Latvia: Year of Horror
Latvia: Year of Horror is a book edited by Pauls Kovalevskis, Oskars Noritis and Mikelis Goppers. It was published in Riga in 1942 by Zelta Abele Publisher. It is a collection of photos and documents covering the communist rule in Latvia from June 17, 1940 to July 1, 1941, when it was liberated by the Wehrmacht.
This book, shows communism as it was in reality - cloaked in deception and lies, filled with inhuman cruelties, revelling in torture and blood, sadistic in its delight in the lamentations of sufferers, and infinite in revenge and destruction . An unfathomable darkness, a madness, a mockery of honour and a rejection of all virtue sought to annihilate nothing less than the soul of the Latvian nation, a people for more than 4,000 years.
Pauls Kovalevskis, Oskars Noritis and Mikelis Goppers, Editors, Riga. Zelta Abele Publisher. 1942 Latvia: Year of Horror is a collection of photos and documents covering the communist rule in Latvia from June 17, 1940 to July 1, 1941. This book shows communism as it was in reality -- cloaked in deception and lies, filled with inhuman cruelties, revelling in torture and blood, sadistic in its delight in the lamentations of sufferers, and infinite in revenge and destruction. An unfathomable darkness, a madness, a mockery of honour and a rejection of all virtue sought to annihilate nothing less than the soul of the Latvian nation, a people for more than 4,000 years.
- 1 Foreword:
- 2 The Beginning
- 3 To Moscow!
- 4 Bolshevik Cynicism
- 5 Out on the Streets! Out on the Streets! Out on the Streets!
- 6 Elections!
- 7 IT WAS CLEAR TO THE NATION WHAT OTHERS ARRESTED HAD TO EXPECT
- 8 We Stand for Peace
- 9 What the Latvians Thought and Felt
- 10 THE LATVIAN SPIRIT MUST BE BROKEN!
- 11 On the Night of June 14, 1941
- 12 To the Siberian Tundra
- 13 The Cheka
- 14 Victims Found in Baltezers
- 15 IN A COMMON GRAVE
- 16 BUT THEIR BLOOD SPEAKS
- 17 Too Many to be Counted
- 18 34,250 people
- 19 References
- 20 External links
The reprinting of Baigais Gads (Latvia: Year of Horror) is not only laudable and welcome, it is also necessary. This book deals with a turning point in Latvian history which must not remain hidden. Latvia: Year of Horror was the first (1942) and, at this moment, the only full documentation of the horrible events of 1940. It offers a precise witness of that time in Latvian history. It is an historical documentation of the now all-but-forgotten events in Latvia of that horrible summer of 1940. It is a period of time filled with tragedy. A manipulation of historical events to suit today's needs is not allowable. These are the facts! Latvia: Year of Horror, an historical, unexpurgated publication, not adhering to any political fashion or line, has the blessing of God. These are the plain facts. There are no grounds to consider it anti-Semitic literature.
--Rev. Karlis Zuika Introduction: Earth's juices were flowing into new shoots and buds. Spring's life strove to release its forces into summer's harvest.
Suddenly, in the spring of 1940, destruction opened its gates. The Latvian land was awash with poison. It was absorbed into the soil and saturated the air. Bloody vapours darkened the sun so that a newborn child would absorb it breast-feeding it with his mother's milk, a wife would lose the strength of her hands and her virtue, a man in his maturity would dry up and his honour and strength of spirit would become a rotten wood, unable to sprout or even support its own weight.
The hand of man wants to erect a monument to an extinguished life, and this life itself leaves footprints among the living. However, those who intend to destroy do so to the very end so that not even a stone will witness where and how great this destroyed life was. For where the roads of torture are washed with blood and ruins, not even one witness, whose blood was spilt, remains to testify.
Such has been the fate of the Latvian nation.
What form of depravity was able to hoard such poison and pour it over the Latvian land? Everyone attacking his victim from a hiding place is a villain. Anyone stabbing a living being in the back in the darkness of night must be called a murderer. However, there is no suitable name to describe the demonic power which left behind skeletons and ruins. Likewise, no name can be found for all that nightmarish existence which transends the limits of human conscience and understanding. For the horror, bloodlust and destruction which this atrocious power possessed, humanity had not sensed nor seen the like before. Martyrs and exiles are silent.
The torture ends with death. The painful moans are heard in heaven, but the wrongs inflicted, the humiliation and shame, that cry from the mouths of the dead in their dark burial places will never be silenced. Their blood will forever yearn for retribution and earth itself, while hiding their remains, will not be silent, until justice, nature and God will have atoned for the pain, both spiritual and physical, suffered by the humiliated and disarmed Latvian nation in its hour of crisis and torment in 1940!
The ground opened up. It brought forth the victims with their undisguised horror and the depth of their hideous sufferings which the perpetrators of Latvia's year of horror had tried to hide. The lips of the dead are silent. They cannot move to speak of the abyss of inhumanity, beside which the Latvian nation stood, destined for annihilation. The images and testimonies left by this sad era shall speak for themselves and the words spoken by them calling for justice shall never fade from the consciousness of the Latvian nation.
Latvia is a small nation hugging the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Its land mass is roughly the size of the state of West Virginia or the Republic of Ireland. Long ruled by Russia, its sturdy and independence-minded people achieved their freedom in 1918. The Latvian language is among the most ancient Indo-European languages still extant. In 1938, the population of Latvia was 1.49-million. Riga, the capital, had a population of 392,926. Lumber and farm products, especially dairy, were the bedrock of the Latvian economy in the 1930s.
