Dzidra Meldere

Born in 1928 in Latvia, after 1945 in partisan movement, 1946-1956 imprisoned in Gulags in Kazakhstan, return back to Latvia in 1968.

Dzidra Meldere was born in 1928, in Sūnākste, Jēkabpils region, Latvia. Father worked as office worker in Lāčplēsis railway station. Dzidra recalls the first Soviet occupation from June 1940 till July 1941. She was an eye witness of the mass deportation in the June 14 1941 at Lāčplēsis station, she remembered a baby cries and people singing from a guarded cattle wagons.

From her childhood Dzidra loved to live and work at the farms. She worked as a cowherd for some summers. Later she worked as a helper in a farms also. During Nazi occupation time, she worked at “Melmēni” farm in Birzgales pagasts. She fell in love and married Laimonis Lapa (1922 - 1949), the host of the “Melmēni” in 1944.

Laimonis avoided of mobilization in the Nazi military forces and subsequently in the Soviet Army in 1944. Dzidra and her husband joined the National partisan movement between 1945 - 1949. Their unit moved often from place to place in area of Birzgales pagasts, Taurkalnes pagasts, Sūnākstes pagasts and Vārkavas pagasts. Dzidra Meldere gave a birth to the first son Uldis in 1947. Because Dzidra and Laimonis were an illegal persons, Uldis was given to Dzidra’s sister Irma as her son. Later, in 1949 Dzidras’ sister with their parents and son Uldis were deported to Siberia, Sargatsk region, Omsk oblast.

At the March 11 1949, Laimonis was killed and Dzidra was injured in the right arm during the arrest. Dzidra was imprisoned in Riga, in the headquarter of the NKVD called for Latvians as Stūra māja (Corner house). She describes horrible conditions and her interrogation process. The interrogators beat her no matter that she was expecting the second child.

Dzidra was sentenced to the 10 years in the GULAG camps and 5 years without rights to return at homeland. She gave birth of her second son Laimonis in the Riga Central prison, at the end of 1949. He was only two months old when they were transported to the special camp for political prisoners Steplag at Kengir (today part of Zhezkazgan), Kazakhstan SSR. She wonders how the son didn’t die of a starvation during the transportation.

At Kengir camp they were separated – the son was in a special baby barrack, but Dzidra was at the mothers barrack. Only for a very short time for feeding they were let to be together. All mothers with a small children were transported to the Spassk later. At the Spassk camp children were placed outside the zone. At the beginning Dzidra met Laimonis for a short time in a day to feed. After she had nothing to feed him, the rule of the camp let them meet only once in a month. For Dzidra most painfully situation was that the children did not recognize their mothers. Last time Dzidra saw her son was when Laimonis was 3 years. Later he was taken to the Sverdlovsk children's house, but after that Dzidra hadn’t any information. She wrote a letters even to Moscow to find her son, but without success - he is still missing for the family and Latvia.

Dzidra recalls hard work and miserable living conditions in Spask camp:

Around 1954 Dzidra was transported to Dolinka camp, Kazakhstan SSR. Dzidra was released in 1956. Some years she lived in Kazakhstan SSR.

In 1968 Dzidra with her daughter Biruta (* 1962) returned to the Latvian SSR. There were very poor living conditions after return. She worked at kolkhoz “Cīņa”(“Fight”), Jēkabpils region, in a cow farm as a milkmaid. Year by year she got better life and she stayed in Variešu pagasts, Jēkabpils region till the end of her days. Dzidra Melder died in 2007.

The story was processed by the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. Dzidra Meldere was interviewed at her place on October 4 1998, 3 h 55 min length. The Museums register number is OMF 2300/152, 153, 154.


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