Back in November 2011, I posted an article on LOL by Jukka Rislakki, author of “The Case for Latvia: Disinformation Campaigns Against a Small Nation,” who wrote about the ceremony dedicating memorial plaques to 20 Latvia’s lost generals at Rīga Brāļu kapi; generals whose remains have never been found - http://latviansonline.com/forum/viewthread/34673/
He expressed disappointment at the lack of Latvian solidarity to show their respect for these military leaders, generals, who had fought for Latvia’s Independence and as a consequence during “Baigais gads” (Year of Terror) were rounded up by the Soviet Russian invaders and taken to Moscow. There they were executed, or died in prison shortly after. Latvians lost their top military leadership, individuals who could have later stood up against the Nazi German demand to form the military legions. Lithuanians who lost only a hand full of their military leaders were able to resist the German requests.
Following the Soviet panic retreat from Latvia when the Germans arrived, there were still other generals whose tortured remains were found in mass graves scattered throughout Latvia. Besides these 20 and other generals there were 39 colonels who were executed, deported or remain unaccounted for. All in total the list of “Baigais gads” military victims includes some 1,100 officers and 3,600 instructors and soldiers.
For some reason the Latvian national espirit de corps was missing this day. This event was ignored by the media (other than for Jukka Rislakki’s article), by the government, as well as the intelligentsia. No explanation has been made.
The memorial plaques for each Latvian general are located at the base of the Mourning Mother. It is engraved on each plaque that the burial spot of these 20 Latvian generals is not known (Apbedījuma vieta nav zināma). Here is my compiled list and I did take a digital picture of each headstone:
Generālis Žanis Bahs (1885-1941)
Generālis Krišjānis Berķis (1884-1942)
Generālis Alberts Brambats (1881-1943)
Generālis Andrejs Bubinduss (1891-1842)
Generālis Hermanis Buks (1896-1942)
Generālis Arturs Dālbergs (1896-1941)
Generālis Arturs Dannebergs (1891-1941)
Generālis Jānis Ezeriņš (1894-1944)
Generālis Martiņš Hartmanis (1882-1941)
Generālis Jānis Teodors Indāns (1895-1941)
Generālis Martiņš Jeske (1883-1941)
Generālis Roberts Kļaviņš (1885-1941)
Generālis Rūdolfs Klinsons (1889-1941)
Generālis Andrejs Krustiņš (1884-1941)
Generālis Arvīds Kurše (1896-1953)
Generālis Jānis Liepiņš (1894-1942)
Generālis Hugo Rozenšteins (1892-1941)
Generālis Jēkabs Ruškevicis (1883-1942)
Generālis Vilis Spandegs (1890-1941)
Generālis Fricis Virsaitis (1892-1943)
No trip to Latvia is complete without a visit the Brāļu kapi. This year I went there twice with a side trip to Baltie krusti (The White Crosses), a short distance behind Zigfrīds Meierovitzs memorial Meža kapos.
About two and a half years ago I reported on the “Latvju tauta against Russki mir” thread that in Brāļu kapi there were rows upon rows of Cyrillic engraved headstones that didn’t belong in this cemetery. The cemetery had originally been constructed for Latvia’s heroes who during WWI fought for the Latvian homeland and/or independence in the years 1915-1920.
During Soviet Russian occupation of Latvia the invaders changed the entrance gateway to read 1915-1945 and chiseled off Latvia’s coat of arms and the crosses. There were 37 national features at the cemetery that were removed or plastered over. The cemetery added 473 Soviet invaders and politicians. All had been transferred from other cemeteries and interred during the occupation for the sake of prestige. It’s just another multinational aspect of russification that was forced on Latvians to demonstrate Soviet Russian power where the larger nation eventually absorbs the smaller nation. Well, I’m glad to report now that this has changed! There are no more eye sore Cyrillic headstones. They have all been removed and replaced by Latin alphabet engraved into the headstones. In addition 120 of the 473 Soviets have already been removed to other cemeteries. More will be removed from Brāļu kapi over time.
Baltie krusti, as some of you may know, was a memorial to some 120 cheka terror victims who had been tortured and executed by a bullet in the head. In 1969 the Soviets bulldozed these graves and opened the area for regular burials on top of these victims. The area has now been reclaimed and a monument has been erected for all the terror victims. Some whose remains have been recovered do have individual graves, i.e.- Jēkabs Silarājs, 1898-1941, Latvijas Brīvvalsts Kriminālpolicijas Priekšnieks – Interpola Viceprezidents; Miervalds Lūkins, 1894 25.XI – 1941 -.VI, Valsts Prezidenta Adjutants Pulkvedis.
As to why so many legionnaires gravesites have disappeared and so many are unaccounted for, Latvian historian Vita Zelče writes: “Sarkanajai armijai bija īpašas pretnieku kapu iznīcināšanas vienības, kas sekoja frontei un pildīja savu uzdevumu. Tie gluži vienkārši tika fiziski iznīdēti – saspridzināti, nošķūrēti, tanku kāpurķēžu samalti, demontēti. Atmiņstāsti liecina, ka šie karavīru kapi pazuda no Latvijas ainavas bez jebkādiem publiskiem skaidrojumiem. (“Karojošā piemiņa 16.marts un 9.maijs”)