In republishing Latvia: Year of Horror, we seek to right a wrong. As the years go by, World War II, at least as it is recorded in the Hollywood version that most people know -- movies, television docudramas and talk shows -- is the story of the Holocaust, the suffering of the Jews. Geopolitical considerations of the times or the brave role played by the soldiers of many lands are largely forgotten. Ask any teenager how many Jews died in World War ii and you'll likely get the answer: "It's said 6-million." Ask how many American, British or Canadian soldiers died and the youth's eyes are likely to glass over. That's not something he was ever taught. In the years immediately after the War, in the 1940s, the 1950s, and the 1960s, popular entertainment focussed on the great battles, escapes, or personalities in movies like Sink the Bismark. While most movies had a determinedly pro-Allied slant, as might be expected, the German soldiers and even the Japanese, in movies such as Tora! Tora! Tora!, received a grudging respect.
However, by the 1980s, there was a new and more bitter thrust. Gone were the battles, the generals, and the war stories, often glorifying the deeds of the Allies. Now came a barrage of movies, the best known being Schindler's List, whose major theme was the suffering of the Jews.
Indeed, the sufferings of the Jews has so come to dominate the political agenda that, by the late 1990s, more than 54 years after the end of hostilities, ancient East Europeans are harassed and stripped of their citizenship in countries like the U.S.A and Canada for having servied on the losing side in that war. The World Jewish Congress, enlisting powerful U.S. allies, brought the Swiss banks to their knees and extracted billions of dollars in compensation for suddenly remembered bank accounts left there by those who might have perished in the Jewish Holocaust. Other nations are soon to be targetted and German firms are busy paying recompense to aged forced labourers.
War War II was an immense and largely fratricidal conflict. Many peoples suffered cruelly. The purpose of republishing Latvia: Year of Horror is to shed light on the sufferings of others, all too soon consigned to the memory hole by the Western media, dominated as it is by Jewish interests, that seem utterly fixated on the travails of just their co-religionists. Latvia: Year of Horror is a cri du coeur written the year after the horrific Soviet invasion of Latvia. Other people too suffered deportations and genocide. Among these were millions of Volksdeutsche -- Germans living in the East-- , Estonians, Lithuanians, and others. This study focuses on the sufferings of the Latvians.
What was the last Hollywood movie or docudrama you saw on the Latvian holocaust? Can you remember the first? Similar questions might be asked about Hollywood's strange silence on the sufferings of the Lithuanians, Hungarians, Estonians, Volksdeutsche, Ukrainians and many others. This publication, we hope, will go a small way toward filling this information gap.
Another issue that needs clarifcation is the role of Jews -- not all Jews -- in the betrayal of Latvia. Hollywood history too often makes Nazi hostility toward Jews seem like some form of dementia, unreasoning hatred.
Perhaps, some of it was. However, the resentment and hostility felt by many Latvians and other East Europeans flowed not from some dementia or some weakness before the power of Nazi public relations. It flowed from their own bitter experience. In his introduction to the reprinting of Baigais Gads (Latvia: Year of Horror) , Rev. Karlis Zuika emphasizes: "This book must not be considered as an invitation to radical action or a condemnation of any nation, as a people. ... These are the plain facts." Hostility toward Jews after 1941 flowed from the fact that many -- not all -- had proved themselves to be a hostile and treacherous communist fifth column only too eager to betray, rob, torture, and murder their fellow citizens in Latvia. Thus, when the Nazis decided to round up and intern this hostile element, many Latvian saw this as a reasonable position and co-operated. That, of course, is not the sort of fact presented in the standard Hollywood fare. Not knowing these facts leaves a major gap in any student of World War II's understanding. The reasons for Latvian hostility toward many Jews, of course, in no way excuses massacre or atrocities.
Writing in the Toronto Sun (December 13, 1998), foreign affairs expert Eric Margolis explained: "The predominance of Jews among Bolshevik leaders, and the frightful crimes and cruelty inflicted by Stalin's CHEKA on [the] Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland, led the victims of Red Terror to blame the Jewish people for both communism and their sufferings. As a direct result, during the subsequent Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, the region's innocent Jews became the target of ferocious revenge by Ukrainians, Balts and Poles."
In a previous column (Toronto Sun, January 25, 1996), Margolis had discussed the jailing for life in Latvia of retired KGB Maj.-Gen,. Alfons Noviks, known as "The Great Slaughterer". He was 87. Wrote Margolis:
"Other surviving members of Stalin's secret police are equally aged. These monsters still deserve the same Draconian punishment given to elderly Nazis. There must be no statute of limitation on mass murder. That's because this century's greatest killer has not been war -- but Communist regimes. Communist governments have killed at least 65-million of their own citizens. Wars of all kinds caused 35.5-million deaths.
"Noviks was a senior CHEKIST, or Soviet NKVD secret policeman during the USSR's annexation of Latvia in 1940. He supervized the mass deportation of 120,000 Latvians to Stalin's Siberian death camps, as well as the interrogation and torture of thousands of victims. ... By some estimates, from 1940-45, 8-10 per cent of Latvians died icy deaths in Siberia or were shot by the NKVD."
Why are there no trials in the West for those who perpetrated these horrors? Why is there not even a border watch for some of these aged communists to , at least, deny them entry into Western countries? There are, of course, such border watches for many former Nazis. Why the silence? The Latvians murdered by communism cry out for fairness, for justice and for remembrance. In some small way that is what this book is all about.
On June 15/16, 1940, many Latvians had gathered to attend the song festival in Daugavpils. This was to be the last such festival for free Latvians for almost half a century. The attack by Stalin's communists on the night of June 14, 1940 was the prelude to Latvia's road of suffering. The orgy of bloodshed had begun. On this night, the "great Eastern neighbour" -- the Soviet Union -- after a silence of 23 years, took the first step in the dance of death on Latvian soil. Their invasion was their calling card and showed how the Bolsheviks betrayed their commitments undertaken in the Mutual Assitance Pact of 1939.
