Konstantīns, 2011

Konstantins 2014 JPG A Documentary Film “Konstantīns”

The horrible first year of the Soviet occupation created things which were impossible during the previous 700 years.  For the first time, Latvians who had suffered from Red terrorism, greeted the Germans as liberators, displaying much delight about the end of the Soviet o>ccupation.  The joy was premature, however.  The Nazis created a new occupation, and Latvia lost nearly 100,000 civilians, including nearly all of the Jews who had remained in Latvia in the beginning of July 1941. The path between lost independence and recovery of freedom was created by an illegal political organisation – the Latvian Central Council.  Its leader was Konstantīns Čakste, son of Latvia’s first president, Jānis Čakste. The Latvian Central Council did not achieve anything.  Some of its members were arrested by the secret police in 1944, while others were arrested by the KGB during the Soviet occupation.  More than 2,000 of the members emigrated abroad,  and the path toward the recovery of independence in 1991 was thus marked out. From 1941 until 1945, some 7,000 Latvians were imprisoned at a concentration camp in Stutthof.  Documents show that several thousand of them died along with other prisoners. Professor Konstantīns Čakste served as an example of a selfless and unbending hero of the nation.  He died one night in February 1945 as he was returning from the Stutthof camp. Freedom fighters are respected not just because they sacrifice their lives, but also, and especially, because their struggle relates to the rights of each nation to sovereignty and freedom.


Director and producer:  Dzintra Geka

Screenplay:  Ēriks Lanns

Camera:  Aivars Lubānietis

Editing:  Armands Zvirbulis

Video engineer:  Jānis Kazulis

Studio SB


28 min.

Sibīrijas bilance, 2011

2013. gadā filmai piešķirta balva “Gada labākā dokumentālā filma”

In 2011 we marked the 70thanniversary of the deportations of June 14, 1941, when 15,425 residents of Latvia (Latvians, Jews, Russians, Poles) were deported to Siberia.  Among them there were 3,751 children aged up to 16.

During the process, men were separated from their families and sent to gulags, where many of them were sentenced to death, while others were imprisoned in labour camps.  The facts of history and dry and few, but many of the victims and their children and grandchildren are still among us. Continue reading “Sibīrijas bilance, 2011”

The station “Latvians” 1937

Over the past centuries, Latvians have moved from their motherland to all corners of the globe.  Some have been deported because they refused to obey regimes.  Others have gone out into the world because they feel that they will have a happier and luckier life elsewhere.  Still others have become refugees during wars and revolutions.  Our compatriots were not welcomed everywhere with open arms, but it was only in the Soviet Union that the ethnicity of Latvians led to the development of a theory which said that each and every Latvian was a spy, a traitor, an enemy, or simply an undesirable person who needed to be shot as soon as possible.  

The documentary “The Station ‘Latvians’, 1937”

Stacija LatviešiOriginal Title Latvieši – 1937 – Latiši Documentary, 60’, Released 2010

 Director Dzintra Geka
 Production Company Sibīrijas bērni
 Director and producer:  Dzintra Geka
 Screenplay:  Ēriks Lanss
 Camera:  Aivars Lubānietis
 Editing:  Armands Zvirbulis
 Video engineer:  Jānis Kazulis
 Sound editor:  Normunds Deinats
 Text:  Aivars Stranga
 Consultant:  Jānis Riekstiņš
 Assistant to the director:  Baiba Ārenta

Songs from Siberian Latvians have been used as the soundtrack to this film.

According to the 1926 Soviet census, there were 151,410 Latvians living there – 18,346 in and around Leningrad, 10,583 in the Pskov District, 10,167 in Moscow, and 35,069 Latvians in Siberia.  There were at least 372 Latvian colonies with 12,000 farms.  Gaļina Strazdiņa, who lives in Kemerov, says that “soon we will all be gone.  We are neither Latvians nor Russians because we do not speak our own language, we do not speak Latvian.  What can I say about 1937?  I was 14, no, 15.  A Black Bertha came to our village and collected everyone – Latvians, Estonians, Russians, everyone.  No one ever returned.”  The “Latvian Operation” was headed up by Nikolai Yezhov, who issued the relevant instructions on November 30, 1937.  22,360 people were arrested, and 74% were sentenced to death.  Although the focus of the operation was on Latvians, others who were accused of spying on behalf of Latvia were also caught up in the process.  The greatest suffering occurred among innocent people whose only “crime” was that they were Latvians in the Soviet Union.  The central figures in the film are the offspring of those who were repressed, and they were found in Moscow, Kemerov and Latvia.  A train station in the Kemerov District is still called “Latvians.”



Piemini Sibīriju

This film is an emotional, figurative and historical study of the memories of people who were deported to Siberia as children on June 14, 1941.  The film represents the sufferings of these victims in contrast to the beautiful landscapes of Siberia.
On June 14, 2009, a film crew, a number of children of Siberia who survived and returned to Latvia, and their children went on a pilgrimage to Siberia to install memorial plaques in memory of the mothers and children who were deported between 1941 and 1949.
One person who took the trip was Gunārs Toms, who became an orphan after his father perished in Vyatlag.  “I have to say that to this very day I have not recovered peace in my soul after what I saw and experienced during a 120-kilometre pilgrimage from the village where my mommy, Alvīne Toma, was arrested, to the “mighty” KGB building in Yeniseysk, where there were interrogation rooms and a dungeon in which people were shot,” he says.  There was the cemetery of the prison.  The former death camp is still surrounded by barbed wire.  And, finally, we put up a memorial plaque in the local museum.”

