichskomissar of Ostland on July 31, 1942 that 10,000 Jews still remained alive in Baranovichi, however in the next month 9,000 of them would be liquidated. The source: /Koval v.1/. It seems that W.Kube has fulfilled his promise with some delay. The Homepage of Wiesental center informs that the Aktion was launched on September 22, lasted for ten days and resulted in the killing of 3,000 Jews. It follows that J.Jogints' unit was not there till the end of the Aktion - the letter was sent on September 30 from Minsk or, maybe, this letter could serve as an evidence that the Aktion did not take ten days - really, usually these units had much better productivity and could exterminate 3000 humans in one day without big efforts.

It is not possible to list the places where I have been - I think it is possible, but not yet.

Rationing - During the war time practically all food in Riga was distributed according to the rationing rules. It was not easy to buy additional food for cash money and if it happened, one paid relatively high price. J.Jogints informs that in Minsk the situation was different.




6 /I/ 43

Hello, you, folk at home!

How are you? Are you all in good health? I have received 3 letters from you. I have answered one of them, but other two not yet because I just received them. You have got an active writer. It is well. Best regards to him (her? B.M.). Well, now you are working as a conductor? Don't worry, after the war we shall run our own cake factory. I am well, have a girlfriend with whom to spend long evenings. Rolands is also here, we are living merry life. I have never enjoyed such a style of life, a real drunkard. Yes, it is shit with that sending of parcels. No need. Meat and home-brewed vodka is available here. Send me more of my photographs. Why do you write that Gulbis is our relative, write more details. How are you, isn't it too cold. At our place it is rather warm, no complaints. Have nothing more to write. The main thing is that I should run out for fighting. Next time will write a longer letter

Good-bye. Son and brother


Additional notes and comments:
active writer - I do not realize whom had got Paulis. And I do not understand if the person was male or female because of Latvian grammatical peculiarities.

cake factory - I think this is another joke of Jūlijs. Cakes were not made in factories but in small workshops. In any case, the people who joined Nazi forces, especially the volunteers, were promised very good life after the War, as far as I know.




Hello, dear brother! How are you, are you in good health. We were very glad to receive your letter. We began to worry about you, may be something wrong has happened. Mummy was very glad to receive your letter, it seemed she was reborn. Thanks God we are still in good health and live like always. Father is still a drayman, mother is busy at home, I am also working at the same place. What will be in future, we shall see. Christmas and the New year eve we spent quietly. We had nothing special arranged, I just baked something. Please, write how you spend Christmas and how celebrated the New Year. Gulbis was in Riga during the holidays for two weeks. He went back to the front at 28 Dec., sent you his regards and wished happy New Year. He said you could meet each other there. Nobody from the countryside visited Riga, only Berta visited Vilciņi in holidays, they lived without changes. I put one of your photographs in the letter and I am sending my regards to Rolands and wishing to both of you be courageous and never tired in the battle. I wish the best to you from all my heart. During the holidays the rationing was greater than usually. Do not become a confirmed drunkard in the front. Who is the girlfriend - a Polish or a Ukrainian or a maruža. Whoever she were it doesn't interest me and doesn't matter you should know better. Now I finish because can write nothing more, have a good hangover, yesterday we had a heavy spree. One guy became 21. I shall write more next time. Be healthy and come home soon to have a rest.

Best regards from mummy and dad they are waiting for you.

Write back soon. Brother Pauls

Rīgā 1943. g. 19. janvarī


Additional notes and comments:
drayman - I have understood the Latvian text that Jūlijs' father was busy in the transporting by horses. There were two kinds of horse transport - the person transport similar to cabs and the freight transport called heavy transport what he was engaged in. By the way, the Address book for Riga 1928 listed Jogints Stanislavs, a cabman.

Vilciņi - It could be the name of a farm or also a family name Vilciņš in plural.

maruža - The word is known as a variant of the woman first name Marija, but I have never heard the word used like in this letter.




East, 1943

Hello, you, folk at home!

I have received your letter at March 26. When I just returned from an Einsatz. I was very glad that I received a letter from home. Thank you for the photograph you have sent. I do not like that you, Paulis, rebuke me that I should not loose my way. Because that can never happen. I am not a ninny who should not allow to himself all the joys of the life. When one had a ride on a truck for 200-300 kilometers then some refreshment drink fits quite well and a good smoke also. I think you could understand it as a man. Well, enough of reproaches. Let speak on other matters. Nowadays in Riga the conscription into the Legion is going on in full extent. Have you an idea of joining it? However you are well enough without it. Do you receive my money and how much, please, answer. Dad may go to the military school and query I think we should receive the front pay and if you have difficulties to get something dad may ask a paper to avoid waiting. May be soon we shall be home. You know that it is hard to get home because we have a lot of duties but the human resources are shot. Did nobody come from the countryside? And what is the life of Kaķiks at the front. Was he for a leave? We live together with Rolis quite well. I should end the writing, how is mamma, if she grows very ill you can send telegram and I may be allowed to visit Riga but only in the case if a doctor's certificate is sent or if she lays in a hospital. Best regards to her and say she should become better.

27. March

See you in Riga. Son and brother.


Additional notes and comments:
Einsatz - the word was used to describe military actions.

ride on a truck for 200-300 kilometers - my explanation of the distance is the following. The pits for the burial of the victims were about 20 kilometers from the Minsk Ghetto. It was a normal distance for gasing, because according to the instructions the people were to be gased for 19 minutes to get desired results. Yes, 19 minutes, not 20 or 18. /Silabriedis/. The gas vans with the crew of 4 SD-men usually made 4-5 trips a day that is about 150-200 kilometers. It is less than the distance mentioned in the letter. May be my calculations are wrong, may be Jūlijs exaggerated a bit his hard job.

conscription into the Legion - the conscription of Latvians into the troops of the Waffen-SS, that was usually called the Legion, began on March 22, 1943, when the Inspector General of the Legion (the highest military rank for Latvians in the Legion) R.Bangerskis published an appeal to join the Legion. In the theory the Legion was a voluntary troop, but in reality rather strict orders to join it were issued.

front pay - increased pay for the military persons, who were in direct contact with the enemy. I wonder whether the guys from SD units really received an additional payment like the soldiers in trenches. The soldiers of the Legion received salary that was paid partly in cash and partly sent to their families or to bank accounts.




