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June 14, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the day when the Soviet occupation regime took as slaves for the Gulags more than 15,000 thousand Latvian people from our country. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of civilians including children, babies, were arbitrarily arrested through the Baltic States. The transportations to the Soviet Gulag, from which many never returned to their homelands, were sanctioned by US President Roosevelt and British warlord Winston Churchill.
The rail transport was either provided by the United States or was plunder taken from defeated Germany. Many of the trucks used in this iniquitous use of 20th Century slave labour were Studebaker trucks provided by the United States under it blank check Lend Lease Plan for Stalin’s benefit.
It must be said too that the vacuuming up of millions of residents to be used as slave labour occurred throughout the 21 nations handed over to dictator Josef Stalin’s Moscow-based regime.
Historian Janis Riekstiņš, State archive employee, writes:
‘The dispatch took place mainly after sorted signs, the authorities arrested those about which the news they claimed was about the counter-revolutionary action and anti-Soviet agitation’ as well as former citizens of the Republic of Latvia. Operation Priboi “Operation ‘Coastal Surf”.
Among the arrested there were many rural residents who were repressed mainly as members of the Latvian Defense Organisation. The expulsion of women, children, was justified by family head arrest.
The taken were imprisoned in various USSR Internal Affairs Commissioners Correctional Camps, where charges were initiated using prepared accusations, which were usually sent to confirm the USSR Internal Affairs Commissioner’s Special Discussion.
The accusations were mostly based on the ‘crimes’ that were intended in Article 58 of the KPFSR Criminal Code (mainly the so-called counter-revolutionary crimes committed during the Republic of Latvia, etc. anti-Soviet agitation in the first year of the Soviet occupation).
The death penalty was handed down to more than 690 Latvian people. Some of those arrested were sentenced to the highest penalty but perished in various circumstances even before the death penalty was fulfilled. More than 3,400 citizens of the Republic of Latvia arrested on June 14, 1941, died in prison.
According to December 9, 1948, the UN Convention on Genocide and Penalty for its deportation on 14 June 1941 can be reasonably considered genocide against the Latvian people.
May the suffering, the martyrdom and historical injustice of our nation be in the heart of today and tomorrow’s Latvian! May you give us strength and mind to be united! Living with a straight back, serving Latvia honestly!
‘The dead are dead only when we stop talking about them.’ ~ Irish proverb. NOTE: The peoples of Ireland were reduced in number by 50 per cent due to transportation, deportation, induced famine, harsh conditions, and slavery.
Don’t cry for me, dear mother,
Please father, dry your tears,
Oh yes, they took us far away,
Yet not our golden years.
The pasture moments spent with you,
When all we berns would wish to do,
Was sit beside you with your arm,
Protect us from all fear and harm.
Oh mother, never dwell on thoughts,
That cannot be put right,
And father dear, where e’er you are,
Our hearts still hold you tight,
Your love the ever open hearth,
Till soldiers tore us all apart,
The sin is theirs, not yours, nor mine,
Love will catch us, always thine.
Pity not the twinkling star,
Lament instead the Soviet star,
For bearers yet will see the day,
When they are taken far away,
To judgment past the sins of man,
Bear too the pain that marked our span,
Let them weep for what’s to come,
Long after all our hurt is done.
Poetry of Michael Walsh
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