Broņislava Martuževa collection
Broņislava Martuževa (1924-2012) was a poet and participant in the underground resistance to the Soviet regime. The main part of the collection consists of her correspondence after her release from prison in 1956 until 2000, as well as poetry written while she was living underground in 1946-1951 and in a prison camp in Siberia, copies of the handwritten patriotic periodical Dzimtene (The Motherland) of which she participated in the production in 1950 and 1951, and some other items.
Rīga Tērbatas iela 75, Latvia 1001
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Name of collection
- Collection of Broņislava Martuževa
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection consists of more than 2,400 items: mainly correspondence, manuscripts and objects. This collection was created mainly after Broņislava Martuževa was released from Soviet prison camps in 1956, but some items were in her family's possession, or were created or obtained in the Ozerlag camps. Martuževa wrote poetry all her life, a significant part of which was created when she lived in hiding in 1946-1951. Fortunately, these poems were not confiscated by State Security (MGB) forces in 1951, and were found by Martuževa's brother in 1974. Most of the collection consists of letters and postcards. About 160 of them are letters written by Martuževa to her family and friends from Siberia, and later from different places in Latvia, because she suffered from tuberculosis for several decades, and after her imprisonment she spent long periods in hospitals and sanatoriums. More than 2,000 items are letters and postcards sent to Martuževa by family, friends and other people. Among them were friends she made during her detention, including people sentenced in the French Group cases (the poetess Elza Stērste [1885-1976], the translator of French literature Maija Silmale [1924-1973], etc), as well as other people from the intellectual community. Martuževa kept this correspondence carefully, and it is now an important source for research into these personalities, as well as for understanding the social milieu and mindset of people who were persecuted by the Soviet regime. Martuževa's opposition to the Soviet regime was patriotic and principled, she never reconciled herself to the Soviet occupation or the totalitarian regime, she and her friends never capitulated to Soviet power, and they were constantly under surveillance by the authorities. Maija Silmale was arrested and persecuted by the KGB in 1971, and forbidden to publish her translations. During Soviet rule, Martuževa was known to a comparatively narrow circle of family and friends, but with the beginning of the independence movement in the second half of the 1980s, she became famous as a member of the underground, a political detainee and poetess. Her first poetry book, with poems written while she lived in hiding and in prison, was published under her own name (her two previous ones came out under the name of her relative, the poetess Eva Mārtuža, in 1981 and 1987). Martuževa became a public figure. She was asked to participate in events and received awards. Writers, journalists, researchers and people from the emigre community joined her network of correspondents. From approximately the mid-1990s to the beginning of the 2000s, Martuževa gradually donated her personal papers and most valuable personal possessions to the Museum of Literature and Music.
Description of content
The collection consists of more than 2,400 items: correspondence, manuscripts, and family and personal possessions. Although the main part of the collection was formed after Broņislava Martuževa was released from prison in 1956, some important items are from the time when she lived in hiding in 1946-1951: her poems, some issues of the underground publications Dzimtene (The Motherland) and Mazais Vēstnesis (The Little Herald), and her time spent in Ozerlag camps, such as a Rosary made from bread crumbs by a fellow inmate from Belorussia and given to Broņislava as a present when she was very ill, and six small handwritten booklets (8-16 pages) with her poems and poems by other poets (Alexander Blok, Mikhail Lermontov) donated to a fellow inmate in 1952-1954. Much of the correspondence is letters from friends acquired during her detention, including the translator Maija Silmale, the poetess Elza Stērste, and the translator Milda Grīnfelde. The letters from correspondents, as well Martuževa's own letters, give a very vivid picture of their intellectual interests, how she and her friends lived after their release from prison, of mutual help and solidarity. The correspondence from 1988 to 2000 reflects the growing public interest in Martuževa's personality, and the recognition of her contribution to the patriotic resistance against the Soviet occupation.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Lazdukalna pagasts, Latvia
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Bleiere, Daina
Martuževa, Broņislava. 2014. Kopotas dzejas. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC;
Martuževa, Broņislava. 1990. Ceļu krusti: dzeja. Rīga: Liesma;
Latvijas Radio koris. 2016. Rakstītāja: Broņislava Martuževa. Rīga: Mūzikas nams Daile (CD);
Kolmane, Ināra, režisore un producente. c2014. Broņislava Martuževa. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABS, filmu studija "Deviņi" (videotape, DVD);
Vidiņš, Zigurds, režisors. c2005. Gaismas lāse: Broņislava Martuževa. Latvija: Studija2 (videotape, DVD).
Egliena, Anna, interview by Bleiere, Daina , January 23, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection