Peters Traces His RootsOctober, 1994
Our visits to the old homesteads complete, we head for Aluksne. Up the hill to our left, the local church peeks out through the half-fallen autumn foliage.
The skies darken, and it begins to rain. An hour or so later, after several wrong turns all caused by bad directions, we arrive at Aluksne's cemetery. My mom, Laura, and Gaida, head through the main gates, in search of my grandmother's brother. My aunt Laura wasn't quite sure where his gravesite was, and it took us about twenty minutes to find it. Then, there it was, a red granite monument erected by the Communist party:
1905 GADA. REVOLUCIJAS DALIBNIEKS ALUKSNE
NOSAUTS 1905 18XII
PARTICIPANT IN THE REVOLUTION OF 1905 IN ALUKSNE
SHOT DECEMBER 18 1905
Killed by the Communists, and now, dying in their cause. The same thing happened with a relative of my godfather after W.W.II - 30 years after his death, a new red-granite monument extolled his self-sacrifice for the proletariat cause. The victor may write the history books, but rarely, if ever, has history been rewritten on such a scale. The Baltics, Russia and all its provinces, and all of Eastern Europe, none were immune. Lots of Russians still believe the propaganda, even long for the "good old days." Fortunately that's changing, slowly. Who were these armies of people who perpetrated this crime against history? After a while, did they start to believe it all? The sheer scale boggles the mind.
There's nothing special about my relatives, to be so singled out. Imagine the bureaucracy needed to do this, invading the lives of hundreds of millions of people? Truly a tragic waste.