Partizan/Guerilla bunker
III Nacionaliniai partizanai, II WW2, IV Sovietų okupacija

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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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Daugiau informacijos šaltinių

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

 

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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.

Forest Brother (Metsavenna) Farm

Forest Brother Farm is close to the Latvian border in the village of Vastse-Roosa.

The bunker tourism attraction was opened in 1999, offering visitors a chance to experience the Forest Brothers’ way of life as a chapter in Estonian history. The programme includes searching for Forest Brothers in the hideout, visiting the bunker, learning about real-life events, singing Forest Brother songs with the host and sampling a Forest Brother meal or feast. The main attraction is the bunker, which is lined with narrow pine logs and embedded in the hillside. The bunker is furnished with bunk beds and a small table. These types of bunker were used during the late 1940s and early 1950s by hundreds of brave men in the resistance, burdened by the need to hide from the authorities.

Monument to Forest Brothers in Puutli

The Puutlipalo monument and bunker site is situated in the village of Mutsu in Võru County. On 28 March 1953 the last large-scale skirmish took place between the Forest Brothers and the Soviet security forces in Puutlipalo. All eight people hiding in the woods were killed – three women and five men. The bunker was destroyed and the bodies brought out of the forest and buried in an unknown location.

This monument, dedicated to the fallen Forest Brothers, was unveiled on 20 May 1989 near the former site of the bunker. It was the first monument to Estonian resistance fighters erected while the country was still under Soviet occupation and the Forest Brothers were still officially referred to as bandits. Contrary to many similar monuments erected later, which were blown to pieces by the communists, the monument in Puutlipalo remained untouched owing to its hidden location. The original stone tablet is the only feature to have been replaced, as it was mistakenly inscribed (due to years of being kept secret by the state) with the name of a resistance fighter who died in another battle.

DNA tests done during an investigation by the Internal Security Service in January 2013 revealed the identities of the eight Forest Brothers killed in Puutlipalo. On Resistance Fighting Day that year they were reinterred in the cemetery in Vastseliina.

Memorial to Forest Brothers in Saika

The Battle of Saika Bunker took place on 7 March 1951. The skirmish, which lasted for four hours, was one of the few in the history of the Forest Brothers in which the Soviet forces racked up losses comparable to those of the Forest Brothers themselves. Out of the eight Forest Brothers in the bunker, only two managed to escape. They were killed two years later in the Battle of Puutlipalo.

The memorial was opened on St John's Day in 2007 next to the main road. Avid hikers will also find the site of the bunker if they follow the forest paths south-east of the memorial for 700 metres. Battle site coordinates: 57°39'22.2”, 27°18'49.9" Note: Note that the coordinates carved into the Saika memorial spruce in the cemetery in Vastseliina are inaccurate.

Memorial to the Forest Brothers in Vastseliina

Plans for this Forest Brothers memorial were hatched in early 2013, when the Internal Security Service identified the bodies found in a mass grave in Reedopalo near Võru. With the cooperation of Vastseliina municipality, the Võru regional unit of the Estonian Defence League and the Ministry of Defence, the location in the cemetery was decided upon and the necessary preparations were carried out. The reinterment of the 13 Forest Brothers took place on 21 September 2013. A year later, memorial sculptures designed by Mati Karmin were unveiled here, depicting small spruce trees carved out of stone. On 1 November 2015 a further four Forest Brothers whose bodies had been recovered from the secret mass grave in Reedopalo were reinterred here and more memorial spruces were unveiled in remembrance of those fallen in three different battles. Their actual graves remain unknown to this day.

Põrgupõhja bunker

Põrgupõhja Bunker is situated in the woods near the village of Tiduvere in Rapla County.

By 1945 anti-Soviet dissent had developed into organised resistance movements in many occupied lands, including Estonia. Attempts were made to unify fighter groups and establish a network. This bunker, built in 1947, was an important stronghold for the Forest Brothers.
Fully reconstructed, Põrgupõhja Bunker was opened in 2015, showcasing the everyday life of the Forest Brothers. Anyone interested can spend the night in the bunker and imagine what it must have been like to live in hiding.

Adjacent to it is the original site of the bunker, which was destroyed by the NKVD on 31 December 1947, plus its surrounding dirt wall and a memorial to the fallen Forest Brothers.

