Crimes of Nazi Germany on the Territory of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

I will tell you about another book that influenced my spiritual development. Quite recently.

The book is called “Report of the Extraordinary State Commission for the Establishment and Investigation of the Atrocities of the Nazi Invaders and Their Accomplices. About the crimes of the German Occupiers on the Territory of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic”.

You can read this book here: There is a more complete version, but it can not be downloaded on the Internet due to its large volume.

This small book talks about what the German fascists and their accomplices from the local population did on the territory of the republic during the war. Here is a small excerpt from the book, p. 8.

“They killed men and women, healthy and sick, old people and children. In the central prison in Riga, they killed more than 2,000 children taken from their parents, and in the Salaspils camp, more than 3,000 children. In the first and second Riga psychiatric hospitals they killed all the mentally ill. …

… In Stalag 350 and its branches, the Germans tortured and executed 130,000 Soviet prisoners of war. The Commission found 12 places of mass burial of the corpses of tortured Soviet prisoners of war in Riga and its environs. Of them the largest in Salaspils, Zemnieku-kalns, on the territory of the Armoured Barracks, at the New Jewish cemetery”.

Yes, my mother told me how my relatives died of starvation in the besieged Leningrad, how, at the age of 15, she carried frozen corpses on a sled and dumped them into the Neva River, since it was impossible to bury them in the ground because it was frozen and was like a rock. She told me how she lost her father, my grandfather Stanislav, who had gone as a volunteer to the front. I knew all that. It was a sacred memory for me.

In Latvia in Soviet times, there was not much talk about the atrocities committed by fascists of all stripes during the war. Except that when visiting the Salaspils camp. I took foreign tourists on excursions there and heard the stories of the guides more than once. I’ve never seen this book before. Maybe it was lying in a special storage room?.

And then I read about 130,000 (!) dead Soviet prisoners of war. Where? In the place where I first played sports (Dynamo stadium nearby), and then served in the army (this place was then called Voroshilov Barracks). My parents are buried in the Ziepniekkalna cemetery, I went to the burial place of the Soviet military there, but I did not know that the number of tortured Soviet prisoners of war buried in this place is many times higher than the current number of residents of the neighbourhood.

I served 4 months in the Riga Central Prison for fighting for the right of Russian children to study in their native language. I held out without panicking. Now I wake up in the night in a cold sweat and I can see how 50 children, or the whole 100, were strangled by the executioners in the cell in which I was sitting. Or were the children taken to the prison yard to be shot? This is where I was taken for an hour’s walk every day. Are there any bullet marks left from the shooting of these children? I haven’t seen them, but they are there. The corpses of the murdered children were buried in the Matis clubhouse near the prison. This was under the rule of R. Bangerskis, who is buried as a hero in the Fraternal Cemetery, not far from the memorial to the Mother of the Motherland. Who knows about it now?
It would be necessary to place commemorative plaques on the wall of the Armoured Barracks. I, as I felt also shortly before the arrest, even looked for a suitable place there. I also looked for a place for a monument on the grave of children who died from having their blood taken for wounded German pilots. This is in the cemetery, which is opposite the Children’s Republican Hospital, I reached an agreement with the sculptor, found money for the monument. Everything went to pieces after the arrest. The charges were not confirmed, but the monument could not be installed.

The effect of this book on me was such that I did not for a moment doubt the correctness of the chosen path. I wasn’t afraid of lawsuits. After all, I am alive, unlike those Soviet prisoners of war and those Soviet children. And unlike my grandfather Stanislav, whom I never saw.

This concludes the campaign for the story about the books that are important to me. I won’t even name anyone specifically who should continue it this time. Let the person who thinks it’s important continue.

Aleksandr Gaponenko

Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.