General Krišjānis Berķis
I WW1 & Wars of Independence , IV Soviet occupation

Ģenerālis Krišjānis Berķis. 20. gs. 30. gadi. Avots: Latvijas kara muzejs.

Krišjānis Berķis was born on April 26, 1884 in Bērzukrogs, Īslīce Parish. In 1903, after graduating from Bauska city school, Kr. Berķis entered the Vilnius Junker School, which he graduated from after 3 years as a podporic. Served in the 2nd Finnish Rifle Regiment in Helsinki. In 1909, Kr. Berk received the rank of Poruchik, in 1913 - the rank of Chief of Staff and in January 1917 - the rank of Captain.

In July 1917, Kr. Berķis received the rank of lieutenant colonel and became the commander of the 6th Tukums Latvian Rifle Regiment Battalion. After the October Revolution Kr. Berki was removed from office and arrested for a short time, but after his release he was still forced to hide from the Bolsheviks in both Finland and Russia until he finally returned to Latvia in the spring of 1919.

March 21, 1919 Kr. Berķis has already joined the Armed Forces of the Provisional Government of Latvia as a colonel and became the commander of the reserve battalion (later in the 2nd Cēsis Infantry Regiment), but from August - the commander of the Latgale Division. In October 1919, Kr. Berk received the rank of colonel.

In April 1920, Kr. Berki was elected a deputy of the Constitutional Assembly, but he resigned. In 1925 Kr. Berkis was promoted to the rank of general. Until 1934, he worked in the Administrative Department of the Army Headquarters, was the commander of the Vidzeme Division and the commander of the Riga garrison. November 1934 Kr. Berki was appointed commander of the army, and on April 5, 1940, minister of war.

Magazine "Cadet", no. In his article of 4 April 1936 on General Krišjānis Berkis, it is written: Helpful and sincere, always paternally caring and responsive to his subjects - a true Latvian heart man - such a direct boss and leader of our life has penetrated not only into the hearts of his closest soldiers, but in the hearts of all Latvian soldiers. The authority and dignity of the general in the military are not based on rigor and severity, they are not based on the rule of law and the letter, but his authority and dignity - and these foundations are hard - have been laid by the whirlwinds of our nation's struggle for freedom. "

June 20, 1940 Kr. Berkis was retired, arrested in July, and sent to Russia on August 9 with his son and daughter-in-law, where he was imprisoned in June 1941. Died on 29 July 1942 in Perm Prison Hospital.



More information sources

Latvian War Museum. General Krišjānis Berķis. Available: [accessed 06.05.2021].


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