The Forest Soldiers

This NATO-produced video could well have unintended consequences before the first half of the 21st century has passed. History may not repeat itself, but sometimes it echoes.

This post is for all those who feel compelled to fight for First Principles in some way or another when the time comes…and for all the lost stories floating to the surface now that the USSR is truly no more.

When I lived in the Boston area there was a Latvian radio show (in English) on Sunday evenings. While preparing supper, I would listen to Latvian music played by the exiles and their descendants. The poignancy of their situation underlined how fortunate Americans were, how desperate the longings of those behind the Iron Curtain.

It wasn’t possible to see then the adumbration of bellicose factionalism and paranoid fragmentation that arose in the post-adolescent rumblings of the 1960s. Surely they’d “grow out of it”? Many did, but a significant number kept their Leftist resentments, pushing the meme of oppression on the gullible, including the scheming MSM.

For most of us – i.e., for the “average” person – nationalism is a “thing” (to borrow a phrase from the future Baron). No matter how one may be forced into exile, the love of the landscape, the light, the “folks” of one’s origins is the template by which we measure our present place…

Addendum from the Baron: Back in the early 1980s I was a math tutor. My specialty was helping teenagers prep for the SAT exams (for non-Americans, those are aptitude tests in Math and English that you take before you leave high school, assuming you intend to go on to college).

One of my students was a 16-year old Estonian. He was a fully American kid, born and raised here, but he was also Estonian. His father was born in the old country. The grandfather was here in Virginia, too — he and his wife and infant son had fled Estonia in 1940 ahead of the Soviets. The son grew up here, and did well for himself — he was a dental surgeon, if I recall correctly. The grandson was intelligent and did well in school, but they wanted to make sure he would get into the college of his choice. So they called me.

The boy was very personable, and knew a lot about his ancestral home, even though he had never been there. Because of my interest in between-the-wars history, we used to have discussions about what had happened to Estonia, how it had had a brief twenty-two years of independence before it was invaded and reabsorbed into Mother Russia.

The kid had an ordinary American name: Tom. That wasn’t his given name; it was just what he used in the outer world. In the family he had another Christian name, an Estonian name. It was similar, close enough to “Tom” so that the nickname was suitable.

Their house was decorated with art and memorabilia from Estonia. I was impressed with the way the family remembered where they had come from and what their heritage meant, even as they became normal mainstream Americans. They were proud that the United States had never recognized the incorporation of Estonia into the USSR. They were strong supporters of Ronald Reagan.

Ten years later I thought about Tom and his family when Estonia regained its sovereignty. It came so much sooner than most of us expected — I wondered if Tom’s dad and his grandpa (assuming he was still alive) were surprised. I’m certain that Tom and his dad must have made the trip to Tallinn to see the Estonian flag flying once again over the national legislature.

And I hope the old man lived to see the homeland he had left more than fifty years before.

17 thoughts on “The Forest Soldiers

  1. Forest Brothers remind me of the movie Defiance. 2008.
    I think the book that it was based on would be closer to the facts.
    Belarusian Jewish Bielski brothers: Tuvia, Zus, Asael and Aron. Their parents are dead, killed by local police under orders from the occupying Germans. The brothers flee to the Naliboki Forest….
    Tuvia, Zus and Aron survived the war and emigrated to America to form a successful trucking firm in New York City…..

    Nationalism has been given a bad name, but it was British nationalism, American nationalism and Russian nationalism that gathered together to defeat an evil ideology, that endeavoured to use its own nationalism as a tool.

    Like fire it can be a good servant, but can be a bad master.
    Fire has been essential for man kind for 1000’s of years now.

      • bill robbins, seems you are one of those [epithets] who jumps to conclusions before making at least some kind of reasearch in other sources than mainstream , lefties

      • vile and rabid communist propaganda. there were collaborators but they were not forest brothers. the latvian and estonian ss units that were conscripted to fight the red army in 1944 were specifically cleared by the allies of any war crimes; they had nothing to do with final solution. some were partisans, some were soviet pows, some retreated to the west. the lithuanian forest brothers were largely ex civilians, there was no standing, antisoviet, lithuanian force recruited by nazi germany. a small unit was disbanded after a few months in mid 1944 as unsuccessful.

  2. Baron, I always loved your “Tutoring Stories”; don’t think I remember this one, though. Back in the 80s not everything was politicized but the marxists were making headway. Even then you thought they’d pull a coup in academia while I was sure they would age out and common sense – or commonsensual – reality would return.

    It’s sad to be so wrong on this one, though I take heart that Mizzou’s admissions are down 35% – or maybe it’s only applications. At any rate, there has been a definite reaction to the Snowflake Fairy meme – equal parts envy and resentment.

  3. Europe as a whole is going to need a lot of men like this if it is to survive.

    • You’ll need to survive a war, then, to produce such men. They had little left to lose. When/If Europeans reach that point, such men will show up. But not until the womb-to-tomb socialist state fails…

  4. Rather like the Japanese hiding out on wesrern Pacific islands for many years after the war, these guys–Baltic state guerrillas, Germans and Nazis who took up residence there during the later War years– continued to fight the Soviets for many years….with thousands of deaths, until the early 60’s. One fellow came out and surrendered in the 90’s!

  5. We Jews invented nationalism. Even before re-entering the promised Land the nation cited founding parents and nationhood under God. Before the Israelite Nation what you had were tribes and empires built on personal and tribal ambitions. Israel established nationhood and borders to be defended. King David was elected by national assembly of the elders. No imperialism involved. Good relations with peaceful neighbors. That’s real nationalism. The Sozial Nazionalsim and Islamo-Nazism are the reverse of nationalism: They are the forcible subjugation to the Masters. So be proud of your national heritage.

  6. In WW2, the Germans had a superior fast attack boat, or “Schnellboot”, dubbed “E-Boat” by the allies; ironically the revolutionary hull design originated with a launch built for a Jewish millionaire around 1930. The only survivor, S-130, awaits restoration in Portsmouth.

    The S-130 (and others) attacked the Allied rehearsal for D-Day, at Slapton Sands in Devon, in April 1944; 800 Americans were killed. Later she operated clandestinely with British officers and German crew, shadowing Soviet naval exercises, and in 1949 dropped agents into the Baltic states.

  7. It would seem that we can’t outgrow nationalism for the time being. And if we can’t outgrow it “naturally”, we shouldn’t strive to erase it through social engineering. The perverse consequences can be catastrophic.

    Also people seem to forget that nationalism was born in Europe and it was the force behind the revolt against tyrannical empires and behind the birth of nation states, from Italy to Romania.

      • You’re retroactively applying a concept to a historical state of affairs that wouldn’t, upon self reflection, categorize itself as such – it simply lacks the complex conceptual and institutional frameworks that make “nationalism” or “nation-states”. So no. But ok, let’s say nation-state. Would that be ok?

  8. Looks like NATO is telling us to dive into forests and prepare to protect our homelands. Fine with me 😀

  9. i just returned from a too-short, first but not last, visit to lithuania, after a visit last summer to poland. it is hard to imagine the bravery of the polish and baltic forest brothers who fought an essentially hopeless struggle against the soviets. one of my enduring thoughts is thank god for our 2nd amendment, for both the tools and mindset it bequeaths us.

  10. If you want a good read about the WW2 European resistance fighters try, “Last Hope Island” by Lynne Olson. Its mostly about the Dutch, Polish and French partisans but enlightening none the less.

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