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.
For more information on Latvian translations please see the Latvian Translations page.
This is the 18th Letter in the series.
A long break between this letter and the last and how things have changed for both Janis and Kate and the family in Latvia! The family farm had been seized by the Soviet government and turned into a collective farm. It would take about another 50 years before the family could claim part of their hard earned land back - and give it away again to a deserving family as it turned out. Will the Cirksis family ever return to Latvia? Who can say - certainly Janis would never have guessed where life would take him! Again we are confronted with the mystery of what ever happened to Peteris CIRKSIS?
A happy and bright Easter to you all! Please send us a photo or two, we are longing for your reply.
Nica, 15.3. (1955?)Our dear brother and son!
Sincere greeting to you from mum, dad and your little sister at home!!!
Yesterday we had such a happy day, we received your letter! It was such an immeasurably happy surprise for us, at first we could only cry, even now, as I am writing, I can’t help it. But that’s nothing, those tears are not harmful, for they are tears of joy. Yesterday because of the great, happy surprise, mum already had to take some drops. All this time, even though we knew and believed that you are alive somewhere in the wide world, still we worried and sometimes had doubts. Our only comfort was knowing that the flow of letters from over your side had stopped altogether. Now, in the last couple of years, we have heard from here and there that someone has received a letter, especially lately. And now we have also experienced this enormous joy, my dear brother, of receiving a letter from you from so far away! Truly, where has fate not scattered Latvians now? ... I took a small atlas and geography book straight away and looked for the place and read about the country where you are living now. I found the port city Melbourne, which is not mentioned in your address though, but clearly legible on the stamp. Then I read that it has a hot, mostly dry climate, and the sun doesn’t even shine from the south there, but from the north. – You are so far from us, I can’t even imagine by what route your letter came to us. I think possibly by air, for it has reached us in 20 days, that seems to me unexpectedly fast for that distance!
First of all, my dear brother, we would like to know if your family is as before, or has it had some addition? If that has been possible in your difficult circumstances. What are you working at, what are your wife Lida and son Ilmars doing? Are you living in the country or in the city? Have you got a job that is suited to your education or a manual job. – We just wonder if you have not had too hard a time all this time? …Still, your energy and understanding have always helped you, dear brother. Are there still, and have you been able to see, the real original inhabitants of Australia?
You will want to know, dear brother, how we are living and how we are, here at home? The main thing is that we are living in our own home. We are kolkhoz workers. Father and I are working in the field brigade. The kolkhoz was founded in the spring of 1949. The first summer mum and I milked cows. Then in the winter she looked after the young cows and I worked as a bookkeeper for the neighbouring forestry. Then in the summer I was free, mum from the cows as well, then we both went to work in the fields again, father too. In the autumn I did not do bookkeeping again, for the working hours there were unlimited and too long, so I could not help at home. Then that winter I worked as a domestic at the school. In the summer I started to go to work at the kolkhoz again. Father was then for several years the miller at the stock feed mill set up in the granary of the manor house. – Then - in February 1952, mum fell ill, it started with pneumonia and then she was bedridden for four months. After that she almost had to learn to walk again like a child. Thanks to a good doctor, whom we called out from Liepaja, she gradually got better. And this winter she is quite fit again. We don’t let her go to the kolkhoz, but she busies herself at home again now. She has woven cloth, in preparation for her sons. Just this winter she wove blankets. The cardigans have been ready for a long time already. She makes everything for Peteris as well. We don’t know anything about him but we hope. Oh yes, I have to tell you now that I have been an old maid for 3 years now. I still haven’t had any serious thoughts about marriage yet and I don’t know when I will have. I don’t regret this yet. – There would be a lot more to ask and to tell you, but there will be another time. – Still, it is very painful, dear brother, that we have to be apart so long and that you have to be so far from your homeland and your own people. Oh that fate would let us meet again soon! Sincere, warm greetings to you and your dear ones, health and strength!!! – your little sister Kate.
PS Father is guarding the shop at night now, starting from the autumn. He was sick as well for about a month with pleurisy. He is well again now. Grandmother died on the 20th April, 1951 – on Peteris’ birthday.
PS We are fed and clothed. We have half a hectare. We keep one cow. We have a little one as well now, when it grows, it will have to be sold. We keep 2 pigs a year. We keep and then take to the market some cream and cottage cheese. I make clothes myself. Only not coats and jackets. Yes, we can live. There is more work to do because the fields of the kolkhoz are extensive. In the winter we are at home.
PS I am enclosing a four-leaf clover, I remember you used to like such greetings from home. – Kate.