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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Kalnciems: a possible location for the prison camp? Maybe

I have been busy looking at maps of the area around Jelgava trying to find the location of the prison camps which I believe were located in a place called Latchen near Kelsien.

I'm now quite sure that this is likely to have been the town/ village now known as Kalnciems. I have located Kalnciems on googlemap
View Larger Map

 and  Jelgava and Kalnciem are approximately 14 miles (22 km) away from each other and according to googlemaps this would take 4 hours to complete a walk this distance. I'm not at all clear if this is possible. Do you have "Ramblers" or walking groups in Latvia??

I wonder if there is any trace of WW1 activity remaining in the area or whether any re-development has taken place. It seems this area was on the frontline and very close to battles between German and Russian forces during early 1917 as this article in the New York Times show:

MITAU MENACED BY RUSSIAN ARMY - Czar's Forces in New Offensive on Riga Front Only 12 Miles from German Base. BIG HAUL OF PRISONERS Island of Glaudon, in the Dvina, Lost on Jan. 4, Recaptured by Surprise Attack. German Offensive Repulsed. - View Article - NYTimes.com

"Kalnzen" is mentioned in the article as is the strategic importance of Jelgava (Mitau)

I hope that one day I will get the opportunity to visit Latvia and the Jelgava area again. I'd like to know more about the area walked by the British prisoners when they were marched along the frozen river Aa between Mitau and Latchen.

Flickr is a great place to find photographs of Mitau during this time.

"Jens-Olaf" has many of the Eastern front, a rare one of River Aa  (  Lielupe)and what could be a German Prisoner of War camp ( well I think so)