lettone doit-elle périr?
Un appel urgent du Conseil National Letton au monde civilisé
of the Representatives of the Baltic Nations
to the General Assembly of the United Nations, November 24, 1947
Jointly Presented on November 24, 1947 by the Envoys of the Three Baltic States - Lithuania,
Latvia and Estonia - in Washington
To His Excellency Dr. Osvaldo Aranha,
President of the General Assembly
of the United Nations,
Flushing Meadows, N. Y.
Washington, DC, November 22, 1947 n°1752 Enc.
Permit us to bring to your attention the enclosed Appeal, addressed to you, dated
November 6, 1947, jointly signed by highly competent persons, citizens of independent
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, who themselves have experienced the heavy hand of both
aggressors: the Nazi German and the Soviet Russian.
In this connection, we feel it to be our duty to register our protests against the
suppression of the independence and the enslavement of our countries by the U.S.S.R.,
moreover, we have the honour to submit the following observations:
(a) That the cruel facts referred to in this Appeal, which have reached us very
recently, to the best of our knowledge and belief, truly depict the unenviable lot of
our peoples who are being subjected continuously to an un-restrained orgy of
persecutions by the Soviet occupational authorities;
(b) That the unfortunate continuation of the illegal Soviet occupation of our
countries, in defiance of the Atlantic Charter and of the Yalta agreements concerning
liberated countries, is at the bottom of all the misfortunes which have befallen our
(c) That the genocidal methods of the Soviet policy of extermination in the Baltic
countries is of grave concern to humanity and therefore to the United Nations, and that
these methods and policies call for an investigation by impartial international
(d) That the peaceable and industrious Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, whether
at home or outside their homelands, have not accepted the Moscow imposed rule, and
their resistance continues.
In order to bring justice, liberty, and peace to that part of Europe, the extermination
of the Baltic peoples must be stopped immediately. To accomplish this task in an
effective way, the termination of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania Latvia, and Estonia
should be brought about without undue delay.
Accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.
Signed: Povilas ZADEIKIS
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister plenipotentiary of Lithuania
DR. Alfreds BILMANIS
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister plenipotentiary of Latvia
Consul General of Estonia In Charge of Legation
of the Representatives of the Baltic 'Nations to the General Assembly of the United
Signor Dr. Osvaldo Aranha,
President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
Lake Success, New York.
When on June 15-17, 1940, 5oviet Russia, having concluded a pact with Hitlerite
Germany, violated its signed treaties and solemnly assumed international obligations,
and fraudulently invaded the Baltic Republics - Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia - ,
all the civilised world condemned the aggression of Soviet Russia against the neutral,
liberty and independence loving Baltic States. The Chancelleries of the great powers,
except that of Hitlerite Germany, which was a Soviet Russian ally at that time, refused
to recognise the status resulting from the said aggressive action. Thus, the Baltic
States, although occupied by Soviet forces and physically incorporated into Soviet
Russia against the will of the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian peoples, and still
members of the community of independent States, only the execution of their sovereign
rights "has been put aside," according to the words of the late President of the United
States, F.D.Roosevelt. Although one participator of the conspiracy against peace
(August 23-28, 1939) and against the independence of the Baltic States and Poland has
been rendered harmless by the combined efforts of the United Nations and powerless to
violate peace or to endanger the independence of other States, the Lithuanian, Latvian,
and Estonian nations, all of them early victims of totalitarian aggression, are yet
obliged to appeal to the conscience of the civilised world, asking support that the
execution of their sovereign rights be restored to them.
The aggression of the Soviet Union on June 15-17, 1940 against the Baltic States and
the ensuing occupation of these countries which has not yet been raised, are not only
a temporary suspension of the political freedom of the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian
nations, which have sufficiently proved themselves qualified to assume and discharge the
responsibilities of independence. The above mentioned date also marked the beginning of
a planned, systematic and cruel genocide of these peoples. "Peter the Great made a grave
mistake in leaving the inhabitants of the Baltic area in their countries," said the
official gazette of the Communist Party "Pravda" in the spring of 1941. "The removal of
anti-Soviet elements from the Baltic republics is a political task of great significance,"
stated the famous secret instruction No. 2192 of January 21, 1941, issued by Soviet
Deputy Commissar for Security Serov. These two quotations are the background for the
tragedy which is going on in the Baltic States. The policy of annihilating the Baltic
Nations and executing Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, begun in 1940, is being pursued
to this very day, despite the fact that Soviet Russia agreed to the Atlantic Charter and
signed the United Nations Charter, whose preambles as well as articles 1, 13, and 55 assure
man's rights and fundamental freedoms, whereas article 2 states:
"All members . . . shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance
with the present Charter."
What happened, and what is still going on in the militarily occupied Baltic States?
Because of her geo-political situation the Republic of Lithuania became the first victim
of Russian aggression. This was done with a view to lower the "iron curtain" beyond the
western boundaries of Lithuania in order to separate the Baltic States from Western Europe,
and to deprive their inhabitants of every possibility of withdrawing to the West. The
tanks of the Red Army moved on so fast that only the President of the Republic A. Smetona,
attended by the Minister of Defence, and a small group of other people, were able to
leave Lithuania. Seizures, deportations to Siberia, and executions of Lithuanians began
almost on the same day, when the emissary of Moscow, the Deputy Commissar for Foreign
Affairs, Mr. Dekanozov, in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the
Lithuanian State, placed the Moscow agent J. Paleckis at the head of the Lithuanian
Government, and when the notorious Soviet NKVD (political secret police) had established
itself in Lithuania. The first blows of the organisation were aimed at the political,
intellectual, and spiritual élite of the country, with the aim to decapitate the nation
and then to achieve the ultimate Soviet goal : annexation.
