From: Baigais Gads: The Road of Torture (link)
WARNING: Graphic pictures of tortured and mutilated corpses
THE ROAD OF TORTURE …
ON WHICH WENT THOUSANDS OF LATVIANS
The hallway of Riga KGB, with cells
A solitary cell, one of the methods of torture. In such a cell it is impossible to stretch nor to sleep. Those arrested were first made exhausted in order to reduce their strength and resistance ability during questioning.
The yard of the KGB where sometimes the arrested were taken for a walk.
One of KGB cells. During the night there suddenly the shout was to be heard «Get up!» KGB men called the names of the arrested. The ones who were called were ordered to follow – along endless hallways they were led to a room.
THIS WAS THE SHOOTING GALLERY
Here care was taken about everything: in order that the shots did not ruin the walls they were covered with wood, the doors were covered with soft paneling – its well known how well it muffles the sound. The floors were covered with cement plates in order to more easily wash off the blood (left).
THOSE WHO ENTER THIS ROOM NEVER RETURN ALIVE FROM HERE
A scene in the shooting gallery
So that the blood of the martyrs did not spatter the walls, they were covered with special coated cloth. The blood ran away through a drain in the corner of the shooting gallery. After the horror job was committed, the room was rinsed for the next time. In this way in a groove surrounding the drain 240 bullets were later found and collected. How many were rinsed down the drain?
The drain in the corner of the shooting gallery.
ONE OF THOUSANDS: THE ROAD OF ONE LATVIAN
.. from life and freedom, along the KGB labyrinths, and to the death of a martyr.
Interior National Committee for the State Security, later the State Security Commissar S. Šustins. (Left)
Commissar of the Interior A. Noviks who took the office after Šustina. (Center)
Mozus Citrons, Daugavpils KGB doctor with a salary 900 rubles per month – three times the normal salary for doctors. For whom was he providing medical services? (Right)
A Yiddish woman, hired by the KGB for torture tasks
SO THEY LOOK THEMSELVES AND THESE ARE THEIR VICTIMS…
A victim of the Bolsheviks killed by the so-called Yiddish butchers’ «schochet’s» cut.
THEIR BLOOD SCREAMS TO THE SKIES
Top: a hanging carpet spattered with the blood of martyrs in the Riga KGB. During the night the shot people were delivered outside Riga in trucks to be interred. At the bottom: bloody tarpaulin found in the yard of the KGB with which were covered those to be led on their last path.
Student, Bruno Rungainis – one of the few who was lucky enough to get out of the death embraces of the KGB.
What could be told by those innumerable martyrs who are silenced for ever?
The testimony of the illiterate Yid, Gincburgs, on the subject of yanking off nails in the Daugavpils prison. (below)
The statement of Bruno Rungainis on his torture by the KGB.
THE GROUND OPENED UP!
A silent summer house in Baltezers … To here in closed cars armed KGB men were driving tens of Latvian patriots. Behind the fence of this summer house their road of torture came to an end.
Not far away from this summer house, among young trees filled with the sap of life, freshly dug earth shone dimly.
Liberated from the bloody yoke, on July 1941 the earth returned its secret. It opened very much on facts which the Bolsheviks were very carefully trying to hide behind barred windows, barbed wires, in cellars and in their minds.
Thrown criss-cross in a common pit in the garden of Baltezers summer house were lying shoot. The pit returned more and more new corps.
THE EARTH TOLD ABOUT
THE GHASTLY YEAR!
VICTIMS FOUND IN BALTEZERS
Helping the martyrs on their road to the other world in way honorable for humans required lot of attention and care.
Many were robbed prior to death – footwear was taken away, the clothes were pulled of. But for very many prior to death their human appearance was taken away – it was very difficult to recognize shapeless smashed faces with features changed by death sleep and earth.
The hands of many martyrs had been tightly tied behind their back. What could be endangered by those miserable, tormented, tired and exhausted people?
Corpses were freed from their clothing
In twenty-three years the Bolshevism had not changed. The graves of buried victims disclosed the same picture as in 1919 during the first invasion of the Bolsheviks into Latvia.
Lines of murdered in Baltezers
Latvians murdered at the Krustpils airport when the Bolsheviks were retreating.
More and more new graves gave up their victims: unearthed martyrs at the Krusta church in Riga.
