Producer: Anneli Ahven. Director: Kalle Kaesel. Writer: Indrek Treufeldt. Length: 52 min Year: 2006 Language: English Subtitles.
After World War II, Estonian (Latvian and Lithuanian) soldiers, airmen and sailors who had fought (been conscripted) on the German side ended in POW camps on the US side. They were the lucky ones. The others went to Siberia. This story is about those soldiers who were sitting in their POW camps when all of a sudden they were conscripted yet one more time, this time into a civil variant of the US Army.
The Estonians (Latvians and Lithuanians) who were given US Army uniforms dyed deep dark blue, white helmet liners and blue ascots, were sent to Nuremberg, Germany and instructed under military regulations to stand guard over high ranking Nazi war criminals. The Balts made sure the prisoners didn't commit suicide by looking through the peepholes into the tiny cells.
The Estonian unit that is portrayed in the film is VK (Guard Company) 4221 was headed up by 1st Lieutenant Tarmo Rae who was at the premiere showing of the film. Rae was given the rank that he held during the war (in the Luftwaffe), where he had been in the air force as a bomber squadron adjutant. His company now had to guard the same people who were way above their own rank.
There were a few people who had been in or near the company during their activities who were at the premiere. Rae was of course interviewed. Kaljo Anja was also one of members of the Company who was also there.
Mihkel Salusoo, who was a veteran of the battles of the Blue Hills, now became a driver of the war crimes officials. Salusoo managed to find a window into the courtroom and from there became a source of news of what happened in the secret hearings.
Evald "Tommy" Tomson, who was a first rate photographer for the Estonian newspapers in Toronto, was interviewed for the film in his final days.
Screenwriter Indrek Treufeldt, a professional journalist, explained many of the background points of the film.
Rae, Anja and Salusoo, though all are in their eighties, do not look like they've lost any of their military bearing.
Estdocs review: Men From a Forgotten Army (105)