Latvian National Foundation, second edition, 1982

Historical Introduction

Part 6Aggressive, Relentless Russification

One survivor's account The few deportees who afterwards succeeded in escaping from the settlements have attested under oath the truth of the statements they have given of the procedure of deportation. A Lithuanian deportee gave the following account: "After a month's journey, we, the male deportees, were detrained in the Krasnoyarsk region, at Kraslag, lagpunkt 7. On getting out from the train, the NKVD functionaries expressed their joy at the arrival of a new transport of bourgeois and fascist sons-bitches who in their own interest would be glad to meet their end here. Besides all objects of value, money and clothes, even such things as pocket knives, shaving apparatuses and small religious crosses were taken away. Clad in rags, we were divided up in brigades and sent into the tayga (virgin forest) to cut trees for railway-sleepers for a line under construction. Our day's food-ration consisted of 400 g of bread and a thin soup of frozen and rotten potatoes without any fat. We had to sleep in unheated huts, without blankets, on bare boards or on the floor. When winter came and the temperature fell to -50°C, mortality increased in a terrific manner. It was impossible to bury the dead, because the ground was frozen to a great depth, so they were heaped up in a corner of the camp. As early as Christmas 1941 nearly all the deportees of our transport had died."
Peters' parents happened not to be home at the fateful hour.  From the bills of lading it may be seen that between June 15 and June 27, 1941, a total of 901 goods-vans with deportees left Latvia. Of these, 427 had carried prisoners. It seems that among them were also the heads of the families of the deportees. A telephone message, received in Moscow on June 13 at 2:30 by Commissar Serov, revealed that it was planned to deport 16,200 people from Latvia. The total number of people actually deported may be reckoned to have been 15,600. Thus, a few hundred who happened to be absent from their homes at the fateful hour or who had changed residence succeeded in escaping deportation. The registration of deportees, which was afterwards carried out, yielded detailed information about 15,081 deportees. Among them were 6,447 men, 5,302 women and 3,332 children under the age of 16, this latter figure including also 291 infants under the age of 1, and 315 elderly people over 70 years old. When the Red Army, in June, 1941, retreated from Latvia, it engulfed in its wake also motor-drivers, railway-men, sailors, children from summer rest-homes and nurseries and soldiers of the Baltic Territorial Corps, especially officers, a total of about 13,000 persons.
The sovietization of the Latvian Army After the occupation of Latvia by the Russians the units of the Latvian National Army were reduced to one corps consisting of two divisions and the military order and regulations of the Russian Red Army with its political instructors (politruks) were introduced in it. As early as September 10, 1940, several hundred Latvian officers and several thousand Latvian privates were dismissed and replaced by soldiers of the Red Army. In spring 1941 the two Latvian divisions were sent to camp at Litene. It was here that 120 Latvian officers, mostly of the higher ranks, were told off by roll-call, put into lorries and, surrounded by chekists and Red Army soldiers, disarmed, arrested and deported. Also this scheme had already been planned early in spring 1941. Brigadier Blauberg of the Territorial Baltic Corps, on April 12, issued a secret order No. 02833 to all army prosecutors of the divisions, reminding them to shadow all soldiers of the former national army who were left in the national units of the Baltic Corps. ". . . In these national units there are individuals who originated from a socially alien element, reactionary and hostile to the Soviet rule and the Red Army. These elements, by abusing the backwardness of individual fighters, their religious superstitions, national ideas, insufficient understanding of the new socialistic order, are attempting in all ways to wage an anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary activity."
