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Latvia marks day of deportations

At ceremonies across Latvia Friday people marked one of the darkest days in the nation's history, the deportations of thousands of men, women and children from their homes to Siberia by the occupying Soviet government.

Hundreds of people paid their respects at sites including the stations from which people were deported, often with only a few minutes' notice.

On and around March 25, 1949 some 42,000 people were summarily deported.

In a special address posted to YouTube, President Raimonds Vejonis paid tribute to the resilience of the Latvian people.

"The Latvian nation not only survived the occupation period, but even more - we won the right to rule our own country and regained our independence.

"Today, after 67 years, we continue to strengthen our country. We will not allow another March 25. That is why we are strengthening our national defense capabilities," Vejonis said. 

For more background on the events of March 25, 1949 and an earlier wave of deportations in 1941 the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Latvian Occupation Museum have prepared information HERE.

To explore the effect of the deportations on the many children who found themselves sent to Siberia, we strongly recommend exploring the groundbreaking, multilingual Esi pats! (Be yourself!) online interactive museum HERE.

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