Eriks Jekabsons. The Belarusians in Latvia during the Soviet and German Occupation (1940-1945).

Before the Latvian Republic was incorporated into the USSR in the summer of 1940, Belarusians constituted one of its biggest ethnic minorities, making up 2-4 per cent of the population. They had an extensive network of schools and institutions. Following Latvia’s annexation, in the summer of 1940 all ethnic minorities’ public organisations were eliminated. The Belarusian ones were no exception, yet, some Belarusian public figures led by Kastus Jezavita-г- welcomed the Soviet occupation. They hoped it could have facilitated the revival of the Belarusian movement, which had been faced with sufficient restrictions during the authoritarian period in 1934-40, when only national schools managed to survive. Following the incorporation, Soviet practices, incliding Stalin’s repression, were imposed on Belarusians, just like the rest of the Latvian population. A number of prominent Belarusian public figures were repressed.

During the Soviet — German war, Latvia alongside Lithuania became a centre of Belarusian movement. When Latvia was under the German occupation in 1941-45, there was an upsurge in Belarusian schooling and public life. Among other things it was predetermined by the interests of the German authorities, who aimed at diminishing Polish and Soviet influence, as well as the Latvian component in Latgalia (Eastern Latvia). In 1941 the Belarusian Association was established in the Latvian General District. Headed by the above-mentioned Jezavita-=-, it coordinated Belarusians’ public and educational activities, collaborating to a certain extent with the German military authorities. In the autumn of 1941, a network of primary