I was born on November 4, 1931, in a farm family. My parents lived at the “Liepkalni” homestead in the Ciecere Parish of the Kuldiga District. They had a bit less than 50 hectares of land, 12 to 15 cows in the barn, as well as smaller livestock. In 1939 my father bought a tractor.
Our whole family were deported in 1941. They came in a car, allowed us to take what we could carry. Father was away working in Ezere, where they were building an airfield. We were taken to the station in Saldus and put into cattle cars. Father was brought to the same site, but he was immediately split off from us. We saw him at the station, but only through the window. There were many families in our wagon. People slept tightly alongside one another.
First we got to Krasnoyarsk, and then we were taken to a station that was called Klyukvennoye. Then we were put on horse-drawn carts and taken 30 kilometres to a sovkhoz which raised pigs. Five families were put into two rooms — there were around 20 of us.
There were four of us — mama, my two brothers and me. It was a hard life. Mama got a job on the pig farm. I went with her to the pigsty. The pigs were fed a brew of oats, and we ate the same thing. Initially it was hard to survive, because we only got small bits of bread. Mama exchanged clothing for food as much as she could. During the summer we ate nettles. In 1942, though, we planted potatoes and bought a goat. A year or two later we also bought a cow. We cut our own firewood in the forest.
I had only completed the first grade in Latvia, and I spoke no Russian. After a year of deportation, I went back to the first grade and continued to study until
the 5th grade. In 1943, my older brothers were drafted into a labour brigade in the army, and mama and I remained alone.
The war years were tough, but perhaps we did better than those who were taken to the far North.
In 1943, correspondence began with men who were imprisoned in the concentration camps of the Kirov District. The situation there was awful, with serious famine. Because of insufficient food and heavy work, many men got seriously sick and died. We received news about my father, and we tried to send him things. He mostly wanted tobacco, although he did not smoke himself. That was a very valuable product, because smokers would trade bread for some tobacco. Those who were completely weak and could no longer work at all were set free.
Father was among them. He had been registered as having died, but he came to us. He was a short man, but strong. He survived. Few did. My cousin also arrived. He had almost died at the concentration camp, and he didn’t live long thereafter. As soon as my dad came, however, he went right to work at the sovkhoz.
When the war ended, we started to think about how to get home. I returned first. I got abroad a train in 1946, and off I went. I had often travelled on coal cars to see my brothers in Krasnoyarsk, I was used to it. In Moscow I found a passenger train which brought me to Riga. I looked for a train and looked for the locomotive. I knew that I had to cross the Daugava River and go toward Jurmala. I had a bit of money, but I bought ice cream for it. I sneaked onto the platform, because I had no ticket. I hopped up on one of the footboards of the train, and off we went.
In got off the train at various stations. I got to Saldus by train, and then there were 13 kilometres to walk to our house, where our relatives were living. I went back to school — the 5th grade at the Ciecere Elementary School. My parents and brothers returned in 1947. We lived at our own house and worked at a kolkhoz. In 1950, we were taken away again - my father and mother from home, my brothers from Ka-zdanga, myself from Saldus. We were transported to Riga, and then off again.
This time we did end up in the far North, in Turkhansk. During the summer it was light all the time, during the winter there was no sun. Turkhansk was a district centre, there was an experimental facility there where Latvians worked. We were kept there and not sent any further. We were lucky, because my brothers and father could go to work. I attended the 9th grade - there were 10 years of education in Russia. Mama lived at home. We did OK. There was bread and sugar at the shop, we bought a cow.
Only the banks of the Yenisei River were populated at that time, and at the place where we were, the river was several kilometres wide. Downstream there was an island where hay was harvested for the cows. I remember that there were mosquito nets all over the place. When we harvested the hay, we had to wear gloves. It was insane. The hay was brought home by boat.
I was graduated from high school and wanted to continue my education. I needed permission to transfer to Krasnoyarsk. I sent in the documents, but received no reply. I found on that examinations began on August 1, and it took five or six days to get to Krasnoyarsk. It was only after August 15 that I received permission, and so several of us would-be students — perhaps five people in all - set off for the city. The exams for full time studies were over, of course, but we could become correspondence course students. There were four or five exams, it took me two days to pass them, and I was admitted. The KGB asked for a document to say that I had been admitted. I received papers which said that I had been admitted to full time studies, not the correspondence course, and so I was not sent back to Turkhansk. I was there by myself, the others had to go back. Another first year student and I found a place to live. I received a scholarship, I got some money from home, where there were three people
working. On the second year I passed the exams to became a full time student. I had to spend a month working on the construction of a dormitory to get a room therein. I did. During the summer I visited my parents in Turkhansk.
In 1956, deportees began to be liberated, and after my fourth year of university studies I travelled back to Latvia. I wanted to study at the Agricultural Academy of Jelgava, but there was no Faculty of Mechanics there. I returned to Krasnoyarsk to complete my university studies. Afterward I was given work in Tomsk, but I went back to Latvia and got a job at the Forestry Ministry. I lied in saying that I had the so-called “free diploma,” and so I got a job in Kuldiga. I worked as a mechanic for two years, and then I got another job — as senior mechanic at Cesis. That’s where I spent my entire working life — 34 years, until 1993.
I got married, I have two daughters and a son. My brothers also have a higher education and families. One spent his whole working life in Rujiena, the other one — in Zaube.
When I think about our destiny, it was a rough one. We were deported and survived. We came home, started life anew, and then it was destroyed again. We were deported again. There are few families in which everyone came home — children, mothers, fathers. We did.
Ābele Edgars Žaņa
Я родился 4 ноября 1931 года в крестьянской семье.
Родители жили в Лиепкални Циецерской волости Кулдигского уезда.
Было у них неполных 50 гектаров земли, 12-15 коров, мелкий скот.
В 1939 году отец купил трактор.
в 1941 году выслали всю семью.
Приехали на машине, с собой разрешили взять лишь столько, сколько можно было унести.
В то время отец исполнял трудовую повинность- строил аэродром в Эзере.
I was born on November 4, 1931 in country family.
Parents lived in Liyepkalni Tsiyetserska of the volost of the Kuldiga County.
They had incomplete 50 hectares of the earth, 12-15 cows, the small cattle.
In 1939 the father bought the tractor.
in 1941 sent all family.
Arrived by car, with themselves allowed to take only so much how many it was possible to carry away.
На станциях спускался вниз.
До Салдуса добрался на поезде, надо было ещё 13 километров шагать до нашего дома, где жили родственники.
Снова пошёл в школу, в 5ый класс.
В 1947 году вернулись родители и братья.
Жили в своём доме, работали в колхозе.
До 1950 года, когда нас снова всех взяли -отца и маму из дома, братьев из Казданги, меня из Салдуса.
Привезли в Ригу, и снова транспортировали.
На сей раз оказались на Севере -в Туруханске.
In 1947 parents and brothers returned.
Lived in the house, worked in collective farm.
Till 1950 when we again all were taken - the father and mother from the house, brothers from Kazdangi, me from Saldus.
Brought to Riga, and again transported.
This time appeared in the north - in Turukhansk.