Jekabs Peters

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Jēkabs Peterss
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Екабс Пэтерс, Яков Петерс, Яков Христофорович Петерс; Jēkabs Peters, Яков Пэтерс
Bolshevik, Communist, KGB, Repression organizer, supporter, Revolutionary, Victim of repression (genocide) of the Soviet regime
Komunarka shooting range. Communist place of mass murder

Jekabs Peters (ru: Yakov Khristoforovich Peters) was a Communist revolutionary, Soviet politician, chekist, and terrorist, latvian by nationality. Together with Feliks Dzerzhinsky, he was one of the founders and chiefs of the Cheka (VChK). He was the Deputy Chairman of the Cheka from 1918 and briefly the acting Chairman of the Cheka from 7 July to 22 August 1918.

He was born in Brinken (Courland Governorate), to a poor farmer's family on December 3, 1886.

He became a member of the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party in 1904.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1905 he was arrested in 1907 for the attempted murder of a factory director in Libau, but was later acquitted by the Riga military court in 1908.

Peters emigrated toEngland and lived in London where he was a member of the London Group of the Social Democracy of Latvia and of the British Socialist Party. In 1911, he achieved notoriety in Britain when he and four others were arrested and put on trial in the aftermath of the Sidney Street Siege, following a failed jeweler's shop robbery at Houndsditch in which three police officers were killed. Despite some incriminating evidence (in connection with Peter the Painter), Peters and his companions were acquitted to the dismay of the Home Secretary Winston Churchill.

He married May Freeman, the daughter of a London banker, and together they had a daughter, Maisie Peters-Freeman (born 1914). After

Peters had returned to Russia in May 1917, following the February Revolution, and became deputy head of the Cheka. He invited his wife and daughter to join him there. Upon arrival in Russia, they discovered that Peters had a new family. Maisie, despite appealing to British authorities, died in the Gulag in 1971.

In Riga, Peters became one of the leaders of the Social Democracy of Latvia working at the front-lines of the Northern Front. During the German advance he moved to Valmiera where he was an editor of the party newspaper Cīņa. Peters was a peasant representative of the Governorate of Livonia to the Democratic discussion initiated by Kerensky.

Moving to Petrograd, he actively participated in the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 being a member of the Military-Revolutionary Committee in Petrograd. At that time he was preparing military units for the October Revolution. Afterward, he was a member of ChekaCollegiate, the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, and the chairman of the Revolutionary Tribunal. He participated in the disclosure of the alleged Lockhart plot as well as leading the liquidation of the Left SR mutiny of 1918.

Following Dzerzhinsky's resignation in the aftermath of the Left SR Uprising, assassination of Mirbach, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Peters briefly served as the chief of the Cheka until Dzerzhinsky resumed his duties. As one of the Cheka's leaders, Peters was responsible for the first major Cheka operations involving killings. These were against alleged anarchists in Petrograd and later in May 1918 against anarchists in Petrograd and Moscow.

He also was involved in the investigation of the SR attempt on Lenin's life in August 1918 (Fanni Kaplan case), for the indiscriminate Red Terror campaigns and reprisals that followed. He called it a "Hysterical Terror" in the newspaper "Utro Moskvy" (#21) of November 4, 1918. During these times appeared a term "room of souls" in numerous prisons such as Butyrka.

In March 1919 he was appointed as the Chief of internal defense in Petrograd, and then the Commandant of the reinforced rayon. Following the retreat of the Yudenich forces he was appointed as the Commandant of the reinforced raion in Kiev in August 1919. Upon the sack of Kiev he was a member of the Military Council in Tula. In winter 1919-1920 Peters became the deputy chairman of the Special Committee of the STO in providing military preparations on railways.

In 1920 he represented the Cheka in the Northern Caucasus and served there as the Commissar of the Northern Caucasus Railways. In 1920-1922 was the Cheka plenipotentiary in Turkestan ASSR, where he also was the local party bureau member. There he led numerous operations against the anti-Bolshevik formations of Dutov, Annenkov, and Enver-Pasha. He returned to Moscow in 1922 and worked as a high-ranking official in the OGPU, Rabkrin, and as the chief of the Eastern department of the GPU (created on June 2, 1922).

Peters was arrested and executed as latvian during the Communist genocide actions agains non-russian minorities (also mistakenly callad as Great Purge), on April 25, 1938. His conviction was overturned posthumously in 1956.


Born 1886, Курляндская губ., Бринкенская вол.; латыш; низшее;

член бюро КПК при ЦК ВКП(б).

Lived: Москва, ул. Серафимовича, д. 2 (Дом правительства), кв. 181.

Arrested: 26 November 1937.

Sentenced: ВКВС СССР 25 April 1938.

Charged: участии в к.-р. организации.

Shot: 25 April 1938.

Buried: место захоронения - Московская обл., Коммунарка.

Rehabilitated: 3 Mart 1956. ВКВС СССР

Source: Москва, расстрельные списки - Коммунарка


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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        Meja (May) PetersDaughter00.00.1914
        Antoņina PeterssWife00.00.189600.00.1986
        3Moura  BudbergMoura BudbergPartner00.00.189200.00.1974
        4Fricis SvarsFricis SvarsCousin03.01.1911

        03.01.1911 | Siege at Sidney Street

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        30.01.1919 | CHEKA orders to kill 4 members of Russian Tszar's family in response of killed K. Liebknecht in Germany

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