The son of border guard Purins died in hospital from fatal injuries. Border guard Cimosko died with Beizaks. Forty-three border guards and nearby residents who tried to save the burning quarters were seized by the invading communists and taken across the border as prisoners.
These events took place at the very time that the Bolshevik press proclaimed: "The Soviet Union has maintained and continues to maintain a policy that is beneficial and to the highest degree pro-Latvian."
The cynicism and bestiality shown by Soviet rule seemed unbelievable. The hypocrisy and falsification of truth were incomprehensible. Yet, they did happen. The official announcements by the Latvian Government protesting the invasion had no effect. Moscow proceeded according to plan for the invasion and annexation of Latvia. These plans werre thorough and far-reaching.
On the morning of June 17th, Latvia was overrun by the armed hordes of Communist Russia. Many of the invading troops were Asiatic units who could, thus, not speak to the victims.
View from the central market on the afternoon of June 17th, 1940.
... But from the underground, sensing ideological allies in the Bolsheviks, there arose "the oppressed masses" groups of hooligans, criminals, vagabonds, and many Jews, "the Chosen People", to welcome the invaders and to attack the police as they tried to maintain order in the streets packed with the invading Soviet soldiers.
The Red Army arrived "to assure the realization of the USSR and Latvia's mutual assistance pact," embraced and protected the pro-communist rioters. [illustration centre of the page]. Thus. the Soviets demonstrated who deserved their "mutual assistance". It was not the Latvian nation at large.
Grimly silent, Latvians on the sidewalks were watching a real life drama, about which no one at the time could sense the horrific outcome of the final act.
After the dispersal of the mob, the area of the railroad station and around polcie headquarters was littered with rocks hurled by the communist rioters.
The Latvian institutions, not yet familiar with the practices of the Bolshevik invaders, attempted to enforce the laws of the land, in the belief that those who had incited the riot should be charge and punished. This was a bitter delusion. The Soviet Embassy explained that it was satisfied with the manner in which the Red Army's arrival in Riga had been welcomed! The names of the hooligans charged for rioting indicate their mostly Jewish origin -- Genech Kreiness, David Goldberg, Heim Klackin, Grigory Varuskin, Abramy Gemjanov, etc.
All these events were legitimized, A new government took power on orders from Moscow. The duly constituted Latvian Government was replaced.
Demonstrators requested and got the legalization of the Latvian Communist Party.
The master of ceremonies of all events planned by Moscow, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union comrade Vishinski [at left] greeted the "friendly" demonstrators and stated his belief that, in the future, the Soviet and Latvian flags would fly side by side. The future would reveal this to be a barefaced lie and would expose the cynical intentions behind this statement. On June 21st, workers were forcibly driven out into the streets to participate in a "demonstration of joy" to hail, with many enthusiastic Jews, their own future murderers. The Soviet power, already having taken under its wing the crowd of hooligans, now released prisoners guilty of illegal political activities. Sadly, it did not occur to the new puppet government that the USSR would establish its "pro-Latvian policy" with the aid of enemies of the state! This coerced demonstration in Riga was a forerunner of future manufactured "support" for the planned implementation of Soviet power.
The prisoners and crowd of Jews were of one mind: the Soviets in power were their real friends. The Soviet Embassy on Anthony Street was the den where the local hirelings fulfilled Moscow's plans. The masses had no notion of their contents. Many even opined -- as did many gullable people in the West -- that, in its 23 years of existence, communism had changed for the better.
The largely Jewish crowd cheered the speaker addressing the crowd. Their "roaring cheers for the liberators" became understandable only later.
Everything proceeded according to plan. All interested in the destruction of the state of Latvia and of the Latvian nation and the ruin of its values had now met and joined arms. The team of destroyers was now in place. With forces unified, the destruction of the existing system, order and values could begin. A fearless hand stabbed in the back the nation's greatest and best organized guard and support: the Latvian Army was to be bolshevized. This task was entrusted to largely Jewish hands.
He had been a soldier in the Latvian Army in the Courland Division, labour -- that is, punishment or military prisoner -- commando in Liepaja. He had been arrested for subversive activities. With the arrival of the Bolsheviks, this criminal was promoted to the rank of "politruk" (political commisar) in the Artillery Division. He is seen wearing the uniform of a Latvian Army officer.
Frequently, they had criminals pasts and were promoted at once to the ranks of captain or colonel. The first and essential condition of their appointment was that the army must not be apolitical.
The work of destruction continued feverishly. It was necessary to falsify the wishes of the nation in order to ratonalize actions to which no one with common sense would agree. On July 15/16, in elections for the Saeima, the Parliament, the people were compelled to vote for only one existing slate and were forcibly driven to the polls. Afterwards, holders of passports that did not have a stamp indicating they had participated in the voting, were considered to be traitors. Propaganda signs in Russian and such coercive methods left no doubt about the purpose, persistance and relentlessness of Bolshevik intentions.
There the destiny of Latvia was to be decided and the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was founded.
Official statistics show that, in spite of coercion of the voting process, a significant number of voters abstained. Therefore, the new Soviet rulers announced that participation in the election had been nearly 100% of the electorate. The new members of the Saeina, elected as they were in forced and staged elections, now took the next step of high treason and resolved to approve the annexation of Latvia to the Soviet Union. Prof. Kirchensteins, the new president-in-waiting, undertook the task of begging Moscow for mercy to realize this goal. This was done. All obstacles to Bolshevik plans had been removed. The real meaning of these events was best expressed in the rejoicing of so many Jews. For the Latvian nation, the hardest moments of awareness and a crucial test of its very existance had arrived.
