• Diana Mathur

1940 High School Activist Voldemārs Treimanis & the 12 Who Didn't Survive


B & W photo of an 18 year old in 1940 wearing a dark jacket, muffler around the neck, and cap with leather visor. Voldemars Treimanis has neatly barbered short black hair, fair skin, and is smiling.
Photos from the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

The high school aged activist in my novels, "Vilz Zarins", is inspired by Voldemārs Treimanis, who was part of the 1940 "Free Latvia" patriotic group protesting the Soviet occupation and its politics. Stalin's secret police (Chekists) discovered and sentenced all 13 members to hard labor. Voldemārs was the only survivor. It makes me angry to see this bright kid's mug shots; and to think about the idealistic, brave youth who didn't survive. People often tell me that Vilz Zarins is their favorite character.