Jaunā Gaita nr. 229, jūnijs 2002

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JG 229

Much of this issue is about the deportation of Latvians to Siberia in June 1941 and March 1949. Raimonds Staprāns' play The Destroyer (Postītājs) is about the effect of the 1949 deportations on a small town in Latvia, in particular about the "selection" of the families to be deported to fill the quotas set by Moscow, and the people who determined these selections. The central characters are a Latvian cheka officer from Russia and his lover Lāsma, the wife of a former member of the Aizsargi (Home Guard) organization, which was banned by the Soviets and many of its members deported to Siberia. The play will be concluded in the next issue. Harijs Lieģis remembers his own deportation at 10 years of age in 1941 with his mother and three younger siblings to Siberia. His mother was killed in a forest accident in 1944, but somehow her children managed to survive and return to Latvia in 1946 with other Latvian children orphaned in Siberia by the cruel conditions there.

The book review section contains the review of a memoir, originally written in Swedish and now translated into Latvian, by Dima Grīnups, a Latvian inmate of the notorious Stutthof concentration camp for political prisoners of the Gestapo and a survivor of the 20-day 800 kilometer death march in 1945 from Stutthof to Stettin and back. Of the 3000 inmates that set out, only about 300 made it back. One of those who died during the march was Dr. Konstantins Čakste, the son of Latvia's first president and founder of the Latvian resistance movement during World War II. Jānis Krēsliņš contributes a review of Bengt Holmert's volume about the thousands of Baltic refugees who landed on the island of Gotland off the south-east coast of Sweden near the end of World War II. Gundars Pļavkalns looks at Leons Briedis' latest volume of poetry Armour of Rags (Skrandu bruņas) and discusses the definition and role of poetry in our lives along the way. Other reviews cover recent novels (Alberts Bels' Water Reflections On Eggshells, Arvis Grods' Adult Games and Ainārs Zelčs' 1945 Riga), folklore (Liene Neulande's Jumis in the Religion of the Ancient Latvians), and history (Matti Lackman's book about the 27th Finnish Riflemen's Battalion and its role, along with that of Germany, in the downfall of tsarist Russia during World War I). Literary scholar Benedikts Kalnačs summarizes the contents of the first three issues of the Latvian literary monthly Karogs in 2002. Poetry in this issue is by Indra Gubiņa, Aina Zemdega and Lidija Dombrovska.

The Kiberkambaris section, compiled from the internet by Juris Žagariņš, discusses whether Latvia's pre-war president Kārlis Ulmanis deserves a monument in Riga and if he does, for what reasons.

Uldis Bluķis responds to an article by Kārlis Račevskis in JG 277 with an essay in which he points out that the colonialism of the Soviet Union in the Baltic states was a less effective argument against the USSR in international forums such as the United Nations than its illegal occupation of these territories and hence was cited less often in appeals for support of Baltic independence by organizations such as the Baltic Appeal to the United Nations (BATUN). Bluķis also rebuts Račevskis' argument that communism and fascism were the end-results of 18`th century rationalism.

One of the most effective political campaigners abroad for Baltic independence, the late Vilnis Zaļkalns (1947-2002) is remembered by the writer Juris Rozītis. Juris Kronbergs, the Latvian cultural attaché in Stockholm, dedicates a poem to his memory. Zaļkalns was interviewed by JG editor-in-chief Rolfs Ekmanis in JG 226 and 227.

The cover is by Haralds Norītis. Art photography is represented by Aivis Šmulders. He was deported in 1941 at 13 months of age to Siberia, where both of his parents died. Vignettes by Lidija Dombrovska appear on several pages. A painting by Astrida Preston is also reproduced in this issue. Anita Liepiņš introduces Laura Ķiķauka, an artist who now lives in Berlin. Ķiķauka is the daughter of the late Tālivaldis Ķiķauka, an artist, novelist and contributing editor of JG. A work by Laura Ķiķauka illustrates the article. Anna Iltnere discusses a recent art show in Rīga called Manipulators (The Manipulator) Maija Meirāne contributes some memories of the artist Eris (Ervins Antons 1921-2001), emphasizing his sense of humour, modesty, and love of his birthplace Kurzeme. Ēris was also known for his illustrations of his wife Benita Veisberga's books, including Orindas piezīmes (Notes from Orinda), Brīnumaini (Amazement) and Trimdas grāmata (The Book of Exile).

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