The Chocolate of Leime


Image result for The mascot Mark Kurzem

The trucks were gathered near the clock tower in Riga.  Entire families, men, women, and children, stood with the meagre belongings which they were allowed to carry awaiting their turn to board.  Some of the children were unsettled and began the fuss and cry.  A Latvian SS officer called over his unit’s mascot, a uniformed boy of less than ten.  He was given chocolates to distribute to the doomed children, with the intent of calming them.  What could be more comforting than another child sharing sweets?  The gesture worked and the “transportation” continued.

(94 words)


Based on a true event in Riga during the Holocaust.  While there is still uncertainty as to Alex Kurzem’s heritage, the fact remains that he was the mascot of Battalion 18 of the Latvian SS, and was later made a corporal.  He was also the subject of a Nazi propaganda film.

WHAT PEGMAN SAW – Riga, Latvia

11 thoughts on “The Chocolate of Leime

  1. Great story. Latvia suffered more than any other country during the war, losing more than 30% of its population. The horrors did not end with the war, either. Soviet deportation and slaughter of Kulaks continued well into the 50s. They are a remarkable people.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well written, but what a horrible subject. Stories about children suffering from violence, starvation, and other horrors of war are distressing enough, but stories where the children’s minds and hearts are turned so they assist in the horrors of war are so much worse.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How horrible to use a child so. Such a sad, sad history we have. Leaves me wondering if we’re not doing the same thing at the border detention centers… So very sad….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Strange kindness and/ or manipulation. We distract from cruelty when looking at it straight on is too much. And everyone loves puppies and children, and will spare them whatever misery they can. Perhaps there was a kind heart present, even if it turned to steel when the order was given. Touching story.

    Liked by 1 person

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