The Story of Latvia—A Historical SurveyArveds Švābe. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1949

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THE LAST ACT OF THE BALTIC TRAGEDY
«IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH».

Germany declared war on Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941, and a few weeks later the Red Army was ousted from the Baltic countries. Baltic guerilla units fought against the Russians because they hoped that the Germans would restore independent Baltic States or at least do away with the Bolshevik measures in economic and other fields and because during the one year of Soviet occupation the Russians had deported or murdered 131,500 Balts. They were bitterly disappointed. The Baltic countries and white Ruthenia were turned into a new German province, the so-called Ostland, ruled by German commissars. The Nazis changed but little the Soviet administrative and economic system.

In 1943 and 1944, 150,000 Latvians and Estonians were drafted for service in the so-called Volunteer Legions, These units had nothing in common with the German SS regiments and fought only on the Eastern Front. Underground resistance movements sprung up, and Himmler's police deported, interned into concentration camps and murdered 40.000 Balts and 88.000 Latvian Jews.

The Red Army reoccupied most of the Baltic territory in 1944, while a part of Courland was held by Latvian and German units up to the day of Germany's capitulation on May, 8,1945. Retreating Germans applied the "scorched-earth policy" in the Baltic countries. About 30,000 Balts escaped to Sweden, while 199,000, fearing Bolshevik terrorism, went, or were deported to Germany. In re-occupied Baltic countries, the Russian interned all civilians in the so-called filtration (screening) camps from where tens of thousands were deported to Russia, while others were temporarily released.

The postwar policy of the Bolsheviks in the Baltic countries is that of Russianization, pauperization and annihilation through deportations of the local inhabitants and sovietization of all walks of life.

Despite everything, the Baltic nations have not lost faith in a free future of their countries. Their hopes are enhanced because their present fate is shared by 8 more European countries and constitutes an unavertable challenge to the western civilization: "To be or not to be".

 

Stalin's and Hitler's friendship, sealed on August 23, 1939, ended by June 22, 1941. Two days after the declaration of war, the German Army marched into Faunas and Wilno. By July 1st the Red Army had been driven out of Riga. Within a Week, the Baltic area was liberated from the 2nd Russian occupation. As early as the first day of the Russo-German war, uprisings of Baltic patriots took place in all three Baltic republics, and the German troops, knowing that the area behind the fighting lines was safe, could march rapidly eastwards along the main traffic highways. The Baltic attitude can well be understood considering that within a year the Bolsheviks had murdered or deported 131,500 Balts.

The statement which, on instructions of v. Ribbentropp, the German Am­bassador to Moscow, von Schulenburg, handed to Molotov on June 21st, read inter alia as follows: § 3. In the diplomatic and military fields it became obvious that the U.S.S.R. - contrary to the declaration made at the conclu­sion of the treaties that she did not wish to Bolshevize and annex the coun­tries falling within her sphere of influence - was intent on pushing her military might westward wherever it seemed possible and on carrying Bolshe­vism further into Europe. The action of the U.S.S.R. against the Baltic States, Finland, and Rumania showed this clearly".

Many Balts therefore naively hoped that Germany would restore the inde­pendence of their countries or at least rescind the Bolshevik nationalization decrees. As early as June 23rd, Lithuanian patriots had seized the Kaunas radio station and the governmental buildings in which the provisional Lithua­nian Government, headed by J. Ambrazevicius, commenced its activities. Similar uprisings took place in Wilno, Siauliai and elsewhere. The revolt cost the lives of some 4,000 Lithuanian partisans. Guerilla battles against the retreating Red Army also took place in Latvia and Estonia, and for a few days the Riga radio could announce to the world that Latvia was again free from occupants. Arrangements were made for setting up Latvian army and home-guard units, and the formation of a provisional government was negotiated.

However, as early as July 17, the Gauleiter of Schleswig-Holstein, H. Lohse, was appointed Reich Commissar of a new German province, the so-called Ostland, with headquarters in Riga. Subordinate to him were the commissars general in Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, and also Minsk, as not only the Baltic countries, but also White Ruthenia was included in the Ostland. The policy pursued by Lohse was determined by the Baltic German Alfred Rosenberg and his Ministry for Eastern Affairs in Berlin. The Nuremberg trial revealed Rosenberg's plans to move the Baits to Russia and to settle Germans in the vacated areas.

