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Janis CIRKSIS was a displaced person (DP) after the Soviet union annexed Latvia and the Baltic states during WWII. This is a continuation in the series of letters that he received from his homeland, translated into English. To see the other letters in the series click HERE.
This is the fifth letter in the series. There are quite a few themes covered in this letter. I sometimes forget how patriotic my father and (as these letters show) my aunty were. Patriotism seems to fly under the conscious mind and it is often taken for granted that we love our country and/ or our ancestral land. I sometimes wonder if modern Latvians are so patriotic.
This letter also alludes to some of the hardships in Germany after the war. Of course we have to guess what was in Janis' letters to his sister Kate but we know from history that there was mass unemployment and malnutrition in Germany, at least partially due to the (understandable) industrial disarmament enforced by the allies at the time. Also a sign of the times is the 'letter counting'. This is a sign of the relatively unreliable postal service at the time which necessitated the writer stipulating which letter she was responding to in case another, earlier letter had been lost or delayed.
On a personal note, it is interesting to see just how much my aunty and I have in common even though we never met. Though, as a young adult she was unusually aware of her "childish inclinations and wishes", something that at my age I am only starting to become aware of.
Nica, 2.9.47Our dear Janis!
We received a letter from you again yesterday, which we had been waiting for so much and which gave us great joy again. So you are still in your old place and do not intend to look for new homeland, as others are apparently doing. But for a Latvian outside Latvia’s borders to look for a “homeland”, doesn’t that go against the heart of every Latvian? This must surely be just talk, and not for real. And in my opinion the heart of every Latvian will sooner or later call him back to his real homeland, Latvia. You might look for a living here or there, but a homeland? I am glad, brother, that you are standing firm in your heart against such thoughts, and know that I believe above everything in your true Latvian heart. - Yes, you are not able to make full use of the best years of your life now and far from your homeland you have to carry the burden of being in a foreign place and partly also of want. Such is the fate of our small Latvian nation – to live scattered throughout the world. We are faring incomparably better here, we are in our own country, each in our own home and we can shape our own lives. But thoughts of you, our countrymen, the strong young Latvian generation far away, won’t let us have peace in our hearts and we live in constant hope that they will be able to return to us – our sons to our country. Of course we, as well as you, have unshakeable hope that someday you will all return home and that then we will live a brighter, happier life. We are all waiting for you. Every family is preparing something for you, for your return. We have made a good currant wine, which we will save for you. Although things are harder for us without you, we manage to do everything on the farm and we are happy, that we can cope and are strong. The threshing is starting here now. The hum of the threshing machine is a farewell song to a sunny summer. Yellow dahlias are flowering and many coloured asters, the apples are ripening. Yesterday we were at the Kaupelis’ to help with the threshing. Today I pickled the cucumbers, they grew well this year. Mum is shearing the sheep. Father has gone to the mill. – And dear brother, your suspicions of the man who is sitting next to me in the photo are not correct. He is our pastor, and we invited him because he knows a lot of people. You should have known that. But I really would not want a husband like him – old and fat. I feel (?) that you thought such a thing of me but it is funny too. I only hope that this letter will reach you quickly, so that you are not under such a wrong impression any longer. I can’t even imagine getting married yet. I still have quiet childish inclinatons and wishes. I still haven’t given up thoughts of studying, schooling, and still want to be young and free, So, brother, your little sister doesn’t yet want.or intend to get married, but to get engaged to an old gentleman with a big stomach and grey hair, that is not possible for me. But dear Janis, I will hold on to your wishes and advice quietly, until such a time when they might really be appropriate. But I am sorry, that you have perhaps been misled. But now that is cleared up. After the third letter we sent cards for you birthday and your Osvalds namesday and a letter on 12/7 with confirmation photos, after that on 30/8 and now today. In the letter which we (?) was also a letter for Janis from the Kaupelis. You might receive it later. From you 3 letters, 3 cards. I will be waiting eagerly and once again, may God help you. Holding you in our hearts, mum dad, grandma and I, Kate.