By Gerhard P. Bassler
Alfred Valdmanis is better identified in Canada for his notorious function in most appropriate Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he was once appointed Director normal of monetary improvement in 1950 with the knowledge that via his connections to Europe he may well attract German and Baltic industrialists to the remoted, rural island. His impression used to be delivered to an abrupt finish whilst, in 1954, he was once charged with defrauding the govt. The media, latching directly to his murky previous and his attainable association with warfare criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's difficulties, portray him as half comic, half sinister villain.
This was once now not the 1st time his identify used to be attached with debatable concerns. Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring is extra the stuff of fiction than historical past. among 1938, at age 29, and his ironic downfall within the shelter of Canada, he used to be a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a central authority reputable in the course of the Soviet invasion, a wise collaborator less than the Nazi career, then, a chum to the Allies, a spokesman for Latvian POW and displaced individuals, and an adviser to the govt. of Canada. during this first critical biography of Alfred Valdamis historian Gerhard Bassler casts the tale of this political manipulator and chameleon in new phrases: the usually tragic outcomes of the need to survive.
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Extra resources for Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival
To each one a special field was assigned. Mine was the field of economics, trade, industry, and finance. I was sent first to Germany and became special assistant to Dr Schacht, the President of the German Wunderkind in Reborn Latvia, 1908-1938 29 Reichsbank; later to France, England, Belgium, Holland - every European country. '68 A Latvian American historian, the late Edgars Andersons, concluded that Valdmanis had never worked for or under Schacht in the course of either his academic studies or professional training.
1* As a student at the University of Latvia in Riga, from 1929 to 1932, Alfred completed in only three years a normally five-year course program in economics, law, and philosophy for a diploma in jurisprudence. Later, in September 1932, he was one of forty-seven graduates awarded the degree of candidate of law. )*'7 The details that Alfred Valdmanis himself later released about his early years are unreliable and require verification since he tended to make his curriculum vitae fit his changing identity.
78 According to the character portrait drawn by Zemgals (that is, probably Valdmanis himself), Valdmanis exhibited from early on the combined traits of a loner, a climber, and a workaholic. Irma, who remembers proofreading all his legal papers, considered her husband very intelligent but emphasized that he also worked very hard, a fact often overlooked by those who envied his career. In his few spare moments he played chess and tennis. His chess proficiency won him the Latvian championship. Ch.
Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival by Gerhard P. Bassler