The name of Litene is temporarily connected in the history of Latvia with the tragic fate of Latvian army officers.
Litene parish, on the bank of the picturesque Pededze river in a pine forest during the independence of Latvia in the 20th century. At the end of the 30th year, the Latvian Army summer camp was located. Trails were cut here, roads were built, wells were drilled, wooden barracks and kitchens were built, a strong wooden bridge over Pededze was also built, but there was a modern landfill nearby. From May to autumn, several thousand conscripts learned the skills of combat tactics and shooting skills, got acquainted with the difficulties of the military field settlement and trained physically and mentally. The daily life of peacetime soldiers ran until the Soviet occupation.
In 1940, instead of the Latvian Army, the People's Army was established, which was soon included in the so-called 24th Territorial Corps of the Red Army, which consisted of several former parts of the Latvian Army and was included in the special Baltic war zone. On July 11, that is, before Latvia's accession to the USSR.
The soldiers of the newly formed corps received the ranks of the Red Army. The form remained the same, only the distinguishing marks changed. Although the command of the corps consisted of former senior officers of the Latvian army, the real determinants were the commissioners and political leaders appointed by the occupying power.
The first and brutal persecution of totalitarian power was directed first against the Latvian army. In order to prevent our soldiers from resisting the planned repression and weakening their moral spirit, no part was left in the current composition, but it was dismantled by relocating and exchanging both the leading and private personnel.
At the beginning of May 1941, most of the soldiers and officers of the 24th Territorial Corps were transferred to a summer camp at the Litene military training ground. There was also the headquarters of the corps with its parts, as well as the 183rd Infantry Division. As there was no more space there, for the needs of the 181st Division, upon arrival in Gulbene, a second new camp was set up about 10 km away in the bays of Pededze near the Ostrovies House, hence the name.
On the morning of June 14, both camps were surrounded by troops from the People's Commissariat for the Interior. But even before that date, some officers and soldiers began to disappear from them.
But on June 14, according to the lists, the officers were summoned to go to training. Disarmament took place in groups. Everyone who immediately disobeyed the order or failed to raise their hands was shot. The pits for those killed had been excavated before.
The others were put in cars and taken to Gulbene station and taken to the Siberian torture roads in previously prepared cattle wagons. Here's what an eyewitness, Kārlis Bergs, the captain of the Cavalry Regiment (later killed in the great bombing of Dresden by English and American aviation), told his fellow member about the fateful events of June 14:
"Saraksts Immediately after breakfast, a list of officers was announced for the area training in Gulbene area, bringing maps, binoculars and raincoats. always assigned only a certain number and grade of officers, depending on the subject matter of the training and the scope of the activity envisaged.
Then everything happened quickly and briefly. After boarding the cars, they went in the direction of Litene manor, where they were joined by other cars with officers from the corps headquarters and other parts, and then all of them turned to a smaller country road under the leadership of the new commander of the corps headquarters (Major Tkachov, probably). After a few kilometers, the road went through a small forest with thick bushes on both sides of the road. Suddenly the cars stopped here, everyone was instructed to get out and line up on the road.
Then Major Tkachov came forward and shouted, "Tactical training is happening here - with our hands up!" Immediately, the thick bushes on both sides of the road parted ways and revealed a chain of red-armored arms with firearms raised. During disarmament, if someone shows the slightest sign of disobedience, he is shot on the spot. A Russian officer was also shot dead. After that, everyone was put back in cars and transported to Gulbene station, accompanied by armored vehicles and a convoy, where they were placed in grated cattle wagons.
On the second day, Berg was taken to a military man and asked for his name. What was needed was a different Berg than Karl. Another day went by to find out and "tell" no one to tell anyone, then Berg was taken back to the camp. "
A similar fate befell Latvian pilots - officers whose airfield was located in Gulbene.
Total 1940, 1941 Around 4,665 Latvian soldiers were repressed, including 1,086 officers, 23 of whom were generals, one admiral and more than 100 lieutenant colonels.
Deputy Lieutenant Officer of the Latvian Army, later Junior Lieutenant of the 24th Territorial Corps of the Red Army Roberts Gabris, 1941. On June 14, he was arrested in the Litene summer camp and deported to Norilsk, writing a documentary "Latvian Officer No. 35473", which contains a list of repressed soldiers of the Latvian army. This book clearly shows how the Latvian army was destroyed as a result of a treacherous secret article by Molotov-Ribbentrop.
On October 13, 1988, after 46 years, the Prosecutor's Office of the Latvian SSR initiated a criminal case, an investigation began and during it about 200 witnesses were questioned, and voluminous materials were collected. The deported officers were tried from 1941 onwards. autumn to 1942 spring, mainly for treason. Of the 500 deportees in Litene, only 70 returned after rehabilitation, the rest were shot or killed in inhumane conditions in the Norilsk camp.
But no less than 40 demobilized people were killed in the Litene camps between June 28 and the first days of July. An unknown number has also been killed in the woods away from the camps. Some time after the killing, the residents buried six soldiers in the Litene cemetery. Fourteen rest at Pededze Cemetery.
1988 Skeletons, buttons, bullets, and cartridge cases of 11 officers were found in the burial site shown in the Sita forest in the territory of the former Litene landfill. After the restoration works of specialists, the remains of these officers in 1989. On December 2, at the consecration of Gulbene Ev. lut. church, reburied in Litene cemetery. Eleven white crosses symbolize the resting place of this and all the other unknown soldiers.
White candles are crying over Latvian officers
And the wind will hurt in the branches of the trees.
Every June again and again
We have to bow our heads about Liteni.
This is what the poet Lūcija Sāgameža - Nāgele says in her poem dedicated to the tragic events of Litene.
Every year on June 14, memorial events are held in Litene to commemorate the tragic fate of the Latvian army and to pay tribute to those who died and survived. The Litene Parish Council and the Ministry of Defense of Latvia take an active part in these events.
On June 14, 2001, a memorial ensemble "Wall of Pain" created by stonemasons Ivars Feldbergs and Sandra Gribanovskis was dedicated to Litene Cemetery, dedicated to the killed and tortured officers of the Latvian Army.
The list of information source can be found here .