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Žanis Bahs
File:Zanis Bahs.jpg
Born (1885-10-06)October 6, 1885
Died October 16, 1941(1941-10-16) (aged 56)
Place of birth Gaiķi parish, Russian Empire
(Now  Latvia)
Place of death Kommunarka near Moscow,  Soviet Union
Allegiance Russian Empire
Service/branch Army
Rank General
Commands held 4th. Zemgale infantry division
Battles/wars World War I
Latvian War of Independence
Awards Order of St. Stanislaus
Order of St. Anna
Order of Lāčplēsis
Order of the Three Stars
Order of Polonia Restituta
Estonian Cross of Liberty

Žanis Bahs (also Žanis Bachs; 1885-1941) was a Latvian general. He fought in World War I; later in the Latvian War of Independence he commanded a division in the Republic of Latvia and was arrested and shot by Soviet authorities after the Occupation of Latvia.

Early life

Žanis Bahs was born on 6 October 1885 in the Gaiķi parish, Courland Governorate as an innkeeper's son. He studied at the commercial school in Riga and later started metallurgy studies at St. Petersburg Polytechnical Institute.

In 1912 he was drafted into the Russian Imperial Army and served in the 170th infantry regiment. He graduated the school of praporschik in 1913.

World War I

After the start of the First World War Bahs served in the 174th and 540th infantry regiments. In December 1916, he was transferred to the Latvian Rifleman units and served in 2nd Riga Latvian rifleman regiment. After the legendary Christmas battles he was transferred back to the 540th infantry regiment in February 1917.

In August 1917 Bahs enlisted in the Russian academy of General staff and served in the headquarters of the 37th army corps as a poruchik.

In October 1917 he was promoted to the rank of stabskapitan. After the October revolution Bahs was dismissed from the Red Army in February 1918 and returned to Latvia.

Latvian War of independence

Bahs enlisted in the newly formed Latvian Army on 13 December 1918. From April 1919 he served in the Northern Latvian brigade. After the Battle of Cēsis he was the Latvian military attache in Estonian-occupied Pskov. In July 1919 he was appointed commander of an Operative part of Latvian army.[1] During the Bermontian attack Bahs served on the General Staff of the Latvian Army.

Later life

After the Latvian war of independence he served as a Latvian military attache in Soviet Russia in 1921-1922. In 1922 he was promoted to the rank of a colonel and appointed Chief of the Staff of the 2nd Vidzeme infantry division.

In 1934 he was appointed commander of the 5th Cēsis infantry regiment. In 1936 Bahs was promoted to the rank of a general and appointed commander of the 4th Zemgale infantry division and the Daugavpils city garrison.

After the Latvian occupation Bahs was arrested and deported to Moscow in December 1940. After long interrogations he was sentenced to death on 18 July 1941. He was shot and then buried in Kommunarka mass grave near Moscow in 16 October 1941.[2]


  1. Latvijas armijas augstākie virsnieki, 1918-1940: biogrāfiska vārdnīca/ sast. Ē.Jēkabsons, V.Ščerbinskis; Latvijas Valsts vēstures arhīvs. Rīga, 1998. – 80. lpp.

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