Memorandum of the Latvian Central Council Riga, 17 March 1944

The Latvian Central Council's Memorandum of March 17, 1944, by which a number of leading Latvian politicians and prominent public figures declared the urgent need to restore de facto sovereignty of the Republic of Latvia and create Latvian Government.

The Latvian Central Council (hereinafter LCC) was created during Nazi occupation on the 13th of March, 1943. Representatives of the largest pre-war political parties (the Latvian Social Democratic Worker's Party, the Latvian Farmers' Union, the Democratic centre and the Christian Farmers' Union of Latgale) headed by the professor Konstantins Cakste formed the Latvian Central Council.

In March, 1944 K.Cakste and F.Cielens drafted the LCC Memorandum, which disregarding the prospect of being a target for repression by the German occupation institutions was signed by 189 Latvian political leaders and public figures. The Memorandum was a call to restore the sovereignty of Latvia and create Latvian army to fight actively against the threatening return of Soviet occupation. The Memorandum underlined that forcible annexation of Latvia into the Soviet Union is clearly against the law. At the same time the Memorandum also rejected the Nazi Germany rule in Latvia. LCC firmly believed that restoration of the Latvian Government to take over the armed fight against the Red Army was the only way out serving interests of the Latvian nation. The order of signatures is worth to note – it starts with Pauls Kalnins, the Chairman of the last Saeima, who at that moment was the highest ranking state representative according to the Constitution of Latvia (Satversme).

The argument for documentary heritage signification

This document is bald statement of the political platform of Latvian Central Council, the most important organisation of resistance movement, and shows the commitment of its supporters to fight for the freedom and independence of the Republic of Latvia, despite of two totalitarian occupation regimes – Soviet Union and Nazi Germany – making efforts to take it away. At this point the destiny of the Latvia was similar to other East European countries, which during the Second World War experienced two occupation regimes. Even today this fight for the freedom is sometimes declared as support for one or the other occupation regimes. LCC Memorandum provides a  documentary proof that this approach is wrong.  

Preservation and identification of Documentary heritage

This copy of the document is the only known original of the LCC Memorandum. The Memorandum was drawn up in several original copies and reproduced as photos with an aim to carry it across the Latvian borders and hand it over to the Governments of Western Allies. For a long time the knowledge about the Memorandum was very limited – some versions of the wording and discrepant information about the signatories of it. The Memorandum owned by Latvian War Museum is the original that was kept hidden in Riga, 19, Peldu Street, flat 5 (during the war this address was 16, Peldu Street), under the floor where it was found in 2001 during the redecoration of the flat. In this flat lived Valija Vaschuna – Jansone, whose husband, engineer Vilhelm Jansons, is among the signatories of the Memorandum. It is sheer luck that at least one original of the Memorandum has preserved so excellent condition till today. 

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