The enlistment commission are foolish. I will not be going home immediately, this evening I am away to Lilaste, (Latvia).
The invading Germany army arrived in the region during 1942. At first they only introduced compulsory labour but it did not take long before the military began urging Latvian men to join up, to push Russia away from Latvia’s boarders. It was around that time I accepted my inability to walk properly as God’s great plan. I am thankful I can no longer march. I am grateful I have one lame, ulcerated leg.
Unfortunately, the German’s are quite determined to get me into uniform. As commanded, I reported to Ranka Guard House on 20 March 1943. I had received a conscription call-up card. I expected to fail my medical, to be returned home as a labourer unfit for military service, just as I was in 1942, but I underestimated Hitler’s determination to fill uniforms.
The recruitment doctor dismissed my aching leg with the wave of his hand. As the rest of my body is healthy, I am to be conscripted into the Latvian Waffen SS Legion as a volunteer. I may only be nineteen but I know the difference between a volunteer soldier and a conscripted one. In addition, the doctor’s reassurances regarding marching great distances being beneficial for my ulcerated leg, are not comforting.