By Gerhard P. Bassler
Alfred Valdmanis is better identified in Canada for his notorious position in foremost Joey Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. A Latvian immigrant, he was once appointed Director common of financial improvement in 1950 with the certainty that via his connections to Europe he may well appeal to German and Baltic industrialists to the remoted, rural island. His effect was once delivered to an abrupt finish while, in 1954, he was once charged with defrauding the govt. The media, latching directly to his murky earlier and his attainable association with warfare criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's difficulties, portray him as half comic, half sinister villain.
This used to be now not the 1st time his identify used to be attached with arguable concerns. Valdmanis's wily political manoeuvring is extra the stuff of fiction than background. among 1938, at age 29, and his ironic downfall within the refuge of Canada, he was once a finance minister of pre-war Latvia, a central authority legitimate through the Soviet invasion, a wise collaborator less than the Nazi profession, then, a pal 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 customarily tragic effects of the desire to survive.
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