University of Minnesota

American Baltic Freedom Committee, Records

Finding Aid

VITRAGE

IHRC

Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Descriptive summary

Creator: American Baltic Freedom Committee
Dates: 1991
Abstract: Papers (1991) consist of original photo, documents (originals), press releases, flyers, articles in newspapers, maps, letters and addresses on envelopes from petition signers, sheets of information containing addresses of official officeses, faxes, fax cover sheets and petitions to president George H.W. Bush.
Quantity: 1 box
Language: Latvian, English,Russian
Collection ID: IHRC156

PROVENANCE

The papers of the American Baltic Freedom Committee in Kalamazoo were transferred in 1996 to IHRC by LSC (Latvian Study Center). LSC recieved them from Gita Germute in April 1992.

HISTORICAL SKETCH

American Baltic Freedom Committee was founded 1991 and located in Kalamazoo (address:1702 Fraternaty Village Drive , Kalamazoo, Mich 49007). The organization existed just a few months- from January to April because of it`s specific character. From the papers it appears that the aim of organization was to prevent USSR agresion in Baltic States and support Lithuanias`s, Latvia`s and Estonia`s independence in January,1991. Historical events in Lithuania during January ,1991 and the threat to Latvia about simmilar events was a starting point of the American Baltic Freedom Committee. The most important assignement of the organization was evidently collecting signatures on the following petition to president George H.W.Bush:" Mr.President: While your atttention has beeen focused on the Persian Gulf,the Soviet Union has begun a gradal reoccupation of the Baltic States. Soviet tanks and soldiers have forcibly penetrated the capitals of Latvia and Lithuania, threatening to usurpthe newly formed governments. We are outraged that this year`s Nobel Pease Prize recipent is being permitted to repress newly founded democratic govenments and nations. We insist that you work to prevent Gorbachev from continuing his aggression in the Baltics: he must relinquish control of the Baltic government buildings and halt any further illegal actions against the Baltic republics" The organizaton`s intentions were to give information to the Western world about recent events in the Baltics and the historical situation of Baltics -in order to get support from West to the Baltic States. Probably the organisation also served as a clearinghouse for information about events in the Baltics during January, 1991. The American Baltic Freedom Committee tried to encourage and persuade people -to retract the USSR`s "most favored nation"status,- withdraw all economic support to the central government of the USSR, -continue economic aid to independent republics on an individual basis and raise these issues at the UN and the Conference on Security and Cooperation of Europe. The chairman of the organization was Valdis Muiznieks ( doctor, orthopedist and active political member of Lavians community in Kalamazoo). Other members of this orrganization were Girts Kaugurs, Daina Juozevicius (Lithuanian representative), Sarma Putele, Helmuts Butlevics, Vanda Dauksta, Ilze Smidchena, Alfreds Kajaks, Janis Sverns, Zigfrids Jirgens, Alfreds Minka, Imants Minka, Vilis Mikelsons, Gita Germute Simmilar organizations likely performed the same field of work in Illionois, Ohio, Minnesota, New York.


DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

Papers consist of original photo from Vilnius events during January 1991. The photo is taken by V.Usinavichus and has a title: "Lithuanian make furtile attempt to stop soviet tank from chrushing a fellow protester". This photo was published in many local and international newspapers and it was also used by the American Baltic Freedom Committee as anti Soviet propaganda. Materials also include documents ( originals) which deal with Latvian exile communities leaders signed lettters to president Bush, senators Riegle, Wolpe, Levin, congressman Upton ( January 14,15,1991), Counsil or Republic of Russia Boris Yeltsin (January 18,1991), Church leaders (January 23, 1991) and a letter from Latvian Youth in USA to Gorbachev. Papers have also press releases, some anti Soviet propaganda sheets and flyers (January, February 1991) containing information about the situation in the Baltics and a request to visit churhes and pray for Baltics. Papers cover also some articles and essays in newspapers: The Holand Sentinal ( January 13,1991), Kalamazoo Gazzete (January 13,1991), New York Times (January 14 and January 31, 1991), The Plain Dealer (February 1,1991) about recent (1991) events in Baltics and political situation there, as well as USA and USSR politics. Maps of Kalamazoo ( issued 1985) with some notes and marked districts were signatures on a petition were collected are also included in this collection. Papers comprises some letters (January 23,30,1991) from some individuals and churches who signed the petition and a of addresses from envelopes from petition. Also included are faxes ( January 9, 11, 13, 14,1991), to and from ALA, LSC, Estonian American National Counsil and politicty active individuals. Faxes describing detailed events and activities in Baltics during January 15 till 18 in 1991 which were sent from Estonia to American Baltic Freedom Committee from a person with nicname was Krievs ( Russian). Papers also have petitions to president George H.W. Bush ( see text in historical sketch).


ACCESS RESTRICTIONS

The American Baltic Freedom Committee collection is available for public research.

OWNERSHIP & LITERARY RIGHTS

The American Baltic Freedom Committee collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Reseach Center, University of Minnesota.

For further information regrading the copyright, please contact the IHRC.


CITE AS

The American Baltic Freedom Committee Records, Latvian American Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Index Terms

Latvian
Lithuanian
Estonian
Political activity

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