The German occupation began. Russian commissars were replaced by German, the NKVD was superseded by the Gestapo and the SD, the Arbeitsamt succeeded the Labour Commissariat, etc. The German civilian admini­stration consisted in Latvia alone of 17,800 German and their families. These Germans received two or three times as large food rations as the "indigenous people", and had at their disposal the abandoned Russian stocks of clothing and footwear. The names of streets, institutions and commercial and indu­strial establishments were changed, but the Bolshevik-introduced agencies and methods, and the economic system were retained. Ideologically, the two totalitarian systems were twins. Among other things this was reflected in the fact that the Nazis permitted the reopening of the Bolshevik-closed Faculties of Theology in Riga and Tartu as late as 1943.

The Bolshevik-nationalized land, houses, banks and business enterprises were declared property of the Reich, ostensibly because they were German war booty. The Russian Gosbank (State Bank) was replaced by the German Notenbank Ostland which issued the so-called East-Marks. Industrial and commercial enterprises were managed by specially created German corpora­tions. Textile mills, for example, were managed by the Ostland Faser company. Farmers were formally only managers of their farms and were required to pay high taxes and surrender to the occupation authorities most of their farm produce at ridiculously low prices. Only when the end of the German occupa­tion drew near, was a small portion (6 percent in Lithuania, 12 percent in Estonia and 24 percent in Latvia) of the Bolshevik-confiscated farms restored - with much ceremony - to their rightful owners. The remaining land was held by a German company, Landwirtschafts Gesellschaft Ostland, for future distribution among German soldiers.

Workers were not allowed to change employment, and several thousands were sent to Germany for compulsory labour. In 1943 and 1944, by Hitler's order and in violation of the Hague Convention of 1907, 28 annual classes, totalling 150,000 men, were drafted in Latvia and Estonia for service in the so-called Volunteer Legions. Officers had been drafted by individual summons as early as 1942. The aforesaid legions had nothing in common with the German SS-units, the Army of the Party, and they fought only on the Eastern Front. In 1944, also pupils of secondary schools, boys and girls, were mobilized for service in the German Labour Service or the auxiliary air-defense units. The press, radio, theatres, and concerts were controlled by the German SD. As a result of these conditions, a vast resistance movement, led partly by the Latvian political parties, flared up. It had a press of its own and, in the final phase of the German occupation of Courland, special military units which repeatedly fought against the German forces. Himmler's police grimly persecuted these patriots. About 40,000 Balts were interned in concentration camps at Stutthof near Danzig (6,500 Latvians), Dachau near Munich, Flossenburg and others. Several thousands of the internees were murdered. The Nazis also murdered or depor­ted some 88,000 Latvian Jews. As an outcome of the Russian and German mismanagement, the area of arable land in Latvia had decreased by 30.000 hectares by the beginning of 1943; the decline in livestock was as follows: cattle - 188,000 heads, horses - 14,000, hogs - 342,000, and sheep - 515,000.

During the initial phase of the Russo-German war, large units of the Russian Army surrendered en bloc to the Germans without putting up a real fight. They hoped that the Nazis would do away with the kolkhozes, restore private farms and give freedom to the Bolshevik-oppressed non­Russian peoples - the White Ruthenians, the Ukrainians, the Tartars and the Caucasians. As the Balts, they were bitterly disappointed. The Nazi political leadership was as criminal-minded and dunder-headed as the German soldier was brave. The Russian P.O.Ws were treated as slaves and died by the millions. Guerilla movement flared up in the occupied areas of Russia, as the Germans not only engaged in looting and arson, but also sadistically exterminated peaceful inhabitants. Soon simple Russian soldiers would say: "The Germans are smart indeed, but their smartness is stupidity all the same." An unparalleled surge of patriotic feeling among the Russians was the result which the Bolshevik Party skilfully utilized for its ends.

When the 6th Germany Army met defeat at Stalingrad in 1943, it was clear that the German Drang nach Osten was a thing of the past and that now was to commence the Drang nach Westen predicted years ago by philo­sopher Oswald Spengler, and led by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Bolsheviks. Early in 1944 the Red Army reached the Estonian border, on April 2nd it invaded Rumania and on September 4th - Bulgaria; Finland capitulated on September 19th, and on September 29th the Russians marched into Yugoslavia. After the Allied landing in France on June 6th and the Polish rising in Warsaw on August 1st it was not difficult to foresee the final outcome of the war.

