The 6th Cavalry Museum will host two sessions of a free, public seminar about the Battles of Kurland Pocket on Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Led by Dr. Steve Nicklas and Dr. Jonas Kauffeldt, professors of archaeology and history from the University of North Georgia, the seminars will share the story and displayed military artifacts from the final days of the German army during World War II.
In addition to the seminars, local living historians authentically portraying American, German and Russian soldiers and the TriState Military Vehicle Preservation Club will be on hand to display their equipment and vehicles.
"In the final days of World War II, the colossal Russian Red Army swept across Eastern Europe with the imperative to deal a fatal blow to the Nazi army and liberate Berlin," officials said. "In the Russians' path were 500,000 German and Latvian soldiers, cornered on a Baltic Sea peninsula called the “Kurland Pocket.” In the next seven months, six epic battles ensued, finally ending with the overall German surrender in May, 1945."
The free seminars are a part of Free Museum Saturday, a monthly event when the 6th Cavalry Museum invites the public to visit without paying the usual $5 admission charge.
“During the battles for the Kurland Pocket, the Germans and Latvians were outnumbered by at least five to one in men and sometimes 10 to 20 to one in armor,” says Dr. Nicklas. “The terrain favored the defenders, as did the reality that if lost they would all be shot, or if they were lucky, sent to Siberia.”
Dr. Nicklas has a keen interest in World War II and has an extensive collection of military artifacts from the final days of the German Army. Many of those artifacts are on display at the museum, part of a temporary exhibit called, “Battlefield Archaeology: The Six Battles of Kurland.”
“Having Dr. Nicklas and Dr. Kauffeldt here for the seminars is a very special treat,” says museum Executive Director Chris McKeever. “Whether the combatants were on the side of right or wrong, these artifacts are a lasting testament to the immense human sacrifice of World War II. They shouldn’t be missed.”
Teachers and students of World War II history are highly encouraged to attend. The seminars can be used for extra credit in class. To learn more about connecting the seminars to an education curriculum, call Chris McKeever at (706) 861-2268.
The 6th Cavalry Museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.