In the Foundation “The Children of Siberia” we are preparing a film for Latvian television about the deportation on March 25, 1949. The film “Far Land Siberia. March 25, 1949” will be aired on LTV1 on March 25. In the film, we will tell in detail how the exits took place, where the families got to, how the children went to school, how they worked, how they hoped to return, how their relatives died. We have interviewed 280 people who were deported to Siberia as children. Excerpts from interviews, photo material and footage in Siberia will form the film’s drama.
We are also preparing a book “The Children of Siberia. 1949” about places in Siberia, where families were taken in 1949. Tomsk, Omsk regions and the Far East were routes. We hope that the book will be published in April, the work is very big.
The deportation of 1949 is one of the most tragic points in the history of Latvia’s modern times. 43,000 people were deported to life in Siberia, including 10,000 children and infants, the elderly and even those raised from the deathbed. Many of the deportees died, others spent long and distressing years in the northern areas of Siberia, in inhumane conditions, fighting for their own lives and the lives of their children. Those who managed to return had lost their health, lost property, lost their roofs over their heads, and had morally and physically destroyed people. Even after the so-called release, the regime treated them with suspicion, did not give them the opportunity to get an education, did not give them the opportunity to build a career or choose a place to live. And it could be seen as a continuation of the genocide. Long before the deportation date itself, lists of deported Latvian families were carefully prepared. With Moscow instructions and local service activities. This will be seen in this film. The property of the deportees was hijacked and distributed to collective farms and state farms, but part of the property was appropriated by those who carried out the deportations. This will also be seen in this film. 75 perpetrators of the Red Flag were awarded to the perpetrators of the 1949 genocide for carrying out deportations in general and for committing inhumane crimes. Of those deported in 1949, 52% were farmers, children and the elderly 18%, and students 16%. Of those deported in 1949, 12% or 4,941 died. The deportations of 1949 were, in a sense, even more brutal than the deportations of 1941. Because, every fourth person deported for life was a child. One in six was over 60 years old. The deportations of 1941 were an attempt to behead the Latvian intelligentsia. The deportations of 1949 were to destroy agriculture and the most active and diligent Latvian farmers, from whom the totalitarian regime feared the most, because the free state of Latvia was based on them.