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zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes)   Reservist certificate in Latvia

3 Names: Jakobsons, Meri, Zviedrītis


In this Page a document is presented which each military person of the reserve of the Latvia Army had. In Latvian the document was called karaklausības apliecība what I translated as Reservist certificate. The first transfer to the reserve occurred in 1920-1921, when combat operations with Soviet Russia were finished and the mobilized persons could be discharged. The special offices called in Latvian kara apriņķa pārvaldes - offices of military apriņķis were created for dealing with human resources of the Army. In these offices later the men, who left the mandatory military service, were registered. The duration of this service was 18 months prior to 1931, later 12-15 months. To be more exact, this time was called a training time, after the training the men were in reserve of the first rank for 3 years, but lived and worked as usual.

A reservist certificate had to be registered in the offices of military apriņķis, if the holder changed his resident place. In the eventual case of mobilization all draftees had to have this certificate with them when arriving at a military unit. These documents now are not rare in the shops selling old documents.

The certificate is a booklet with the following first page:


The officials who filled in this document form were not very bureaucratic and did not fill in the first two positions with the information on the troop the holder served in and with his military rank. But his names, of course, are given. He was Meri Eduards son of Jānis born January 31, 1896. The birth date should have been and was registered according to the Gregorian calendar. By the way, the holder had the name of Estonian origin (meri means sea in Estonian)

The officials, who enrolled E.Meri, did not also mention when he was drafted in the active military service and when he was discharged. They registered, however, what was the legal base for his discharge, and, namely, the order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Latvia Army on March 19, 1921. This was one of the last orders of the Commander-in-Chief concerning the discharge of the militaries. By the way, the position of the Commander-in-Chief was liquidated on April 1, 1921.

The second page of the certificate should have contained information about:

the place of living before the call-up - in this particular case Veclaicenes pagasts, Valkas apriņķis
the ethnicity - in this case Estonian
the religious confession - in this case Lutheran
married or unmarried - in this case married
education - in this case no information
the military occupational speciality - in this case no information
the occupation before the call-up - in this case agriculture

It was also asked about the service on re-engagement, the participation in military actions, the wounds and the contusions, but this particular document contains no information.

Such was the third page:

It provides information about the military decorations the holder had, but E.Meri obviously was never decorated. On this page the military officials - the head of the military apriņķis and the secretary - signed the document. Their real names are difficult to decipher, and the address books of that time informed only about the addresses of military institutions and did not mention the names of officials. However I think that the acting head of the Valka military apriņķis, who signed the document, was captain Jakobsons. The certificate was made on December 2, 1926, so I do not know what E.Meri did till 1926 in the time period from his discharge, that I believe occurred in 1921 or 1922.

The service in reserve had three stages:
1. Retired soldier. This stage lasted for three years after discharge.
2. Reservist. A man was a reservist until he became 40 years old.
3. Land-guard. Every reservist fit for military service was a land-guard from age 40 to 50.

The 3rd and 4th page had forms for the information about the stages the certificate holder was enlisted in. E.Meri was registered in the reservist book as a reservist on December 2, 1926, and it was mentioned he should have been a reservist until January 1, 1937.

The 5th page of the certificate was reserved for the information about deferred persons and reasons why they were deferred, but, as E.Meri was never deferred, this page is empty. The same is also valid for the 6th page which could contain information about the convictions of the certificate holder. By the way, the persons once sentenced to imprisonment were not drafted in the Latvia Army.

The 7th to 12th pages were reserved for registrations in case the residence place was changed. Initially E.Meri was registered at Veclaicenes pagasts, in May 1927 he moved to Jaunlaicenes pagasts, which is a neighboring pagasts.

In May 1940 E.Meri moved to Karvas pagasts (another neighboring pagasts), farm Dimdenieki and was registered in the local municipality by the secretary G.Zviedrītis. Please, note the Cyrillic letters MVF on the page picture above that could be stamped only after the Soviet troops invaded Latvia in summer 1941, but I do not know what these letters should mean in this case.


© Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002