On July 13th the Russians took Wilno, on July 27th - Siauliai, and in a surprise thrust reached Jelgava, the capital of Courland, penetrating via Tukums as far as the Gulf of Riga, thus temporarily cutting land communica­tions between German units in eastern Latvia, and Germany. In August, the fighting lines had reached central Vidzeme. On October 13th, Riga fell. On January 17th, 1945 the Red Army took Warsaw, on February 13th - Budapest, on March 30th - Danzig, on April 13th Vienna and on April 30th also Berlin. Only the 19th Division of the Latvian Legion, together with German crack units, continued a desperate fight in the "Courland bridgehead fortress". Germany's capitulation on May 9th forced even these last anti-Bolshevik fighters to lay down arms and surrender to the Russians. A number of the legionaries took to the forests. Together with Estonian and Lithuanian partisans they go on fighting against the occupants even today. Latvian prisoners of war were deported for slave labour to Caucasus, Turkestan and Siberia. In the re-occupied Baltic areas, civilians were interned into the so-called filtration camps. They were kept there for months in conditions unworthy of human beings, until they were either deported, drafted for service in the Red Army or temporarily released. The Russian screening units were particularly ruthless in Courland; all inhabitants over the age of 12 were subject to long hearings and thereupon sent wholesale to Siberia. Of the 60,000 inhabitants of Liepaja alone, 70 freight cars (with 80 Latvians in each) were sent to Russia. About 50 percent of Latvian citizens residing in the small paper-industry town of Sloka whose inhabitants practically consisted of workers were deported.

When the German Army retreated from the Baltic area in 1944, it followed there the "scorched-earth" policy. Everything was subject to wrecking, dynamiting and looting. Even churches, schools and private buildings were not spared. Under the Russian and German fire, Jelgava, the old Ducal metropolis, Daugavpils, the capital of Latgale, and many small towns were turned into a heap of ashes and ruins. In regions where fighting had taken place, entire rural communes were devastated. The last act of the Baltic tragedy "In the Shadow of Death" commenced. Chased from their homes, separated from their mobilized breadwinners, fearing the Red Terror, pushed and persecuted by the German occupation authorities, people of all social groups and occupations, irrespective of their religious and political beliefs, left for a forced or voluntary exile in Germany. About 199,000 Balts, of whom a half were Latvians, including about 15,000 ex-soldiers of the 15th Latvian Division and other units who had surrendered to the British or Ameri­cans, reached the western zones of Germany. Persecuted by German and Russian naval and air forces, several thousands found a wet grave in the Baltic Sea, while some 30,000 Balts escaped to Sweden.

On September 24, 1941, at an inter-Allied conference in London, Russia, represented by M. Maiski, endorsed the Atlantic Charter. He stated: "The Soviet Union defends the right of every nation to the independence and terri­torial integrity of its country, and its right to establish such a social order and to choose such a form of government as it deems opportune and necessary for the better promotion of its economic and cultural prosperity." The same was asserted by M. Litvinov on January 1,1942 in Washington, when he signed the United Nations Statement in the name of the Soviet Union. The third time we find the same noble principles of the Atlantic Charter in another binding instrument, the twenty-year Mutual Assistance Pact between the Soviet Union and Great Britain, signed on May 26,1942 by V. Molotov and A. Eden. "Both Powers will", it said, ";resist aggression in the postwar period, they will act in accordance with the two principles of not seeking territorial aggrandizement for themselves and of non-inter­ference in the internal affairs of other States."

For the Soviet Union, all these nice words were just a means to fool the public opinion in the United States in order that Russia may receive from America war materials, including 14,000 planes, 7,500 tanks, 333,000 lorries, for a total value of 10 billion dollars under the Lend-Lease Agreement signed on July 11,1942. With a bitter feeling of irony, the Baltic patriots watched how Russian motorized units, equipped with American tanks and trucks, occupied the Baltic countries in the summer of 1944, although Washington condemned the annexation of Baltic States in 1940 and refuses to recognise even today. Churchill's government, on the other hand, when it signed the Mutual Assistance Pact with the Bolsheviks, recognised de facto the annex­ation of the Baltic countries. In other words, Great Britain recognised that Russia had the right to expand its territory in 1940 by incorporating Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to sovietize these countries and to force upon them the Bolshevik system of parliament and government. Stalin had made no secret of it, announcing 25 days before the conclusion of the Russo-British pact that the Red Army "intends to liberate the Soviet fatherland and our brothers in the Ukraine, Moldavia, White Ruthenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Carelia". By this declaration he reaffirmed his claim to the legality of the annexation of 1940. These hypocritical statements served the Soviet statesmen to lull the vigilance of the Western Democracies when Russia occupied Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland and other countries. At the end of the war, the Soviet Union had annexed more than 260,000 squ. miles of foreign territory with a total of 23 million inhabitants. Gradually it lowered the Iron Curtain on eleven former capitals in Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Adriatic Sea, achieving an effective control over 300 million people. At the same time, the 6 million members of the Russian Bolshevik Party, although only 3 percent of the population of Soviet Russia, imposed Moscow's orders on 12.5 million communists in other countries.

