Janis Silfs

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Šilfs, Jānis

 

(party pseudonym, Jaunzems). Born Sept. 8 (20), 1891, in Riga; died there, June 11, 1921. Figure in the revolutionary movement in Latvia. Member of the Communist Party from 1908.

The son of a worker, Šilfs was himself a worker. He was instrumental in establishing underground printshops, and he helped with the publication of newspapers of the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory (SDLT). Šilfs was arrested several times for his underground activities. In 1912 he became a member of the Bolshevik organization of the SDLT, and in 1914 he became a member of the Central Committee of the SDLT. He continued to serve on the Central Committee of the party after it was renamed the Social Democracy of Latvia in 1917 and the Communist Party of Latvia (CPL) in 1919.

In August 1917, Šilfs began underground party work in Riga, which was then occupied by German troops. In December 1918 he became a member of the Latvian Military Revolutionary Committee and the Provisional Soviet Government of Latvia. After helping to establish Soviet power in Riga in January 1919, he became a secretary of the government of Soviet Latvia. Šilfs went underground in May 1919; he served as secretary of the Central Committee of the CPL and editor of the newspaper Cina (Struggle).

Šilfs was arrested by the bourgeois secret police and subsequently shot.