Janis Skudre was one of seven senators of the Senate of Latvia - the highest court instance of the first period of the Free State of Latvia, whose life after the Soviet occupation ended tragically in Gulag camps in Siberia. Story about life of Janis Skudre is written by Vilnis Vietnieks, a man from the same district, Selonian, former senator of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court. First chapters of the story “And a star falls into the lake” were published in the journal “Jurista Vārds” (“Lawyer’s Word”) and regional newspapers, and now the story may be read together in the book “Saukas skices” (“Sketches of Sauka”) by Vilnis Vietnieks, which has just been published.

“How to commemorate those seven senators, who died in deportation in death camps of Siberia and whose place of burial is even unknown? Isn’t it duty of us, who are alive?” Vilnis Vietnieks asks in the preface to the story. In 2007, in “Lejas Meirani” of Sauka parish of Jekabpils district, which is home of Janis Skudre, commemorate sign to Janis Skudre, the senator of the Department of Criminal Cassation of the Senate of Latvia, the Chair of Latvian Association of Judges, was opened with support of the Supreme Court, Latvian Association of Judges and Council of Sauka parish. Let the second commemorate sign to Janis Skudre is this story – the author says. The story, which is based on historical facts, documents, books and memories of daughters of Janis Skudre, is illustrated with photos and documents from archives of senator’s family and the museum of the Supreme Court.

The story about life of Janis Skudre is one of chapters of the book “Saukas skices”. Another part of it is dedicated to the birthplace of the author, Saukasgals, which now is included in Nereta district as part of Zalve parish, and some homes – in Viesite district.  The sketch “Aiz mežiem Saukasgals” (“Saukasgals lies behind forests”) and several single sketches tell about homes and people of Saukasgals since 70’s of the 19th century, when Andrejs Liesma managed a farm in the first plot of “soldier’s land” in Sauka forest, as he was granted  small forest plot for faithful serving to the Tsar in Russian-Turkish war. The author examined destinies of people of Saukasgals until present day, when there are only six homes left in the outskirts of previously the largest Selonian parish.  

The author in its turn tells about threads of lives and destinies of people of former Sauka parish in historical sketch “Liktenīgie gadi. 1939–1944” (“Fatal years. 1939-1944”), which were tragic years for Latvia, when independence of Latvia was lost, and during the Second World War.

Vilnis Vietnieks considered exploration of threads of lives of people of his birthplace to be his duty and so he says in the foreword to the book: “I have always tried to execute my duty towards birthplace, towards the land of my childhood and youth. Let the reader decide, how I managed to do that”.  

The book “Saukas skices” is published with financial support of Viesite local municipality and Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates.

Vilnis Vietnieks has served in the office of a judge in Jekabpils district court and the Supreme Court for 32 years, and he has been a sworn advocate since 2011. Along with work of a lawyer he wrote poetry and in 2010, when ending his work in the Supreme Court, published his first collection of poems “Sēlijas vējš” (“Wind of Selonia”). The second collection of poems “Mūžīgā vērtība” (“Eternal value”) was published in 2013. Vilnis Vietnieks has been Honoured citizen of Zalve parish and together with poet Imants Auzins he has composed Book of Zalve, which is to be published yet.


Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211