Latvia marks 60 years since Communist regime deportations
On 14 June 2001 and throughout the week, commemoration ceremonies and church services were held across Latvia to mark the 60th anniversary since the Communist regime deported thousands of the inhabitants of Latvia to distant areas of the Soviet Union on 14 June 1941.
A movie hall, Film Gallery, in central Riga demonstrated a video film "Siberian Diary" and held a meeting of people who were subject to deportations, while the Latvian Occupation Museum opened an exhibition called "Deportacija. 14.VI 1941. Deportation". Another movie hall, "Riga", screened a premiere of the film "Siberian Children" as well as held a meeting with heroes of the movie.
A monument to people who were subject to repressions was opened in Tornakalns train station in suburban Riga, a place where a large part of deported persons were put on trains and sent off to Siberia. The monument unveiling ceremony was joined by Latvian President Dr Vaira Vike-Freiberga.
Commemoration ceremonies to victims of the Communist genocide were also held in Gulbene and Litene, eastern Latvia, as well as in other towns of the country. In the Gulbene train station a commemoration event was held at the monument to repressed persons while later on in Litene fraternal cemetery Latvian Defence Minister Mr Girts Valdis Kristovskis unveiled a memorial to Latvian army officers, assassinated in 1941.
During the commemoration week the Latvian Society Hall held a presentation of the book called "Aizvestie" (The Deported), whereas the University of Latvia hosted a two-day international conference about deportations in 1941. About 30 reports were delivered at the conference, which sought to analyse psychological, demographic, social and moral consequences of Soviet deportations.
The latest data summarised by historians show at least 15,424 people were deported from Latvia during deportations on 14 June 1941, from them most were ethnic Latvians and many Jewish people. Those were first mass deportations of the Latvian people by the Communist regime of the Soviet Union.