On March 25th 1949 more than forty-two thousand Latvians were arrested by the secret police and deported to the furthest regions of the Soviet Union. Many never returned, their crimes having been decided in a confidential order from the Council of Ministers of the USSR: kulaks and their families; illegal nationalists and their families; legalized bandits and their family members who continue to engage in anti-Soviet activities; family members of the supporters of bandits. "Sixty years ago the unexpected guests knocked at your door, changing your destiny forever. Today we still ask why," the president said in a speech from the Freedom Monument.
"Why are there Latvian flags everywhere today?" I asked one of my teenage classes. "I don't know. Something to do with communism," they shrugged in reply.