“Where did the fathers go?” DVD, NTSC, 66 min, Y2014.
Documentary movie on DVD, latvian with english subtitles.
Director and producer: Dzintra Geka
Screenplay: Ēriks Lanss
Camera: Aivars Lubānietis
Music: Pēteris Vasks, Juris Karlsons
Video engineer: Jānis Kazulis
Assistant : Baiba Ārenta
On June 14, 1941, the Soviet Union deported 15,425 people from Latvia (Latvians, Jews, Russians Poles) to Siberia. Among them were 3,751 children aged 16 or younger. During the process, men were separated from their families and brought to camps in the Soviet Gulag. Many were sentenced to death, while others found themselves in labour camps.
Many of the children who were deported to Siberia in 1941 never saw their fathers again. “The last time I saw my father was at the train station,” one of them recalls. “He was murdered at Vyatlag. I’m the only one left from my large family. I could forgive them on my own behalf, but never on behalf of my mother and my father. Putin was right when he said that it wasn’t an occupation. It was the most merciless form of murder.”
A trolley trundles down the overgrown railroad. For seventy years, the twelve participants in this group have thought about visiting the places from which their fathers never returned. The harsh environment, tension on people’s faces, collages of photographs, and brief moments of memories. At the centre of this documentary are trips to camps in Solyikamsk and Vyatlag.
Fathers from Latvian families mostly died of enteritis, enterocolitis, meningitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis, strokes, nephritis, pellagra or dystrophy, or at least that is what their death certificates claimed. The truth is that most of the men perished because of the inhumane conditions under which they were being kept, suffering not only from diseases, but also from terrible cold and famine. At the centre of this documentary are trips to camps in Vyatlag and Solyikamsk.