Gustavs Celmiņš


Gustavs Celmiņš

Gustavs Celmiņš (April 1, 1899April 10, 1968) was a Latvian politician and fascist leader.

Biography

Born in Riga, he was educated at the commerce school of the Riga Stock Exchange, and graduated in Moscow. In 1917, he began studies at the Riga Polytechnical Institute which had been evacuated to Moscow. After the October Revolution, he returned to Latvia.

In 1918, Celmiņš enlisted into the newly-created Latvian Army, and was promoted to lieutenant the following year, and was then appointed Latvian military attaché in Poland. In 1921, he was awarded the Order of Lāčplēsis.

Retired from army in 1924, he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1925 to 1927. Celmiņš became the secretary of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and subsequently worked in the Finance Ministry. In January 24, 1932, the Latvian nationalist group "Ugunskrusts" was founded, and Gustavs Celmiņš was elected as its leader. After "Ugunskrusts" was banned, he founded the organization "Pērkonkrusts" ("Thundercross"). Common for both organisations was that they advocated a national revolution for a radical re-organisation of society, politics, and the economy in Latvia. Following Kārlis Ulmanis' May 15, 1934 "coup d'état", Celmiņš was arrested and imprisoned for three years. He was exiled in 1937.

Celmiņš moved to Italy, then Switzerland. While in Zürich, he was arrested and then banished from Switzerland. He later lived in Romania, where he had contacts with the Iron Guard, and then moved to Finland. In 1938, he became the leader of "Pērkonkrusts"' "foreign contacts office". After the Soviet Union invaded Finland, Celmiņš enrolled as a volunteer on the latter's side. When the conflict ended, he moved to Nazi Germany.

In July 1941, after Operation Barbarossa, he, together with Nazi officials, returned to Latvia and regained leadership of "Pērkonkrusts". On March 14, 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo for underground activities and sent to concentration camps, until being set free by the Fifth U.S. Army.

After World War II, he lived in Italy, where he published the newspaper "Brīvā Latvija" ("Free Latvia"). In 1947 he published the autobiographic book "Eiropas krustceļos" ("At the Crossroads of Europe").

In 1949 he emigrated to the United States. From 1950 to 1952 he was an instructor at Syracuse University's Armed Forces school in New York state, and beginning in 1951 he was also the director of the Foreign Language program for the US Air Force, and a television lecturer about the USSR and communism. From 1954 to 1956 he worked as a manufacturer in Mexico. Between 1956 and 1958 he was a librarian at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. In 1959 he became a professor of Russian studies at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. He died on 10 April 1968 in San Antonio, Texas. [ [http://www.historia.lv/alfabets/C/CE/celmins_gustavs/celmins_gustavs.htm Celmiņš, Gustavs (01.04.1899.-10.04.1968.) ] ]

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