Continue reading “Piemini Sibīriju”

Agapitova and the Recsued

Agapitova and the Recsued

Movie about returning to the north, in the past. Plahina, Agapitova, Igarka and other giant counties are the edge of the northern land, where Ilmārs Knaģis ended up in 1941, when together with 4 thousand children from Latvia he was deported to Siberia. In the fall of 1942, 700 mothers and children of different nationalities landed on Death Island in Agapitova, around 60 people were saved, including 6 Latvian children – Biruta Kazaka, Pavels Kliesbergs, Venta and Ilmārs Grāvīši, Pēteris Bērziņš, Valentīna Voišiša. The memories are poignant, even incredible. In the leisurely course of the film, we will see the old men who stayed in Siberia, whose dream of returning to Latvia has disappeared, their lives have been spent in exile.

Question remains, whAgapitovay it happened and why there is nobody to blame? Maybe this endless return is search for time taken away? North deported generation turns into frozen land of ice and water. Those remaining disappears day by day. I am still desperately trying to stop time. In the hope that my words will not leave with me. – In fact, I did not forget. However, many seem to have seen a motion picture. Too incredible it was. But thousands and thousands tens of millions have experienced something similar here, and more violent. All our nowadays mind is raped and distorted that the events which there is no similar in the history of mankind, now seems normal …

Documentary film Agapitova and the Rescued. Y 2009, 54′
Scenario  Ēriks Lanss
Director  Dzintra Geka
Music  Pēteris Vasks
Operator Aivars Lubānietis
Editor  Armands Zvirbulis
Installation and sound editing Jānis Kazulis
Video graphics  Edgars Lūsiņš
Assistant director Baiba Kazule
(c) Studija SB 2009 (c) Dzintra Geka 2009

Thanks Latvian Embassy in Moscow and Latvians to Siberia for their contribution 
Film was supported by National Film Center and Culture Foundation of Latvia

…un Igarka, Cerība un Taurenis, 2008

In the summer of 1929, 160 kilometres beyond the Arctic Circle and on the right bank of the Yenisey River, a group of Russian farmers who had fallen victim to Soviet collectivisation were deposited on the shore from several barges.  Were there hundreds of them?  Perhaps thousands?  Who knows?  They are all buried there.  It is said that nearly all of them died during the winter – the strong men of Siberia, along with their wives and small children.  Even if there was any registration of this tragedy at that time, then nothing is left today.  Those were the days when Stalin’s idea that “if there is a man, there is a problem; if there is no man, then there is no problem” was in full swing.  The first victims of famine, fold and disease were buried not far from the tents and wooden huts in which people lived.  Their graves are long gone, because an entire city, complete with a massive wood processing industry, was built on top of their bones.  This was the first result of industrialisation in Russia’s polar regions.  This is the city of Igarka. Continue reading “…un Igarka, Cerība un Taurenis, 2008”

600 stāsti par Sibīriju

Between 2000 and 2007,  we interviewed 670 people who were deported to Siberia in 1941, when they were children.  Fragments of memories shape a mosaic which reveals all of the tragedies of the past – the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who were lost for all time.  They say that time heals all wounds, but people cannot forget.  They must tell their story… Continue reading “600 stāsti par Sibīriju”

Atcerēties vai aizmirst? , 2006

Documentary film “Remember of forget?”

On June 14, 1941, 15,400 people from Latvia were deported to prisons and camps. There were 4,000 children among them. During the 1949 deportations, another 42,000 people were deported, along with children. They were guilty of living on Latvian land, their own land, which was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. The Soviet Union destroyed and deported the indigenous population and brought a flood of its own citizens into Latvia. More than half a century has passed, but the violence of June 14 has not yet ended.

Reiz bija Sibīrija, 2005

Once There was Siberia

This film is dedicated to the children who were violently forced to leave Latvia on June 14, 1941, to those who died during the journey in cattle cars, to those who died in Siberia – the land of torture and murder, to those who survived, and to those who came home. Of those who were deported from this location, one-half died in the next two or three years. A great tragedy occurred here – water collected under the coffin. The water froze and began to lift the coffin and corpse. The corpse and coffin appeared above ground in the third or the fourth year. The gruesome sight of a dead person’s hand appearing from the ground.

Producer and director Dzintra Geka

Screenplay Ēriks Lanss

Operator Aivars Lubānietis




Sveiciens no Sibīrijas, 2004

Documentary film “Greetings from Siberia”

In the Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Yenyiseiska and other regions, we can still find people who were violently deported from Latvia in 1941 and 1949 – children then, old and disabled people now. They are far from one another, they have no way to communicate amongst themselves. They have been robbed of their native language. Many of them no longer speak Latvian. They have not returned. We don’t know whether they are lost for the Latvian people and Latvian land. That will all depend on “big politics” – something that cannot be foreseen today.

Continue reading “Sveiciens no Sibīrijas, 2004”