The tragic statistics By adding those, the total of deported Latvians in the years 1940 and 1941 amounts to 35,000 or 1.8% of the population of Latvia. This means that in the case of a Soviet occupation and in proportion to the population: 2,400,000 people would be deported from the U.S.A., 865,000 - from Great Britain and 205,000 - from Canada. All trades and social groups, independent of nationality, sex and age, were affected by this deportation. Of all the professions and occupations, decimated by the deportation, the army lost 20 %, the police forces - 19 %, the judges and lawyers - 13 % and the number of professors of higher educational institutions was reduced by 8 %. Moreover, 372 school rectors and teachers, 1,953 pupils, many authors, artists and scientists were banished.
Peters' parents were listed for the next deportation. This violent measure of June 13 and 14 was to be the introduction to a still more extensive deportation which according to the plans of the NKVD was to include several hundred thousands of Baltic citizens and which was to take place on June 27 and 28, 1941. However, the beginning of the Soviet-German war prevented the implementation of this second mass deportation. Documents found in the University of Latvia after the Soviet occupation authorities had left, revealed that the whole professional staff had been entered on three nominal lists, bearing the following headings: nationalists and fascists, neutrals, and sympathizers of the Soviet Government. The first-mentioned group was marked out for deportation on June 27 and 28.
More than 20% of the Latvian government was deported on June 13/14 Among the deportees of June 13/14, 1941, were the following members of the last Latvian Saeima (Parliament): J. Visna, R. Dukurs, A. Veckains, P. Lejins - Social Democrats; State President K. Ulmanis, H. Celmins, General J. Balodis, H. Dzelzitis - Peasant Party; M. Skujenieks - Progressive; G. Milbergs, P. Apinis - New-settlers; Berta Pipina - Democr. Centre; Arv. Bergs - Nationalist; P. Leikerts - Indep. Peasants; 0. Rancans - Letgall. Catholics; J. Trasuns - Letgall. Progressive; the rabbis M. Nuroks and M. Dubins - of the Jewish Group; deputies M. Kalistratov, Russian starover, and T. I. Muiznieks, Soc. Dem., were shot. Thus, the loss amounted to 20 % of the total number of Saeima members. The number of deported parliament deputies increases, if we add the members of the Constitutional Assembly and of the first three Saeimas.
Autumn, 1944
The second, and final, Soviet occupation
Throughout the Soviet occupation...
Aggressive Russification of Latvia
The second Soviet occupation, which was continued since autumn 1944, shows that the true purpose of these administrative deportations is completely to exterminate the entire middle class. In an agricultural country this means the liquidation of the peasant class (the so-called kulaks) also, in order to completely carry out the programme of agricultural collectivization which provides only for the existence of "poor peasants". According to the data of the 15th Conference of the Russian Bolshevik party in 1926, only those peasant were regarded as poor whose yearly income did not exceed 39 dollars, while a well-off peasant's income was fixed at 46 dollars. The rest (kulaks) were considered to be enemies of the people. Yet before the annexation of the Baltic States, all three Baltic "people's parliaments", under the protection of the occupation army, on July 22, 1940, passed resolutions on land nationalization. Seven days later, a special Bill of Land Reform was passed which provided the maximum of 30 ha of land to be used by a family. At the same time, lots up to 10 ha each were apportioned to new-settlers from the fund of nationalized land. This new agrarian law created two different classes of peasants: working peasants with lots ranging from 1 to 10 ha and "kulaks" whose farms were larger. After the second Soviet occupation, it was decreed, on September 7, 1944, for reasons of propaganda, to increase the land norm of the working peasant to 15 ha, while the maximum area tilled by kulaks was reduced from 30 ha to 15-20 ha. In 1935, 44.5 % of the Latvian farmers had a landed property from 1 to 10 ha each, or 59 % of them 1 to 15 ha each. This meant that at least 41% of farming peasant and their families were now by law included in the category of enemies of the people and thus predestined for deportation. This scheme continues to work in all three Baltic countries without interruption ever since 1944, the vacuums created by the deported Balts being filled up by infiltrating Russians and other Soviet Peoples.
   
