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

A personal postscript...

Sixty-nine years have passed since "The Story of Latvia—A Historical Survey" was published. The Baltics are once again independent and members of the European community.

The Soviet Union is gone, yet, tragically, the Soviet mentality continues in Russia, still preoccupied with the Baltics, still insisting the Baltics joined the Soviet Union willingly and legally, still branding Baltic anti-Soviet heros as "anti-" anti-fascists, that is, Nazis. NKVD agents, freed from Latvian jails for health reasons after being convicted of sending Latvian women and children to their deaths in Siberia remain defiant and unrepentant:

You have to remember that the war was coming, and these people were not simple farmers.
They were spies, and they were dangerous.
—Mikhail Farbtukh, convicted for crimes against humanity

...and receive red carnations in their Riga apartment from the Russian government.

Germany has been held to account for Nazism, has admitted to its past and remains vigilant to insure that past never repeats again. Perhaps even too vigilant. Hindus have complained that their millennia-old use of the swastika is not a glorification of Nazism—neither is it in Latvia. Meanwhile, Russia remains unrepentant for the Soviet murder of tens of millions more under circumstances no less brutal. The Holocaust was unique in its premeditation and industrialization of death; yet the world forgets that in WWII the Jews of Hitler's Germany and conquered territories were not the only people packed in and ushered to their deaths in cattle cars.

Until the past is fully acknowledged and attoned for, and that era of history brought to closure, Arveds Švābe's question to moral world conscience, "To be, or not to be," remains unanswered, its urgency undimmed by the passage of time.

There is no victory over the Iron Curtain
if it is only the wall which has turned to dust.

Indeed, as Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea and eastern Urkaine demonstrates, authoritarian powers which fail to face their past honestly ultimately revisit it upon their neighbors.

"The Story of Latvia-A Historical Survey" reproduced by permission.
The Latvian National Foundation, Box 108, S-101 21 Stockholm, Sweden, retains all rights.

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