Marija Leiko

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Marija Leiko
Marija leiko.jpg
Born(1887-08-14)August 14, 1887
Riga, Latvia
DiedFebruary 3, 1938(1938-02-03) (aged 50)
Occupation Actress

Marija Leiko (also known as Marija Leyko; 14 August 1887, Riga, Latvia – 3 February 1938, Moscow, USSR) was a Latvian silent movie actress in Europe since the 1910s, especially popular in Latvia, Germany [1] and Russia.

Riga City in Latvia

Riga is the capital, the largest and primate city of Latvia. With 632,614 inhabitants (2019), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.

Latvia Republic in Northeastern Europe

Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

Moscow Capital city of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.


Life and film career

Leiko conquered the German big screen first, starring in the Die Diamantenstiftung (1917), Kain (1918), Ewiger Strom (1919), Die Frau im Käfig (1919) and Lola Montez (1919) as the dancer.[ citation needed ]

When the silent movie era ended Leiko retired from film acting. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, she returned to her native Latvia. In 1935 she visited the Soviet Union and stayed to join the company of the Latvian State Theatre in Moscow.[ citation needed ]

This theatre was shut down during Stalin's purges, and on 15 December 1937, Leiko was arrested on false[ citation needed ][ dubious ] charges of belonging to a "Latvian nationalist conspiracy". On 3 February 1938 she was shot and buried in a mass grave at the secret NKVD killing field at Butovo, near Moscow. She was 50 years old.

Great Purge Soviet campaign of political repression, imprisonment, and execution

The Great Purge or the Great Terror was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union which occurred from 1936 to 1938. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of wealthy landlords and the Red Army leadership, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of saboteurs, counter-revolutionaries, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. In Russian historiography, the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina, after Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, who was executed a year after the purge. Modern historical studies estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 681,692 and 1,200,000.

Butovo firing range cemetery

The Butovo Firing Range or Butovo Shooting Range, is a former private estate near the village of Drozhzhino in Leninsky District of Moscow Oblast, near Yuzhnoye Butovo District of Moscow that was seized by the Soviets after the 1917 revolution and thereafter used by secret police as an agricultural colony, shooting range, and from 1938 to 1953, as a site for executions and mass graves of persons deemed "enemies of the people." The exact number of victims executed remains unknown, as only fragmentary data has been declassified by NKVD's successor services. However, between 1937 and 1938, the height of Josef Stalin's Great Terror, 20,761 prisoners were transported to the site and executed, typically by gunshot to the back of the head. Notable victims included Béla Kun, Gustav Klutsis, Seraphim Chichagov, as well as over 1000 members of the Russian Orthodox clergy. The Russian Orthodox Church took over the ownership of the lot in 1995 and erected a large Russian Revival memorial church. The mass grave may be visited daily.


Maria Leiko was posthumously rehabilitated for the absence of a crime (corpus delicti) on May 12, 1958.[ citation needed ]

Rehabilitation was a term used in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states. Beginning after the death of Stalin in 1953, the government undertook the political and social restoration, or political rehabilitation, of persons who had been repressed and criminally prosecuted without due basis. It restored the person to the state of acquittal. In many cases, rehabilitation was posthumous, as thousands of victims had been executed or died in labor camps.

Corpus delicti is a term from Western jurisprudence referring to the principle that a crime must be proved to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.


On May 14, 2017 in Moscow on the wall of the house 9, building 3 at Obolensky lane memorial sign Last Address of Maria Karlovna Leiko was posted. [2]

Last Address civic initiative to commemorate the victims of repressions in the Soviet Union

The Last Address is a civic initiative to commemorate the victims of repressions in the Soviet Union. The essence of the initiative is that ordinary people deserve to be commemorated, not only "VIPs" which typically receive memorial plaques. A small commemorative plaque (palm-sized) is installed on the houses known as the last residential addresses of those arrested. Every commemorative plaque is dedicated to one person only, with the project operating according to the motto "One name, one life, one sign".


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  1. Marija Leiko profile Archived 2007-11-23 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed 10 February 2016.
  2. Russian : Москва, Оболенский переулок, дом 9, корпус 3 // Сайт «Последний адрес».