In Moscow, the long planned sequence of events reached its conclusion. The Latvian nation had been dragged to a threshold, the crossing of which was designed to erase it from the registry of nations forever!
It was no secret what the result of Prof. Kirchensteins' trip would be. This was to be the last act in a masterfully directed drama. It was to prove to the world that the Latvian nation "ardently wishes to join the family of other nations in the Soviet Union." The request to incorporate Latvia into the Soviet Union was in the hands of the press on the day of Kirchensteins' arrival in Moscow. However, Moscow already knew what it wanted and what was to be done. Jews request the annexation of Latvia to the Soviet Union Everything proceeded as planned. On August 5th, the fate of Latvia was sealed. The State of Latvia Ceases to Exist On August 5th
The following day, large numbers of Jews in Latvia again rejoiced, and their joy was unrestrained. However, Latvians driven into the streets to join in "gratitude" demonstrations were grim-faced. As of this moment, they had lost their free will, and their destiny was completely in Moscow's hands. There was only one road left open to the Latvian nation -- to close ranks and with heads proudly raised, inspired by love and loyalty for the land of their fathers, to resist and meet the fate of martyrs.
This man, to make believable the grossly falsified will of the Latvian people, hypocritically lied: "The workers of Latvia suffered from unemployment and lived in hunger. ... Every attempt to gain human subsistance and rights and to determine their own future, they paid for with suffering and torment, with incarceration of their best sons and daughters in prison and forced labour camps. ... Only the inclusion into the U.S.S.R. assures real independence, development of industry, agriculture, the blossoming of real national culture, brilliant and powerful rise of material and cultural well being. ..." [As George Orwell would write in his novel about Stalinism 1984, is the communist world peace is war, freedom is slavery.]
Already operational was the Institute of Police Assistance Service "P.D." With few exceptions, this was comprised of the dregs of society: thieves, burglars, cheats. This institution eventually became the People's Militia. Many Jews and hardened criminals were entrusted with the organization and supervision of these institutions.
The duties of the police were assumed by the newly founded People's Militia, although their prime task was not to fight crime. This concept lost its meaning when criminals were released from prisons, and the leadership of security establishments was handed over to them. The militiamen had mastered shooting, in the event they had to face their own countrymen. Hardly able to read or write, they controlled identity documents in search of enemies of the new regime. These were considered to be anyone decently attired or intelligent looking.,
Workers received arms and founded Workers' Guards. Among them were women, there on the understanding they would not flinch when executing their duties.
To justify the existence of this armed guard, the Bolsheviks invented horror stories aboout sabotage. The guards were guarding the factories against imaginary ghosts.
In those few weeks was hidden the most horrible villainy of Bolshevik cynicism. From the very first days of the occupation rule, word spread like wildfire of the first wave of arrests. The prisons, emptied of recidivists, criminals, Bolshevik agents, subversives, spies and illegals, quickly filled with Latvian patriots. Former Latvian policemen were arrested for attempts to maintain order during the largely Jewish-incited riots in city streets Every other Latvian who wore a uniform was arrested -- soldiers, border guards, home guards, -- or those who were in a supervisory position in the former government offices as well as judges who ruled in accordance with the prevailing law, and finally those who openly and proudly announced their affiliation to the Latvian nation. Ironically, at the same time, the Bolsheviks proclaimed the equality and brotherhood of nations. Unrest and agitation among the people grew. The nation, confused and shaken by events arranged by cynical and coldblooded minds, was facing an uncertain future and sensed the presence of danger. The occupation power was fighting the distrust and hatred of the nation. There would be no reprisals, the puppet regime promised! That had to be repeated again and again, not because this power attempted to establish and secure authority and regain the lost trust, but rather it exploited the existing and freshly and deliberately provoked antagonisms to arrive at its real goal: To Destroy "Harmful elements". These elements These elements were the whole independence-minded Latvian nation.
"There shall be no reprisals." These words encompass the oldest Bolshevik lie, their most horrible deeds perpetrated during the year of their rule. Words seemingly expressing trust and forgiveness hid the real intent of the Bolsheviks -- the destruction of the Latvian nation. When a year later, the ground opened up and the corpses disclosed the truth, it was more horrible than aything anyone had imagined or feared. On the 26th International Bolshevik Youth Day, Latvians were again coerced. Students were ordered out into the streets. The Bolsheviks had to prove to the world that the nation and especially the youth understood and loved the new era and that they "freely and without coercion rejoiced in the establishment of Soviet power." Compulsory demonstrations were the best method to create this falsified effect.
Although new slogans and ever louder promises issued forth, nobody believed them anymore. Not one farmer believed that Latvian agriculture would be saved from the fate of the collectivized farms in the Soviet Union. The farmers gave up. They sensed the future. So, the Bolsheviks had to lie to mask their plans as much as possible. The Minister of Agriculture lied gladly. Latvian farmers' suspicions proved correct: farms were subdivided to give farmworkers 10 hectares of land each, and minimal livestock to ensure that the new farmers would not thrive. This was the transition period to kolkhoz (collective) farms. Thus, 10,140 farmers were robbed of their land and livestock.
