zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes) ROOTS=SAKNES zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes) Ethnicities zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes) Germans zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes) Help





mazpuke3.GIF (425 bytes) Great Migration of Germans in November - December 1939, day by day.


32 Names: Apsītis, Artums-Hartmanis, Augškāps, Bērziņš, Blosfelds, Blumbergs, Bonerts, Bulmerinks (Bulmerincq), Butte, Chatkewitsch, Cimermanis, Doberts, Fogels, Gross, Grīnbergs, Hartvigs, Hencis, Inge, Jordans, Kangers, Martinovs, Mikvics, Munters, Musinovičs, Radeckis, Reimers, Reinhards, Rudums, Smolian, Ulmanis, Veitmanis, Wunderlich


The resettlement of ethnic Germans from Latvia to the region of Posen (now Poznan) took place in the fall of 1939. In this Page the events of that period are described based on the newspaper information of 1939. Not all was written in newspapers, however. It is known that the rumors about coming migration circulated in the German community a good time before any official decision was published.

I used information of two newspapers:
1) JZ - Jaunākās Ziņas (The latest news), that was the most popular newspaper in Latvian of that time and
2) VV - Valdības vēstnesis (The government messenger), that was the main source of official information.

I could not study yet all the issues of JZ corresponding to these events, but I have filtered all information in VV of the second half 1939.

Another abbreviation I used here is LTA - Telegraph Agency of Latvia.

In case you do not know yet, at that time the main positions in Latvia - the State President and the President of Ministers - occupied Kārlis Ulmanis without constitutional grounds, and therefore he is usually named the dictator. The Parliament was discharged, and the Cabinet of Ministers became the lawmaker. The economics was seriously controlled by the state institutions, for example, in many cases the maximum prices were set and the sellers who exceeded the limits were fined.

The information is organized in two Pages. This one covers the period November-December 1939, and you may connect to the Page for the previous time period September- October 1939.

Additional information about particular resettlers mentioned in this Page was taken from the list of the resettlers /Izceļotāji/. The fact that the spellings of names in the newspapers and in the list could be different should be taken into account.


November 1

VV publishes the decision of the Government that the Minister of Justice Hermanis Apsītis is empowered to sign the treaty with Germany on resettlement of ethnic Germans. The decision was made on October 30, that is the same day the treaty was actually signed.

JZ publishes a review of the rules of the application for the release from the Latvia citizenship. The application forms are available in registration offices, they should be filled in but not signed. The applicant signs the application in presence of a clerk of the registration office. The children under 16 should be written in father's application. The applicants should have a certificate of the central German organizations in Latvia or a certificate of the German embassy that they really are Germans. Latvians should prove their connection with Germans. The registration offices should also collect the rationing lists, the permission certificates for buying kerosene or latol (a kind of fuel). It should have been noted in the passports of the applicants that they have returned the people gas-masks.

JZ also publishes a reporting from a registration office at Ķēniņu str. 30. This office like all other registration offices started to work today at 9.00 am. The first who applied for release from the Latvia citizenship was Ludvigs Butte (Ludvigs-Heinrichs Butt, b. Aug. 12, 1912 in Riga). Each applicant was asked whether he emigrates by his own free will. When they answered that the emigration is freewill, the paper work started. In the end they received the Certificate of release from the Latvia citizenship and signed the declaration that they refused for ever both of the Latvia citizenship and of the right to return in Latvia for permanent residence.

November 2

The list of the first 196 Germans, who were released from the Latvia citizenship November 1, is published in VV.
November 6
- The leaders of Riga German community inform that additional voluntaries are needed for the organization of the resettlement. Now about 2000 voluntaries are working and more are needed including doctors, lawyers and nurses.
- The civil servants of Riga municipality apply for leaving the service. The head of the Statistical office E.Bulmerinks (Bulmerincq) has the highest positions among them. (Ernests Roberts Burchards von Bulmerincq b. March 16, 1885 in Aizputes [Hasenpoth] apr.)
- 2042 resettlers were registered in all of the resettlement offices on last Saturday.
- The dogs are still not allowed to import in Germany. At this moment 25 dogs are placed in the animal asylum, because they were transported to harbor without appropriate grounds.
- The Minister of the education has discharged the responsible person for the German education in the Ministry - Maksimiliāns Radeki, because all German schools are closed.
It was not easy to find his name on the list of resettlers. The best guess is Maksimilians Radeckis b. June 1, 1886 in Bulduri [Bilderlingshof], who was found on the list of persons who were released from the Latvia citizenship abroad and namely in Posen, what should mean that he emigrated while he was a Latvia citizen yet.
- There is no need to hurry with the buying of former German real estates, because appropriate permission of the officials is necessary and one should investigate if the property is not charged with debts.
- On Saturday SS "Steuben" was ready for casting off with 2856 resettlers on board but because of weather could not leave the harbor. Because of storming wind, the water level lowered and the ship ran aground. All attempts to set her afloat failed. It is hoped that today the ship will leave the harbor. The best known German resettlers on the ship were - the former head of Riga horse-mounted Police unit Artums-Hartmanis, a former captain of artillery Wunderlich, a former councilor of the Estonian embassy Mikvics. (Arnolds Artum-Hartmanis b. Aug. 10, 1895 in Aizupes pag. There are a lot of Wunderlichs on the list of resettlers so it is impossible to identify the former captain without additional information)
November 7
VV publishes the Order of the Railway officials that the agricultural implements and the cattle of the German resettlers could be transported by railway for 25% of the regular price.
November 8

