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Latvia: Year of Horror


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The sequence of events could not be changed. Latvians rejected communism, closed ranks, and united against oppression.

Latvian soldiers ordered by political instructors to march against their will, did so with military bearing, proudly and with dignity, in controlled disgust. With a nationalistic conscience, they kept aloof from everything communist.

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One unit of Latvian soldiers marching at the International Youth Day demonstration display faces that are deeply serious or sharply ironic. They convey something other than joy under Soviet power.

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Most painfully the nation's misfortune and suffering was felt by Latvian youth. With grimly determined faces and with obvious reluctance, the youth marched, driven by the fanfares of May Day, deeply conscious of the nation's misery.

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Pioneers at a demonstration. Their faces show feelings of being trapped and frightened.

Herded into the strange Pioneer organization, in a manner repugnant to the child's soul, the little Latvians sullenly performed their assigned tasks. Communism was searching in that exact place -- among the youngest -- for suitable subjects. The poison of betrayal was injected into the hearts of the smallest.

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The betrayal by way of a denunciation of his classmates contained in a report by one Pioneer.

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A unit of Latvian soldiers marching to elections is ordered to pose for press photographers. The officers deliberately turned their backs to the cameras.

Dissatisfaction and the spirit of resistance were manifested everywhere. Soldiers in one regiment expressed their resistance to communist absurdities and deliberate depravity in a daring sign: "We have no place to rest our heads."

This regiment had no permanent billets and was constantly moved from one place to another.

The people found thousands of ways to show their feelings. This was seen in election ballots covered with remarks or mutilated and in reports of committees being stuck to deal with damage to election ballots for the June 12, 1941 election. Disregarding the damage, these ballots were later used to round up the percentage of voters taking part.

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Everybody knew how difficult it was to express such, albeit small, protests.

The Latvian spirit remained unbroken throughout all the tribulations -- the most horrible known to mankind -- starting with the CHEKA and ending with the martyrs in exile or dead.

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General K. Goppers in the prime of his life and then beyond the gates of human existence -- in CHEKA prison. [caption]


This task was pursued most diligently from the very first days by the communist invaders. Those known opponents not arrested by the CHEKA were often deported.

The order of acting Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Vilis Lacis to deport the Minister of Defence General Janis Balodis.


Here is the receipt for "loading" O. Zakis and family into cattle car for deportation. The receipt shows, written as a numeral, that the family consists of "2" people, but the register shows three. This "order" indicates that the official of the Latvian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) State Security Commisariat Operative Group chief comrade E. Saulitis could hardly read, write or add!

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Order issued to Saulitis

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Back to Main PageOnward to ON THE NIGHT OF JUNE 14, 1941