LTF Gulbene branch - 25

On the 25th anniversary of the Latvian People's Fort, the Gulbene Regional Library collected articles, documentary evidence, photographs and memoirs about the Awakening in Gulbene. Folkloreists remember the most important events of that time.

The third revival began ...

Where did the Third Awakening begin? The revival certainly did not begin with the People's Front, because until the People's Front there was a Cultural Foundation, gathering a group of like-minded people, who then became involved in the People's Front movements. The Cultural Foundation, in which we also became involved, started operating in 1987, thanks to Laima Lupiķe, the then director of the Gulbene Library, who managed the Cultural Foundation.



Since 1982, working at the Gulbene Museum, we had managed to get along with Gulbene and had understood not only the formal, official history of Gulbene, but also the informal one. (..) The Cultural Foundation was the first lock to be opened and the population became interested in what was valuable and important in Gulbene (and elsewhere in Latvia) in terms of cultural heritage. (..)

The third decade of August and September 1988 is the time when the Latvian People's Front groups began to form in Gulbene. We joined the LTF Initiative Group of Cultural Workers, which was established in the Gulbene Museum - in the old building - Rīgas Street 49. The moment was approaching when the Latvian People's Front would be established throughout the country and on October 4, 1988 the Gulbene Branch at that time, the People's Front groups had also been formed in all parishes of Gulbene (at that time) district (13 in total).



As the founding congress of the LTF in Riga was approaching very quickly (October 8-9), the tasks were very specific: to establish the LTF Gulbene district group and to nominate delegates to the LTF congress in Riga. Two delegates were elected from the city of Gulbene: Pēteris Smoļskis, a lawyer at the Gulbene Branch (MRS) of the Latvian Forest Industry, and I, a Senior Research Fellow at the Gulbene History and Art Museum.
/ Irīna Zeibārte /

Highlights ...

A bright event was the first march of LTF Gulbene support groups with the red-white-red flag, after that there was the raising and raising of the flag above the Gulbene library. Many people took part in this event. (..)
/ Nicholas Freedom /


August 23, 1989 - The Baltic Way was an amazing thing. However, it was the largest event with the largest number of Gulbene residents. (..)


The people of Gulbene had a place in the then Valmiera district (near Sauliai). By the way, we did not have enough people at the time, but the situation was resolved as elsewhere, with national belts. (..)

I really do not understand today how without a mobile phone, without modern communications, an event of this scale could be coordinated and not only in the territory of Latvia, but also on the Estonian-Latvian border and the Lithuanian-Latvian border come together.

I, with all my spiritual, emotional contribution - I perceive it as the way that the Baltic Way was a demonstration of real power - to that side. / Irīna Zeibārte /

Another important event, which together was the [Latvian] People's Front, the Brothers' Cemetery Committee, the Cultural Foundation, which took place on December 2, 1989, and I still consider it one of the biggest events in Gulbene and when Gulbene was the epicenter of national events.

It was the reburial of the remains of eleven murdered Latvian Army soldiers found in Litene. I do not remember such an emotional event and such a full Gulbene church, and such a large number of people on the way from Gulbene to Litene and also in Litene.
/ Irīna Zeibārte /

We invite you to take a look at the Gulbene Regional Library's local history database, where the digital collection "History of the Gulbene Branch of the Latvian People's Front" has been created. The collection contains materials - both articles and photos about the activities of the Gulbene branch of the Latvian People's Front during the Awakening and reflections today. The digital collection can be viewed here .