Soviet Repressions

June 14, 1941 – the day the Soviet occupying regime carried out the first mass deportation of Latvian citizens, and one of the most awful pages of Latvian history. June 14, 1941, marked the beginning of the wave of repressions enacted by the Soviet regime against the people of Latvia. International law has deemed the June 14 deportations as both genocide and a crime against humanity. Latvia lost thousands of her citizens – statesmen, educators, scientists, soldiers, cultural workers and farmers – due to the repressions. At the close of World War II thousands of Latvians fled to Western Europe as refugees in order to escape Soviet repressions. This wave of refugees was a consequence of the repressions.

People lost their lives, families, loved ones and property. Why did so many lives have to be destroyed? Why did our loved ones have to die? In whose name was this done? How large were our losses? These are only some of the questions that researchers at the Archives tried to answer in the book Aizvestie. 1941. gada 14. jūnijs (The Deported. June 14, 1941.) Based on the collections at the State Archives of Latvia, as well as collections in other archives, the specialists attempted to clarify the fates of the deportees and to trace the process of the deportation: how the deportation was prepared and implemented, what forces and power structures were involved in the preparations, what were the demographic, economic and social consequences, and how has this event remained in people’s memories.

The theme of repressions does not belong solely to Latvian history, but to European history in general. It is therefore important that European society understand this history and the consequences of the repressions, which can still be felt in present-day Latvia.

Thanks to the financial support of the European Commission, this virtual exhibit is available also in English. We hope that we have thus taken a small step in the direction of adding to the knowledge of our common European history and increasing understanding and closeness between nations.

This exhibit has been prepared using existing document databases at the State Archives of Latvia and it offers clear information regarding the whole process of the June 14, 1941, deportation – preparation, implementation and conditions in the settlements. The exhibit also contains documents that introduce the reader to the fates of particular deportees. This section is supplemented with excerpts from interviews with former deportees, which were conducted and prepared by specialists working with the National Oral History Project at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia.

The virtual exhibit is available on the Internet at http://www.lvarhivs.gov.lv/dep1941/

Materials and excerpts from the virtual exhibit may be used and quoted with proper credit given to the source of information!

Comments about the virtual exhibit can be sent to the State Archives of Latvia (Bezdelīgu iela 1, Rīga, LV-1048; e-mail: lva@lvarhivs.gov.lv).

Virtual exhibit prepared by:
State Archives of Latvia:
Aija Kalnciema, Iveta Šķiņķe, Jānis Riekstiņš, Ainārs Bambals
Andra Āboliņa
Ainars Mazvērsītis, Mārtiņš Eizentāls
Concept and design:
Guntis Svītiņš
Amanda Jātniece
Coordinator at the National Oral History Project at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia:
Māra Zirnīte