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Christopher Goddard

I can identify with this, though one generation later, as my lady is the daughter of a Latvian who fought with German forces on the Eastern front. After training in Germany, he served first in the Ukraine with the international Viking division, then, when that unit was shattered after holding the Russian offensive post-Stalingrad in spring 1943, transferred as a cadre to a new unit in the Latvian Legion, then at Leningrad, Staraya Russa and finally in the 'Kurland Kessel', where in late summer 1944 his unit took part in an attempted breakout to link up with a German relief attempt from the south. When that failed, his unit found itself isolated, surrounded, low on supplies and with numbers of wounded, so they surrendered. As he himself put it, he was 'lucky to be taken early', as many of those who fought on were killed. During his impromptu extended holiday in Siberia, he gave up smoking ('It was either cigarettes or bread') he was released in the early 1950s on terms that he was 'never to mention his experiences to anyone'. And so it was that Rasma only learned of her father's wartime activities when she became an adult. Hence I rather think of her as "not the French lieutenant's woman but the Latvian obersturmfuehrer's daughter" :)

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