The List The list published here contains the names of those Latvian citizens who were deported from Latvia to Soviet Russia during the Soviet occupation of 1940-1941.
  The list was compiled in Riga in 1942, during the German occupation. When in 1941, the latter superseded the Soviet occupation, some Latvian organizations: the Latvian Red Cross, the Latvian Statistical Board and the Information Bureau of the Latvian Relief ("Tautas palidziba"), made an attempt towards establishing the losses of human life which the Latvian people had suffered during the Soviet occupation. A general inquiry was launched, in the course of which the relatives and friends of missing or deported Latvians reported their family members and acquaintances who had been deported, murdered by the Cheka or who were simply missing, attesting their statements with their own signatures. The questionnaires collected were checked by the Latvian Statistical Board and the data statistically compiled. All names included in this list were reported by January 20, 1942. It must, however, be taken into consideration that a number of deportees had no relatives or friends to send in their names and make the necessary statements. The registration of losses of human life was continued afterwards and by January 1, 1943, the total of Latvian victims, deported or murdered by the bolsheviks, exceeded 34,000. The published list must not be regarded as complete, containing, as it does, only some 30,000 names. Not included are the names of those murdered, nor of those who were registered but who were recovered before January 20, 1942. Among the names in this list will be found quite a few persons who as fellow travellers of the communists of their own free will followed the retreating Red Army, but were, for tactical reasons, reported by their relatives as deported. Part of them returned when the Russians occupied Latvia for the second time, having been forcibly enrolled in the Red Army.
  The original of the list published here was in its time sent to the International Red Cross in Switzerland to be a guide in tracing of fates of the deportees.
  Now, after 40 years of bolshevik terror, the number of perished and deported Latvians has multiplied, by far exceeding the number of names contained in this list. Those additional thousands of names are kept in the secret files of the NKVD.
...Timeline...Molotov–Ribbentrop PactMolotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939. Text of the secret protocol carving up Eastern Europe between Stalin and Hitler. The First Months of the WarThe First Months of the War, Mr. Munters Speaks at the University, 1940. Foreign Minister Vilhelms Munters' speech at the University of Latvia, asking, infamously : "I should like to ask, where now is the sovietisation against which we were warned...?" Letters on Birch Bark In Siberia Written Letters on Birch Bark, UNESCO Latvia. Birch bark was often the only material to write on. Background on deportations, the letters, and a gallery of photos. EXTERNAL SITE Holocaust in Latvia (HAOLUSA.ORG) Prof. Andrew Ezergailis' web site on the Holocaust in LatviaScholarship on the Holocaust in Latvia: essays, letters, reviews. Prof. Ezergailis is the pre-eminent scholar in this field. EXTERNAL SITE Soviet War NewsThe Soviet Union, Finland, and the Baltic States. Soviet Information Bureau. Soviet War News, 1941. In a monograph published after the Winter War and toward the end of its first occupation of the Baltic states, the Soviet Union blames the Finns and Balts for their troubles, only the Soviets have consistently engaged in "neighbourly relations," rebuffed by its neighbors at every turn. A classic study in Stalinist propaganda and a version of history still familiar in official Russian rhetoric. These Names AccuseThese Names Accuse—Nominal List of Latvians Deported to Soviet Russia in 1940-41, second edition with supplementary list. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1982. (1942) History leading up to and including the Soviet invasion of the Baltics, the first Soviet occupation, and the first mass deportations of 1941. The originally compiled list of names was published in Riga in 1942. Documents, photographs, list of names (in progress). A Shepherd DiedViens Gans Nomira (A Shepherd Died). Margarita Kovaļevska, illustrator. 1942. A miniature booklet of a folk song, published by Tautas Palīdzība (Peoples' Aid) in war-time Latvia and given out for donations to help the orphaned and widowed, illustrated by a popular Latvian pre-war and diaspora artist—and who dated Peters' father while they studied together at the Academy of Art. Behind the Polish-Soviet BreakBehind the Polish-Soviet Break, Alter Brody, introduced by Corliss Lamont. Soviet Russia Today, New York. 1943. After the Poles rightfully blamed the Katyn massacre on the Soviets, the USSR denounced (per Molotov's letter, included) the accusation as a "Hitlerite slanderous fake." Within two weeks the USSR severed relations with the Polish Government-in-Exile. Beyond alleging Polish lies, Alter Brody's monograph goes on to characterize the Polish people as an ungrateful scourge upon history—portending the post-WWII portrayal of anti-Soviet Eastern European nationalists as fascists. Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943Latvia Under German Occupation in 1943. Latvian Legation, Washington, DC. 1944. The Latvian diplomatic corps reports on Latvia's third year under Nazi occupation, recounting still-fresh events. What Latvian Wishes From This War?What Latvian Wishes From This War? Alfreds Bīlmanis. Latvian Legation, Washington DC. 1944. As head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry's press division, Alfreds Bīlmanis (1887-1948) actively promoted independent Latvia's interests abroad. His war-time monograph, subtitled: "Background, Current Situation, Hopes for the Future"—written while there was still hope for Latvia's post-war freedom—dispels still-prevalent misunderstandings regarding the historical inter-relationships of the Baltics, Europe, and Russia. Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Zedelgem POW Camp 2227Latvians whose only "crime" was to fight to free their homeland after multiple invasions are called Nazis and shot as target practice. Today, official Russia and others invested in the "Latvians are Nazis" meme keep the lie alive.
Copyright © 1982, The Latvian National Foundation. The Latvian National Foundation, Box 108, S-101 21 Stockholm, Sweden, retains all rights. Materials from "These Names Accuse" reproduced by express permission. For personal and academic research use only. Republication is prohibited.

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