Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The Last Time I Saw My Father, he Deportation Of Latvian Children On June 14, 1941


History Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


Conflict and political instability during the Second World War led to the massive displacement of persons. By the end of war, Europe had more than 40 million refugees. The phenomena of voluntary, forced and violent migrations have produced extensive literature in the last three decades. Unfortunately, the persecution and displacement of children and youth as a result of these events have received far less attention. On June 14, 1941, in the country of Latvia, Soviet forces arrested approximately 2,500 children under the age of ten, and 2,000 between the ages of ten and twenty. This paper follows a group of Latvian children and youth through their arrest and gruesome journey to Siberia, their horrific conditions of resettlement, struggle for survival during five years of exile, and return back to Latvia in 1946 as orphans. This qualitative study is founded predominantly on life history interviews, memoirs and written eyewitness accounts. It utilizes these testimonies as both historical source and collective memory. It aims to excavate diverse experiences to help recreate the psychological atmosphere of these historical events, and endeavors to give voice to survivors descriptions of events fifty years following this mass exile.

Conference Name

Michigan Academy of Science

Conference Location

Holland, MI

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