Sculptor Kārlis Zemdega (1894-1963)
II WW2, IV Soviet occupation


Kārlis Zemdega (until 1935 - Kārlis Baumanis) was born on April 7, 1894 in Cīrava Parish.

Studied at Cīrava Parish School and Dunalka Primary School. Graduated from Aizpute city school. He continued his education at the Bloom School of Drawing and the Academy of Arts in Riga, where he studied both sculpture and drawing.

In 1927, he graduated from the Sculpture Workshop under the direction of Konstantin Ronchevsky with the work "Jacob's Struggle with the Angel". After that, he continued to work in the Applied Sculpture Workshop, where he mastered the techniques of stone processing. Because of his financial difficulties, he had to earn a tuition fee as a clerk and drawing teacher. He worked as a teacher at the Academy of Arts - head of the Sculpture Workshop (1940 - 1941), professor (1947 - 1962) and at the same time worked on orders.

Kārlis Zemdega created the Rainis Tombstone in Rainis Cemetery, Riga (1935) and is the author of the Rainis Monument in Riga, Esplanade (sculpted by sculptors Laimonis Blumbergs and Aivars Gulbis in 1965). He is the author of several memorials dedicated to the victims of the First World War and the victims of the War of Independence - in Koknja (1933), Vilaka (1935), the fallen in World War I in Džūkste (1935), "Tālava trumpeter" in Rūjiena (1937) , Dobele Liberation Monument (1939), "Koklētājs" in Talsi (designed by Vilnis Titans in 1996 by Kārlis Zemdega). The monument "Sējējs" in Rūjiena is dedicated to the former Prime Minister of Latvia Arturs Alberings (1876-1934). Zemdega has mostly made monumental works, but there are also several significant portraits and figurative works in his work.

Kārlis Zemdega died on November 9, 1963 in Rīga and was buried in Rainis cemetery.

A memorial stone was erected in 1975 in the home of the former "Gaiļi" in Cīrava parish.

More information sources

Related to Aizpute and region. Biographical dictionary:

Vija Gune. I want big light blue wings: a version of Kārlis Zemdegu. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 1995.

Kārlis Zemdega. "And the strong will rise ..." Ingrida Burane's concept and arrangement. Riga: Science, 2019.

Related objects

Freedom Monument in Rauna

The monument, created by the sculptor Kārlis Zemdega, is dedicated to the memory of the members of Rauna parish who fell in the First World War and the War of Independence.
As one of the unrealized variants of the Riga Freedom Monument project, it was unveiled on August 20, 1933. The 3rd President of the Republic of Latvia, Alberts Kviesis, had attended the opening event.

The original name of the monument was "ES DŪR" - the motto - the spear turns into a coke and the people are saved by the spirit of song. The base of the monument is decorated with the words of the anthem written by Kārlis Baumaņi - “God, holy Latvia”.

Before the unveiling of the monument in 1933, the people of Raunen, during the landscaping of the monument, planted an oak alley and placed a capsule with the name of a fallen soldier under each oak. Later, in 1937, the names of the fighters were engraved on a white marble plaque placed in the church.

During the communist occupation, the inscription "God, holy Latvia" on the pedestal was engraved. It was restored at the beginning of the Awakening in June 1989.

Monument dedicated to the liberation of Rūjiena and the fallen soldiers of the Northern Latvian Brigade "Tālava Trumpeter"

Located in Rūjiena Center Square.

The three-meter-high image of an ancient Latvian guardian carved in gray Finnish granite, called the “Tālava trumpeter”, is placed on a three-meter-high granite pedestal, but the total height of the monument reaches 7.5 meters. In the initial sketches and models, K. Zemdega had placed a sword in his hands, which was later replaced by a trumpet. The monument was unveiled on August 15, 1937.

This monument reflects the difficult situation in the formation of our country and army, as well as in the assessment of these events. Immediately after the proclamation of the Latvian state, the Red Army invaded and the interim government of Kārlis Ulmanis established a refuge in Liepāja. In February 1919, with the help of the Estonian army, the liberation of Latvia from the north began and the first mobilization took place in the Rūjiena area for the Latvian troops formed in Tartu, which became the Northern Latvian Brigade under the command of Colonel Jorgis Zemitans. The Northern Latvian brigade fought not only against the Bolsheviks, but also against the Landeswehr and Iron Division in the battles of Cēsis. The soldiers of Northern Latvia, mobilized in the vicinity of Rūjiena, also fought in the subsequent battles for the War of Independence. After the war, the main laurels were won by General Jānis Balodis and the Southern Latvian Brigade he commanded, but he often forgot about the Northern Latvian Brigade. The monument to Rūjiena, which was planned in Rūjiena, was built for a long time, and the monument, unveiled in 1937, was officially popularized as a monument to the liberation of Rūjiena and the memory of fallen soldiers, not to mention the beginning of all regiments in Northern Latvia.