Besides seizures, deportations, and executions of separate persons in the capital and
other cities, as well as in the smaller towns and villages, the following phases of
exterminating the Lithuanians are to be noted:
1) The night of July 11-12, 1940 : On July 15, 1940, elections to "People's Diet"
(parliament) were to be held. According to the secret plan of Moscow, this Diet was to
make Lithuania a Soviet Republic and to ask Moscow to incorporate it into the U.S.S.R. On
the night of July 11-12, the NKVD seized almost all the leaders of the democratic parties,
the editors of newspapers with their collaborators, high State officials, priests, many
other popular personalities-in short, all these who influenced the people and formed
public opinion. More than 2,000 persons were seized during that night throughout the whole
2) The eve of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution on November 5-6, 1940:
A number of former ministers of State, many officers and soldiers of the Lithuanian
Army, leaders and members of the "Saulys" Association (a patriotic organisation created
to defend the independence of the State), university professors and school teachers, a
total of 600 persons were seized because the NKVD considered them dangerous to Soviet
3) June 14-21, 1941: A mass deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia, the Altai mountains
and Kazahkstan was launched. According to the secret program, which was worked out on
January 21, 1941, by Deputy Security Commissar of the Soviet Union Serov, and which was
seized by the Lithuanian administration in the end of June 1941, when the Bolsheviks fled
from Lithuania, the following categories of Lithuanians were to be deported.
a) All members of dissolved political parties as well as of economic and cultural
organisations; all Social-Democrats and Trotskyists;
b) all the officials of the independent period of Lithuania: judges, officers, and
c) all the participants in the struggle for Lithuania's independence against the
Bolsheviks in 1918-1919, as well as people who belonged to the "Sau1ys" Association;
d) all former members of the Communist Party who had retired or been expelled from
e) refugees and emigrants;
f) former employees of the diplomatic missions of Lithuania and representatives of
foreign business firms;
g) people who maintained relations with foreign countries, as, for instance,
h) relatives of political refugees;
i) priests and active members of religious organisations;
j) aristocrats, landowners, industrialists, merchants, bankers, and restaurant owners.
During one single week (June 14-21, 1941) 34,260 Lithuanians were deported according
to this plan (a detailed list of the deported people has been made up by the Lithuanian
Red Cross and can be submitted at any time). The deportees were seized in the night
between 1-4 o'clock; they were given only a few minutes to take their most immediate
belongings. Adults, old people, and children all were deported. If the head of the family
was not at home, his wife and children were taken instead. The deportees were squeezed
into specially assigned freight cars, originally designed for transporting cattle. There
were neither benches nor windows in these cars, and the doors were nailed up. Husbands
were separated from their wives, children from their parents. Despite the summer heat,
no drinking-water was given to the prisoners, of whom thousands died on the trains and
in Russian transient prisons before reaching their destination. The surviving men were
taken to forced labour camps in Northern Siberia and Vorkuta, in the Altai mountains,
and Kazakhstan, while the women were driven to collective farms or sent to the fishing
industry at the mouth of the river Lena. of the children almost nothing is known. News,
received through various channels, proves that almost all the deported men have died
already and that the death-rate of both women and children is extraordinarily high.
Among the victims is a former President of the Lithuanian Republic Aleksandras
Stulginskis; the former Prime Ministers Prof. Dr. P. Dovydaitis and A. Merkys; the
former Ministers of State A. Taamosaitis, S. Silingas, J. Urbsys, A. Endziulaitis,
A. Zilinskas, and many others. According to Serov's plan, 700,000 citizens were to be
deported from Lithuania alone, but the outbreak of the war between Germany and Soviet
Russia postponed the execution of this inhuman plan.
4) June 22-30, 1941: Retreating agents of the NKVD:
a) shot part of the Lithuanians imprisoned in Vilnius and Kaunas: of 12,000
prisoners less than 300 survived that week;
b) shot all the 500 inmates of the Pravienisvkiai concentration camp (between
Kaunas and Vilnius);
c) in the Rainiai woods (not far from Te1siai in Northern Lithuania) Soviet hangmen
bestially tortured and murdered local Lithuanian intellectuals - judges, notaries public,
and priests, 70 persons in all;
d) about 2,000 Lithuanians from various prisons in Lithuania, mostly from Vilnius,
were driven before the retreating Red Army into the interior of Russia. In Minsk these
prisoners were joined by about 4,000 Poles and White-Russians from Polish and White-Russian
prisons. On the way from Minsk to Mohilev in July 1941, in the woods of Chervene, the
prisoners were mowed down with machine-guns by the escorting Soviet guards. Among the
murdered were: the Deputy Prime Minister of Lithuania K. Bizauskas, and the Ministers of
State S. Rusteika, J. Caplikas, and B. Giedraitis. However, a few eye-witnesses of the
mass murder at Chervene remained alive under the piles of corpses. These, if need be, can
make their statements under oath. The incident has been described in documented books,
written by eye-witnesses of the murder: "Lithuania Under the Sickle and Hammer" (Cleveland,
Ohio) by Colonel J. Petruitis, and "Mirties Kolona" (March of Death), Chicago, 111., by
5) In the months of August-December, 1944, when the Army of Soviet Russia invaded
Lithuania for a second time, the first people who fell victims to the MVB (Soviet
secret police) and to the Soviet administration that returned to Vilnius from Moscow,
were these who had participated in the revolt against the Soviet occupation in June
1941, their families and relatives, and these who had been on the roll of persons to
be deported in 1941, but had evaded this fate owing to the outbreak of the war. In the
last months of 1944 about 37,000 Lithuanians were either executed or deported, which
means slow death and their farms were razed.
6) In the summers of 1945 and 1946 about 20,000 Lithuanian underground members
perished in the struggle against the Soviet "istrebiteli" (exterminators). They had
hidden in the woods, and many farmers who had supported and fed them were killed as
7) In 1945 and 1946 MVB agents under various pretexts arrested an average of about
2,000-3,000 Lithuanians every month. Prisons, which at the present moment are very
numerous in Lithuania, are emptied twice a month; the fate of the prisoners is not known
to anyone. Among the Lithuanians deported to the notorious forced labour camp of Vorkuta,
at the mouth of the river Pechora, near the Arctic Ocean, are: the former accredited
Minister to France P. Klimas, Prof. Dr. T. Petkevicvius, the well known Social-Democrat
K.Zvironas, Prof. Dr. Kemesis, Prof. Dr. Keliuotis, Prof. Dr. Dambrauskas, the writers
K. Jakubénas, K. Boruta, Lukauskaité, and others. About 100,000 Lithuanians are inmates
of that camp, daily struggling with death.