Quickly and deliberately, according to plans from Moscow, the poison of Bolshevism was fed into the flesh of the nation. More and more the spirit of the nation's life and vitality was threatened. Next to the screaming agitation which paralyzed people in demonstrations, the Bolsheviks used widespread and colourful signs and newspaper articles to feed their ideas into schools and places of higher education, even the University of Latvia. Youth everywhere, the healthiest and most positive rsource of a nation, were subjected to these pernicious ideas. New "sciences" , hitherto unknown on Latvia, were created -- a Chair of Marxism-Leninism. The facultries of thology and philosophy were closed, the staff fired and arrested. As new replacements were hired, their only qualifications were diplomas from the "Red Professorship Institute." This institution prepared special instructors for the dissemination of Bolshevik ideas.. Often these "professors" had problems with written material, but qualifications were based on the length of membership in the Communist Party and on the number of years spent in prisons. These men were chosen to be the new educators and leaders of Latvian youth. Apart from the foregoing innovations, the Latvian Communist Youth Alliance was created with the task to Bolshevize the Latvian youth. To be successful, it had to mar the spirit of youth from childhood -- by having them join the Pioneer organization The wave of contradictions, lies and exploitation also swept over factory and office workers. Now they were to work according to impractical plans, goals, and targets, that could never be achieved. The stakhanov movement created an artificial fever for raising production quotas, competitions between factories and firms to improve efficiency. This was a method to falsely mirror the wishes of the workers, compelling them often to work double time, instead of eight hours. This cruel shock movement drained and totally exploited the energy of the workers. Simultaneously, to spiritually destroy the people, the Bolsheviks undermined the support of the nation's economic and material life.. Despositers lost their life's savings in banks and credit unions.. This most of all hurt the small and thirfty working man, To add to the misery, houses were repossessed, industry and transportation was nationalized, the farmers' land was taken for the collectives, and tradesmen's tools, equipment, and apartment furnishings were also nationalized. Ironically, this entire programme was called "a fight for a better future, a fight for the ideals of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin." The tentacles of Bolsehvism had the flesh of the nation firmly in their grip. Only one result was forseeable -- spiritual helplessness and dullness, physical weakness and overexertion, preconditions firstly for slavery and then an animal-like existence.
Out on the Streets! Out on the Streets! Out on the Streets!
Demonstrations! Demonstrations! Demonstrations!
Such was the characteristic trademark of the Bolshevik era: shoutd slogans, marches of communist supporters, the tread of thousands of feet had to proclaim how to commemoratre the day when the Dictatorship of the Proletariat was born, a day that promised paradise on earth.
In reality, these marches, slogan shouting, and parades had to try to drown out the noise of a life collapsing in ruins from Bolshevik poison and lies. The reality was an indictment of the Soviet occupation that had transformed life on earth in Latvia into a hell.
Come wintertime, everybody was surprised by the new agitation method: Ads in newspapers invited people to a Labour Exchange to fill innumerable vacancies and new jobs positions available.
January 12, 1941 was a day when Latvians were compelled to do what they did not want to -- to vote for the deputies of the U.S.S.R. Higher Council (the Soviet "parliament" where, of course, there would be only one name, a communist, on the ballot). In addition to existing methods of driving out the voters, the Bolsheviks invented a new one, so-called "persuasion at home."
Bolshevik agents visited individual flats and apartments, then ordered in all residents to assemble in order to convince and explain to them the significance of the elections. It is not necessary to note that among the keenest visitors to these meetings were pro-communist Latvian Jews. When this method was not suitable, it was replaced by meetings in factories and at work, where the only visitors often were housewives and children.
Elections generally, under communism, one of the most underhanded and falsified methods of gauging the people's will and conviction, on this occasion were engineered especially carefully. Everyone had to verify in advance that his name was on the register of the electorate. It was obligatory to vote. If one lacked the stamp in one's identity documents indicating that one had voted, one was liable to the risk of being classified as a "saboteur". As always in this terrible time, Jews assumed key leadership roles. On January 8th, 1941, the newspaper Cima wrote: "Who wishes the Latvian nation (!) the fortune of peaceful life, the joy of labour and new creation, the conviction of safety for self and family, and welfare for the nation, shall vote for the Bolshevik Party, for the candidate of the communistic and independent bloc." But there were no other candidates.! It was not possible to abstain. The inevitable results were clear! What was not clear was to what extent this farce would ensure the safety of the Latvian nation and its families.
A few months passed and the mask of hypocrisy began to drop. The malignant, bloodthirsty cynical face of Bolshevism was revealed. There was no longer any need to hide. All the harm that could be inflicted on the live flesh of the nation had been done. The nation was disarmed, morally degraded, and blindly subjugated. Now could begin the preparations for annihilation. The will of the nation was again falsified. The workers "demanded death" for the so-called "murderers", those police officers who, while on duty during the Soviet invasion of June 17, 1940, had mainained order in the streets against the Bolshevik mobs. These "workers' resolutions" occurred in the following manner. When workers announced that their desire to do certain assignments at the rate of "shock tempo" or when they "unanimously demanded the highest degree of punishment for the bloodthirsty [police] hounds", the procedure was always the same. A representative from the Party or the Union arrived at the factory with a prepared resolution, read it aloud at a meeting of workers and asked if anyone opposed it. People who had seen relatives and friends arrested on the slimmest of suspicion, grimly stayed silent. This meant the resolution was "passed unanimously!"
It is tyrannical to murder, but at worse is it to press a knife in the hand of one nation against its will for the purpose of killing its own countrymen. That was how the Bolsheviks acted. Their sadism took a form and there is not one more despicable: their method of falsifying a nation's will revealed a degree of callousness that few will want to forgive or forget.
IT WAS CLEAR TO THE NATION WHAT OTHERS ARRESTED HAD TO EXPECT
We Stand for Peace
Subjected to Bolshevism by force, the Latvians were coerced to take upon themselves "the fulfillment of proud duty to the motherland -- the Soviet Union." Latvian youths were doomed to be recruited into the Red Army.
