Memories of a war boy (LV)


The special value of Laimonis Upmalis’ book is the concise records, exact dates of events, place names, first names and surnames. Laimonis Upmalis (1927), like his sister, a well-known children’s writer Vija Upmale, is a good observer of life and events with a figurative artistic perception. The war boy’s diary also contains drawings illustrating the book.


At the very end of Second World War, four thousand Latvian citizens born in 1927 were mobilized as air defense auxiliaries in German army, and 560 born in 1928 applied for themselves. These boys were motivated not only by the terror of the soviet occupation in 1940/1941, but also by the romance and the desire for adventure. Most of the boys of that time had only seen the immediate area. It is hard to determine how many of them survived. When the former air defense auxiliaries from all over the world gathered in Riga in 1994, there were five hundred of them.

Laimonis Upmalis’ experience in one year is enough for a lifetime: on September 19, 1944, a night of horror is experienced in Riga, when 41 dead comrades has to be buried after the Russian bombing. On the way from Riga to Liepaja - next victims. A game of fate is a boat trip from Liepaja to Germany. Then training in Eger (now the Czech city of Cheb) and Austria near the Alps, later - living close to frontline in the Ruhr area by Lake Möhnesee. A day without the danger of alarm and bombing in the Ruhr area could be considered a gift from God.