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Gustavs Celmins

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Gustavs Celmins (April 1, 1899April 10, 1968) - politician, Latvian fascist leader.

Born in Riga. Educated in commerce school of Riga stock exchange, absolved in Moscow. 1917 started studies in Riga Polytechnics Institute which had been evacuated to Moscow. After October Revolution returned to Latvia.

1918 enlisted into Latvian army. 1919 promoted to lieutenant. Was Latvian military attache in Poland. 1921 awarded the Order of Bear Slayer. Retired from army in 1924.

From 1925 to 1927 worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Was the secretary of Minister of Foreign Affairs. After that he worked in the Finance Ministry.

In January 24, 1932, Latvian national unity Ugunskrusts was founded and Gustavs Celmins was elected as its leader. After Ugunskrusts was closed, he founded the organization Perkonkrusts (Thundercross).

After the May 15, 1934 coup of Karlis Ulmanis Gustavs Celmins was arrested and imprisioned for three years. In 1937 he was banished from Latvia.

After banishment Celmins lived in Italy and Switzerland. In Zurich he was arrested and banished from Switzerland. Later he lived in Romania, where he had contacts with Iron Guard, from where he moved to Finland. From 1938 was the leader of Foreign contacts office of Perkonkrusts.

After the Soviet Union invasion in Finland fought as volunteer in the Winter War for the Finns. After the end of the war he moved to Germany.

In July 1941 together with Nazi's returned to Latvia and regained leadership of Perkonkrusts.

On March 14, 1944 he was arrested by the Gestapo for underground activities and sent to Concentration camps. Liberated by American 5th army.

After World War II he lived in Italy, where he published the newspaper Briva Latvija (Free Latvia). In 1947 he published the autobiographic book "Eiropas krustcelos" (In crossroads of Europe).

Quotes

  • "We believe, that Latvians throughout the wide world have only one place in which to live - Latvia, whereas other nations have their own home lands. Whether that is according to ethics or democratic principles makes no difference, for us only the good of the Latvian nation is important."
  • "Our God, our religion, our reason of life, our goals is the Latvian nation, those who don't facilitate its prosperity are our enemies."

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