Vilhelms MuntersPresiding over Latvia's Foreign Relations into WWII and Soviet Occupation

July 25, 1898
in Riga
January 11, 1967
in Riga

1915-1917, studied chemistry at the evacuated Riga Polytechnic Institute in Moscow
1917, served in the Russian army
1918, returned to Latvia
1919, joined the Estonian army
October, 1920, released from the army, returned to Latvia
1925, graduated University of Latvia, degree in Chemistry
Awarded the Lacplesis Military Order, III degree; the Three Star Order, II, II, and IV degrees; orders from Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, the Vatican, and Yugoslavia.
 
SERVING IN THE LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
from December, 1920 Foreign Ministry Information Division, III, II, I secretary
from April, 1923 I secretary, F.M. Western Affairs Division
from February, 1925 Head of Baltic States Affairs Diviison
from January, 1931 Director of the Legal and Administration Department
from July, 1933 Foreign Ministry Secretary General
from July, 1936 Foreign Minister
1938 Chairman, 101st session of the Council of the League of Nations, Geneva
June 16, 1940 Resigned from the Cabinet of Ministers due to its demission

DEPORTED on July 16, 1940 to Voronezh, where he worked in the foreign language institute. JAILED June 26, 1941. Imprisoned in the Voronezh, Saratov, Kirov, Ivanov prison. Inquest suspended, September 1942, classified as a wartime internee. Inquest resumed, February 1952. Charged with the following anti-Soviet crimes: fought against the Red Army from 1917-1920; served in senior positions in the Latvian Foreign Ministry from 1920-1940; oriented toward capitalist England and Germany; participated in the 1934 fascist coup d'état; took part in the foundation of the fascist regime, censuring the communist party and the revolutionary movement in Latvia. Judgement rendered April 16, 1952: based on the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, paragraph 58-4, sentenced to 25 years in prison. Imprisoned in Vladimir prison. Released early in August, 1954, remaining settled in Vladimir. Worked as a translator in the Vladimir tractor factory. Allowed to return to Latvia in 1959. Participated in various publications, published works of an tone acceptable to the Soviet occupation. Died January 11, 1967 in Riga.


For additional background, in Latvian, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwarded us an extract from "Biographical Dictionary: The Latvian Foreign Office, 1918-1991" compiled by historians Dr. Eriks Jekabsons and Dr. Valters Scerbinskis, published in 2003, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, the Latvian State Historical Archives, and the Latvian Archives Society, click here to access [PDF].


Translated from the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, picture from and original biography (in Latvian) available at MFA web page saved at archive.org. Our thanks especially to Sarmīte Šāvēja, director of the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, for her assistance in translating and in providing additional biographical materials.


For pictures of the 101st session of the Council of the League of Nations, Vilhelms Munters presiding, access the League of Nations archive at the University of Indiana, at: www.indiana.edu/~league/photocategories.htm, enter Munters as search string—or, we've pre-filled the search for you below:

Criminal procedure code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, § 58-4

The offering of whatever kind of aid to that part of the international bourgeoisie, which, not recognizing the equal rights of a Communist system replacing a Capitalist system, exerts itself for its overthrow, and likewise to public groups and organizations, being under the influence of or directly organized by that bourgeoisie, in the carrying out of hostile activities toward the USSR, shall be punishable by —

deprivation of liberty for a term not less than three years with confiscation of all or part of one's property, with an increase, in especially aggravating circumstances, up to the supreme measure of social defense — shooting or declaration to be an enemy of the workers, with deprivation of citizenship of one's union republic, and, likewise, citizenship of the USSR and expulsion beyond the borders of the USSR forever, with confiscation of property. [6 June 1927 (SU NO 49, art. 330)].

Reproduced from Hugo S. Cunningham's Cyber USSR
RSFSR criminal code at www.cyberussr.com/rus/uk58-e.html

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