Museum room on the Forest Brothers in Nursi Village Centre (with a memorial and a copy of a bunker nearby)

Entry is free and the museum room is open during the library's opening hours. The bunker is situated in an unrestricted part of the Defence Forces training area in Nursipalu. During training, gunfire can be heard in the vicinity. The last section of the road leading there may prove more demanding for drivers, but it is passable most of the time. The ground around the bunker can be wet.

The Battle of Lükka (Nursi) Bunker took place on 28 December 1945. Nine Forest Brothers were killed in the skirmish, and the aboveground bunker burnt down Three men managed to escape. The battle site was discovered after years of searching in 2008. A year later, a memorial to the battle was unveiled by the Võru-Valga road. The first excavations at the bunker site were carried out in 2010 and the museum room dedicated to the battle was opened that same year in the former schoolhouse in Nursi. (The typewriter used by the Forest Brothers is currently on display at Võru County Museum.)

Memorial to the Forest Brothers of Ehmja

After World War II, 20 men from Ehmja gathered to form a platoon of Forest Brothers. A log bunker was built in late 1945. The bunker was built on the ground and surrounded by a rampart. A shallow ditch surrounding the bunker substituted for a trench during emergencies. Eight metres from the site of the bunker stands a well 80 cm in diameter and 2.3 metres deep. On 20 January 1946, five members of the group were captured in a raid on one of the farms in Ehmja. For some reason, the men hiding in the bunker did not hear of this. The secret location of the bunker was known by the next day and was soon encircled by overwhelming forces. The Forest Brothers refused to surrender and were all killed in the hour-long shoot-out that ensued. Their bodies were taken to Haapsalu and buried in an unknown grave.

In September 2010 the ground beneath the bunker was investigated under the supervision of archaeologist Mati Mandel. They found 60 items: mostly bullet casings and cartridges, but also buttons, household items and more.

On 18 June 2011 a memorial was unveiled at the site of the bunker. This monument was made by the chairman of the Estonian Memento Union and Ungru Paekivi production manager Arnold Aljaste.

 

Forest brothers bunker in Lebavere

In 2020, a forest brother bunker was reopened in Lebavere forest. The bunker was created in 1944–1954 on the model of one of the bunkers of the forest brother Martin Tamme, who hid in the forest, based on the memories of his brother Kaljo Tamme. Martin Tamm lived in such a bunker for the last six years in the forest. In 2001, Väike-Maarja Parish built a bunker for visitors to visit, which was now out of date. Under the leadership of the Väike-Maarja Museum Friends Society, the same bunker and memorial plaque were restored in the forest.

For information and to visit the forest brother's bunker, contact the Väike-Maarja Museum Friends Society with the tour guide. Visiting the bunker with a tour guide is with a fee.

Ennuksemäe bunker site

Ennuksemäe forest brothers’ bunker is located in the forest between the villages of Holstre and Mustla. The hiding spot was built by brothers Jaan and Evald Sova who were escaping the Soviet occupation forces in 1944. Later, a dozen of other forest brothers joined.

On 21 February 1945, the members of the NKVD attacked the bunker and seven forest brothers and two attackers were killed and five people taken prisoner in a battle that lasted for six hours. To lure the forest brothers out, the communists set the bunker on fire. The Ennuksemäe bunker is the largest in the history of the Estonian forest brothers.

In 2010, Tarvastu parish restored the bunker to its approximate size, but on 31 October 2016, it was destroyed in fire, just like in 1945. Viljandi Parish Council decided to restore the bunker in 2020 and construction began in November the same year.

The reconstructed bunker has two entrances and exits, six bunk beds, a wooden stove and a tunnel that connects it to the entrance at the foot of the hill. The bunker built in 2021 is safer than the one destroyed in the fire five years prior, as in order to protect wood from damage, concrete walls and a concrete ceiling and floor were built.

The bunker is open 24/7. It is possible to visit and stay over night without prior registration.

Vana-Võromaa Museum and Art Gallery

This museum is situated in the city centre of Võru.

The exhibition showcases the history of Võru County from the prehistoric era to the mid-20th century.

It also provides an overview of the birth of the Estonian Republic and the events of the War of Independence in the county. Moreover, the museum boasts one of the most detailed displays on the Forest Brothers in Estonia, including a replica of the interior of a Forest Brother bunker.

Exhibitions on a variety of subjects are regularly displayed in the exhibition hall, where history-themed museum courses can be attended.

Susijusi istorija

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: