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A large number of Latvians resisted the occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany. The Latvian resistance movement was divided between the pro-independence units under the Latvian Central Council and the pro-Soviet units under the Central Staff of the Partisan Movement in Moscow. Around 22,000 deserted both from the Red Army and German Army during 1943–45 in Latvia.

The Latvian commander of the pro-Soviet units was Arturs Sproģis. However, Moscow failed to create pro-Soviet units on a large scale in 1941–1942. In the beginning of 1944 Sproģis reported to Moscow that only 1500 Soviet partisans were transferred to Latvia. Because of lack of local support to Soviet partisan units they were based in woods in Belarus and Russia and only made raids into Latvia, afterwards retreating to their bases across the border.

Many local Latvians were actively involved in the resistance movement against the ethnic policies of the German occupation regime. Žanis Lipke risked his life to save more than 50 Jews.

Civic circles in Latvia were dissatisfied with the German occupation regime and secretly plotted to reinstate democracy. An underground organization was established called the Latvian Central Council, which published the outlawed publication Brīvā Latvija (Free Latvia). The periodical propagated the idea of renewing democracy in Latvia after the war.

After the end of World War II, resistance continued against the Soviet regime. From 1945 to 1956, around 100,000 were involved in the Forest Brothers resistance movement.

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