In this Chapter we offer a short passage of the autobiography of professor Roberts Feldmanis. If you are interested to support and promote this work, please contact us.
On Ādolfa Street everybody was on their way further.
Arturs Siļķe called early in the morning. The day seems to be peaceful – how about travelling to Rāmava by cart and bringing a bagful of potatoes that shall be useful in the upcoming unknown circumstances. – Though Mrs. Jurson seriously protested, we got an unoccupied cart and set forth. Everything seemed to be fine in the empty streets. Here – behind St. Old Ģertrūdes Church – a German watchman directs us towards Valdemāra Street and we reach the Riga castle square, which is lousy with people and carts. We are ordered to step out and abandon our cart. One of the German watchmen grabs us, and without any explanation moves us in the crowded bailey. Nobody knows, why this has happened. Every hour the watchmen move in single men and groups of men directly taken from their work places. I recognize some pastors in the crowd. They do not know anything, either. Within hours of waiting in ignorance, I approach a German officer and ask him, if the “checking” (as I had meant it to be) was soon to come at an end. – I am a pastor and my working hours are starting… I receive an unexpected answer – taking into consideration the terrifying situation – Where are your colleagues?. I am shouting in the crowd, but nobody else responds. The officer led Arturs Siļķe and me to the gate, and despite the watchman’s protest, released us.
“Now, let’s vanish…” – cried out Arturs and we rushed up to the streets of Old Riga and returned back home (without the cart, of course). Only then we discovered what the reason for the men chasing was. On their draw back Germans needed soldiers and men for hard labour – to save the collapsing Germany – the last “European fortress”. –
However, the joy of relief was not long. A message arrived that there was a ship on the banks of the river Daugava, collecting the “load”, in order to leave to Germany by sea full of mines… And a note arrived from my brother that he already was on board… I hurried to the banks of the river Daugava, and after long calling he finally approached the stem. How can I help? As I entered, armed soldiers were guarding the companion ladder. – Nevertheless, the “boys” on board had figured out how to get help – in order to get off the board. German authorities had distributed a special certificate for those who had volunteered to expatriate by train. Those were not taken by ship. Somebody had provided the brave boys with one of such certificates. By erasing the name of one of the “expatriates” written in pencil, another name could be written in… Thus some captives were saved. My brother, as well, passing the certificate on to the next man.
(Translated by Alma Bernharda)