VV: The hospital ship "Orotava" left Ventspils [Windau] with 176 sick resettlers on board, added 1317 ones in Liepāja [Libau] and on November 7 sailed to Germany. The ship "Levante" also left Liepāja on November 7. On November 8 afternoon the ship "Ulm" and on November 9 the ship "Frigg" are leaving Liepāja.

- The director of the Institute for scientific forensic expertise Arturs Kangars is discharged, because he is going to resettle. (Arturs Kangers b. Apr. 17, 1875 in Valka [Walk])
- Yesterday SS "Potsdam" cast off from the Riga port with 2150 resettlers. Today SS "Oldenburg" with 520 passengers is leaving the port. The ship for transportation of sick people "Scharhörn" begins embarkation tomorrow and is going to cast off the day after tomorrow with 200 persons.
- 157 imprisoned people wish to emigrate.
- There are three possibilities of dealing with the movable property of the German resettlers: 1) to alienate it now, 2) to leave it at the bonded warehouse and later to transport it to Germany till March 15, 1940, 3) to take it with the traveling person.
- The eventual buyers of German real estate are once more warned to consider possible purchase seriously. One should also consider the estimation that the market of services after the resettlement should decrease for 10%, so one should think if it is worth to buy a former German enterprise.


November 9

VV: The treaty signed on October 30 today acquires the power of the Law. The appropriate decree is signed by the State President K.Ulmanis.

November 10

VV publishes a telegram of the LTA that on November 8 the motorship "Waldtraut" cast off from Ventspils and had on board 565 resettlers from the vicinities of Kandava [Kandau]. Before the casting off, the resettlers sang the national anthem of Latvia, then the national anthem of Germany and then the song on Horst Wessel. While singing, they hold the right hand stretched up.
On November 9 the ship "Bremerhaven" arrived in Ventspils and it is planned that she casts off on November 11 with 560 resettlers.

- Dr Musinoviča gifted to the library of the faculty of philology and philosophy 72 valuable books on German philology.
- Yesterday SS "Scharhörn" cast off with 260 sick persons, many of them were transported to the ship by stretcher. The oldest one was 95. Totally about 10,000 resettlers have already left Riga city.

November 10

Some German resettlers published advertisements in newspapers with farewells to the people in Latvia.
The first advertisement above is published by R.Fogels & Co. with farewells to its customers, friends and acquaintances. The company was grounded by Robert Fogels (Vogel), existed in Riga for almost 90 years and now is liquidated. It was busy with bread baking and confectionery and was situated at Brīvības str. 90. The co-owners in 1935 were /Tirgotāji/:
- the property of Henriette Ella Margarete Fogels b. July 13, 1897, a lunatic. (Evidently she could not be a legal co-owner of a company, but her property could be invested);
- Valtraute-Tekla Fogels b. August 21, 1902;
- Johannes-Roberts Fogels b. January 14, 1904;
- Hans-Otto-Albinus Fogels b. June 6, 1905;
- Anna-Tekla-Gertrūde Hartvigs b. December 8,1900. As it is mentioned in the advertisement above she was born Fogels, evidently she was a sister of other owners.
All of the co-owners were born in Riga. Additionally a guardian Valfrīds Martinovs is mentioned in /Tirgotāji/. Evidently he was needed to represent Henriette Ella Margarete. Valfrīds Martinovs (Martinoff) b. Jan. 17, 1880 in Rīga was found on the list of resettlers.

In the second advertisement Arveds Chatkewitsch, a piano player, expresses his best regards to his friends, colleagues and acquaintances in Latvia. The same does Elene Chatkewitsch. On the list of resettlers the spellings of their names are a bit different: Arvīds Hatkevičs (Chatkewitsch) b. March 30, 1906 in Riga, Helena Chatkevičs (Chatkewitsch) b. Bonerts, b. Apr. 9, 1878 in Germany. As they lived at the same apartment at address Vaļņu str. 21, apt. 14, I guess they were a son and the mother.


November 13

VV: The agreement is reached what property of German schools could be taken with and what should be left here by the resettlers. By the way, the archives of German schools remained in Latvia.

- The Ministry of Agriculture will organize the ploughing of the lands that belonged to German resettlers, in cases they did not plough it before the emigration.
- The transfer of the properties of 52 German parishes has began. The cemeteries are also being taken under the surveillance of the Lutheran Church.
- October was the month with a great number of marriages in Riga. Totally 174 marriages were contracted and in 100 of them one or both spouses were Germans. Only about 70 marriages are normally contracted in a month.
- Yesterday about 170 Germans left Bauska. The town does not suffer of the emigration because only 3 shops, a pair of workshops and a drugstore is closed.
- Saturday the German newspaper "Rigasche Rundschau" was printed for the last time.
- SS "Oceana" begins the embarkation of sick persons. On the ship a registration office is organized where the persons, who were incapable of arriving personally at an office, can discharge from Latvia citizenship.


In this advertisement a former civil servant (female) 27, who currently is unemployed, asks a resettler to hand over a job in an office, a job of a telephone girl or a similar well-paid job.


November 14

VV: The Ministry of Community matters explains that the nonprofit societies and the organizations of emigrating Germans should be liquidated according to the Latvia laws. As soon as the liquidation of a society is announced, the management of this society is transferred to its liquidators who should act according to the laws.
November 17
VV: The State President announces the Law on the emigration of the imprisoned citizens of German ethnicity. The Ministry of Justice is empowered to allow the imprisoned citizens of German ethnicity to emigrate. The same is true also for the individuals of German ethnicity whose offenses are investigated currently.
November 20
VV: The Communication of The President K.Ulmanis to the people at the occasion of the November 18 (The day of the proclamation of the State) is published. The President asserts that the emigration of ethnic Germans is bad from the economic point of view, but it is good politically - it is clear that now the State becomes more national, more Latvian. He added that the relations with Germany should become more easy without problems of ethnic type.
November 21
VV: In the speech held on the occasion of November 18 in Riga Society of Latvians the Minister of Community matters A.Bērziņš said that the emigrating Germans are spreading rumors that the state of Latvia is in a great danger and they, the Germans, should leave it for this reason. The Minister denies it could be so in reality. A.Bērziņš agrees that the emigration will cause economic problems, but in general it will be to the good. He said, by the way, the emigrating Germans left in Latvia 60 000 hectares of land that was in their property.
The spreaders of rumors proved to be better informed again.



November 23

Some more advertisements with farewells:

Aksel Inge says farewell to all of his colleagues in the joint venture L.V.Geggingers and cordially asks to remember him. The name of the joint venture was usually spelled L.W.Goegginger. It was busy with production of chocolate, candies, tea, confectionery etc. (Heinrichs Akselis Inge b. Oct. 1885 in Liepāja)




K.Jordans, a pharmacist in Limbaži [Lemsal], with his family says farewells to all people whom he could not say good-bye yet and thanks everybody for the trust he was presented. (Kristaps Teodors Hugo Jordāns b. 1884 in Talsi)



Edgar Smolian says farewells to all colleagues, friends and students in Riga and Daugavpils. (Edgars Smoliāns b. March 30, 1875 in Rīga)

- The neighbors of the former German farms are ploughing the land of these farms. They are paid 25 Ls for one hectare. The total number of left farms are 1200 ones.
- Yesterday 4 SS left Rīga port. Now altogether 23,100 former German citizens have emigrated via Rīga port i.e. about half of Rīga Germans.
- The registration office in Ventspils has been closed, because all Germans of this region have emigrated.
- Two resettlers Vilhelms Doberts and Jūlijs Blosfelds in Jelgava {Mitau] have serious quarrel concerning promissory notes, that should be solved in a court. (Vilhelms Doberts (Dobbert) b. Nov. 6, 1880 in Liepāja, Jūlijs Blosfelds b. 1883 in Kaluga, Russia)
November 27
- To this moment 39,449 resettlers are registered.
- The Latvian 3rd elementary school in Ventspils previously had no premises, but now it started lessons in the premises of the former German elementary school.


December 4
VV: The Minister of Community matters A.Bērziņš cancels his decision of November 27 about the liquidation of the Wilhelmine Reimers eyes clinic and discharges the liquidation commission.
This was rather well known hospital in Riga, but I do not know what happened with it, one may suppose that the owners decided not to emigrate or a way to alienate it was found.
December 8
VV: The State President announces the Law on the procedure how the real estates of the German resettlers in rural regions should be alienated. The real estates are to be appointed to the General Agriculture Bank
December 9
VV: The LTA publishes an observation that sometimes the German resettlers avoid their commitments concerning the emigration, for example, they do not pay for packaging, transportation services etc. Therefore the citizens of Latvia are advised to require payment in advance, to take promissory notes or to arrange eventual witnesses for future claims of the rights in the UTAG company (see below).
December 12
VV: The decision of the Minister for Trade and Industry Jānis Blumbergs concerning enterprises owned by the German resettlers. In this decision the Minister sets what a German owned enterprise is - a) a private enterprise owned by a person of German ethnicity; b) a joint venture which is owned by resettling stockholders only; c) limited partnership if all stockholders of unlimited liability are resettlers. The German owned enterprises should be liquidated or transferred to the UTAG for liquidation. It is proposed that resettlers leave those enterprises they owned in company with other Latvia citizens. The shares in other enterprises should be treated according to the Latvia Laws.
December 13
VV: The Statutes of the UTAG are published. UTAG in German means Umsiedlung Treuhand Aktiengesellschaft - Fiduciary joint venture of resettlement. UTAG is the only legal representative of resettlers after they left the citizenship of Latvia. The shareholders of the joint venture could be only the state Germans i.e. the Germans who live in Germany, not the resettlers from Latvia. There should be issued 300 shares for 1000 Lats each one. The founders of the joint venture are: Karl Schmoelder, Kurt Kleinschmidt, Helmut Dülfer, Gert Engelmann, Wolfgang Redell.
December 16
VV: The Ministry of Justice informs all legal entities and private person that the citizens of German ethnicity were to emigrate up to December 15. After this day all their powers of attorney become null and void, therefore nobody including the resettlers themselves can manage their properties. The company UTAG is the only legal representative of the resettlers.
December 18
VV: The Ambassador of Germany in Latvia Ulrich von Kotze has paid a visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vilhelms Munters and informed him that the resettlement was completed, as the last group of resettlers has been transported on board of the steamship "Sierra Cordoba". The Ambassador expressed gratitude to the Latvia government and to other state institutions for their support to the resettlement. Both parts agreed that on December 15 the German minority in Latvia ceased to exist, and all problems that existed between both states concerning this minority are now solved.
December 21
VV: The speech of the Minister of the Interior K.Veitmanis is published. The speech was held at the meeting of state and municipality servants (about 5000 persons). The Minister informed that 49 412 ethnic Germans have emigrated, but about 4000-5000 of those who previously declared themselves as Germans have remained in Latvia. The Minister thought that their national German feelings were not strong enough for resettling. Further K.Veitmanis reasoned that, if the German minority ceased to exist on December 15, then in Latvia there are no Germans anymore and those who previously declared themselves as Germans but stayed here should join Latvians or other existing ethnicity, otherwise they would be of an unknown ethnicity. The Minister also informed that the Ministry is actively working out new pagasts names instead of those that were coined using the word muiža (manor), and it has a proposal for the new Law about rules for changing the family names.
December 22
VV: The new Law on the change of family names is published. The text of this Law in Latvian is available on this Site. The change of a family name now was free of charge. The Latvians were allowed to choose only Latvian type new names, and the non-Latvians were not permitted to apply for Latvian names.
December 23
VV: The first list of the persons, who applied for the change of their family names, is published. It consists of 15 families, but only one person actually changed his German style name Cimermanis to a Latvian style name Rudums. By the way, this person was the personal secretary of the State and Minister President Kārlis Ulmanis.

December 28

JZ: Some Pastors have conducted divine services of Christmas in German. It is not allowed now, when German minority does not exist in Latvia. Liepaja's Pastor Gross had problems with Archbishop T.Grīnbergs in this connection. The deed of the former Pastor in Zaļenieki P.Hencis, who conducted a divine service in German in Jelgava without appropriate permission, should be investigated by Police.
December 29
JZ: The State President K.Ulmanis required of the Minister of the Interior the explanations concerning the divine service in German in Jelgava. It is known now that Archbishop T.Grīnbergs was not informed about the divine service. It was allowed by local Provost J.Reinhards, who did not know that the divine services in German were banned. It is possible that J.Reinhards would be proposed to apply for discharge from his position.
December 30

VV: The list of new names for pagasti. 11 names of pagasti that were coined using the word muiža (manor) were changed to politically correct names. This list is available on this site.


© Bruno Martuzāns. 2001-2002