A sign at the registration office proclaimed: "We stand for peace, but we are able to respond to the blows of warmongers." At a colourfully decorated Red Army recruitment office Communist agents lectured recruits on how dangerous to the Soviet Union was the "capitalist siege". [below] At one time, even the Baltic States [with a combined population of fewer than 5-million!] "threatened" the borders of the USSR. It was no secret that the Soviet Union, while professing peace, was secretly preparing for war. The Baltic States offered a favourable base for an attack on Germany, and now -- in an irony of fate -- it came the turn of Baltic youths to hand over their lives to the hated Bolshevik occupiers.
Special attention was paid to Latvian youth. They had to become "true Bolsheviks". Pioneer -- young communist -- units were formed. MOPRA, a Red assistance organization was legalized. The Komsomol (Young Communist League) was organized, with the goal of preparing future candidates for the Communist Party. Tensions existed in classrooms. If any of the the pupils did not join the Pioneers, the communist educators considered their parents to be enemies of the socialist state. To be an "enemy of the state" was to put oneself in grave danger. With clenched teeth, many parents suppressed their opinions and silently observed their children joining the bearers of "New Culture". The historical Riga Castle was renamed the Pioneer Castle. While children in their innocent naivete enjoyed their youthful pleasures, their fathers disappeared from their homes, from their places of employment often without a trace. For silent were the corridors of the CHEKA (the NKVD or Soviet Security Police). There was silence behind the closed doors of the prison cells. Silent were the employees of the CHEKA and the guards, and silent too were the few who, by a miracle, were able to return from the CHEKA prisons to civilian life.
The communists focussed all the skill and ability of their propaganda machine on unending demonstrations, complete with blaring signs and chanted slogans. The motley colours, exaggerated sizes of signs, and the artificial and blaring volume and noise on the one hand sought to drown out the deep indignation, anger, despair and hatred hidden yet smouldering in the nation' and, on the other hand, sought to cover the misdeeds and outrages flowing from the commands and orders of the new conquerors.. In this respect, the May Day celebrations in Riga reached a pinnacle.
People, tired from endless marches, grew indifferent. Worn out from continual social competitions and long working hours, people grew indifferent to the outside world. The communists sought to demoralize the spirit of the Latvian nation and strangle it.
The intentions of largely Jewish agitators, shown on the left, sought to subject the masses to delusions andfalsehoods. To this end, the propaganda plumbed new depths of wild exaggeration.
Street decorations were erected at every communist celebration. Means of transportation -- streetcars and buses -- were mobilized. Plastered with signs and slogans are buses carrying soldiers. They drove along the streets urging out the vote. -- abstaining was not possible -- to elect the nation's "best sons and daughters for the attainment of a bright and sunny future." The buildings and and offices of communist organizations were constantly covered with new signs, converting typically cleanly Latvian streets into a Jewish motley mess. Considerably more resources and labour were spent on propaganda than on all other cultural activities. That's what government statistics showed.
Communist operatives and their spies infiltrated every group of people and travelled to the farthest corners of the land. Apart from ordinary meetings for the general public, meetings were called in factories and businesses so that Bolshevik agitators could preach to the workers the "just cause of Marx-Engel-Lenin-Stalin."
In some places, special commandos were organized to enlighten those "still remaining in fascistic darkness."
These were calculated to impress people with the might of Bolshevik technology and their "concern and limitless possibilities for improving the welfare of the workers." Yet, at the same time, the people were coerced and egged on with imflammatory words to sign agreements to compete and raise productivity levels. Quantity not quality mattered. Even if the product was useless, the goal must be met.
The walls of factories and businesses were covered with graphs and plans, not understood by many. The Latvian worker did his job. A Jewish director monitored him to see that he filled his quota. When, after work, the stressed and exhausted worker was, according to propaganda instructions, beckoned to the Red Corner, naturally he didn't want to attend. This corner of devotion for Stalin and the Party became the object of sarcastic remarks and the butt of innumerable jokes. As well there were " bulletin board newspapers", the assembly of which required much time and effort. They were read only by the Jewish censors The purpose of the bulletin board was the creation of discord and betrayal, which are the primary supports for communist and Jewish power. The bulletin board papers openly and sharply criticized "undesirable occurrences and persons" in the factory, business or institution. There were people who took advantage of this opportunity to settle old scores or to try to get ahead by denouncing others.
Starting with the first day of the invasion, the communists sought to promote the "heights of culture" and hinted that it would be brought to Latvia, a "culturally retarded" land. The new Russian cultural forms quickly swamped Latvia.
The serious deportment of soldiers in any other army would preclude such "cultural" clowning.
To pledge friendship to Soviet nations, the designated heavyweights of Latvian literature -- Andrejs Upitis, Vilis Lacis, and Janis Niedra -- donned Tajikistan morning gowns. This took place when thousands of Latvian sons and daughters were being deported.
"Do not believe in God. Do not believe in yourself. Do not believe in good or evil! Rise against everything and yourself, for then shall you leave the fortune of equality. For then shall you be easily dominated and enslaved..Therefore, will you become like animals for your spirit shall be broken." This was the hidden intent of the mostly Jewish manipulators. While Latvians had to endure the communist cynicism forced upon them, while people were set against one another, while churchgoers were persecuted and gravestones desecrated in the name of communism's proclaimed "religious freedom", the Jews continued to practise undisturbed their religion and traditions, for this "freedom" did not apply to them.
"The most democratic constitution in the world," Stalin's constitution said it allowed unlimited freedom of religion. However, the communists organized anti-religious displays and museums. Soon after the arrival of the communists, all the methods tried and tested in the Soviet Union were introduced in Latvia, albeit unsuccessfully: The churches remained crowded!
At the same time, the judicial conscience of the nation suffered a heavy blow, when, with the creation of "people's courts", men with no education in the law and often with no education at all, became judges. Caretakers, servants, cab drivers -- of what quality could their judgments be? How many innocents did they condemn under the pressure of blind power and their own ignorance?
