Partizan/Guerilla bunker
III National partizans, II WW2, IV Soviet occupation

An underground or semi-underground base in a forest, swamp or other inaccessible location, mostly remote from populated areas, where members of an armed resistance movement and their supporters can take refuge. 

In order to understand this page of history, several National Partisan bunkers have been restored and can be visited by everyone. There are bunkers in Ile, Amata and between Vietalva and Jaunkalsnava.

The partisan bunker in Īle is one of the largest bunkers in the Baltic States, built in 1948 by the partisans of the united Latvian-Lithuanian group. The bunker was built as a temporary headquarters to spend the winter of 1948/1949 in the forests of Īle. A few months later, the bunker was discovered and attacked by the State Security Committee. After a five-hour battle, 15 partisans died and nine were taken prisoner. Thanks to the support of JSC "Latvijas valsts meži", the bunker has been restored and its furnishings have been preserved as they were in the winter of 1948. The Īle National Partisans' Bunker is open to the public at any time of the day or night.

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More information sources

Latvian National Partisan Battles - National Encyclopedia (enciklopedija.lv)

Related objects

Bunker of national partisans – Forest Brothers

The Forest Brothers’ Bunker is located by the Riga-Pskov (A2) highway 76 kilometres from Riga and 11 kilometres from Cēsis. The Latvian national partisans or Forest Brothers were small, armed groups of local residents who fought their independent battles against the occupation regime of the USSR in the territory of Latvia from 1944 to 1956. Forced to hide in the forests, these were people who could not or did not want to live in the Soviet Union. A total of around 20,193 Forest Brothers operated in Latvia. The bunker was formed based on the stories and memories of former Forest Brothers about life in the forests, hiding and fighting for the independent state of Latvia after 1945. The bunker showcases armaments and household items. The personal belongings, weapons and photos of partisans are on display. The guide’s narration is enriched by a video from interviews with Forest Brothers. There is a place for picnic campfires by the bunker. It is possible to pre-order a soup prepared on the fire or enjoy an evening of outdoor cinema by the fire.

Memorial plaque to Veclaicene national partisans instead of a bunker

Located in Veclaicene parish, Alūksne region.

Opened on October 4, 2019. Akmeņkalis Ainārs Zelčs.
On March 13, 1953, in the forests of Veclaicene, not far from the Koruļi house, the Chekists opened a carefully disguised bunker and arrested Bernhard Ābelkok and Elmārs Tortūze.
Weapons were found in the bunker: 2 German rifles and 95 rounds, 2 Parabellum pistols and 152 rounds.
On November 11, 1949, Czech agents K. Dokti-Doktenieki were shot and his group broke up. After the attack, B. Ābelkoks and E. Tortūzis hid for some time in a bunker near the Maskaļi house, but from the spring of 1951, with the support of Ilona Ābolkalns, they built a bunker in Koruļi, where they lived until their arrest.

Memorial to the bunker of the national partisan group "Jumba"

Located in Ziemera Parish, State Forest Quarter 66.

The memorial site was unveiled on July 10, 2020.
In the second stage of the Latvian national partisan movement, in the middle of 1948, a group of 4 people - Viks Pētersi, Stebers Rolands, Bukāns Ilgmārs and Kangsepa Elvīra separated from J. Bitāna-Liepačs unit in Mālupe-Beja parishes and . The location of the partisans was near the Estonian border, near the Riga-Pskov highway, on a hill in a thoroughly built bunker.
On March 2, 1950, when the Chekists opened the bunker, the partisans hid in a barn made of boulders on the Estonian side of Napke's house. After a long and intense shooting on March 3, 1950, the Chekists managed to set fire to the barn. Ilgmārs Bukāns, Rolands Stebers and Elvira Kangsepa burned down together with their newborn daughter. Peter Wick jumped out of the barn window and hid in the attic of the house, where he was also found and shot. The farm was burned. The bodies of all the fallen partisans were taken to Alūksne. A memorial was erected at the site of the fighters' deaths in the early 1990s. Elvira Kangsep's daughter, born in a burning barn, was given the name Liesma.

Memorial place "Bitan bunkers"

Located in Mālupe Parish, Alūksne District.

The memorial stone was unveiled on October 13, 2017. Akmeņkalis Ainārs Zelčs.

On August 24, 1945, in the Dubna forests of Latgale, the Latvian National Partisan Association (LNPA) was established with the aim of restoring the Republic of Latvia in 1918. Regional headquarters were set up to better coordinate the activities of the guerrilla groups. National partisan groups operating in Beja, Mālupe and Mārkalne parishes united in the Priedolaine sector. The regional headquarters was headed by Jānis Liepacis. Propaganda divisions were established at each regional headquarters. One of them, the commander of which was Jānis Bitāns, was formed in the forest massif of Mālupe parish. Here, in the bunker, from 1946 to 1948, five press publications of the Latvian National Partisan Association “Mazais Latvis”, “Liesma”, “Auseklis”, “Māras Zeme” and “Tautas Sargs” were printed. The youth resistance movement “Dzimtenes Sili” of Alūksne Gymnasium was involved in the preparation and dissemination of information.

Memorial stone in Ilzen near the houses of "Sarvu" and "Melļ"

Located in Ilzene Parish, Alūksne District.

