LETTONIE - RUSSIE, Traités et documents de base

APPEAL of the Representatives of the Baltic Nations to the General Assembly of the United Nations, November 24, 1947

Quelques autres documents lettons contre l'annexion:
  • 1940 : Lettre au Conseil Fédéral par l'ambassadeur J.Feldmans du 15.07.1940
  • 1944 gb : Joint Appeal of the Baltic States' National Councils to the United States and Great Britain 1944
  • 1946 : Mémorandum : L'annexion de la Lettonie par l'Union Soviétique et le droit 08.04.1946.
  • 1946 : La Lettonie et les autres Etats baltes dans la politique internationale le 10.08.1946.
  • 1948 : La Nation lettone doit-elle périr? Un appel urgent du Conseil National Letton au monde civilisé

    APPEAL 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.

    EXELLENCY:

    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 nations;

    (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 organisations;

    (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

    Johannes KAIV
    Consul General of Estonia In Charge of Legation


    APPEAL of the Representatives of the Baltic 'Nations to the General Assembly of the United Nations

    His Excellency Signor Dr. Osvaldo Aranha,
    President of the General Assembly of the United Nations,
    Lake Success, New York.


    Mr. President,

    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?


    I. LITHUANIA

    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 country.

    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 security.

    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 police personnel;
    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 the Party;
    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, esperantoists, philatelists;
    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 Antanas Tolis.

    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 well.

    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 them.

    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 killed:

    "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.


    II. LATVIA

    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 camps.

    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 trucks."

    "…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."

    Guerrilla Warfare

    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 Soviet soldiers."

    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 in Siberia."

    "…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 Siberia."

    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 hatred."

    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 at all!"

    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.


    III. ESTONIA

    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 Party),
    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 nations.

    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 themselves.

    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 progress.


    Conc1usion

    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 on us.

    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.

    For Lithuania:
    Signed:
    Prof. Mykolas KRUPAVICIUS
    Chairman of the Supreme Committee of Liberation, Former Lithuanian Minister

    Vaclovas SIDZIKAUSKAS
    Chairman of the Lithuanian Executive Council, Former Lithuanian Minister at the Court of St. James

    For Latvia:
    Signed;
    Bishop Prof. J. RANCANS
    Acting President of the Democratic Republic of Latvia, Acting President of Latvian Parliament

    Adolfs BLODNIEKS
    Former Prime Minister of Latvia, Secretary of Latvian Parliament, Leader of the Small Farmers Party

    Voldemars BASTJANIS
    Former Minister of Finance, Leader of the Latvian Social-Democrat Labour Party

    Adolfs KLIVE
    Former President of the Bank of Latvia, Leader of the Latvian Farmers' Association, Former Member of Parliament

    Bernhards KRUKA
    Member of the Council of the Latvian State Control, Leader of the Latvian Democratic Center Association

    For Estonia:
    Signed:
    Joh. HOLBERG
    Former Minister of National Defence, Minister of Agriculture and Member of Senate

    Juri PIIROJA
    Representative of former economic organisations, Professor of the University at Tartu, Member of the Resistance Movement during the German occupation in Estonia

    A. PERANDI
    Professor of the University at Tartu, D.C.L., Member of the Resistance Movement during the German occupation in Estonia

    Source:
    Embassy of Latvia, Washington, DC, 1947,


    Commentaires:


    Ansis Reinhards, Suisse Romande, 18 février 2001, Mise à jour: 25 mars 2001
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