In the East 22 Apr. 1943

Hello, you, folk at home!
After a long time I am writing a letter to you. Now I am in Minsk again. Don't be angry that I do not write to you, I have little time, you know, I have some business to do but if I have a bit of time I code. You see, now five months are over since I am in the East. These month passed away so fast for me, I do not know how you felt the time moving. I hope soon I shall be in the Homeland. One should not think a lot about it. It should be nice in Riga now because it should be warm, I guess, one can wander along the streets. Now I and also Rolis are living well - go to cinema, theaters and make merry. We also know what is going on in Latvia because we read some newspapers. I am well Rolis also is O.K. so we are living and thinking about the home. Write how are all of you. How are the matters of draftees, Riga should be empty now. It is really well I am already in the service. Nobody would say more that I have drawn mad. Now they themselves should regret. I should finish the writing because I am in hurry to an evening-party.

Best regards. Jūlijs.

Wait me home when leaves are yellow.

My address.
Write it correctly otherwise the letter will not reach me.
SS-mann Jogints Jūlijs
Postfach 47. Minsk Ostland.
Abs. Jogints Rewaler str.**-** Riga Lettland


Additional notes and comments:
I have some business to do - it is known that the actions at Minsk Ghetto produced many orphans who lived in a special orphan house. It was completely emptied two times. The second time was in April 1943, but I do not know the day. (The information source: David Gaj. The tenth circle. Life, struggle and perish of Minsk Ghetto. Znamja. 1988. N12, pp. 46-86. In Russian). In any case, the emptying was to be a job of the crews of gas vans, but it was not very tiresome - several thousand of kids could be exterminated in no time (2-3 days).

On April 19, 1943 the revolt in Warsaw ghetto began and continued 5 weeks. As far as I know, the SD groups from Minsk were not taken to Warsaw, but they could have had some additional tasks in Minsk.

The real street address of Jūlijs' parents is not reproduced here.




My address:
SS-Mann Jogints
Si-po und SD Gluboki

Glubokos 6 July 1943

Hi mummy!
I am sorry I could not write all the time because I was engaged in an Einsatz that is why I had no time. Now I can tell I am in a new place nearer to the home. Latvia border is 80 kilometers from our place. In former Poland. Daugavpils is 100 kilometers from us. (You may visit us some time) We have a chance to be home in August. Now I am not together with Rolands he is posted to an another place. Here the conditions are better, the city is more beautiful and the group is smaller. The views here are nice - hills and lakes. Our house is situated on the lake-coast. The main thing is we should do nothing by ourselves. Jewish women serve us and care of our comfort. We are living 6 persons in a room with various conveniences, washing places, sofas. We are living like barons.

How are you? Are you in good health? How is dad? Is he healthy? I think Paulis is busy in "Ķemeri", send him my regards and tell him he might write me a letter from there. I am finishing writing because we are going by car to a place.

Best regards to the dad.
Cordial regards and wait me home.
Your son
Waiting for an answer.


Additional notes and comments:
I have no information what they did in the town Glubokoje (now in Belorus). At that time the extermination of Jews in Belorus territory was near to be completed. The Minsk Ghetto was finally annihilated in September 1943. The Jewish women who served the group should have been ones of the latest that stayed alive.

The SD commands were also used in the warfare against partisans. At that time in the Belorus region the Soviet partisans were very active, because the Kursk battle - the greatest battle of the WW2 - was going on and all the partisans were ordered to fight as much as they could. Their task was mainly to blow up railways.

Ķemeri - it is a famous resort place. It is not known what Paulis did there.




In the East 23 Jul. 1943.

Hello, mummy!
First I thank you for the letter I received at 20 July. I am very glad your health is better. You say 8 month passed since I left home, that seems right. When we left I said that not more than for a month. For me this time passed away quite fast I do not know how for you. Soon I shall be back at home, may be at the end of August. Now I am living a nice life like in Rigas Jūrmala Just do not wish to come home. Everything is O.K. How dad wants again to join the old enemies. Yes, he has a tender heart, relatives should be helped. We shall see what will be the final result. I think the same as always. I am not going to judge, let him do what he wants. Otherwise you are living well, I conclude from the messages. It is time to finish the letter, I shall tell more when return home.

Best regards to the people in the Countryside.

Many happy returns of the Nameday.

Cordial regards to you and dad
from son in the East


Additional notes and comments:
8 month passed since I left home - It follows that in November 1942 Jūlijs was on leave at home.




In the East 14 Aug. 1943.

Hello, mummy!
First of all I thank you for the letter I received at August 12. As I see you are not quite well. It is a pity I can not return home now, then your conditions maybe were better. Say to dad I ask him to live a decent life always that stupid fuss with horses. And at last about the flat, can not he get a new one? Well, I do not need to reproach him let him live how he wishes. Please, mom, be patient till I return it will be soon then I put the things together. I am not going to write much this time because I shall say and rebuke when shall be home. I do not write to Paulis because I could return. Now nothing special is happening. So I am finishing.

Sincere regards to you!
Your son in the East
Best regards to everybody!

See you in Riga

My address:
SS-Mann Jogints.
Sipo und SD Glebokie



© Comments, translation. Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002