Partisan ‘bunker church’ restored / Article


“Access to the site was very difficult. Logs and bags of cement for the restoration of the church bunker were carried by hand, and pulled with small carts, because it is forbidden to move heavy machinery on the site. territory of the nature reserve.During the construction, we encountered several challenges – in the fall, due to the rains, it was especially difficult to deliver the materials to the construction site, but in the winter, the low temperature of the air made it difficult for the workers to carry out the work on the construction site. good for the contractor – it was easier to deliver the materials to the site,” said Uģis Perševics, construction manager of the forest construction department of the Latvian State, which carried out the reconstruction work.

A schematic of the resistance camp at Stompaku Swamp

The Stompaku Swamp camp is located on a swampy island chosen for defensive purposes by the National Partisans, who fought fierce resistance to Soviet occupation at the end of World War II and, in places, even into the 1950s Stompaku was one of the largest national partisan settlements in the Baltic countries with 24 bunkers and several surface structures were built nearby, where around 400 Latvian freedom fighters had taken refuge and formed a hidden defensive camp.

On March 2, 1945, the famous Battle of Stompaku took place, when Soviet forces surrounded and attacked the partisan camp. The fighting lasted all day, and eventually the partisans managed a breakout and melted into the forests again.

Until the restoration of the bunker, only a few trenches and a white cross marked the location of the old chapel.

Among those present at the opening ceremony was President Egils Levits who said:

“They hoped for the support of the West, but at that time the West chose to keep quiet because it was more convenient. Nevertheless, the national spirit of the Latvian patriots led to resistance. In fact , an island of Free Latvia was formed here – a territory that was free from occupiers.

For more on the domestic supporters of Stompaku and beyond – often referred to as the “Brothers of the Forest” – and their remarkably tenacious fight against overwhelming odds, we recommend watching the short documentary below.

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