The Jews in a demonstration were the first to demand land for farmworkers. Jews never did any farming in Latvia. Jews also, when confiscating farm machinery, were the ones to instruct the new owners in its use. This was a burning insult hurled into the farmers' faces. The results of such instructions by the inexperienced Jews were as absurd and disastrous as anything in the Bolshevik system. The fields were harrowed before ploughing! The farm machinery broke and fell useless.
On July 19, 1940, newspapers reported that "six Hebrew citizens" wished to organize a piece of land on which to build a collective farm. Unrest among the farmers was calmed by an announcement in the press by a bigwig named Spure that collective farms (kolkhozi) were not in the plans -- "There shall be no kolkhozi!" What a consolation to the suspicious independent farmer so that he would not hide seed and would not hesitate to plant his fields. However, the farmers did not believe the assurances and they were not mistaken in their skepticism. Forgetting all their promises, in the spring of 1941, the Soviet power, with no hesitation, assembled the first collective farm. State-run farms (sovhozi) already existed. No effort was spared to degrade Latvian agriculture down to the level where Soviet agriculture was after 23 years of existence.
What remained was the physical destruction of the nation. The oppressive invaders made careful preparations.
What the Latvians Thought and Felt
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.
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.
Dissatisfaction and the spirit of resistance were manifested everywhere.
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.
Disregarding the damage, these ballots were later used to round up the percentage of voters taking part. 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.
THE LATVIAN SPIRIT MUST BE BROKEN!
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. SILENT WITNESSES 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!
On the Night of June 14, 1941
On this night, Latvians discovered fully the fate assigned to them. On this night, they recognized the real face of communism. Women, children, the aged -- none was spared. On this night, the Soviets arrested the cream of Latvian families, delivered them to railroad stations, and, in cross-barred cattle cars, shipped them to the Soviet Union. Thus, on this night alone, 14,693 of Latvia's best sons and daughters were torn from the heart of the nation. With these horrible deportations, Latvians entered the worst stage of their tribulations and sufferings.
FEW PHOTOGRAPHS WERE TAKEN TO SHOW THE CONDITIONS DURING THE DEPORTATIONS OF LATVIANS. RAILWAY CARS AT OGRE STATION
CHEKISTS forbad relatives to give the deportees food, drinking water or warm clothing.
THE DOOR IS CLOSED
The unfortunate deportees for the last few moments gaze at a country many will never see again. The armed CHEKA guards take care of security. How could women, children and old people put up any resistance? What threat did the communists see in Latvian men armed only with a nationalistic spirit and a determination to endure?
To the Siberian Tundra
A few, who at the last moment discovered the terrifying communist plans, escaped and went into hiding.
LATVIANS, DO NOT FORGET! Everyone who went through this door of the CHEKA lived through the most terrible fear, and the worst torture and suffering. For many Latvians unable to escape, who did not know how to hide from the Bolsheviks' bloody clutches, life ended behind these doors.
"The most democratic constitution in the world", the constitution of Stalin, "the Father of Nations and of Working People", guaranteed that "Latvia's future would be happy and sunny." Thousands of Latvians endured a bloody and pain-filled night, where death was the only deliverance. HOW THE CHEKA WORKED If the CHEKA intended to destroy anyone, it requested that material for that purpose be found; that is, fabricated.
Special reports were ordered for the gathering of incriminating information on people under suspicion. The CHEKA kept a special file on each one of them. If one institution did not have the needed material, they were borrowed from another.
THE LATVIANS WERE PERSECUTED FROM THE FIRST DAYS OF THE COMMUNIST RULE
Particulars and directions on persons to be watched, searched or arrested were delivered to the CHEKA by a carefully organized network of informers, spies and agents. However, the most valuable service came from trustworthy men, planted in offices and working places.
Here everything was provided for the killers: wooden padding on the walls to protect the walls from bullets. The door was covered with soft material to deaden the sound of the gunshots. The floor was concrete to facilitate the rinsing away of the victims' blood. Those unfortunates who entered this room left as corpses.
The walls were covered with special covreings to prevent them being splattered with the blood of the victims. The corner of the cell had a drain for blood. After each execution, the cell was hosed down in preparation for the next killing. In one groove near the drain, 240 bullets were found. How many had been washed down the drain?
The Killers and their Victims
Interior NKVD, later State Security Commisar S. Sustins. [ left] Interior Commisar A. Noviks, Sustins' successor. [center] Moses Citrons, CHEKA director in Daugavpils. His salary was 900 rubles per month -- three times the going rate for doctors. Whom did he cure? [right]
THEIR BLOOD CRIES TO HEAVEN!
During the night, the corpses of those shot were taken outside Riga for secret burial.
THE GROUND OPENED UP!
Freed from the bloody yoke, in July, 1941, when the German armies drove out the Soviet communists, the Latvian ground began to reveal its dreadful secrets.. It revealed much of what the communists had tried to hide behind barred windows, barbed wire fences, in prison basements, and in their own secretive brains.
THE EARTH REVEALED LATVIA'S YEAR OF HORROR!
Victims Found in Baltezers
Great care was needed to bury with appropriate honours the martyrs who had died for their country. Many had been robbed before their deaths, their shoes removed. Many had been stripped of their clothing. However, even more had had their human appearance removed. Many were scarcely recognizable. They had been disfigured by blows. Their faces were contorted and transformed by indignities after death.
Who could be threatened by these unfortunate, tortured, exhausted people?
In 23 years, since their bloody start in 1917, the communists had not changed. The scene of the opened mass grave was similar to those uncovered in 1919, after the first Bolshevik invasion of Latvia.
