In July, the celebration in Saukas pagasts (rural district) of Jekabpils region honoured the countryman - the senator of the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Latvian Judicial Association Janis Skudre (03.05.1889. – 08.07.1942.). Near the building “Lejas Meirani” which he built for his family and which at this time is managed by the daughters of the senator, a memorial plaque was opened.

The working out and opening of the memorial plaque was a joint work of the Supreme Court, Latvian Judicial Association and the Saukas pagasts municipality. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans and the senator Vilnis Vietnieks who were born in the neighbouring Zalve pagasts were the initiators to retain the memory of the senator, the Knight of the White Star Order of Estonia Janis Skudre.

The clergyman of the Saukas parish Aldis Pavlovics consecrated the memorial plaque. The senator Vilnis Vietnieks and the local researcher of history Gunars Spidainis told the persons present about the life of Janis Skudre, the senator’s daughters Gaida Skudre and Balva Gutmane and granddaughter participated, as well. Andris Danileiko sang songs. The event gathered about a hundred participants, among them the Supreme Court senators and judges from the Jekabpils Court.

The words “For Latvia, Selia, Sauka”are encarved in the memorial plaque and characterize Janis Skudre. He studied in the Jekabpils people’s school, Belaya gymnasium, the commercial institute of Kiev, graduated from the University of Moscow, Faculty of Law, with the diploma of I grade. After the university, he worked as an assistant to the attorney in Daugavpils, afterwards he was recruited to the military service. In 1921, he was appointed in the position of the assistant to the prosecutor of the Latgales Regional Court, later – a member of the Jelgava Regional Court and the Chairman of the Daugavpils Regional Court. In 1934, J. Skudre was appointed in the position of a senator of the Criminal Cassation Department of the Supreme Court Senate where he worked till November 26, 1940 when soviet authorities liquidated the Supreme Court of Latvia and dismissed all the senators. Janis Skudre moved to live in Saukas pagasts where he and his family – wife Velta and three daughters – where exiled from on June 17, 1941. The former senator died in imprisonment in Sverdlovska region on July 8, 1942. After his death – on July 15, 1942, the special meeting of the USSR Interior Ministry sentenced him to death.

During the period of the independent Latvia from 1929 till 1940 there were 30 senators in the Senate. Till 1940 when the soviet authorities liquidated the Senate, seven senators died. From among the 23 higher judges of Latvia alive at that time, only two died in Latvia. Fourteen were exiled, seven were deported in 1941 by the soviet authorities and died in exile in Siberia. Only two former senators – Augusts Lebers who died in exile and Janis Skudre who was deported to Siberia – have memorial plaques. Materials on the history of the Senate and the former senators are collected and kept in the museum of the Supreme Court.

Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211