Washington events to commemorate deportations

The first Baltic Remembrance Day is scheduled June 14 in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians who were deported by Soviet authorities in 1941.

The event, coordinated by the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), is scheduled at 4 p.m. at the Victims of Communism Memorial at the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues, according to a JBANC press release.

Organizers of the event will call on the Russian government “to take responsibility for its history, and to acknowledge and apologize for these acts, which it has never done,” according to the press release.

Nearly 15,500 Latvian men, women and children were rounded up and deported to Russia from June 13-14, 1941, according to historians. Many of those deported worked for or had ties to the Lavian government, or work social or cultural leaders. Similar deportations took place in Estonia and Lithuania.

A second deportation, aimed largely at people resisting collectization of agriculture, took place in late March 1949. More than 42,000 people were forced to leave Latvia.

Names of those deported will be read aloud during the ceremony.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will follow Baltic Remembrance Day with two other events.

In a June 16 afternoon ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, the foundation will award the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; to Romanian Bishop Laszlo Tokes; and, posthumously, to former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp.

Later that day, the foundation will launch the Online Global Museum of Communism during a reception at the home of Romanian Ambassador Adrian Cosmin Vierita in Washington, D.C. The Web site will be available at www.globalmuseumoncommunism.org.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

One thought on “Washington events to commemorate deportations

  1. I am trying to trace my father’s (Nikolajs Mekss) history (now deceased) and wondered if his name was read out at the memorial and if anyone knew him.

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