Saturday, November 4, 2023


In the 1980s I used to go to one of our production plants for assorted reasons.

One of my contacts was an engineer named Walt Berzins. He had an artistic rendition on his wall of something that resembled a Disney Kingdom, all swirly green with fairy-story hills and hobbity-looking dwellings.

Over the years, I learned the backstory. The Berzins family estates in Latvia had been appropriated by the Soviet puppet government shortly after WWII and they had been summarily tossed out of the country when they complained. The artistic rendition was a graphic representation of the Berzins family land-holdings.

The family had the wits to take the paperwork documenting their lawful ownership of the properties. That is, they brought the deeds to the property.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the patriarchs of the expatriate Berzins family hired a lawyer in Latvia. The lawyer petitioned the court to recognize the senior claims represented by the deeds some 40 years after the Berzins were evicted. The lawyer succeeded.

Walt went back to Latvia to be a Baron or whatever honorific is given to a landowner.

For whatever it is worth, a "Berzins" was Prime Minister of Latvia from 2000-to-2002.

Deeds and paper documentation are powerful claims. They cannot be deleted or amended with the stroke of a key.


  1. A paper trail is important. But it's only as useful as the people who administer the system that created it. Your acquaintance is quite fortunate that his claim was recognized. More often than not such claims are tossed. And the longer the time frame the more likely that it too happen.

  2. Sad story from Cuba, friend of mine in Miami had a old photo of a farm in a valley and told me " that was where I was born."
    Without thinking I ask if family still owned it. He looked at me like I was crazy and said "Castro owns it"

  3. Absolutely ERJ. Even more important if the storage site goes down or the power is off.

    1. Somebody will just claim it's a forgery...

  4. Wisdom taught to me:

    'The spoken word is like the air, the printed word is always there.'

    'He with the longest paper trail wins.'


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