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74 Years Missing: 66 Latvians finally laid to rest

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Legenda closes the chapter on a successful expedition.

June 20, 2020 at the Brotherhood Cemetery of Tuski of Blidene Parish, Legenda reburied the remains of 66 soldiers from the 308th Latvian'Rifle Division a first in the whole 20-year history of the search team.

Flowers mark the final resting place, loved ones were in attendance 74 years later...

Thanks to thousands of reposts on social media, media help and the work of the volunteer Martins Ziebergs - 27 soldiers were positively identified. And now - the story of how it was.

August 1, 2019, as a result of a 3-day expedition, the search team Legenda were near Gulauce of the Blidene parish and discovered the remains of 66 soldiers and officers of the 308th Latvian Rifle Division.

The ceremony was attended by members of the local community, relatives of the victims and Latvian Army and Chaplains.

Eleven of those found were 19 years old at the time of death. They were called to the Red Army from Latvia in late 1944 and were killed in action or died of wounds in early March 1945, when the 308th Division was near Sturi, trying to break through the so called 'Kurland Pocket'. The worst thing about this story is that most of the soldiers we found are recorded at the brotherly cemetery in Tuski (Plus 5 at the cemetery in Zvani) with all the names on the grave plates.

While all these 74 years, their bones were still where they were buried in 1945: on the forests of the non-existent farm Gulauce, where the medical station was standing during the war...

The search team seen here after the three day expedition in the forest. For each of us, this expedition was very important - which is why we are so often captured smiling.

Relatives of this soldiers, Janis Zurins, we found almost immediately: Arnis a Legenda member accidentally met a friend who has not seen for 10 years. After talking, it turned out that one of the list of Gulauce is his relative!

Janis Zurins - Now laid to rest after all these years.

During the expedition we learned that the commander of the 308th Latvian Rifle Division in March 1945 was Martins Kalnins who is the brother of the great-grandfather of Arnis (Legenda Member).

Regina (Legenda Member) had a possible blood relative on the list - Bronislavs Locmelis from Obel near Baltinava. Found on one of the soldiers fingers was a ring with initials. Having studied the list, they decided that maybe it could have owned Alexanders Urtans, who had a wife who lived at 25-12 (now in this house Montesorry school, alas). And how many guys and men from Valmier, Yelgava, Rezekne, Daugavpils!...

''We dug for 3 days and spent 3 nights in tents. On the second day of the expedition, a pack of cranes flew over our heads... So everything is right!''

Here is this list of those recovered :

Āboliņš, Arvīds Andreja d., dz.1910., Sieva: Āboliņš Elīna, Madonas apr., Mārcienas pag., Lejnieki;

Ančupāns, Kazimirs Staņislava d., dz.1923., Sieva: Ančupāns Eleonora, Rēzeknes apr., Makašenu pag., Kaladančāni?

Avsjuks, Jāzeps Vikentija d., dz. 1911., Sieva: Matilde Avsjuka Pētera m.,Rīga, Juglas iela 15 – 4

Balodis Žanis Antona d., dz.1925., Māte: Balodis Lavīze, Jelgavas apr., Dobele, Skolas iela 17 – 3;

Baraviks (Baroviks?), Jakovs Jegora d., dz.1914., Sieva: Barovik Melanija, Rīga, Pērnavas iela 1 – 30

Beze (Veze?) Osvalds Ivana d., 1924., tika iesaukts no Irkutskas apgabala, Usoļas apgabala, Teļmas ciema, datu par radiem nav.

Blumbergs Oskars Evalda d., dz.1912., Sieva: Blumbergs Anna Nikolaja m., Liepājas apr., Rucavas pag., Aizmeķi

Brancis, Vilhelms Ēvalda d., citu datu nav.

Drazds, Ivans Staņislava d., dz.1926., Māte: Drazde Jūlija Franča m., Rēzeknes apr., Andrupenes pag., Laiziki? Laiziņi?;

Ducins, Felikss Bernāta d., dz.1908., Tēvs: Ducins Bernants Augusta d. Ludzas apr., Nautrēnu pag. M.-Mazuri

Emsis, Jānis Eduarda d., dz.1917., Tēvs: Emsis Eduards Andreja d., Valmieras apr., Tūjas pag. Lapkalni

Gailis, Juris Izidora d., dz.1909., Sieva: Gailis Veronika Vincenta? m. , Valkas apr., Birzuļu? pag., Baloži

Grauba, Staņislavs Augusta d., 1909., Sieva: Grauba Jevgenija, Daugavpils apr., Kapiņu? pag., Ratnīki

Graumanis Rūdolfs, dz. 1914., Pied.: Grauman A? M?, Valmieras apr., Ainažu? pag

Gribusts Osvalds Avdeja d., dz. …?, Pied.: Gribusts Vladislavs, Rēzeknes apr., Andrupenes pag., Krievu Virauda (Русская Выравда)

Groznijs, Jānis Pētera d., dz.1926., Tēvs: Groznijs Pēteris Ivana d., Ludzas apr., Nautrēnu pag., Žagatas?;

Jansons Kliments Kazimira d., dz.1916., Pied.:

Jansons Kunigunde?, Liepājas apr., Nikraces? Nigrandes? pag., Lībieši?;

Jansons Elmārs Ludviga d., dz. 1924, miris 11.03.1945, citu datu nav.

Kalniņš, Alfrēds Gusta d., dz.1908., Sieva: Kalniņš Emīlija Pētera m., Valmieras apr., Katvaru pag., Bērzlece?;

Kašs, Vladislavs Staņislava d., dz.1912., Sieva: Balodis Marta, Abrenes apr., Baltinavas pag., Eis?… c.;

Ķeris, Arnolds Jāņa d., dz.1919., Pied.: Liepājas apr., Virgas? pag., Mauri?;

Kopštals, Ādolfs Jāņa d., dz.1911., Sieva: Kopštals Jeļena? Broņislava m., [Lietuva], Mažeiķu apr., Židikovas pag., Silmincu c?

Kozlovs, Aleksejs Ivana d., dz.1917., Pied.: Kozlovs Jegors, Rēzeknes apr., Galēnu? pag., Nātras?;

Kozlovskis, Ludvigs Mārtiņa d., dz. 1924., miris 06. 03.1945, citu datu nav.

Kriviņš, Julians Josifa d., dz.1915., Māte: Kriviņš Otīlija Jēkaba m., Daugavpils apr., Izvaltas pag., Birševski?;

Kupcāns, Kliments Vikentija d., dz.1926., Māte: Kupcans Sofija Kazimira m., Rēzeknes apr., Bērzgales pag., Punsānu? c.

Lazovskis Staņislavs Jāņa d., 1913., Tēvs: Lazovskis Jānis Staņislava d., Rēzeknes apr., Viļānu pag., Bakaši

Legzdiņš Ernests Ernesta dēls, dz.1908., Sieva: Lekzdiņš? Zelma Jāņa m., Sloka, Krasta iela 27 – 3;

Lideskalns Arnolds Pētera d., dz.1919., Tēvs: Lideskalns Pēteris; Madonas apr., Jaungulbenes pag., Dreiņi?;

Ločmelis Broņislavs Antona d., dz.1925., Tēvs: Ločmelis Antons Jāņa d., Abrenes apr., Baltinavas pag., Obeļevo

Lūkins, Kārlis Augusta d., dz.1916., Tēvs: Lūkins Augusts Jura d., Valmieras apr., Rozēnu? pag., Lazdiņi

Miglavs Vilis Pētera d., dz.1913., Sieva: Miglavs Ksenija, Valmieras apr. Ainažu pag.

Popovs, Arvīds Aleksandra d., dz.1926., Tēvs: Popovs Aleksandrs, Jelgavas apr., Auce, Jelgavas iela 37 – 1

Pugulis Pēteris Pētera d., dz.1915., Sieva: Pugulis? Broņa, Cēsu apr., Taurenes pag., Rimalijas?