8) In 1947 a new wave of annihilating the inhabitants of Lithuania and deporting them
to Siberia is sweeping the country, in connection with the general communist offensive
in Europe. This time the Lithuanian clergy and farmers suffer most of all. On
February 19, 1946, the Bishop of Telsiai (in Northern Lithuania) , V. Borisevicius, was
seized and sentenced to death. In December of the same year his Deputy, Bishop Ramanauskas,
was deported. Shortly thereafter, the following Lithuanian clergymen suffered the same
fate: the Archbishop of Vilnius, M. Reinys, the Bishop of Kaisiadorys, Matulionis (who
had already served 12 years in the concentration camp on the infamous Solovki isles, on
the White Sea, and in 1932 had been exchanged by the Lithuanian Government), the prelates
Labukas, Pukys, Olsauskas, and others. From Kaunas alone 9 priests have been deported, and
from country parishes about 70. About 150 priests are in hiding, because they are in danger
of being deported.
The regime in forced labour camps in Russia is just the same as it used to be in Gestapo
concentration camps in Germany, only with the difference that before killing their
enslaved victims, the Soviet hangmen try to squeeze out whatever labour they can from
We quote only one of the many statements that have reached us. This is a description of
the forced labour camp Kraslag, near the railroad station Reshioty in the area of
Nishnenaimskoie, where Aleksandras Stulginskis, a former President of Lithuania, was
"As soon as we arrived in this hell, everything we still possessed was taken away from
us. Clad in rags, we were divided into brigades and starved. We had to work hard in the
taigas (woods) starting when it was still dark and finishing our work when it had got
dark again. A railroad was being built, and we had to procure the necessary timber. Our
food was the same kind of soup every day, consisting of frozen and rotten potatoes,
cooked in water with very little grits. No meat whatever, no fats. Our bread ration was
400 grams a day, and even that bread was terribly bad. That was all. We had to sleep
in unheated wooden huts, without any paillasses or blankets. After some time the
unfortunate prisoners began to swell, and large sores broke out on their bodies. Death
reaped a good crop. In October 1941 the death rate was already very high. In December
20-50 persons died daily. The temperature sank to 50 Centigrade below zero. In order to
heat the huts, one had to carry firewood a distance of 3-4 kms. Every morning some of
the friends who had lain down with us were dead. It was impossible to bury the dead
because of the frozen ground, so they were piled up in a corner of the camp. Every
evening, upon returning from their work, the living used to carry these friends home
who had died at work. On the next morning the same sight would meet the eye. No medical
help whatever was rendered; as a matter of fact, no medical help could ever have been
rendered under the prevailing conditions. In this death-mill no attempts were ever made
to find out whether there had been any grounds for deportation or not."
Up to now more than 200,000 Lithuanians have fallen victims to the Soviet occupation.
If one adds these killed by Nazi Germany, partly for racial motives, about 300,000
inhabitants of Lithuania (included are these who perished in resisting the Nazi
occupation in Lithuania as well as these who died after deportation to slave-labour in
Germany) or 20 per cent of the total population, have perished since June 15, 1940. But
whereas Nazi terrors belong to the horrid history of the past, the Soviet invader
continues systematically to exterminate the Lithuanian people.
The tanks of Soviet Russia which invaded Lithuania on June 15, 1940, rolled into
Latvian territory on June 17, 1940. The grave digger of Latvian Liberty was
Mr. Andrey J. Vishinsky, Deputy Foreign Commissar of the U.S.S.R., sent from Moscow.
Already during the first bolshevik occupation of Latvia, which lasted from
June 17, 1940, to July 1, 1941 (when the Soviets were succeeded in Latvia by Hitlerite
Germany) large sacrifices in human life were exacted from the Latvian people.
According to records collected by the International Red Cross Committee at Geneva,
1,355 Latvians were executed, while 32,895 were deported or disappeared, about
15,000 persons having been arrested and deported on the single night of June 13-14, 1941.
This was only the first stage of an extensive scheme elaborated by the NKVD, the
execution of which was delayed by the outbreak of the war with Germany. Still earlier
President K.Ulmanis and members of the Latvian Government were deported. The names of
the deported former members of Parliament, Government, priests, authors, university
professors, social workers, etc., would fill pages.
According to age, sex, profession and social position, the victims of June 13-14 are
as follows: 7,497 women, 4,196 children, I ,086 army officers, 105 physicians, 99
engineers, 64 lawyers, 44 agriculturists, 38 clergymen, 175 writers and artists,
490 university professors and teachers, 366 students, etc. Their seizure and deportation
were carried out in the most inhuman manner. Heads of families were torn away from
other members of the family, mothers from their children, and all of them were removed
in scaled freight cars, without drinking water or any sanitary accommodations, to an
unknown destination. Whereas some news has since been received about some women, coming
from the remotest places of the Soviet Union, almost no information at all is available
about the male exiles. It must be presumed therefore, that they have either been
"liquidated" or have perished in the inhuman conditions of the Bolshevik slave labour
After opening the mass graves concealing victims of Bolshevik terror and discovered at
Jugla, Baltezers and other outskirts of Riga, it was officially stated that, prior to
their execution the victims had been bestiality tortured. Some of the exhumed bodies
had their nails torn off, their hands shackled with barbed wire, their limbs broken,
their teeth knocked out, and their skulls crushed. Among the victims thus tortured
were grey-haired General Goppers, Chief Scout of Latvia, and many other prominent
officers, officials and statesmen. Never before in its long history had the Latvian
people experienced a brutal mass extermination of this kind. In the cellars of the NKVD
building at Riga, special torture chambers had been installed with an exquisite armature
of torture, besides rooms resembling a slaughter-house, with padded walls absorbing
bullets and sewers for blood draining.
