Roberts Pūriņš

Born in 1920 in Latvia, after Soviet occupation 1940 in resistance movement, sent to Gulag for 3 years. Returned home and arrested again in 1951, deported to Siberia.

Roberts Pūriņš was born in 1920, in Daugavpils. His father worked as an office worker in a post office, later they moved to Asares pagasts, where father worked as a clerk in local authority. After the end of the Asare elementary school, Roberts Pūriņš went to the trade school in Cēsis 1936 – 1940.

Roberts recalls the first Soviet occupation from June 1940. He joined the national resistance movement “Tēvijas Sargi” (the Guards of Fatherland). He distributed proclamations against the Soviets at the eve of Latvian Independence Day in November 18th 1940. Roberts was arrested in the same evening and put in the prison of Cēsis. During the period of interrogations he was separated in a one-man cell till the June of 1941, then he was put together with more cellmates.

In the beginning of the Soviet – Nazi war on June 22, 1941 the prisoners were evacuated deeper to Soviet Union, to Petropavlovsk, later to the Omsk labor camps. Roberts was released from the Gulag camps as unfit for work in 1943, he had a third stage dystrophy.

Roberts survived and lived in Ushtobe, Kazakhstan SSR, for two years till the end of the WWII. He worked different short time jobs till he got the job in Ushtobe railway station workers brigade.

He returned to the Latvian SSR in 1946. He met his parents and got the job in the Gārsene distillery as a manager in a store-room. Later Roberts Pūriņš worked as accountant in the Slate dairy.

Roberts Pūriņš was arrested again in October 31, 1950. He was accused that he has been sentenced on political crime in 1940, but he has survived, and that means he is disloyal for Soviets. From the group of “Tēvijas sargi” (1940) survived Gulag and WWII only two members – the second was Pēteris Krams. In 1951 they both were deported to the forced settlement in Siberia. On the way they were in many prisons – in Moscow Krasnaya presnya, Chelayabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk and Kansk.

Roberts had to live Perspektivniy, Krasnoyarsk krai. He worked in the removal of resins system in a forests till the 1955 when he was released. He remembers an interesting episode about the death of Stalin in March 1953 in the forced settlement.

Roberts returned to Latvian SSR in 1955. He worked in Jēkabpils and had a wife and two children. He died in 2005.

The story was processed by the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. Roberts Pūriņš was interviewed in Jaunjelgava on July 12 2002, 5 h 55 min length. The Museums register number is OMF 2300/364, 365, 366.


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