“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Latvia Mass Deportation 13 June and 14 June 1941 
 
              
Railway Transports used for the Mass Deportation of Latvian people in the night between 13 June and 14 June 1941
 
Instructions on how to carry out mass deportations were prepared in the autumn of 1939 for the newly-annexed regions of western Ukraine by the head of the Ukrainian SSR NKVD “later known as KGB”, General Ivan Serov. They were approved in Moscow and later used in the Baltic States as well. As the USSR Commissar for State Security, Serov signed the orders on 21 January 1941.
 
In the night between 13 June and 14 June 1941, about 15,500 Latvian residents, among them 2400 children younger than ten were arrested without a court order to be deported to distant regions in the Soviet Union. Targeted were mainly families who had members in leading positions in state and local governments, economy and culture.
 
People to be deported were awakened in the night and given less than one hour to prepare for the journey. They were allowed to take with them only what they could carry, and everything left behind was confiscated by the state. The unfortunate were herded into already prepared cattle or freight railroad cars, in which they spent weeks and months. Many died on the way, especially infants, the sick, and the elderly. Men, totaling some 8250, were separated from their families, arrested, and sent to GULAG hard labor camps. Women and children were taken to so-called "administrative settlements" as family members of "enemies of the people".
 
No word of these events was mentioned in Latvia's Soviet-censored newspapers. Loved ones had no way of knowing what had become of those deported. None of the institutions including the militia provided information or 
help. Scattered along the railroad tracks were farewell notes written by the deported to their families few of them ever reached their intended recipients. 
 
Conditions in the hard labor camps were inhumane. The inmates lost their identities, and were terrorized by the guards and criminal prisoners. Food rations were meager, and did not replace the calories expended through work.  People grew weak, and were crippled by diarrhea, scurvy, and other illnesses. Winters were marked by unbearable cold, and many did not survive the first one. Only a small part of those deported in 1941 later returned to Latvia. The families in forced settlement had to fend for themselves in harsh conditions; the death rate among the very young and the elderly was likewise high. 
 
When the Soviets executed the first round of mass Baltic deportations, on the night of 13 June and 14 June 1941, where thousands of Latvians and Latvian Jews were deported. Of all the ethnic groups so deported, Jews suffered
oportionately more than any other, and were deported to especially harsh conditions, many to camps at Solikamsk, Vyatka, and Vorkuta. Some estimate the Soviets deported from 5,000 to 6,000 Jews during the first occupation. These deportations of Jewish Civic Leaders, Rabbis, Members of Parliament, the Professional and Merchant Classes, left the Jewish community ill-prepared to organize in the face of the subsequent Nazi invasion of Latvia and its terror and horrors to follow.
 
Finally, on 26 June, four days after France sued for an armistice with the Third Reich, the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding Bessarabia and, unexpectedly, Northern Bukovina from Romania. Two days later, the Romanians caved to the Soviet demands and the Soviets occupied the territory. The Hertza region was initially not requested by the USSR but was later occupied by force after the Romanians agreed to the initial soviet demands.
 
It is estimated that of the 1,900,000 Jews who came under Soviet control as a result of Hitler's and Stalin's pact dividing Eastern Europe, about 400,000 were deported to Siberia and central Asia.
 
 
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Revised: 02/05/2013 – 16:15:35