While during the first occupation of Latvia and the Bolsheviks insidiously endeavoured to
hide their real intentions and perpetrated mass extermination in secrecy, the second
period of occupation, in 1944-45, was initiated by open mass arrests, deportations and e
xecutions. This time the number of victims amounted to one hundred thousand and probably
more. For reasons only too obvious, the Soviet Union lets nothing of this matter leak out,
and takes care not to divulge the number of its victims.
When in the beginning of May 1945, after the capitulation of Germany, the Bolsheviks
finally had occupied the South Western part of Latvia, the province of Kurzeme, all male
inhabitants aged 16-60 years were ordered to report at prescribed places, taking with them
food for several days. There they were driven like cattle into encampments fenced with
barbed wire, where they had to stay two or more weeks in the open. From hunger and cold
(in the Baltic, May is still cool, especially at night) many succumbed to epidemic diseases.
When the death rate assumed enormous proportions, a part of the people were released, while
the survivors were removed to farther places and from there were deported to forced labour
camps in the Soviet Union. After this action the number of able-bodied men in many
communities decreased by 80 and more per cent. Murder, rape and looting became an every-day
occurrence, and this has not ceased to be so to this very day. The position might be
illustrated by the following excerpts from letters written in Latvia and received here
which eluded Soviet censorship.
"…From the first day of the Russian invasion 1945 dreadful anxiety spread among us, as
we observed these morons galloping drunkenly through the streets and doing the most
inconceivable things. If you think that they behave as they did in 1940-41, and that
everything goes on as then, you are very much mistaken. That was a mere trifle compared
to what goes on at present. From the first day pillage, murder, and rape began, and continue
to this very day. As soon as it becomes dark, nobody but Russians stroll through the
streets... It is a usual occurrence to see people being stripped in the streets, or to see
a jeep stop before a house and take away everything. A person is lucky to have even his
life left. And this is done by majors and even higher officers of the Red Army. Pistols are
simply pointed at one's forehead and someone shouts: "Otday" (Render up!). In the evenings
Russian sailors remove shoes from people returning home from work, and snatch their watches.
But the newspapers declare this to be the work of the "Vlasov" gang..."
"…Now I shall describe what goes on in our "paradise". Hunger, violence, terror, murder
and plundering - if not every day, then certainly every week. Armed Red soldiers shoot
down everyone who tries to curb the brigands…"
"…In our country Russian gangs surround farms and take away everything they can load on
"…Arrests, especially of intellectuals, and their questioning and imprisonment continue.
Among them N., too, was sentenced to 20 years prison, and it is not yet known where he
will have to serve his sentence. It is the same regarding X., who received 25 years:
ten years because, allegedly on purpose, he had stranded the towboat "Vanags" on a
sandbank, and 15 years for having helped some people to escape to Sweden. Y. is also
arrested, but we know nothing about him. A good many people are no longer amongst us..."
"…Hunger and lies, dismal propaganda - all this dominates our country now."
"…Your husband has been sentenced to 25 years hard labour and has been deported. He
was not allowed to take anything along. We do not know what place he was sent to,
for nobody tells us that. We all have been plundered and are poor now. Your father
was robbed in the street, stripped, and finally put in jail. Your father-in-law has
been plundered too; he is now on the edge of starvation."
In order to evade extermination many people, having got word of impending danger,
flee to the woods, where they wage desperate partisan warfare on the occupants. The
following excerpts from letters give an account of these combats between partisans
and Bolshevik usurpers which have been going on uninterruptedly for years. Here are
some of these testimonies:
"…In the woods fighting occurs between Latvian partisans and Cheka detachments.
Those who are caught are cruelly tortured and murdered."
"…There are many partisans in the woods. They are well armed, it is said, and have
even tanks and artillery. Several times attempts have been made to comb the woods,
but owing to the great losses at the beginning of such operations, they have always
postponed. No larger action has been taken against the partisans ever since. Not
infrequently armed attacks on Soviet food supplies and ammunition arsenals have been
attempted by the partisans."
"…Recently the "brethren of the woods" have become more active. Several of the
communist "big shots" in the country were actually killed, and in the communities
of P. and A., as well as on the banks of the river A., real battles were fought. The
partisans are clad in Russian uniforms and cannot be distinguished from regular
Don't come Home
In order to save these displaced persons and political refugees who happen to be
outside the "Iron Curtain" from a grim fate, their relatives and friends in Latvia
endeavour to dissuade them from returning home, and advise them not to give credit
to Soviet promises and their propaganda about the conditions of life allegedly
existing in Latvia. The following excerpts from some letters prove this:
"…Please inform the members of this family that they should not come home. We live under
a regime of horrible terror murder, robbery, jail-torture and deportations to hard labour
"…If it is possible for you, tell everybody who is outside Latvia not to return. Don't
believe Bolshevik lies: by repatriating people they aim to get unpaid slaves in order
to boast that it was only the enthusiasm of the working people which helped to realise
the notorious 5-year plan, a plan which is based on the pain, blood and sweat of
innocent people starving to the point of death."
"…N., who had returned home from abroad, was arrested together with his wife, and their
little children were left to the mercy of fate." "...As you see, I have reached Latvia,
but I must immediately regret my step. Though I am free, I have been questioned by the
Cheka several times. Instead of a passport, a simple permit was issued to me,
prohibiting me to leave town. It is the same with all others. These fishermen who have
returned home from abroad are considered especially unreliable; they never receive
permission to go out to sea, no matter whether they are quite red or as white as chalk."
"…N. N. (21 years old) , together with about 20 other Latvian boys, had applied for
repatriation to Latvia, but they were all sent to Russia and placed at the disposal of
Chekists. Many of them have already died of starvation and horror. N. N. deeply regrets
his step and warns other Latvians abroad not to come home."
