Saturday, May 02, 2009

Jānis Kauliņš - Minister of the Interior, Minister of Agriculture, and Head of the Land Bank of Latvia in the 1930's

Jānis Kauliņš (Kaulins), born July 10, 1889, died April 30, 1942, was Minister of the Interior of Latvia from December 6, 1931 to March 23, 1933, Minister of Agriculture 1934-1935 and head of the Land Bank of Latvia from 1935 until 1938. In the photograph below (from Latvijas Akadēmiskā bibliotēka un Rakstniecības, teātra un mūzikas muzejs) he is the fourth from the left in the back row.

1935 Latvian Cabinet of Ministers from the left.
First Row: 1. Vilis Gulbis, 2. Kārlis Ulmanis, 3. Alberts Kviesis, 4. Jānis Balodis, 5. Marģers Skujenieks.
Second Row: 1. Dāvids Rudzītis, 2. Ludvigs Adamovičs, 3. Jāzeps Čamanis, 4. Jānis Kauliņš, 5. Bernhards Einbergs, 6. Vladislavs Rubulis, 7. Hermanis Apsītis, 8. Jānis Birznieks, 9. Ludvigs Ēķis, 10. Alfrēds Bērziņš.
1935. gads, Rīga. Fotogrāfs: Eduards Rihards Kraucs. 11,7x17,5 cm.
Inventāra Nr.: LABR R32401-14-03.
Topogrāfija/Šifrs: Iz258-14-03.

Jānis Kauliņš had been decorated for his valor as a young man in World War I, having saved the life of then Minister of Defense of Latvia Jānis Zālītis. But such valor was of no use to Russia in World War II in the persons of the deposed Latvian government.

As written at the Wikipedia at the History of Latvia:

"During the night from the 13th/14th June, 1941, 15,424 inhabitants of Latvia — including 1,771 Jews and 742 ethnic Russians — were deported to camps and special settlements, mostly in Siberia. 35,000 people were deported in the first year of Soviet occupation (131,500 across the Baltics)."

Jānis Kauliņš was arrested by the Russians on June 16, 1941, deported to Novosibirsk - separately from his wife and three children, who were also deported to Siberia. In Novosibirsk he was sentenced to death on December 25, 1941 (KPFSR KK 58-4) and shot on April 30, 1942.

See the Latvian text of his appeal (translated from the Russian) from his death sentence - issued by the Russians against him because he had been the Minister of the Interior of Latvia and had thus been by government position contra to the Soviets. In the appeal Kauliņš - to no avail - pointed out that the penalty was greatly out of proportion to any purported crime committed - but he was shot anyway.

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