The mortal remains of shot Latvians after examination in Dreilini.
But during the time while the walls of cellars were deadening the moans of thousands of martyrs, when gunshots in the night erased multiple lives, the men in power lived not badly at all.
From the left: the members of the Supreme Council V. Lacis, party secretary. Spure and the president of puppet government professor Kirchenšteins during a Bolshevik celebration.
Identification of corpses found in Biķernieki.
Within all the nearest surroundings of Riga were found pits with shooting victims. In each of them were 10 – 30 corpses or more. In Biķernieki were discovered new graves, in Dreiliņi more in another.
How many of such mass graves were hidden and still is hiding all unfortunate, befouled with severity Latvian land? The names of many who were found in the graves are not known, the destinies of countless others can not possibly be followed up even today.
The line of victims unearthed in Dreiliņi.
With the beginning of the German – Soviet Union war the terror of the Bolsheviks got even stronger, getting to open murder. A terrible fate befouled Latvian soldiers in the most severe way: those who were considered politically unreliable were pensioned off from the service. When they were leaving the location of their army units, they were treacherously lured into a trap and fusillade.
Balvi rural district, Vilis Lapinš, an unknown soldier and Peteris Krauja murdered on June 29, 1941.
Shot soldiers found nearby Litene camp – from the left: E. Vilkājs, J. Pinka, V. Leja, V. Tumaševics, A. Tumaševics.
An excerpt from the death sentence found of the murdered student Gedimins Frankevičs:
«For the crimes committed by Frankevičs Gedimins, son of Sigismunds, because of their gravity and on the basis of Articles 19 – 58 -9 of the Penal Code of the RSFSR the highest measure of punishment – shooting – shall be imposed, and also the confiscation of all of his personal property.»
This short text erased the life of a human and tear away from the nation a young and healthy branch.
The body of Gedimins Frankevičs: the badly-deformed head proved what paths of ordeal the Latvian martyrs had to walk until the death released them from the torture.
THEY ARE HERE
The beginning of the war was driving the bloody oppressors away from the Latvian land. Because they did not manage to destroy the Latvian nation and sensing the final hours of their power, the Bolsheviks were wildly massacring victims – Central Prison prisoners – helpless, unresisting, miserable people.
Unearthing of corps in a yard of Riga Central Prison
The layer of earth just couple feet thick was covering those prisoners shoot by Bolsheviks, who were lying there thrown each on the top of another in messy pails.
The earth returning victims
I n a c o m m o n p i t.
Many for whom their relatives were insistently and vainly searching and asking – many of them were in those pits, unable to tell their nation anything more.
B u t t h e i r b l o o d s p e a k s.
And they tell much more than all the most terrible words together.
Unearthed victims, after removal of their clothing and a washing, were attempted to be identified during a careful examination.
Always more and more victims.
Medical orderlies remove a victim from the common grave.
Lines of corps in the yard of Riga Central Prison.
All that was left from the vigorous power of many lifetimes and lives sacrificed for the fatherland.
Corpsmen bringing a victim out of the pit.
Lines of corpses in the yard of Riga’s Central Prison.
In the yard of the Central Prison
In this manner, on June 28, 1941, during the final hours of their power the Bolsheviks massacred the people locked up in the prisons.
Relatives of the shot and missing looking for their family members among corpses in the yard of the Central Prison.
To the left a document of sordid cynicism of Bolsheviks: a receipt about receiving people sentenced to the death issued to the administration of a prison by a KGB official with the following text: «Have received sixty two arrested people.» – As we can see the names of the people were not important, only the number. Those received by number also were shot by number.
The actual scope of Bolshevistic murderers certify the terrible resolution on the list of arrested written with red ink by Commissar of Internal Security Šustins: «Considering the social dangerousness, to shoot all» (in the bottom)
This decision of death erased lives of 78 people, who, as indicates the list on the top «were arrested for counterrevolution».
Here are the basis for the death penalties of Latvians shot because of counterrevolutionary activities:
“Sang Latvian folk songs.”
“Did not sing The Internationale on May 1st.”
“Was a descendant of wealthy farmers.”
“Was utilizing labor force of others.”
“Hid in the forest.”
“During an air raid was in a cemetery.”
“Was a member of corporation.”
“Was a member of the Mazpulki organization.”
“Was a National Guardsman.”