At the time when the walls of basements muffled the screams of martyrs, when shots in the night extinguished many lives.
The big wigs saw no evil. From left: members of the Supreme Council -- V. Lacis, Party Secretary Z. Spure and the president of the puppet government Prof. Kirchensteins take part in the Bolshevik celebrations. In the vicinity of Riga, numerous gravesites of shooting victims were found. Each contained 10-30 corpses, sometimes more. Such sites were found in Bikermieki, Preilini and other places. How many such graves of those cruelly murdered were and still are hidden beneath Latvian soil? The names of many of those buried in these graves are not known and the fates of innumerable people who just disappeared cannot be traced even today.
At the start of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik terror intensified, reaching the level of open slaughter. The most horrible fate befell Latvian soldiers. The ones deemed politically unreliable were dismissed from the service. As they departed from the station, they were lured into a trap and summarily shot.
"For offences committed by Frankevics, Gedimins, son of Sigismunds, due to their severity, and according to USSR Penal Code, paragraph 18.58.9 application -- the highest degree of punishment. He is sentenced to be shot with the confiscation of all personal property." This short text signalled the extinction of the life of a young man and cut another branch from the Latvian nation's tree of life. .
The contusions to the head are mute witnesses to the torture he endured before the deliverance of death. See - There They Are! The start of the war drove the bloodthirsty oppressors off Latvian soil. Not having had enough time to destroy the Latvian nation and sensing the end of their rule approaching, the Bolsheviks brutally settled accounts with their victims -- the prisoners in the Central Prison, helpless, unfortunate, unable to resist.
Layer of earth. Only a couple of feet of earth covered the corpses of prisoners shot and carelessly thrown into the pit.
IN A COMMON GRAVE
Many of those who had disappeared were relentlessly but futilely sought by their relatives, only to be found in these graves, silenced forever.
BUT THEIR BLOOD SPEAKS
And it can relate more powerfully than any words. The unearthed victims, after they were disrobed and washed, were identified by close examination.
All that remains of many lives and lifetimes dedicated to the country.
The relatives of those shot and lost without a trace are searching for their kin among the corpses in the yard of the Central Prison.
It is receipt by an officer of the CHEKA to the prison administration stating that 62 prisoners condemned to death had been received. "I received the 62 arrested persons." Apparently, now the names did not matter, only the number. The numbers received equalled the numbers shot.
This death sentence erased the lives of 78 people, who, as noted in the register above, were arrested for "counter-revolutionary activities." Noted among the counter-revolutionary offences meriting punishment by death were:
- "Sang Latvian folk songs."
- "On May 1st, abstained from singing 'The Internationale.'"
- "Came from a family of rich farmers."
- "Exploited other working people."
- "Was hiding in the forest."
- "During air raid, he stayed in cemetary."
- "Was a member of a student organization."
- "Was a member of Mazpulks (youth organization)."
- "Was a policeman."
- "Was decorated with Lacplesis Order (a military order)"
- "While in the latvian Army, he fought against Bolshevism."
- "Was of anti-Bolshevik disposition."
- "Ignored Red Army soldiers."
- "Criticized Communist Party."
- "Was adjutant to Presiodent."
- "Incited hate against other nations."
Too Many to be Counted
Whoever knew him alive would not recognize him after death. The CHEKA took care of that.
ALL THAT IS LEFT OF THEM
THEIR OFFENCE? -- THEIR POSITIONS THEIR GREATEST TRANSGRESSION? -- SERVING THEIR COUNTRY ROW BY ROW, HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS
Smashed skulls and mutilated faces, open distorted mouths -- everything testifies to the terrible suffering that victims had to endure during the last days and hours before death.
It was not possible to determine the identity of many victims ONLY A FEW VERY LUCKY ONES WERE ABLE TO SAVE THEMSELVES FROM THE FATE OF THE REST
The reason for his arrest, Brokans said: "The Germans had downed 400 Bolshevik planes and will be here in two weeks." A few days passed and Riga was liberated. However, on June 26th, Brokans received a death sentence. Only a miracle saved him. As the German forces neared Riga, the Bolshevik terror became indescribable. Street announcements carried messages announcing arrests. When common mass graves were opened, it was noted that among those executed there was not a single Jew. When retreating from Liepaja, even while in a hurry, the Bolsheviks dealt with their prisoners.
The three persons shot to death were all members of one family. Their "offence" was that in front of their apartment a white piece of cloth had been found. The motivation for sentencing them to death: the cloth was alleged to be a signal to German planes.
"Yesterday and today for counterrevolutionary activity -- acts of subversion, terror, signalling the enemy, etc., several persons were arrested. Among them were Lukins Miervaldis, son of Janis; Rainics Nikolajs, sone of George; Kagans Jazeps, son of Abrams; Cuibe Arnolds, son of Janis, and others. All those arrested received the death sentence and were shot. Anybody discovered supporting the enemy and betraying the motherland will receive like treatment. "I appeal to the working people of Riga to be helpful in detection of hostile elements." -- The Commander of the Riga Garrison Lieutenant General Safranov 1941, June 27th
The row of persons shot in Valmiera. THE MURDEROUS LUNACY OF THE BOLSHEVIKS RAGED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
SO ENDED THE ERA OF THE RULE OF THE BOLSHEVIK SUBHUMANS
Those who did not feel safe as they were troubled by a guilty conscience joined the Bolsheviks fleeing East. However, military opreations were faster. Many Jewish refugees and Bolshevik supporters were apprehended.
SUCH WAS THE BEGINNING ... AND THE END
All that the Latvians received from Bolshevik rule, besides promises of "freedom, brotherhood and equality" of a happy life and a sunny future, was