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Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the national partisans' battle in Stompaki Forest

Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the national partisans' battle in Stompaki Forest

2020. gada 4. marts

On 2 March, a memorial was held in Stompaki Forest in Viļaki County in honour of the national partisans who fought against the occupying Soviet forces there 75 years ago. This was the largest battle fought by the national partisans on Latvian soil. The commemoration was attended by Inese Dreimane, a historian with the Museum of Occupation’s “KGB Building” project.
Commemoration events were held in the town of Viļaka and at the site of the partisans’ camp. A Holy Mass was celebrated in the bunker/ church for the first time in 75 years. In January and February 1945, Šķilbēni Parish priest Father Ludvigs Štagars presided over the bunker/ church in the Stompaki partisan camp. The final ceremony was a memorial service held on the evening of 2 March 1945 for fallen partisans, before the survivors left the camp.
By late February 1945, the NKVD had discovered the approximate location of the camp, and on the morning of 2 March it launched an attack on the site, where around 350 partisans were present. The attacking unit was the 143rd NKVD Rifle Regiment, comprising 483 men. The opposing forces exchanged fire from positions just 70-80 metres apart. Twenty-eight partisans and 46 NKVD troops were killed or died later from wounds.
After the battle at Stompaki, the bodies of the dead partisans were publicly displayed in Viļaka and Šķilbēni to try and identify them and to intimidate the local population. Some of the dead partisans were buried in a mass grave near Viļaka Catholic Church. A memorial plaque was unveiled there in 2005.
On 29 June 2017, the Museum of Occupation, Viļaka Municipality and "Latvia’s State Forests" installed two information boards in Stompaki Forest. The first board located in Stompaki Bog is dedicated to the National Partisans Association of Latvia, its leaders and the partisan camp. The second board is located deeper in the forest and commemorates the battle of 2 March 1945. The boards were installed with the financial support of the RL Ministry of Culture.

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