To enhance patriotic feeling and increase the political weight of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Supreme Council, amending the Constitution of 1936, on February 1,1944, granted, formally to all 16 federated republics, but in practise only to the Baltic Soviet republics, the Ukraine and White Ruthenia, the right to maintain diplomatic relations with foreign countries. On the basis of this decision the Ukraine and White Ruthenia were admitted to the membership of the United Nations, while the Foreign Ministers of the three Soviet Baltic Republics were sent in July 1946 to the Paris Peace Conference where of the 21 countries represented, none outside the Slav block recognised them as members of Baltic governments. There also are nominally Baltic, Russian-headed military units; however, they are stationed on the coasts of the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific, while the Baltic area has Siberian and Mongolian garrisons.

A. Vishinsky has described the Soviet regime as "dictatorial democracy". It certainly is not the dictatorship of the proletariat as preached by Marxism, but a dictatorship of the 14 members of the Political Bureau (including 11 Russians and 3 Caucasians) and the autocracy of political police. The Party is a centralized hierarchy of bureaucrats which consumes 65 percent of the national income. In "plutocratic" Latvia, the relation between the lowest and highest salaries of civil servants was 1:10-12, in "democratic" Russia the same relation is 1:80-100. A director of a plant or trust has a salary which exceeds 50-60 times that of an unskilled worker who earns 200-300 rubles a month, while qualified workers receive 450 rubles monthly. After the deduction of taxes and "voluntary contributions" of various types, the monthly earnings of a worker suffice to buy 1 kilogram of butter or a pair of shoes which in 1947 cost 288 rubles while the price of men's suits is 450 rubles. In order to buy a kilogram of rye bread, a Soviet worker must work 1 hour and 8 minutes, and a Swedish worker only 19 minutes, to earn a litre of milk one needs 2 hours and 19 minutes in Russia and only 10 minutes in Sweden, to buy a men's suit a Soviet worker must work 117 hours, a British only 24 hours, etc. As a result, no other country in Europe has so many beggars as the Soviet Union. After the re-occupation of the Baltic countries, crowds of them moved west in order to plunder and loot the homes of the Baltic "bourgeois" whom the Soviet authorities did not bother to protect. What a contrast between the Russian "bag-men", clad in tatters and rags, and a Party Secretary, a Police Chief or an Army General with golden epaulettes reminiscent of the Tsarist times, and a monthly salary of 30,000 rubles !

The indigence of the Soviet citizen is not a result of World War II. It is a permanent peace-time phenomenon. A comparison. of a few statistical data on economic conditions in Russia and Latvia suffices to make this clear to every one. In 1938 Latvia had for every 100 inhabitants 20 horses, 61 heads of cattle, 41 hogs and 68 sheep, while in Soviet Russia the corres­ponding figures were 10, 37, 18 and 60 respectively. In the same year Latvia produced per head of population 85 kilograms of meat, 835 kg milk, 15 kg butter, 1.3 kg wool, and 12,7 flax fibre. In the Soviet Union the figures were 21,170,0.8, 1.2 and 3.4 respectively. Although Latvia's population was 85 times smaller than Russia's, the former exported 19,221 metric tons of butter, the latter only 14,662 tons. In 1937, there were in Latvia 1 bicycle for every 40 inhabitants and 1 domestically-made radio receiver per 100 inhabitants, in Russia there was 1 bicycle per 440 and one receiving set per 850 inhabi­tants. Floor space per inhabitant was in Riga (in 1939) 9 squ. metres, but in the Soviet Union, despite the publicized 5-Year building plans less than 4 squ. metres. Per inhabitant, 78 kg of cement were made in Latvia and 34 kg in Russia, 63 kg of bricks in Latvia and 51 kg in Russia. Although the circulation of Soviet propaganda publications reaches millions of copies and such publications were practically non-existent in Latvia, the paper consump­tion in kilograms per inhabitant was in 1937-38 as follows: in Latvia - newsprint - 4.2, books 1.9, commerce and industry - 7.3, while in Russia the corresponding figures were 1.2, 0.6, and 2.6 respectively. Hence, the Latvians used for newspapers 3.5 times more and for books 3 times more paper than the Russians. Despite mendacious allegations to the contrary, the Baltic countries have justified their secession from Russia in 1918 by their economic and cultural development in the following 20 years. The three Baltic countries with a total of 6 million inhabitants, had 0.5 percent of the world trade, while vast Russia with 170 million inhabitants only 1.1 percent. Now, when the Baltic countries are occupied by Russia, their exports are lost for the world trade.

All the achievements in the Baltic countries were the result of strenuous work, private enterprise and a free economic system, unaided by foreign loans and rich natural resources. It is not a mere coincidence that the Baltic countries had the highest percentage of gainfully employed population in Europe (Lithuania 67 percent, Latvia 64 and Estonia 63), also ranking above the "fatherland of all working people", the Soviet Union (57 percent). Under the Russian Tsars (in 1897), only 39 percent of rural inhabitants were landowners, but after the Agrarian Reform, as devised by the Constituent Assembly, 77 percent of all rural inhabitants in Latvia were smallholders and only 23 percent landless (in 1930).

The Bolsheviks knew well that a social pattern with an overwhelming majority of owners of private property will always be hostile to the Soviet regime and the dictatorship of the Communist Party. When the Bolsheviks occupied the Baltic countries in 1940, their first task was therefore to expropriate property, whatever its type, with a view to pauperizing and proletarizing the population. A new land reform was carried out. All farms whose area exceeded 30 hectares were to be divided among the landless. The number of such farms was 39,800 and their aggregate area 1,885,300 hectares or 42 percent of all former farmers' land. In their stead were set up, on paper, 70,000 dead-born new farms (10 hectares each) which received no aid in the form of credits, equipment or building material. It was clear to anyone that this reform was just a propaganda move and that the Bolshe­viks would not tolerate individual farms, since in Russia 94 percent of all farms were collectivized by 1938. The German invasion put a stop to the realization of further Russian plans. They were however taken up in 1944-45 when the Baltic area was occupied for the third time by Soviet Russia.

The first 4 kolkhozes (i.e. collective farms) were established in Latvia in the winter of 1946-47 with a total area of 1,000 hectares. The Soviet authorities gave these kolkhozes whatever aid they could. By September 1, 1947, the number of Latvian kolkhozes had grown to 16, by January 1,1948 to 49 and by May 1,1949 to 3800, including 80 percent of all Latvian farmers. The average area of a kolkhoze is 300 hectares. The yield per man is so low that 4.6 workers are needed for every 10 hectares of land, while in independent Latvia 10 hectares were handled by 1.7 workers. In return for his work, the kolkhoze farmer receives 2 to 10 rubles a day plus a few kilograms of grain or potatoes. His average earning is 3.5 lower than that of an American farmer. These starvation earnings in the kolkhozes are due not only to the low work yield, but also to high management cost, excessive operation expenses (about 25 percent of the harvest) of the Machine and Tractor Stations and taxes in kind collected for Russia's benefit. A kolkhoze farmer may retain as his own a kitchen-garden of 0.25-0.6 hectares, 1-2 cows, 2 calfs, 1 hog and 10 goats or sheep, but not one horse. A kolkhoze is essentially the same feudal manor with its statute work and serfdom as it existed in the Baltic area before the reforms of the 1860's. The only difference is that now the land of this manor is tilled with tractors and harvesters. According to a decree of the Soviet Government, dated July 7,1948, no kolkhoze member may leave the kolkhoze or change his residence without a special permit. This means that serfdom is re-established even formally in the Soviet Union.

Although no one is compelled under the law to join a kolkhoze, the Party and the police bring a increasingly growing pressure to bear upon the indi­vidual farmers ("kulaks" in the Soviet terminology), threatening to denounce them as saboteurs and traitors. Driven to despair, many farmers burn their farms, take to the woods and join the partisans. People of more passive character, intimidated by the incessant deportations, clench their teeth and "voluntarily" join the kolkhoze. Another means of compulsion used to bring about this result is the Soviet taxation system. For instance : the annual income from a farm with 7 hectares of arable land, 3 cows and 2 horses is fixed by the Soviet authorities to 20,000-25,000 rubles, 75 percent of which is confiscated as taxes. Certain amounts of grain, milk, meat, wool, flax, etc. must be surrendered to the Government at ridiculously low prices. These amounts are fixed in utter disregard of the production capacity of individual farms. In order to compel farmers to sell their horses to the kolkhozes, the former are imposed exorbitant taxes on their horses. Having lost his horse, the farmer is dependent on the good will of the near-by horse-and-tractor lending station which for a high cost plows the land of the "kulak" and harvests his crop, if all kolkhoze work is completed. Moreover, each winter every woman in a farm must cut 16 cubic metres and every man 30 cubic metres of wood; in addition, 60 cubic metres of wood materials for each horse must be carted to a prescribed place from where the wood is shipped to Russia. There is a variety of other statute work for road maintenance and fortifications. Police and Party officials see to it that the farmers actually comply with the aforementioned tax, delivery and statute work requirements. Non-compliance is prosecuted as sabotage. If the sentence is heavier than 1 year of hard labour, the convict is deported to the slave camps in Russia where, according to the report of the British Assistant Foreign Secretary Mayhew to the Social Commission of the United Nations Organisation in October 1948, about 15 millions of Soviet citizens are kept in conditions which would be too bad even for cattle.

Although disrupting the erstwhile first-rate agriculture of the Baltic states, collectivization is being speeded up for purely political reasons - in order to annihilate a class which is opposed to the Bolshevik dictatorship, by making of economically independent smallholders rural proletarians and rightless statute workers. The Soviet regime with its iconas of Party leaders and sanctified and hallowed "Brief Course of the Party" which every Soviet citizen is obliged to know by heart is organically repugnant to the critical mind of the Balts after the 20 years of independence under the sun of western civilization.

The Kremlin potentates know this well enough and regard with undisguised suspicion not only Baltic farmers but also the seemingly loyal local commu­nists. It will be remembered that in the 1937 purge, in Moscow alone of 16,000 Latvian communists 13,000 were liquidated or given hard-labour sentences. Although some of the posts of People's Commissars, now styled Ministers, are occupied by Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian Bolsheviks, the latter have no real power, and for lack of other work write novels or earn their 30,000 rubles a month by lauding and thanking in addresses and writings their masters in the Kremlin. The people who really rule the Baltic countries now are the Russian Assistant Ministers, party secretaries, directors of plants and trusts, and chiefs of public and secret police. In the 10th Congress of the Latvian Bolshevik Party in Riga in January 1949 participated 489 delegates representing 31,000 Party members (at the time of the 9th congress there were only 2,800 Party members) or 1.5 percent of the Latvian population. The classification of the 489 delegates according to their racial origin and social status is illuminating: civil servants - 55 percent, factory workers - 38 percent and only 7 percent farmers. Of all the delegates, only 53 percent were Latvians. This shows that Soviet Latvia is a typical country of govern­ment officials, all leading functionaries of which, moreover, are Russians.

A significant ideological change took place in the Bolshevik Party during the war: the merger of the totalitarian communism with the Russian impe­rialism of the Tsarist era. The result is now the ruthless russification of the racial minorities and their physical extermination. In the schools, press, radio, theatres, literature, art and science, everything Russian is being extolled ad nauseam and western civilization is being belittled. In the non-Russian republics the teaching of Russian in the elementary schools has been intensified, and Russian works, in the original language or translations are commencing to predominate in the programmes of publishing houses and entertainment. What can and what cannot be sung, played, read, written or painted in Tallinn, Riga and Kaunas is decided by the Kremlin. Without speaking of the mental sciences which, as a matter of fact, do not exist in the Soviet Union as understood in the western countries, even representatives of the natural and technical sciences must periodically appear before the Heresy Court of the Party and are publicly accused of non-compliance with Lenin's and Stalin's doctrines. If their penitence, and promises to do better are not considered sufficient, the accused are expelled from the universities or institutes.

In 1941 the Russians deported 131,500 Balts, but the filtration commissions of 1944-45 exiled from the Baltic countries 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants. Open wholesale deportations have been reported now, and every night hundreds of peoples disappear, taken away by the Political Police. According to unofficial reports. 3,000 to 5,000 Balts are being deported every month from each of the Baltic countries. These countries are freed of their inhabitants formally in a legal way: by notices of draft for labour service, as every ministry in Moscow (their number lies between 30 and 40) has the right to demand manpower from the "sister republics" for road building, work in mines, and plants, and may draft men up to the age of 64 and women - up to 55 years.

