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.
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