In another letter received last April, it is said: "…Don't believe propaganda lies;
tell everybody abroad not to dream of returning at present. We are living under an
awful terror. Every day we witness murders and deportations to forced labour in
The authors of the letters entreat people not to write to these who have remained in
Latvia: ''Don't write either to us or to those deported to Siberia. All persons who
receive letters are painfully questioned and tortured, and afterwards they are
transported to other places, and into the other world, too. . . . Don't write letters
and don't return home; here slave life is in store for you, such as we, who have
remained at home, are leading ourselves. Countrymen, don't believe propaganda. The
years 1940 and 1941 were but one hundredth of what is occurring now. There are no
limits to our pain and suffering. Every minute is ominous. Nobody is safe. We pace
like enchained animals, and await the day when we shall be able to repay our present
pain and tortures, which are perpetrated in unbelievable ways and by horrible means.
With clenched fists we long for the hour when we shall be able to show our hatred.
This hour must come and it will come!" In another letter we read: "Above all,
Latvians do not think of returning home; you are all doomed to exile, mass
deportations. Remain where you are, and return back as victors."
Whereas in other countries election rights are considered a human attainment of the
highest moral order, where everybody can freely express his will, it is just the
reverse under the Soviet regime, where "elections" approach inquisition. How
elections take place in the Soviet Union is exemplified by the following excerpts
from two letters:
"…Don't believe the election results. Beginning already at 4 a.m. (on election day)
people were awakened and dragged to the election polls. Automobiles raced through
the streets, carrying people to the election localities, and they "voted" with hearts
filled with hatred. ... Every house was searched by chekists or their helpers, and
people were chased to the elections by means of threats. They had been in my house
already three times, and as my mother had been questioned in the Cheka already about
ten times, we had to go. You see how obedient we have become."
On election day the folks were stirred up with bayonets already at 3 o'clock in the
morning, and escorted by guards to the polling-places. They all "voted" full of deep
As already mentioned, the number of Latvians deported and exterminated is very high.
No direct data are available, but, the number of Latvians in some places of exile
being known, it becomes possible to make an estimate on the extent of the Bolshevik
action. Thus, according to the testimony of the Balt L., who was deported to the Arctic
island of Novaja Zemlja and succeeded in escaping, some tens of thousands of deported
Latvians were stationed on that island, among them many intellectuals and officers.
Because of the severe climatic conditions, the strain of slave labour and the hunger
diet, the death-rate among the enslaved is 50 high that presumably no one can endure,
and all these people must perish.
Another place from which information has leaked out is the deportation centre of
Vorkuta, amidst the polar tundra of Northern Russia. According to reports, 60,000
Latvians, 100,000 Lithuanians, and 50,000 Estonians have been settled there. At
Vorkuta the death-rate was said to be very high. Consequently to fill the gap,
about 1,500 persons were sent to that place from Latvia every month. This means
that, on the average, 25-30 per cent die every year. Still sadder information has
come from the Far East, viz., the so called Trans-Baikal region, where the
death-rate of the exiles allegedly reaches 40 per cent.
Evidence about the existence of people doomed to serfdom is furnished by some
letters dispatched by labour camp inmates which happened to get through the "Iron
Curtain." In one of these it is said:
"…I have received illegally one short letter, dated October 22, 1946, from my
husband who was sentenced to 25 years hard labour, and deported. He writes that
he is in the coal mines of Vorkuta, somewhere near Archangel, on the river
Pechora. It would not be worthwhile to describe his existence, as it is too
horrible. Latvians are there in great numbers, living in mud-huts, about 200
persons packed together. They often fall ill, and every day terrible Mother-Death
visits them. But, in spite of that they are still living and hoping for some
help, as they cannot believe that the civilised nations will permit the most
intelligent part of all the unfortunate nations under the terrible Russian
occupation to perish. Along with the much tortured members of the Baltic nations
there were also many representatives of Hungarian, German, Rumanian and Austrian
educated classes… My husband does not mention his address in his letter, but I
have discovered it myself; it reads: Komi, USSR, St. Koshva, Vorkutlag MVD.
However, this address may not be quite correct, because many letters had been
sent to him to this address, but, as much as may be understood from his message,
he has never received any of them."
"…Some time ago a sailor was repatriated, who tells that he had worked on a
railway construction in the district of Vorkuta. There, in 1941, many thousands
of arrested persons were sent and left in the open several hundreds of kilometres
away in the Arctic moors (tunda). They had to work there on the construction of
a new railroad track through woods and swamps. Among them were about 700 Latvians
from different districts of Latvia. However, at the time he was allowed to return,
there remained alive only three of them - all the others had died because of the
inhuman conditions. Thus it was calculated that under every track sleeper a human
being was buried.
Up to the present time only a few of the deportees have returned - only these who
proved to be irremediab1y sick and incapable of work. Their condition and the
treatment they have to face at home is illustrated by the following letters
received from Latvia:
"…Recently several of these deported in 1941 had been repatriated, but the greater
number of them are woman; it is said that most of the men have already died of
hunger and hard labour."
"…At present one or another of the few lucky ones have had a chance to return home;
however, among them are only few of these who were deported in 1941. From the
soldiers deported after the end of the war, several have already been repatriated,
namely these who have become absolutely unable to work. Among them, however, is not
a single one of our Latvian officers; their fate is unknown."
"…Recently a few persons of these thousands who were seized in their homes after the
end of the war and sent to the Komi Republic, have been repatriated. These "lucky
ones" have lost, however, 80-90 per cent of their ability to work already; they have
been sent home in order to show the world that in the U.S.S.R. there are people who,
after having been deported for work, have returned home. But The joy of these
unfortunate invalids is not lasting, as they have to go through the so-called
"filtration post." There those who are most suspected are arrested and disappear
more silently than they come. For these who obtain the necessary entries on their
documents that they may remain, new troubles begin regarding their registration, as
the militia organs generally refuse to register them at their former dwelling places.
Thus these unfortunate, hunger stricken people wander around without documents or
ration cards, staying here and there with a family that out of sympathy shares with
them their last piece of bread."
At the beginning of 1946, Sweden extradited for forcible repatriation some 160 citizens
of the Baltic States to the Soviet Union. These were formerly soldiers, who had fought
the invading Red Army in defence of their homeland and human rights. Their fate is
shown by the following letters:
"…Nearly all the boys who returned from Sweden were sent to hard labour; their clothes
and other personal belongings were taken away from them, and they were sent forth clad
in old Russian rags. Exceptions were made only in the case of some of the fishermen
and communist collaborators, who are now under Chekist supervision, and are questioned
almost daily about such things as: who remained in Sweden, and what they intended to
do there, how numerous was the Swedish army, and what armament it had, what were the
intentions of the Swedes, etc. it is prohibited to mention to anybody anything about
this questioning, under threat of being sent to hard labour."
