After the forming of the Latvian Police Battalions during January 1943 in Reichskommissariat Ostland, Heinrich Himmler formed Latvian legion Lettische SS Freiwilligen Legion in February 1943. This Legion later became a Division, and received the numerical designation 15. A further and final renaming to Lettische SS Freiwilligen Brigade took place, with the numerical designation added soon after.
The unlawful conscription of Latvians for military service by the Germans, was based on Alfred Rosenberg’s compulsory labour decree of 19 December 1941. It was carried out by the Department of Labour for the Latvian Self Administration, and commenced early on in 1943. All Latvian male citizens born between 1919 and 1924 were issued with a compulsory recruitment notice. The 15th Waffen SS, together with the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian) were formed into the Latvian Legion.
The 15th Waffen SS became swept up in the chaos of the collapse of the Eastern Front, in which it lost much of its manpower fighting in the districts surrounding Leningrad (Ostrov, Novosokolniki and Novgorod Oblast). In September 1944 the surviving elements of the division were sent by boat to Danzig, Poland. The division fought on the Pomeranian Wall defences before retreating through Pomerania and Germany to Berlin.