For the same purpose, the children of "kulaks", in the age of 14-17, are recruited for training in special factory and labour reserve schools and, upon graduation, sent to Russia. Every 100 rural inhabitants (between the ages of 14 to 55) must provide for this labour service two boys. According to the 1948 plan, a total of 1.1 million youths were to be drafted for this service in all of the Soviet Union. Entire sea-coast regions where fortifications are being built have been cleaned of Baltic fishermen and farmers by deporting them to the islands on the Pacific coast. Wifes of husbands who live in exile or have been deported to Russia are compelled to sue for divorce, and thereupon they are forced to marry Russians and Mongolians who are being systematically imported for colonization purposes. These foreigners are given Latvian names and Latvian documents (citizenship) in order that, in the case of a possible plebiscite under international control, they provide the necessary majority for a final decision of the fate of the Baltic States.

Thus, for eight years, especially after 1944, everything is done in order to scatter three civilized nations of Western Europe - the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians - all over the numerous slave camps beyond the Polar Circle, in Turkestan, Kazakstan and the Far East.

And still, despite everything, at the 30th annual turn of our national inde­pendence and in the most tragic phase of our national history we have not lost faith in the victory of the divine justice over might. God's mill mills slow but good. Never before in its history has Russian imperialism subjugated under its uncontrolled domination so many free nations as today. We are no longer just 6 million Balts, now our number has grown by more than 100 millions, as 8 more countries, situated between the Arctic Ocean and the Adriatic Sea, have become our allies. In 1939 they all were free, now they are Kremlin's satellites. Therefore we can say that the number of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians is small, but their cause is great, since it is a question of world conscience and an unavertable challenge to the entire western civilization:

"To be or not to be".

...Timeline...Exiles' Calendar 1947Latviesu Trimdinieka Kalendars 1947 (The Latvian Exile's Calendar 1947). Complete facsimile (Latvian) and poetry translations; published in the D.P. camps, 1947 Fischbach Song FestivalDziesmu Diena Fišbachā (Fischbach Song Festival), Kārlis Puriņš. Viktors Puriņš. 1948. Latvians in the Displaced Persons camps of Fischbach and Märzfeld in Nuremberg and environs gather to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the First Latvian Song Festival. Album of 24 pictures, with foreword by composer and Fischbach DP camp elder Jēkabs Poruks. European Unification and LatviaEiropas apvienošanās kustība un mēs (The European unification movement and us), Modris Gulbis, 1948. The necessity of a European Union to the welfare of the European continent and to Latvia Anna Dārziņa Post Card SetLatvian folk costumes, Anna Dāŗziņa. Esslingen DP Camp, Jānis Liepiņš, ca. 1949. Artist Anna Dāŗziņa's illustrations of Latvian folk costumes. Set of 18 postcards. Pīrāgi & GalertsLatviska un Moderna Virtuve (The Latvian and Modern Kitchen), Fischbach D.P. Camp, Germany, 1949. Traditional Latvian recipes, excerpts and translations The Story of LatviaThe Story of Latvia—A Historical Survey. Arveds Švābe. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1949. Švābe's concise history of Latvia, from the Balts inhabiting what is today western Russia through the continuation of Soviet occupation into the post-WWII era. First USA Song FestivalThe First Latvian Song Festival in America, various, Chicago, 1953. Mixed choir participants' music. 21 songs, complete Festival of Lithuanian Art and MusicFestival of Lithuanian Art and Music, Washington, D.C., 1953. Lithuanian exile community celebrates the anniversary of Lithuania's original founding with art, a concert, and banquet in Washington, D.C. Festival program. Müürisepp's Soviet EstoniaEstonia, Wonderful Present—Marvellous Future, Aleksei Müürisepp. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Career apparatchik and then soon-to-be Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Алексей Александрович Мюрисеп waxes eloquently of life under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of propaganda booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Lācis' Soviet LatviaLatvia—Our Dream is Coming True, Vilis Lācis. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Popular author during Latvia's independence and Soviet sympathizer signing deportation orders sending families to frosty death, Vilis Lācis, writes of the materialization of Latvian dreams under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Abrene Fold-outAbrene Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Abrene women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out.
"The Story of Latvia-A Historical Survey" reproduced by permission.
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