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Events of year 1905

The events of 1905 have gone down in our history as the first major Latvian uprising against the existing government. Looking from today, one can only admire those simple rural men who formed action committees, took over local governments, burned manorhouses, even prepared for an armed struggle with the regular army. You can admire their guts, their courage, their willingness to challenge the existing power. Now we can afford not to understand many things. Why did the ancient manors had to be burned? Why was it necessary to destroy libraries and works of art, to drink dry cellars of expensive wines? But a revolution is a revolution. And the year 1905 showed that even a Latvian was once able to dare. Rarely, but sometimes he has been able to stand up and stand for his idea. Good or bad, right or wrong, but his.

The events of the revolution of 1905 in the Land of Suiti were started by the strike of the agricultural laborers of Almāle manor on March 10, 1905. It was economical in its content. In July – August, there was already a wider strike of agricultural workers, in which the laborers of Alšvanga, Blintene, Grāvere and Birži manors got involved. They became especially active after the October 17 manifesto. On November 6, it was decided to hold a demonstration with red flags and revolutionary songs from the Alšvanga school building to the Court Hill after the church service. In order to have something to sing during the demonstration, a special song on the Court Hill was written. The event was announced in advance and about 3,000 people participated in the march. Two red flags and one black flag were carried. It is said that Veiķelis, Lipinskis, Cīrulis and someone else from Liepāja spoke on the Court hill.

Later, the rally continued at the school. A decision was made to evict the old municipal parish board and elect an action committee, which then started its work in the administration building, having previously thrown out the tsar’s portrait from there. The action committee confiscated all the manors and their movable and immovable property. The sale of wood from manor forests was also prohibited, as forests are destroyed and firewood becomes more and more expensive. Ēdole’s pastor E. Schilling wrote in his report: … thousands of people had gathered in Alšvanga, where the people’s speakers had arrived from Liepāja. With demonic fanaticism, they had gathered the people in Alšvanga to the point of madness, which was all the easier because the Catholics there are almost all illiterate, who, as you know, can be told anything…

The punitive expedition entered Alšvanga on January 27, 1906. It settled in the municipal parish house and consisted of 2 officers and 50 soldiers. On January 31, a punitive expedition killed the chairman of the action committee J. Jaunbirze, revolutionaries F. Krūms, A. Osis, Putniņš, etc. A total of 5 people from Alšvanga were killed, and 25 were arrested. The leader of the punitive expedition was Baron Brederich of Saka. During independent Latvia, 5 oak trees were planted in memory, of which only two were preserved during the construction of the Alsunga Cultural center.

On February 3, 1906, peasants and fishermen from Pilsberge (Jūrkalne) were shot in Valtaiki. The punitive expedition had searched for these citizens of Pilsberģe several times in the surrounding forests, but could not catch them. Then Silvio Brederich resorted to trickery, appealing to the clergy. All those who, believing the priest’s statements about the abolition of the death penalty, gave themselves up, were immediately arrested and taken to Kuldīga, then to Aizpute, from there to Valtaiķi, where they were held up in the local inn. Later they were taken out one by one and shot dead around the corner. Those who were shot layed for several days in an open field until their relatives took them away. Most of those shot in Valtaiki were buried in a common grave in the Pilsberģe cemetery. A monument was later built for them in Valtaiķi with the funds collected through donations. Among those shot in Valtaiki were also farmers from Ēdole, Alšvanga, Skrunda and other municipal parishes.