"…Of the Latvian soldiers who were repatriated from Sweden, only a few were released;
most of them were deported to an unknown destination. Almost all who voluntarily
returned home from Sweden were deported. Luckier were these fishermen who returned
home in motorboats. Several of these who were deported in 1941 have returned, but
they had to be carried out of the train, and it will take a long time till they will
be able to walk These who still are able to work do not return."
To replace the deported and exterminated Latvians, the Soviet Union is infusing into
Latvia and the other Baltic States racially alien elements, chiefly of oriental stock.
Already at present the majority of the inhabitants of larger cities is composed of
these alien intruders. However, not only in the towns, but in the country as well,
local inhabitants are replaced by aliens coming from the East. This is easily proved
by scanning the pages of the Latvian Soviet newspapers, where numerous surnames of the
newcomers may be found. Thus in a letter passed uncensored it is stated: "... Every
day crowds of Russian civilians enter Latvia. ... They are settled on Latvian farms,
but we are thrown out. We cannot get registered in other quarters, and are refused
ration cards. We are starving. Farms are completely depleted, there is even no more
seed. Very soon this will be a real paradise without bread and clothes!"
The indigenous peoples of the Baltic States are menaced with complete extermination
unless they are liberated and the invaders compelled to retreat from the occupied
countries. Therefore at present the eyes of all Balts are turned towards the Western
Democracies, who are their last hope, and whom they expect to put into effect the
principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter, the United Nations Charter, as well as
in the many declarations of the statesmen of these Democracies. A letter full of
despair, describing life in occupied Latvia, terminates in the words: "Report on all
these facts! Report! Open the eyes of everyone, show the Russians' real face,
criticise, inform, enlighten ... and please do what you can, should help be possible
Other letters contain appeals as follows:
"…We are waiting for international action on behalf of the promised freedom and
independence of the small nations; we are, however, afraid that it may come too late.
Then our youth will be dead in Siberia, and all our more capable and active citizens
deported." "... Every possible moment we try to pick up some radio message, wondering
whether once there really would not resound some voice telling the truth about our
unbearable political and economic conditions. Some time ago rumours spread, telling
about certain disagreements, but we are afraid that the civilised world is only
talking, while here everything is being done, should World War III break out, to
be ready to achieve victory of communism over the whole world, and to impose the rule
of criminals over all that is sacred and dear to the civilised world."
We have exposed but a few of the facts we have witnessed ourselves, and a part of the
information which our confidants, risking their lives, have managed to convey to us
in order to draw the attention of world conscience to a procedure which is nothing
less than an attempt, already far advanced, to annihilate the physical substance of
a civilised nation.
Estonia was occupied on June 17, 1940, on the same day as Latvia. To undermine her
liberty was the task of the Moscow delegate A. Zhdanov, a member of the Politburo and
Secretary of the Communist party. The same kind of policy, with slight variations, was
carried through in Estonia as had been applied in the cases of Lithuania and Latvia.
Immediately after the seizure of power on the 21st of June, 1940, by imported Russian
agents and by the troops of Red Army, the persecution, arrest, deportation and murder
of the members of the democratic Estonian Government commenced. During the Soviet
Occupation of 1940-41 the following members of the Government were arrested, and
deported to Russia together with their families:
The President of the Republic K. Päts (Agrarian Party),
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Minister in Washington A. Piip (Labour
The Minister for Justice A. Assor (Non-party),
The Minister of the Interior A. Jurirna (Agrarian Party),
The Minister for Commerce and Industry L. Sepp (Labour Party),
The Minister of Social Welfare O Kask (Labour Party) ,
The Minister for Agriculture A.Tupits (Agr. Party),
The Minister for National Defence General N. Reek (Non-party),
The Minister for Roads and Communication N. Viitak (Non-party)
The Minister for Culture and Education A. Oidermaa (Agr. Party),
The Minister of Justice A. Palvadre (Socialist)
Several former ministers and two former presidents of the Estonian Republic were
arrested and deported, as well, to the vast regions of Russia:
The former presidents J. Jaakson (Liberal Party), and J.Tonisson (Liberal Party)
the former Prime Minister K.Eenpalu (Agrarian Party), the former ministers
L. Johanson, A.Hellat (Socialist Party), A. Anderkopp, T. Kalbus, J.Kukk (Labour
Party), H. Kukke, A. Kerem, J. Kriisa, F.Akel (Liberal Party), O. Koster,
J. Hünerson, N. Talts (Agrarian Party), and others.
Furthermore, in accordance with the objectives of the Soviet Union, there have been
arrested and deported all leaders of the free elected local governing bodies, e.g.
the Lord Mayor of Tallin J. Soots (Agrarian Party), the Mayor of Tallinn A. Uuesson
(Labour Party), the Mayors of Tartu A. Tonisson and K. Luik, the Mayor of Viljandi
J. Maramaa, and many others.
Unimaginable terror was launched all over the country in order to liquidate the
leaders of the democratic regime and political parties. All Estonian newspapers and
journals were closed and the chief editors (for example H.Tammer, Laaman) and a
great number of professional journalists were arrested and deported to Siberia.
Instead of the liquidated democratic parties, the Estonian Communist Party, under
the direction of the Soviet Communist Party, became the highest political
authority of the occupied country. Its chief secretaries in the year 1940-41, as
well as 1944-47, were the Russian citizens K.Säre, N. Karotamm and others.
