This is part of my series of interesting newspaper articles and snippets that I find in the old Latvian newspapers available through Periodika. Most of the articles I post are in some way related to migration, wars or other events that are of particular genealogical or historical note.
Here we read about how early Latvian migrants to Brazil (that is, the migrants who went to Brazil before the large Baptist migration of the early 1920s) felt about the news they were getting from a Latvia in the midst of the War of Independence.
Source: Baltijas Vēstnesis (Baltic Herald), February 20, 1920
How Brazil’s Latvians feel about Latvia’s suffering
We just received word from our correspondent in Brazil, a letter from Mr. A. Schmidt (earlier a trader in Cēsis and Liepāja), who provides an overview of the feelings and impressions of Brazil’s Latvians, after the takeover of Rīga’s newspapers during the Bermontian attack on Latvia:
“The heart beats quickly, reading news of Latvia. The meeting of the People’s Council, patriotism, telegrams from the French mission, the Allied commission, the Danes mentioning Rīga’s suffering! It stirred great feelings against the Bermontians and their terror, but the song of the people won’t disappear under their snarls: “That which the German did to me, I will do the German.” May they go off to the Fatherland. Latvia for Latvians!
I send you the Brazilian (Portuguese) newspapers and “Graudi” [NB:"Grain"] in Latvian. The latter is the only Latvian periodical in South America.
On November 11, 1918, a Latvian battalion arrived in Brazil from Archangelsk. The trip took almost two months, and difficulties along the way were great and there were many many delays, until they made it here from Archangelsk.
Brazil’s Latvians also ask that these attached letters make it to the addressed people: Mr. J. Schmiidt in Limbaži (Jūras street), Mr. J. Blankenburg in Liepāja (Graudu street), Mr. K. Schmidt in Moscow. It is not known if the aformentioned people stil live at these addresses, so we send them to you and ask that the addressees respond to receive them.
It is easy to forget in this world of instant communication that just a hundred years ago it was not possible. Transatlantic telephone calls only started to become possible in the 1920s, and it was decades after that before people could call internationally directly from their homes. People needed to send letters, or watch newspapers for news of loved ones. Latvian newspapers during the First World War were full of notices from readers looking for their lost relatives. If there is interest, I can start posting some of these notices as well. Yes? No?