“Was a policeman.”
“Had been awarded the Lacplesis Order.”
“Fought in the Latvian Army against Bolshevism.”
“Was disposed to anti-Bolshevism.”
“Ignored Red Army soldiers.”
“Had defamed the Bolshevik Party.”
“Was an adjutant of the State President of Latvia.”
“Raised hostility against other nations.”
THEY WERE AN INNUMERABLE REGIMENT
Tailor Voldemārs Janelis in private life.
Tailor Voldemārs Janelis – a KGB prisoner.
Those who knew him in a life will not recognize him in the death. The KGB made sure of it.
Tailor Voldemārs Janelis a KGB victim.
ONLY THIS WAS LEFT OF THEM
School Department Director Arnolds Čuibe.
Commander of Railroad Defense Guards Jānis Ozoliņš
THEIR CRIME WAS – THEIR POSITIONS, THEIR BIGGEST TRANSGRESSION – SERVICING FOR THE NATION AND FATHERLAND
ROW UPON ROW, HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS
Smashed skulls and distorted faces, opened and disjointed mouths – everything proves the terrible suffering which these martyrs had to experience during the last of their days and at the hour of their death.
MURDERED AND TORTURED IN THE NAME OF «THE CONCEPT OF EQUALITY» OF BOLSHEVISM
NOT MUCH IS LEFT OF A PERSON
Top: «No. 6» Bottom: Arvīds Zemītis
An unknown victim, Nikolajs Dāvis, Jānis Opincāns
RARELY DID ANYONE SUCCEED IN ESCAPING THE FATE OF OTHERS
One of them was Silvestrs Brokāns
«A passport» of arrested – his cell card.
The text of the death sentence.
The reason for arrest – the words of Brokāns: «the Germans shot down 400 Bolshevik planes, within two weeks they will be here.»
Only couple days passed, Riga got liberated, but to Brokāns even on June 26 the death penalty was condemned. Only a miracle saved him.
As the German army drew closer to Riga the terror of Bolsheviks became indescribable.
Announcements on the streets were offering information about arrests. When later the graves of shooting victims were opened, it appears that among those murdered was not even a single Yid.
Even while retreating in haste from Liepāja, the Bolsheviks were able to massacre their prisoners.
A scene in the cellar of the Liepāja Militia.
All three shoot – kinsfolk of one family. Their «crime» – at the front of their apartment a piece of white cloth was found. Justification for the death penalty: they were giving signals to the German army.
A N N O U N C E M E N T
Yesterday and today for counterrevolutionary activity – organizations of acts of diversion, terror, giving signals to the enemy etc. several persons have been arrested, among them Miervaldis Lūkins, son of Jānis, Nikolajs Rainics, son of Georgs, Heinrichs Neibergs, son of Jānis, Matvejs Kuzņecovs, son of Nikolajs, Jāzeps Kagans, son of Abrāms, Arnolds Čuibe, son of Jānis and others.
For all those arrested the death penalty by shooting has been imposed and the decision was executed.
So it will be done to anyone who in any manner will attempt to support the enemy and to betray their Fatherland.
I invite the working people of the City of Riga to be helpful in discovering ill-disposed elements.
The Chairman of Riga Garrison
June 27, 1941
A pile of corpses in a room in the cellar of Liepaja Militia, where a hand grenade was thrown in first, and then those who remained alive were shot.
One more time the cellar of the Liepāja Militia.
Victims in Daugavpils.
The same destiny befell Valmiera as well.
Rows of shooting victims in Valmiera
WITHIN ENTIRE COUNTRY THE KILLING MADNESS OF BOLSHEVIKS KICKED AND SCREAMED
Civilians murdered in Jelgava. Prior to shooting they were tortured then thrown into the garbage.
Murdered workers in Jelgava.
SO ENDED THE TIME OF GOVERNING OF AN AUTHORITY OF VILE MEN
Retreating from Riga ahead of the attacking German armed forces, the Bolsheviks left empty bottles in a KGB office… and a city set afire by themselves.
Downtown Riga after the eviction of the Bolsheviks
Even when running away they were killing. A woman on the street, killed by Bolsheviks on the day Riga fell.
A a crowd of refugees after their returning to Riga
SUCH WAS THE BEGINNING … AND SUCH WAS THE END
THE BALANCE SHEET OF THE GAHASTLY YEAR
Everything that the Latvian people and state received from the Bolshevik
government which came with promises of freedom, brotherhood and equality,
happy life and sunshine future.
ARRESTED … BANISHED … MURDERED … MISSING …
|E m p l o y e d||Banished
13./14. VI, 1941
after 14. VI, 1941
|Industry, crafts, trade||1.586||1.084||2.988||162||5.820|
|Soldiers, police employees||982||682||3.340||190||5.194|
|State and local government employees||1.311||599||569||77||2.556|
|Landlords, old age people||196||38||–||12||251|
|Other, of unknown occupation||613||2.007||749||540||3.909|
|T O T A L :||14.693||6.041||12.161||1.355||34.250|
|children before age of 16 years||3.225||17||756||18||4.016|
The Latvian flag, the pride and dignity of the nation was trod underfoot, personal freedom was stolen, the economy and agriculture were ruined, valuables: ships, trains, vehicles and factory machines, agricultural inventory were taken away. 488.000 cattle were driven away. 79.225 tons of cereals, from private depositors savings were robbed, forests were destroyed for the construction of innumerable military structures of the Bolsheviks, when retreating houses and public buildings were deliberately burned, bridges ruined.
LATVIEŠU TAUTA TO NEKAD NEZIMIRSĪS
ABOUT THE TRANSLATION
General translation from Latvian into English can be difficult under ordinary circumstances. The principal difficulties encountered are the fact that Latvian does not employ definite articles, leaving the translator to puzzle out whether to write “an objection” (one of perhaps many) or “the objection” (meaning just one); the fact that prepositions in direct translation are often not what is really being meant, such as “from” (meaning someone sent by a group) when what was really meant in context was “of” (meaning someone who is an actual member of the group); and finally, the fact that after fifty years of Soviet repression, contemporary Latvian dictionaries are much smaller in size and fewer in number than their English counterparts, making it extremely necessary for the translator to have read and reread both versions many times and then to employ both a native speaker of Latvian and a native speaker of English to read together and discuss in detail the nuances and alternatives.
One specific method was employed in this translation, as the publisher decided that the importance of this information required the most clear and accurate translation possible: where an unavoidable choice between accuracy and clarity had to be made, accuracy was chosen and clarity has been achieved through footnoting. In other instances, it was recognized that particular terms or references might not be understood without a definition or explanation, and these are also footnoted.
No deliberate attempt was made to expurgate (sanitize) the offensive or inflammatory language included in the text, as the publisher’s instructions were to be guided by academic and linguistic standards and to ignore the political and social sensibilities which might be offended. The translators are satisfied that their instructions were to create a thoroughly accurate translation in all respects.
the Latvian “baigais” means both ‘ghastly’ (shockingly dreadful) and ‘terrible’ (severely distressing). For the title, it was translated in the former in view of the nature of the events being related. In the text, the latter was used to describe individual situations as less drastic than the sum of such acts.
This heart-wrenching poem, with its strange and dirge-like meter, sounds in Latvian much like the slow pealing of a distant bell or the far-off weeping of a lost child. The poet predicts the effects of a ghastly year in which no new life or warmth or pleasure will exist. The Sun will be cursed for revealing everything as it has become and nothing from that season of horror will long survive. Winds of change will draw a curtain of blood across the view until nothing is certain. And even the earth and the waters of life, choked with the graves of the murdered, will remain mute and poisoned by the deeds of man. It is a poem without hope, without anger, without fear. It is the last breath of life escaping in a whisper of words not even of regret, but of a terrible and final farewell.
This poem is best read after fully reading the volume.
The term ‘Bolshevik’ was employed throughout the book. In Latvia at that time, the use of this term instead of ‘Communist’ was a deliberate attempt to show dislike, contempt and disrespect and the portrayal of such persons as uneducated brutes as opposed to political idealists.
The Latvian Tauta means people, nation (in the ethnic/social sense), the population, etc. In nearly all cases, this was translated as ‘people’, meaning the ethnic community as a whole, and not as used by the Soviets when collectivizing the citizens of the political state. In certain places where it inexplicably appeared in consecutive phrases within a single sentance, this was taken to mean ‘the people of the nation’, and was so translated. The use of ‘People’ with the capital indicates deliberate Soviet phraseology. This is an important distinction, because whenever a threat or an injury ‘to the Latvian people’ is found in the text, the authors were conveying an assault not only against persons, but against the survival of the race or cultural community as a whole.
Abrene was one of Latvia’s Administrative Districts on its common border with the Soviet Union. In 1944 the entire District, consisting of the municippality of Abrene with its six rural districts (Kacēni, Upmale, Linava, Purvmala, Augšpils and Gauri), its citizens and property were absorbed into the Russian Soviet Socialist Federated Republic as the Vishgorod, Katchanovo and Tolkovo rural districts, simply by a Moscow decree. Latvia has never renounced its claim, and in 1992 enacted this Resolution stating its case:
“On the Non-recognition of the Annexation of the Town of Abrene
and the Six Rural Districts of the Abrene District”
The basis of interstate relations between Latvia and Russia is determined by the still valid “Peace Treaty between Latvia and Russia” concluded on August 11, 1920. Paragraph 3 of this Treaty defines the state borders between Latvia and Russia. The interstate legal relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were determined by the Treaty between Latvia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed on February 5, 1932 in Riga. Both parties declared that this Treaty was signed upon the basis of the Peace Treaty between Latvia and the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic, signed on August 11, 1920, that it was valid in the entire territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and that its regulations were irrevocable and forever remained as the indissoluble foundation for the relations between both parties.
The border between Latvia and Russia defined by the August 11, 1920 Treaty has been changed by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree “On the Formation of the Pskov Region Within the Territory of the RSSFR”, issued on August 23, 1944, and refering to the appeal of the Latvian SSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, thus, incorporating the town of Abrene and the six rural districts of the Abrene District into the territory of the RSSFR. According to the Republic of Latvia administrative division of 1940, these rural districts are Kacēni, Upmale, Linava, Augšpils and Gauri. The total area of these rural districts, including the town of Abrene, is 1293.60 square kilometers. The USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree names these rural districts, according to the administrative territorial division existing in Czarist Russia, as Vishgorod, Katchanovo and Tolkovo. The Latvian SSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decision, adopted by means of an August 22, 1944 inquiry “On Joining Vishgorod, Katchanovo and Tolkovo Rural Districts to the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic”, expresses an appeal to the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium to join the Vishgorod, Katchanovo and Tolkovo rural districts of the Latvian SSR to the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic. The above-mentioned border changes between Latvia and the RSSFR and the precise determination of the border were ratified by the Decision of the Latvian SSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, signed on October 5, 1946, “On the Determination of the Border Between the Latvian SSR and the RSSFR” and by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree, signed on October 19, 1946, “On the Ratification of Changes of the Border Between the Latvian SSR and the RSSFR”.
In accordance with the Republic of Latvia Satversme of 1922, Paragraph 3, the territory of the State of Latvia is determined by the borders defined by international treaties. They can be changed only by the procedures prescribed in Paragraph 77 of the Satversme.
Taking into consideration that the annexation of the town of Abrene and the six rural districts of the Abrene District of the Republic of Latvia to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic violated the “Peace Treaty Between Latvia and Russia”, signed on August 11, 1920, and the February 5, 1932 Treaty signed between Latvia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as well as based on the fact that the annexation of this territory has been carried out during the occupation of Latvia, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia resolves:
1. To recognize as anti-constitutional the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree “On the Formation of the Pskov Region within the Territory of the RSSFR”, signed August 23, 1944, and to declare as invalid from the moment of its adoption the terms concerning the annexation of the Republic of Latvia territory of the town of Abrene and the six rural districts of the Abrene District (Kacēni, Upmale, Linava, Purvmala, Augšpils and Gauri) to the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic.
2. To recognize as invalid from the moment of its adoption the Latvian SSR Supreme Soviet Decision “On Joining Vishgorod, Katchanovo and Tolkovo Rural Districts to the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic”, which was adopted by means of the August 22, 1944 inquiry.
3. To recognize as invalid from the moment of their adoption the October 5, 1946 Latvian SSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decision “On the Determination of the Border between the Latvian SSR and the RSSFR” and the October 19, 1946 USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Decree “On the Ratification of Changes of the Border Between the Latvian SSR and the RSSFR”.
4. To confirm that the border between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation is still legally defined by Paragraph 3 of the “Peace Treaty Between Latvia and Russia”.
5. To require the Republic of Latvia delegation to resolve the Abrene issue during the interstate negotiations with the Russian Federation, including the procedures for the determination of the amount and the compensation of the material losses caused to the still-existing property of the state of Latvia and of the Republic of Latvia citizens in the town of Abrene and the six rural districts of the Abrene District.
6. This Resolution takes effect as of the moment of its adoption.
Originally published in:
The Republic of Latvia Supreme Council and Government Reporter, No. 6/7 (1992), pp. 175-176
The Latvian vara can mean either ‘power’, ‘authority’ or ‘jurisdiction’, and is normaly the second word in a compound phrase. Its repeated use in ‘Soviet Authority’ or simply ‘Authority’ was used by the authors to denote the occupying force in general. In instances where this is not the case, it has been translated simply as ‘power’.
The Red Army deliberately selected Tatar units, widely known for their brutality, to form the vanguard of the occupying force. Every Latvian of the time would have clearly understood this as a message: don’t even think about resistance and their use in the occupation of Riga was an overt announcement of absolute repression — much more so than if European Russian troops alone had been used.
In Latvian, there are two possible words which can be used for ‘Jews’. Ebrejs, translated as ‘Hebrews’ or ‘Jews’ is considered the proper polite term by Latvian Jews. Žīds ‘Yids’, translated as ‘Jews’ is generally regarded by Latvian Jews as impolite and offensive.
There are also some in Latvia who continue to argue that Žīds is perfectly proper, having simply evolved from the language common to European Jews, and should simply be understood as “a speaker of Yiddish”.
The most widely-used Latvian-English dictionary now in use translates Žīds simply as “Jew”, without further comment.
Throughout the text, the term Žīds was used, therefore the translators have preserved accuracy by using ‘Yid’ and ‘Yiddish’, but readers are reminded that Latvian Jews themselves would find its use improper and offensive.
In the newspaper article depicted, the majority of those arrested for street fighting would have been identified by contemporary Latvian readers as Jewish or Russian, based upon popularly-held beliefs.
The Saeima was and still is the name for the Latvian Parliamentary body. Upon annexation by the Soviet Union this body ceased to exist, being replaced by a Supreme Council.
more commonly known as the ‘Young Pioneers organization’
Stachanoviesi Movement: a Soviet worker who labored so prodigiously that a movement to emulate him was created by the Communist Party, with both willing and unwilling volunteers trying to perform prodidgous feats of labor.
Shock Workers Movement: similar to the above, but usually referring to teams of factory workers induced/compelled to work at breakneck speed.
Note: Both of the above terms convey a very real revulsion felt by the average Latvian of the day in sacrificing quality over mindless speed resulting in careless work. Latvians, like the Swiss, Germans and British, traditionally prided themselves on their craftsmanship, practiced skill and husbandry. To be forced to perform poor-quality work and to work under incompetent supervisors chosen for political loyalty rather than professional expertise was emotionally devastating. Readers will find many similar complaints further on. The effect on the population of such policies was for the Soviets to have lost any chance for the respect of the population from the start.
Frequent references to colors and varieties of colors were meant to demonstrate that so unprofessional were the Soviets that throughout their demonstrations and military and official pageants, they simply paraded and decorated like a bunch of mismatched clowns, without regard for proper formality — much like children playing at dress-up. While this has little meaning now, when this volume was written, professional soldiers, police, decorations and events were traditionally formal, solemn and well-groomed.
This is deliberate scarcasm: that the incompetent Soviets were reducing Latvia’s previously high agricultural outout (far higher than anything ever achieved by the Soviets) down to that of the great Soviet famine of 1923.
Perhaps the strongest cultural trait traditional to Latvians has been their sense of family and ethnic solidarity — which borders on the obsessive — likely due to centuries of occupation by foreign masters. For the Party to come between children and parents, to get Latvian to inform against Latvian, to drive into voluntary (safe) exile abroad or involuntary (unsafe) banishment to Siberia were anathemas almost beyond description. This same theme will be encountered elsewhere.
Use of the term fatherland is not a Germanism — the same term is used in Latvian.
This is a Latvian saying which, freely interpreted, “This land sustained us and nourished us, therefore we must protect and defend this land at all costs – even with our lives.”
From: Baigais Gads: The Road of Torture (link)