1941 Soviet Deportations in the Baltic Nations

May 22nd, 2013 → 1:44 pm @ // No Comments

In May 1941, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government adopted a joint directive “On the measures to cleanse Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian SSR of anti-Soviet, criminal and socially dangerous element”.  Security forces were directed to repress five categories of inhabitants of these countries, which had been occupied by the Soviet Union in June 1940 on the basis of the August 23, 1940 Stalin-Hitler Pact :

  1. activists of the “counter-revolutionary parties” as well as members of anti-Soviet, nationalistic and “White Guard” organizations;
  2. Former policemen and prison officials;
  3. former big land-owners, factory-owners and civil servants;
  4. former Army officers;
  5. the criminal element

These “measures” meant arresting all people belonging to those extremely arbitrary and ambiguous categories, sentencing them to 5-8 years in forced labour camps and then to 20 years of exile in the remotest parts of the Soviet Union.  All their property was to be confiscated.  The term “Counter-revolutionary parties” included all non- Communist political parties, the term “anti-Soviet and nationalistic organizations” all NGO-s and patriotic formations. 

All family members of the persons belonging to the first four categories were destined to 20 years of exile along with the confiscation of their property.  The same measures applied to any family whose head of household had gone into hiding. 

About 50.000 Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian nationals fell victim to the June 14th, 1941 social cleansing which, it is important to note, was carried out in peacetime.  The deportees were transported in cattle cars for thousands of kilometres and deposited as virtual prisoners in Soviet Siberia and the Far North to face hunger, cold and forced labour in primitive conditions.  Men were separated from their families and directed to prison camps where many of them were executed or died of hunger and exhaustion.  The confiscated property of the deportees was never restored by the Soviet authorities.  Most of those who finally managed to return to their homelands suffered social and economic discrimination for decades.

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