The monument is not only a popular sight for Latvian and Estonian tourists, which is to some extent a starting point for visiting several other places of remembrance of the War of Independence in Rūjiena, but "Tālavas taurētājs" is also a stopping place for Estonian and Latvian officials of various levels.

The monument to the liberation and fallen soldiers of Rūjiena, more commonly known as the “trumpet of Tālava”, was included in the list of cultural monuments protected by the state as an art monument of national significance on October 29, 1998 (monument protection registration number 4522).

Monument "Koklētājs" (Fiddler)

The monument "Koklētājs" in Talsi on Ķēniņkalns is dedicated to the memory of the Freedom Fighters (authors K. Zemdega, sculptor V. Titans).At the end of the 1930s the Talsi City Council commissioned sculptor K. Zemdega (1894-1963) to make the monument. In 1938, the sculptor made a plaster model of the sculpture and a capsule with a message for future generations about the history of the creation of the monument was buried in the Leči hill. The Second World War put an end to this idea, but the cast was hidden and preserved. With the restoration of independence, the idea of completing the monument was revived. V. Titans begins to carve the "Koklētājs" in stone at the Museum of Agricultural Technology "Kalēji". The monument was inaugurated on 16 November 1996, and the ceremony was also attended by the then President of Latvia, G. Ulmanis.

Monument of K. Zemdega to the Victims of the World War I in Tukums

Located in Tukums, at the foot of the Sun Hill.

The monument "Sagittarius" created by Kārlis Zemdega is one of the last monuments that was unveiled in 1940 before Latvia lost its independence. It depicts a young soldier kneeling on the road and swearing allegiance to his homeland. At the foot of the monument is the Brothers' Cemetery with more than 40 burials.

During World War I, when Kurzeme was under German occupation, a cemetery was built on the slopes of Pavārkalns. There were buried people who were sentenced to death by a German army military court. The burials were originally numbered and it was not until 1925 that the identities of all the convicted people were ascertained. They were mainly captured scouts by Latvian riflemen. Among them were civilians. Later, the remains of the people, together with the fallen soldiers of the Latvian army, were transported to the place where the Brothers' Cemetery was established at the foot of the K. Zemdega monument.

Today you can see the memorial site. K. Zemdega has created several outstanding monuments, including the one seen in Tukums.

Monument to the sons of Dzukste and Slampe congregations killed in World War I and Latvian Liberation Battle

Monument to the sons of Dzukste and Slampe congregations killed in World War I and Latvian Liberation Battles was unveiled on November 17, 1935. The author is one of the best Latvian sculptors - Karl Zemdega.

A monument to the soldiers who died in the battles for the liberation of Latvia in Jaškov

The road section Viļaka – Vientuļi (P35) is on the left side of the road, near the chapel of the Jaškova grave.

Monument to Latvian and Estonian soldiers who died in the War of Independence.

The monument created by the sculptor Kārlis Zemdega in 1920 in memory of the soldiers who fell in the Freedom Struggle in Jaškov was first unveiled on September 22, 1935 at the graves of the Viļaka brothers established in 1929.
The struggle for freedom against the Red Army in Viļakas district began with the attack of the Latvian army and the Latgale partisan regiment on January 9, 1920. Estonian soldiers also participated in it. Viļak was liberated already on January 9, but the fighting to the east of it continued for several more days. Both before and after the liberation of Vilakas, the fallen soldiers were buried in different places known to local residents. As the state of Latvia stabilized, Viļakas began to think about setting up joint graves of brothers. Already from November 18, 1923, after a solemn service in the Catholic church, held by dean P.Apšinīks, a large procession went to the newly formed burial place of the brothers on the hill, in the so-called Jaškov - in the immediate vicinity of Viļaka. Soon, the foundation of the monument was built, the collection of donations for the monument began. Identifying the graves of the fallen soldiers took time, only on November 3, 1929, the reburial took place in the future graves of the brothers. The 31 Latvian and 14 Estonian soldiers who fell in the vicinity of Viļakas were buried in them. In 1935, the monument was ready and on September 22, it was solemnly consecrated.
In the pre-war years of Latvia's independence, all important national events in Viļaka parish were connected with the brothers' graves and this monument.
The monument was destroyed during the post-war years of Soviet rule, but its granite parts, although damaged, were preserved. The monument was restored on November 11, 1990 - Lāčpleš Day.

Related stories

Rauna Freedom Monument or Monument to the members of Rauna parish who fell in the First World War and the War of Independence

The origins of the idea of the Rauna Freedom Monument can be traced back to August 21, 1929, when the head of the city of Cēsis and the head of the Cēsis district invited the most prominent public employees of Rauna parish to a meeting, calling to honor the acquisition of freedom and build a monument in Rauna.