The memorial stone was unveiled on September 28, 2018. Akmeņkalis Ainārs Zelčs.

From the autumn of 1944, the inhabitants of these Ilzene parish houses supported the national partisans led by Voldemar Anderson ("Old"), whose bunker was located in a thicket near the forest. On November 23, 1945, the bunker was surrounded by NKVD soldiers. Nine fighters were killed in the battle. After it, 2 machine guns, 14 submachine guns, 11 rifles, 10 pistols, 3,500 rounds, 45 grenades, 4 binoculars were found. The destruction of Voldemar Anderson's group was planned in the case of the Czech agency "Chain" ("Цепь").

The group consisted of Voldemārs Pāvels Andersons (“Old”), Gaston Dzelzkalējs, Voldemārs Tonnis, Centis Eizāns, Osvalds Kalējs, Jānis Koemets, Stāvais (“Polis”), Voldemārs Rappa, Eduards Rappa, Elmārs Rappa (survived).

Possible location of Otomaras Oškalns bunker

A remote and difficult to access place - a large forest massif about 200 m west of the Nega river and about 0.5 km southwest of the Nega flood. It is recommended to go to the mentioned place on foot or by bicycle, using LIDAR maps and geographical coordinates. In the mentioned place, there is an inland dune embankment about a kilometer long (in the W-E direction) and half a kilometer wide (in the N-S direction) covered with coniferous forest. At the top of the northern and eastern slopes of the dune massif are well-preserved trenches, believed to date from the Second World War. Harijs Jaunzems (former Ķegums HPP engineer) believes that the bunker of the Red Army partisan unit formed by Otomaras Oškalns was located in this area (the exact point is unknown).

Memorial to the national partisans led by Dailonis Breiks "Daiņkalni"

Located in "Daiņkalni", Rauna parish, Rauna district (near Smiltene district, Brantu parish "Mežviju" house.

Getting to the memorial site only once a year - on April 16! The road leads through private property.

The memorial site is located on the site of the former “Daiņkalni” and “Graškalni” houses in Rauna Parish, under which a group of national partisans led by Dailonis Breiks (nickname Edgars, 1911-1952) hid in the bunkers created from 1950 to 1952. The group of D.Breiks' national partisans was established in 1948 and until 1950 they lived in "Jaunvieslavēni" of Gatarta parish with the owner Kārlis Lāčs. In 1950, D.Brixis' partisan group was handed over by his own brother Laimonis, so they were forced to move. During the summer they lived in the forests, but the winters were spent in Rauna parish “Daiņkalni” near the forester Artūrs Pērkons (1907-1952) and in the adjacent “Graškalni” bunkers set up under the house.

Since 2002, the memorial site in Daiņkalns has been gradually improved. Memorial events are held every year on April 16 to commemorate the national partisans led by Dailonis Breiks. In April 2003 and 2004, memorial crosses and plaques were erected near the houses of Daiņkalni and Graškalni. In the autumn of 2016 - in the spring of 2017, with the help of local Raunēni people, the memorial site was reconstructed according to the sketch of the architect Z.Butāns, as well as the site of the former bunker was excavated and strengthened.

Memorial site of national partisans in Sērmūkši

Sērmūkši is home to one of more than a hundred memorials to partisan battles in Latvia. There are more than six hundred partisan battle sites in Latvia. A Latvian national partisan dugout has been built based on historical evidence, and visitors can spend the night in near-authentic conditions with plank beds, lighting provided by kerosene lamps and a heating device similar to the ones used by partisans. Visits must be booked in advance. The fateful moment for the Sērmūkši National Partisan Group came on 29 November 1946 with the deaths of four fighters from the group: Jānis Zīrāks, Reinholds Pētersons, Jānis Pīlands and Anna Zariņa. Alfrēds Suipe survived, endured deportation, returned to Latvia and saw the restoration of a free state. He initiated the idea to establish a memorial site for his fallen companions in Sērmūkši.

Related stories

About D.Breiksis national partisan group

The memorial site is located on the site of the former “Daiņkalni” and “Graškalni” houses of Rauna Parish, under which a group of national partisans led by Dailonis Breiks (nickname Edgars, 1911-1952) hid in the bunkers created from 1950 to 1952.

Forest Daughter Domicella Pundure (Lucia)

Domicella Pundure is 90. At Riga Castle on May 3, 2018, she received the Order of Viesturs from the hands of President Raimonds Vejonis for special merits in the national resistance movement and in defending the country's independence. Domicella Pundure remains the last witness to the battle of Stompaku bog.

About D.Breiksis national partisan group

The memorial site is located on the site of the former “Daiņkalni” and “Graškalni” houses of Rauna Parish, under which a group of national partisans led by Dailonis Breiks (nickname Edgars, 1911-1952) hid in the bunkers created from 1950 to 1952.

Settlement of Sēlija forest brothers in Sūpe bog

Sūpe swamp is connected with the places of guerrilla settlements and fighting, which have developed in the interaction of people and places. This is described in the ballad of the Latvian exile Albert Eglītis about the events in his homeland in Sūpe mire "Moss and mud" - a tribute to the partisans of Sūpe mire: