By Scott Pritchett
| In the summer of 1959, Ritterkreuzträger and former SS-Unterscharführer
Alfred Riekstins of the SS Waffen Füsilier Bataillon 19, was killed by
Soviet forces in a forest vicinity of Frauenburg, Latvia.
Frauenburg had been one of the Red Army's main points of attack during
the battles in late 1944 and early 1945 to seize the German Kurland
Bridgehead. Riestens' continued resistance, fourteen years after the
unconditional surrender of Germany's armed forces to the allies is
symbolic both of the intensity of the German's defensive Courland
campaign and the determination of her soldiers who fought it.
Heeresgruppe Kurland's successful stand for eight months in the face of
huge and repeated onslaughts by the Red Army left it unbeaten right up
to the surrender on 8 May 1945. The KURLAND cuffband - the last
award of its kind to be instituted, produced and awarded - distinguished
the soldiers who fought this epic and difficult campaign that has been
overshadowed in history by other battles of the time such as Market
Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.
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