Diaries, memoirs, other writings, personal and legal documents, printed matter, and photographs relating to dissidence in
the Soviet Union and the movement for Latvian independence.
Jānis Jahimovičs, a Soviet dissident and Latvian independence activist, was born in 1931, near Daugavpils, as Jan Jachimowicz,
the tenth child of a Polish forester’s family. The population of this part of southeastern Latvia was made up of Latvian,
Polish, Russian, Belarusian, and Jewish communities, each with its own schools as well as religious and cultural institutions.
When the Soviets occupied the country in 1940, a consequence of the Soviet-Nazi pact partitioning East Central Europe, Jahimovičs'
Polish school was closed and, as he noted in his autobiography, "if you wanted to study, you had to change your nationality,"
and so he did. His remaining education was in Latvian and Russian, his name changed to Ivan Iakhimovich or Jānis Jahimovičs,
and Russian became his first language. His family survived the war relatively intact, save for two older brothers, one drafted
into the Red Army and killed near Moscow in 1941, and another, mobilized into the Waffen-SS Latvian Legion, whose fate remains