“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Soviet “NKVD” Masļenki Latvija Border Attacks on 15 June 1940
 
The 15 June 1940, Soviet NKVD commando troops attacks on three border posts in Eastern Latvia. 
 
At dawn “02:30hrs” of 15 June 1940, two days prior to the occupation of Latvia by USSR, Soviet military units of the NKVD crossed the border between the two countries and carried out several attacks against Latvian Border Guard
facilities in Abrene District, killing several people and taking into captivity many others, mostly civilians, including little children
 
Attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
The most tragic and the best known of the 15 June attacks is the Soviet attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company located in Masļenki. 
 
The patrol building consisted of five rooms and a kitchen. Two rooms were occupied by the patrol leader and his family, two rooms were the living quarters of four guards, and the fifth room was the patrol duty office." "Also on the property was a brick cellar, built on the very bank of the Ludza River, and a small utility building together with a wood shed, covered by a tin roof. Outside of the cordon, Patrol Leader F. Puriņš had equipped a woodworking shop in a building owned by Dmitrii Maslov." "The patrol building had been built only 10 meters from the border Ludza River." "Beyond the borders of the cordon in the direction of the First Patrol, 70 meters from the guardhouse, could be seen a small wooden house which belonged to local farmer Dmitrii Maslov, and was rented by the family of border guard Žanis Krieviņš. 
 
The night of 15 June was unusually cold. From midnight, Jānis Macītis and Pēteris Čimoška were on duty on the border. One of them was on patrol while the other was in a blind. Kārlis Beizaks was resting in the service quarters. 
 
At 02:30, twenty-five NKVD commandos managed to cross the Ludza River unnoticed. The NKVD commandos surrounded the patrol on all sides. The house of Guard Žanis Krieviņš and the nearby newly built house of Dmitrii Maslov were surrounded as well. Hand grenade packets had been placed around the guardhouse except at the front door. This signifies that the attackers had at first intended to capture the patrol post without firing shots. The Soviet soldiers'
attack was first uncovered by Patrol Guard Jānis Macītis after being hailed, the attacker shot a round from his automatic at the patrol guard. At the time of the attack, visibility was near zero. A thick fog had covered the cordon territory and its surroundings. In this combat situation automatic weapons had an advantage. Unfortunately, all thirty-five patrols of the Abrene Battalion were armed only with combat rifles.
 
With the first shots the attackers realized that they had been discovered and changed their combat tactics, destroying the guard post and shooting all the bor­der guards. Patrol Guard Jānis Macītis, seriously injured, and tried to reach the guard­house, which was not yet on fire. Not far from the guardhouse Macītis stepped on a hand grenade which tore off his left foot.
 
Best off was Guard Pēteris Cimoška, who was in the blind. Cimoška joined in the firing, since, upon hearing the bursts of automatic gunfire, he understood that the Soviet Border Guards were attacking. The Third Abrene Battalion Border Guards were not yet armed with lightweight submachine guns. However, after the shots fired by Cimoška the enemy pinpointed the blind's location and tried to surround and destroy it. Firing, Cimoška retreated in the direction of the
patrol post, where he heard Valdis Grīnvalds defend the post with separate shots. Arriving at the guardhouse, Cimoška unexpectedly stepped on one of the grenade packets and was torn to pieces. Later, when the burning building
collapsed, Cimoška's body was charred.
 
The Red Army soldiers' bullets were penetrating the building, and Valdis Grīnvalds could move about only by lying flat. The telephone communications were down. Grīnvalds asked Kārlis Beizaks for a combat rifle from the bedroom. This
provides evidence that the guard weapons were stored in one of the bedrooms. Grīnvalds then return fire through a window, but visibility was poor and he could only shoot in the direction of the attackers without taking direct aim.
Beizaks had apparently decided to leave the building and attempted to run to the First Patrol for help. He jumped out the window and was lost in the fog. As was discovered later, he managed to cover only 199 meters. Beizaks had passed
by Žanis Krieviņš' house and was shot by the attackers surrounding the house. Later, the coroner's inquest would also found grenade fragments in his body. Hand grenades had been thrown at the running Beizaks. Since there was still
evidence of resistance from the guardhouse, the attackers threw in firebombs through the windows. The inside of the building caught fire. 
 
At this moment, mortally wounded, Jānis Macītis collapsed at the front door, calling for help. Help was impossible since the building was filling up with choking smoke. With his last efforts Macītis crawled outside and was later found dead 8.5 meters from the foundation with charred legs.
 
In the service quarters of the guardhouse were also Patrol Leader Puriņš' wife Hermīne Puriņa and her fourteen-year old son Voldemārs. They had each chosen their own way of leaving the burning building. Puriņa jumped out the window on the south side of the building, holding a pillow, apparently with the thought of pro­tecting herself from bullets. Grenades had already exploded on the spot where she landed and nearby lay body parts of Pēteris Cimoška. Hermīne Puriņa
was shot 8.3 meters from the window, and her body was later found in the strawberry beds. 
 
Voldemārs tried to save himself by running out the door. He succeeded and headed for a hiding place in the woodpile, which was located a distance from the burning buildings. One of the Russian attackers had taken shelter behind the woodpile and shot the running Voldemārs in the abdomen and in this leg. 
 
At this moment, the building's only defender Valdis Grīnvalds also left the burning building. Throwing down the rifle on the floor, he jumped out the window facing east and jumped into the river unscathed. There he was captured by Soviet Border Guards.
 
Simultaneously with the attack on the guardhouse, the NKVD men also attacked Guard Žanis Krieviņš' house. In the building at the time were Žanis Krieviņš, his wife Lida Jūlija, son Arturs, five-year old daughter Rita and six-year old Ērika, the daughter of Border Guard Eduards Kalniņš." "First, hand grenades were thrown through two of the windows. 
 
Lida Krieviņš later testified:
Towards morning, around 03:00, I woke up from a deafening blast. I felt a blow to my head and throughout my body. It turned out that a hand grenade had been thrown in and that I was seriously wounded. My husband and children were not hurt. My husband called out: "Red Army soldiers!" and ordered the children to crawl under the bed, but dragged me into the hall, since rifle fire and automatic rifles could be heard outside. At that point, someone outside shouted in Russian for everyone to come out and began to break in the door, until the door gave in. Through the broken door in came three Red Army soldiers, armed with rifles with drawn bayonets. They took my husband and 12-year old son Arturs with them - I don't know what became of them. For a time, I passed out from my injuries. When I came to, I went outside to look for my husband, but there was no one outside. I saw that the guardhouse was burning. 
After Žanis Krieviņš dragged his wife out into the hall, a second hand gre­nade was thrown into the room. The explosion injured Krieviņš lightly in the head and also injured his son Arturs. The Red Army soldiers took both of the injured
across the river as hostages.
 
When the Red Army soldiers had overcome the resistance of the patrol and captured those still alive, they started to evacuate their own wounded and dead. It would not have been wise to leave material evidence, but because of poor
visibility they could not gather up battle gear strewn about. With such a delay reinforcements could arrive, for which the Russians had prepared themselves by positioning a lookout 250 meters from the Masļenki cordon in the direction of
the First Patrol. It was at this very spot that First Patrol Leader Vilis Lazdiņš and Guards Arvīds Polis and Jēzups Abrickis were captured as they were rushing to the attack location. 
 
Border Duard Jānis Locāns testified on the next day:
Arriving at the patrol post, I saw the guardhouse so completely burned down, that there were only flaming walls to be seen. On the other side of the road, I saw the house belonging to Dmitrii Maslov, in which the leader of the Second Patrol Puriņš had installed a woodworking shop, burned to the foundations. Approaching the burning Second Patrol guardhouse, between the house where guard Krieviņš lived and the guardhouse itself, I came upon the wife of Krieviņš, Lidija, and saw that she was wounded, with blood streaming. I asked Lidija Krieviņš what had happened here. She did not answer, but instead asked me: "Where are my children, where is my husband, what have you done?" I left Lidija Krieviņš and continued on, where, by the wood pile, I saw patrol leader Puriņš' son Voldemārs. He was huddled with scorched hair and clothing, very tired, and asked me to give him first aid. I hurried on to the patrol post, and in the yard I saw the patrol leader's wife Hermīne Puriņš lying on the ground. She seemed only to have lost consciousness, so I got some water from the well and poured it on her, but found that she was dead. At the west side of the guard building, I saw the quite charred body of a guard, but did not recognize him. At the north-west side of the guard building I saw the body of another guard, but could not identify him either. So I pulled the body by the hand a few meters from the burning building and doused it with water. 
Other Soviet attacks of 15 June:
 
Attack on the 3rd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion.
 
The Soviets attack on the 3rd Patrol of the 1st Company in Smaili begun at 03.00, 30 minutes later than the attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company in Masļenki. Soviet soldiers cut the telephone line, approached the building of
the Patrol and took Border Guards V. Kraucis and A. Ozolnieks prisoners. In vicinity of the Patrol the head of the 4th Patrol Fricis Kancītis, who was supervising the 3rd Patrol that night, was also taken prisoner. 
 
To prevent possible resistance by “two other Border Guards Fricis Gailis and Staņislavs Driņģis, captive V. Kraucis was sent to the private house flats in Šmaiļi Village with a request for these border guards to come out into the yard
of the post together with their wives and children. Red Army soldiers themselves took hostages inhabitants of the surrounding homes.
 
All the rounded up prisoners were taken to the Blonti Mill, “whose Dam served also as a Border Crossing point”. Here the prisoners were joined by the family of the owner of the Watermill Kārlis Smukkalns, whose youngest child Dagnija was only one year old, and Water Miller Assistant Bētere with his wife. Son of the Border Guard F. Gailis also was only two years old. All the hostages were taken over the Blonti Watermill Floodgates to the USSR side.
 
Attack on the 7th Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion.
 
