1919 Vecgulbene tribunal

On November 11, 1918, the First World War ended and a new stage of development began for Latvia. On November 18, the new state of Latvia was established. However, units of the German army were in Vecgulbene until December, but on December 5, one occupation was replaced by another. Parts of the Red Army entered Vecgulbene with slogans of Soviet power. German soldiers, tired during the long years of war, were confused about the changes in their homeland that were more important to them than the developments in a foreign country, refused to fight against the Soviet troops and resigned hastily.

The period from December 1918 to May 1919 is one of the darkest in the history of Gulbene. After the establishment of the Soviet power, Vecgulbene became the center of Maliena district. The county authorities were located in the manor, mainly in the White Castle. The destruction of the castle continued. However, the operation of Vecgulbene or Maliena Revolutionary Tribunal caused much more terrible damage. In the Socialist Soviet Republic of Latvia, there were several such tribunals, but the operation of the Vecgulbene tribunal was almost the bloodiest ("excesses").

The revolutionary tribunal of Vecgulbene stood out for the severity of the decisions taken and the large number of death sentences, often for minor violations.

The fact that the hearings of the tribunal were held in the church, where the so-called judges sat at the red table instead of the altar, also caused horror to the Gulbenes.

Almost all the convicts were brutally tortured before his death, so the former manor barn (at the entrance gate of the current stadium) was called Waid or Vaide barn for many years. The people of Gulbene were confused and desperate in April 1919, when a workers' club was opened in Vecgulbene Church.

The dance of death in Vecgulbene began on December 24, 1919. Therefore, the first action of the Maliena tribunal, which was allegedly carried out atheistically on this day, can be called the Christmas massacre: six death sentences were handed down in accordance with the revolutionary conscience.

The first chairman of the Maliena tribunal was Alfreds Lācis. However, he soon had disagreements with the Bolsheviks of Vecgulbene and Lubāna in the case of teacher Jēkabs Graudiņš, and from January 18 to May 9 the hearings of the tribunal were chaired by Jūlijs Bormans, but A. Lācis was expelled from the tribunal. In May and mid-June, Jānis Žīgurs sat in the chair.

The work reports of the commission of inquiry of January, February and April 1919, which have survived, testify to the number of persons and cases under investigation, as well as the composition of the charges against them. In those months, 349 cases were opened involving 606 people.

Between December 24, 1918 and June 16, 1919, the Maliena Tribunal held at least 33 hearings.

The death sentences were handed down to six hearings. The list of those sentenced to death, which records 152 surnames and the date of the fateful trial, has been kept in the Maliena tribunal's logbook. However, it is missing whether all the convicts were shot.

The death penalty was carried out on 122 of the 152 people who were sentenced to death in the Maliena tribunal by May 27, 1919.

In 76 cases, the death penalty was imposed for a political offense, in 15 cases it was imposed for a criminal offense, and in 15 cases, the wording of the insults contained alleged political and criminal conduct.

Of the 69 acquitted persons, 39 were charged with anti-minor political activity, 19 with criminal offenses, 2 with mixed offenses and 9 with administrative offenses.

The methods of implementing the economic policy of the Bolshevik dictatorship - war communism - were reflected in the judgment of E. Lapiņš. He has to pay 5,000 rubles and divorce two houses in Aluksne for refusing to hand over one horse to be requisitioned to the authorities. They were confiscated by a court judgment.

The amnesty announced at the first May holiday affected 19 people convicted by the tribunal. Ten people were released.

25 women were also tried at the Maliena tribunal.

On May 31, 1919, the Soviet government ceased to exist in Vecgulbene. The whole area was liberated from north to south by the Latvian army, Vecgulbene - by the 1st (later 4th) Valmiera Infantry Regiment.

The list of information source can be found here .