At the same time The Russian occupation authorities began to exterminate Estonian
cultural life. First of all the institutions having had connections with western
culture were closed down, and their leaders liquidated, e.g. the English College at
Tallinn, Alliance Française at Tartu, Anglo-Estonian Society, Lycée Français, and
others. Intercourse with foreign countries was cut off and departure from Estonia
was prohibited under threat of capital punishment. All Estonian citizens having had
intercourse formerly with Western Europe and the U.S.A., were proclaimed "enemies of
the people," and deported or murdered by the NKVD agents on the spot. Thus English
teachers were killed in Tartu, and members of the Alliance Française A. Piip, Cathala
and P.Kann, were arrested and deported.
The fact that nearly all workers of the cultural and humanitarian branches and
scientists, who could not flee to foreign countries, have become victims of
deportation (Prof. Tarvel, Dr. Annist and others) shows how much their lives and
liberty have been threatened. Such terrorist activity aimed at the isolation of
Estonia from the western world, since the most essential relations for cultural
life were cut off.
At the very beginning of the Soviet occupation the persecution and extermination of
the Estonian Church and its religious servants was put into effect. The number of
martyrs among the clergymen of the Estonian Church who had to suffer under the Soviet
regime was quite large. Twenty-nine priests and churchwardens, i.e. the provosts
A. Voorernaa, I. Varik md others, were tortured and murdered during the occupation of
1940-41. Much greater was the number of deported servants of religion: 163 priests
and others, including the former Bishop of the Evangelical Church H.B.Rahamagi, the
Bishop of the Catholic Church Prof. Ittlich, and others.
Not only the Estonian intelligentsia was subject to merciless slavery and annihilation,
but the entire Estonian nation as a whole was destined for extermination.
A considerable number of workers were actually transferred from Estonia to the most
distant corners of the Soviet Union. By this merciless deportation, the Soviet
authorities pursued cold-bloodedly their cruel plans for exterminating the Baltic
With the extermination of the Estonian freedom-loving workers, stress was laid upon
the liquidation of their leaders. Among them were a former President of the Federation
of the Estonian Trade Unions J. Piiskar, its Vice-President J.Rukki, the Vice-Chairman
of the Agricultural workers Union M. Mîhkelson, a leader of the Railwayrnen's Trade
Union V Rutnik, a leading man in the Printers' Trade Union J. Kurvits, the long
standing representative of the Estonian workers at the International Labour Conference
in Geneva and the former Vice-President of the Federation of Estonian Trade Unions
A. Gustavson, and many others. A number of Social-Democrat members of Parliament were
also deported: K. Freiberg (Director of the Tallinn Workers' Theatre), L. Johanson
(Secretary of the Central Association of the Sick-Funds), A. Oinas (President of the
Workers' Sports Association and the Workers' Musical Association), K.Virma, J.Karner,
H.Martna, P.Schutz, J.Jans, and A. Palvadre. These names were well known in every home
in Estonia. Only a few socialists who managed to vanish underground in time have saved
In observing the deportations in Estonia during the occupation 1940-41, they reveal on
the whole a rising character and finally become a mass deportation, threatening directly
the physical existence of the Estonian nation.
In accordance with the plan for the annihilation of the Baltic peoples drafted by the
People's Vice-Commissar of State Security of the Soviet Union Serov, the mass deportation
of Estonians began in the night of June 14, 1941. The preparations were made in absolute
secrecy, 50 that even the actual executors of this enterprise were not informed before the
afternoon of the l3th of June. By that time the selected communist officials were ordered
to the local NKVD headquarters, and there they were told what they were going to do. The
persons to be deported were divided into two categories:
1. men, heads of families,
2. members of families and relatives of the previously mentioned men who were to be deported
as well. The families to be deported were transported together to the railway stations,
where the men were separated from the families. Nobody was saved: the old, the sick, babies
and pregnant women. They were crammed into cattle wagons. They had to suffer indescriptable
hunger and thirst. In their despair some people committed suicide before the trains left the
station. On the way babies and old people died and miscarriages occurred.
Most of the victims were deported either to Arctic regions or to the Trans-Caspian area. The
heads of the families never saw their wives and children again, as they were forwarded to
extermination camps in Siberia. As the result of such actions in 1941, in two and a half
months 60,000 Estonians disappeared. The beginning of the Russo-German war on June 22nd, 1941,
put a preliminary end to the above mentioned plans until 1944. But during that time the Nazi
occupation continued in its turn the physical annihilation of the Baltic nations.
The fact that the Soviet Union is permanently continuing the policy of extended deportations
and arrests in Estonia, also during the second occupation since 1944, points out more and
more to the intended extermination of the Estonian people. Although mass deportations do not
occur any longer, the methodically increasing arrests and removal of many single families
has perhaps a more dangerous and annihilating feature. For instance, 50 persons were deported
from the single locality Valjala in Saaremaa in the year 1940-41, but from 1944 already 300
persons have disappeared. Since 1944 the action includes mainly farmers and workers. But
along with it the action against persons who have held some state or social post in the
Estonian Democratic Republic has been considerably intensified.
The demolition of the Estonian Church has continued since l944 by deportations of clergymen
and religious persons.
The instructions for deportations generally are supplied by the Communist Party. For executing
these instructions in the country there are permanently travelling NKVD commissions consisting
of 3-4 members. These new officials, called "trustees of the village," have been installed
after 1944. The methods, on the whole, have remained unchanged in comparison with 1940-41. As
to the new destinations of deportation, some information has been received concerning the
concentration camps of the heavy metal and coal mines in Vorkuta, Kazakhstan and Karaganda.
The average life of the deportees in those camps is only a few years.
Besides the direct, physical methods of extermination, at present also the indirect,
camouflaged methods are applied in Estonia for the same purpose and with the same result,
i.e. the post-war mobilisations of labour. Owing to the numerous mobilisations of male
citizens into special labour-units which are being sent to work in the Soviet Union, the
number of men in Estonia is still decreasing after the double losses under the Soviet and
Nazi terroristic occupations. It is calculated that in Estonia for the time being there is
one middle-aged man per ten women.
The extermination is also conducted by creating a so-called workers' reserve. Young people
are sent to compulsory technical courses. Having finished the courses they are forcibly
sent to work all over the vast Soviet Russia. The sending of young Estonian women en masse
to Leningrad for its reconstruction in the year 1945 and the use of Estonian youths for the
clearing of mines, without supervising, despite the losses, had had the same intention as
all the above mentioned Usually all information is missing regarding the further fate of
these persons. Since 1947 a new trick is being used-"voluntary resettlement" from Estonia
to East Siberia, Sakhalin, Kamchatka and the Isles of Kurile. The Administration for the
resettlement action (Pereselentskoye Upravlenie) has declared Estonia to be an
overpopulated country, and has started accordingly an action of resettlement of a part of
the Estoniari people to the above mentioned regions in the Far East. For instance, near
Habarovsk, in the Far East, one million hectares of land have been reserved in the wilderness
for the Estonian "voluntarily" resettled farmers. Also Estonian fishermen, shipping and
harbour personnel have left "voluntarily" for the Far East.
The present food situation in Estonia means indirect extermination as well. A wealthy land
of agricultural products, its inhabitants are now sentenced to permanent hunger. Only a
minor number of communist collaborators are enjoying satisfactory food rations.
The importation and resettlement of Russians in masses from the Soviet Union to Estonia is
to be considered a special indirect extermination of the Estonians. According to the
supplied facts, the total number of Russian immigrants to Estonia since 1947 exceeds the
whole original number of Estonians All leading posts in public life are occupied by
Russians. The Russians have been settled in the country as farmers and - of the people a
peculiar fact - Estonian names have been given to them. Most Estonian farmers have been d
eclared by decision of the Communist Party (No. 380, 1947) as "enemies of the people" and
"kulaks". Estonia was a country of small landowners according to the Agrarian reform of
1920. The average farmer owned about 30 hectares of land But the Russian occupation
authorities considered all farmers possessing more than 15 hectares of land to be
"kulaks". By means of such decisions the back-bone of the nation - her farming folk -
will be broken, and not many obstacles lie in the way of the further extermination.
Along with physical extermination, the demolition of national culture is permanently in
Such is reality. We have only given instances of how the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian
nations are being annihilated. We have intentionally not touched upon other points, such
as the moral harm that has been done and is still being done to our nations by the
occupying Soviet; the destruction of cultural and material values; The cultural and
economical regress in general; the colonisation of our countries with people brought from
the interior of Russia, and the russianizing of the countries.
We should only like to mention one more fact, namely, the judicial methods of the Soviets,
according to which MVB-Collegiates condemn people in absentia, even if they have departed
from their country.
We submit this sinister balance of Soviet occupation not for reasons of spreading
anti-Soviet propaganda, which is alien to us, but merely because we consider it our duty
towards mankind and our nations to do so. Heroically fighting for the independence of
their States in 1918-1919, the Baltic nations helped to stop the invasion from the East,
thus saving European civilisation. Their tragic experiences of the last nine years prove
to all peoples still enjoying liberty, what would be in store for them if Soviet expansion
overcame them also. In the meantime the Baltic nations appeal to the conscience of the
civilised world, asking for help in their unequal struggle.
The United Nations would fail to fulfil its purpose and the deep meaning of its raison
d'être if it remained indifferent to the malicious and systematically genocidal policy of
one of its founders.
During the trial of war criminals in Nuremberg, the representatives of the Soviet
Government accused them of offences against humanity. At Lake Success and Flushing Meadows
representatives of the same State dare to raise their voices repeatedly in the defence of
small States as well as of the rights and liberties of colonial peoples. Would it not
be much fairer if the Soviet Union would set the world a noble example and retreat
unconditionally and immediately from the aggressively seized Baltic States, thereby
restoring liberty to the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, who could then once again
build up the life of their countries on a democratic basis?
As free, qualified representatives of our nations, executing mandates which have been
entrusted to us and are constantly renewed and confirmed by our respective peoples, we
take the liberty to request Your Excellency to take up the problem of the Baltic nations
at the General Assembly of the United Nations, so that ways and means may be found to
Stop the genocidal policy of the Soviet Union. We desire that the surviving Lithuanians,
Latvians, and Estonians who have been deported to the interior of Russia be restored to
their countries immediately, and that, until this is brought about, international
organisations and institutions defending man's rights, care for them.
As mentioned in the Lithuanian note, submitted to the Secretary General of the United
Nations, His Excellency Trygve Lie, on October 30, 1946, the fact that Lithuania, Latvia,
and Estonia are not members of the United Nations at the present moment should not be an
obstacle in discussing the raised problem. It has already been stressed in this
memorandum that the Baltic States, according to law, are still members of the community
of independent nations. They were all full members of the League of Nations before the
closing of that institution.
We also trust that Your Excellency or any other delegation of a free and justice loving
State will agree to propose the discussion of our problem to the General Assembly of the
United Nations, as it is a problem that excites mankind and imposes infinite suffering
We shall be great1y obliged to you if you will have this appeal distributed among the
delegations of all the States, partaking in the Assembly's meeting of the United Nations.
Kindly accept, Your Excellency, the expressions of our deepest respect.
November 6, 1947.
Prof. Mykolas KRUPAVICIUS
Chairman of the Supreme Committee of Liberation, Former Lithuanian Minister
Chairman of the Lithuanian Executive Council, Former Lithuanian Minister at the Court of St. James
Bishop Prof. J. RANCANS
Acting President of the Democratic Republic of Latvia, Acting President of Latvian Parliament
Former Prime Minister of Latvia, Secretary of Latvian Parliament, Leader of the Small Farmers Party
Former Minister of Finance, Leader of the Latvian Social-Democrat Labour Party
Former President of the Bank of Latvia, Leader of the Latvian Farmers' Association,
Former Member of Parliament
Member of the Council of the Latvian State Control, Leader of the Latvian Democratic
Former Minister of National Defence, Minister of Agriculture and Member of Senate
Representative of former economic organisations, Professor of the University at Tartu,
Member of the Resistance Movement during the German occupation in Estonia
Professor of the University at Tartu, D.C.L., Member of the Resistance Movement during
the German occupation in Estonia
Embassy of Latvia, Washington, DC, 1947,
Ansis Reinhards, Suisse Romande, 18 février 2001,
Mise à jour: 25 mars 2001
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