Soviet attack on the 7th Patrol of the 1st Company in Žuguri was called off. Latvian Border Guard Z. Kronis spotted the Soviet soldiers who were traversing the Ludza Border  River and fired a red flare. The fired flare as well as voices of guests in the courtyard of the Patrol, who were celebrating 25 year birthday of Marianna, the wife of the Border Guard J. Strazdiņš, scared the attackers and made them pull back to the USSR.
 
After 15 of June:
 
Mortally wounded Voldemārs Puriņš died on 16 June in a hospital in Rezekne.
 
On 17 June 1940 the Red Army crossed the Borders of the Republic of Latvia and occupied the country. A gruesome period of Soviet rule begun, known by its name as “The Horrible Year”.
 
As a result of 15 June morning attacks the Soviets brought into captivity across the border to USSR 37 persons in total. Of those 10 were border guards, but 27 were civilians, including children taken hostages from nearby homes
by the Soviet soldiers.
 
Eventually all except one of the hostages were released. Dmitrii Maslov, a farmer, who was captured and brought to USSR by the NKVD combatants together with his family, was kept in prison and was executed in spring of 1942 as a Latvian spy.
 
On 7 July 1940 in two trucks, going to the Latvia - USSR Border were delivered those Latvian citizens who were captured in the territory of the country on 15 June. Authorized representative of the USSR handed them over to the commander of the 3 Abrene Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel Oskars Jansons. It was only now that the prisoners learned that the Soviet troops had occupied Latvia.
 
After World War II the “Abrene District” was annexed by Russia. Aforementioned Facilities of Border Guard of the Republic of Latvia now are located in the territory of Russia to this day. Pytalovo “Russian: Пыта́лово, Latvian: Pitalova, Abrene” is a town in Pskov Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Pytalovsky District. Latvia disputed the jurisdiction of the area which it calls Abrene District, until signing the 2007 treaty with Russia.
 
Scenes from the Soviet “NKVD” Masļenki Latvija Border Attacks on 15 June 1940
and its Attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
                                                                     
 
 
    
     The ruins of the burned down building of the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion 
 
    
                                 Charred body of the Border Guard Jānis Macītis 
 
    
                                                  Body of the Border Guard Kārlis Beizaks 
 
    
                       Body of Hermīne Puriņa, the wife of the Patrol Leader Voldemārs Puriņš 
 
    
          Railroad crossing of the Latvia - USSR Border at Rītupe, known as
                                           “The Gates of Paradise” 
 
    
          Minister of Interior Affairs Vilis Gulbis “front”, behind him on the right Border Guard
             Brigade Commander General L. Bolšteins at the Latvia - USSR Border in area
           guarded by the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion in the end of the thirties
 
    
     Building of the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion,
                                         known as “Masļenki” in 1932
 
    
         Border Guards of the 2nd and 3rd Patrols of the 1st Company of the
      3rd Abrene Battalion in Masļenki together with their families in July 1939.
 
In front from the left: Voldemārs Puriņš, Arturs Krieviņš, 2nd row from the left: Erika Herta Kalniņš, Tatjana Kalniņš (née Andrejeva), Jadviga Blakšenieks,
Rita Krieviņš, Jūlija Krieviņš (née Etiks), Hermīne Puriņš (née Kalniņš); standing from the left: Eduards Kalniņš, Valdis Grīnvalds, Jānis Locāns, Kārlis Beizaks,
Žanis Krieviņš, unidentified, Jānis Blakšenieks. 
 
    
          Kārlis Beizaks with his fiancée
     Klaudija Romāņina in Augšpils Parish 
 
 
                   
                             Jānis Macītis                                                            Pēteris Cimoška                                                       Kārlis Beizaks                               Hermīne Puriņa (née Kalniņa) 
 
 
         
                              Voldemārs Puriņš                                      Jūlija Lida Krieviņš with her daughter
                                                                                                      Rita as refugees in Germany
 
    
     Owner of the Blonti Watermill Kārlis Smukkalns with his family in the
             summer of 1937 at the pond of the watermill; From the left:
        Silvija (1932-1943), Izolda (1926), Ivars (1936), Elza (1897-1948),
                              Kārlis (1895-1946), Biruta (1925).
 
    
     Funeral of the Border Guard Kārlis Beizaks on 18 June 1940 in Auce Cemetery
                                     Parents and brothers of Kārlis Beizaks 
 
    
   Funeral of the Border Guard Kārlis Beizaks on 18 June 1940 in Auce Cemetery
 
             NKVD
 
    
           Emblem of the NKVD 
 
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs “Russian: Народный комиссариат внутренних дел Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, NKVD” “Russian: НКВД” was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin.
 
The NKVD contained the regular, public police force of the USSR “including traffic police, firefighting, border guards and archives” but is better known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security “GUGB”,
which eventually became the Committee for State Security “KGB”. It conducted mass extrajudicial executions, ran the Gulag system of forced labor camps, suppressed underground resistance, conducted mass deportations of entire
nationalities and Kulaks to unpopulated regions of the country, guarded state borders, conducted espionage and political assassinations abroad, was responsible for influencing foreign governments, and enforced Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries.
 
 
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Revised: 02/08/2013 – 20:51:21