On 18 September, the Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovičs congratulated Marģers Vestermanis, a historian, Honorary Doctor of the Academy of Sciences of Latvia, member of the Latvian Historians’ Commission, the founder and curator of the “Jews in Latvia” museum, on his 90th birthday.
Marģers Vestermanis was presented with a Latvian Foreign Ministry Certificate of Recognition for long-standing support and constructive cooperation with Latvia’s Foreign Service on research and study of Latvia’s history as well as presenting the history worldwide in an objective manner.
State Secretary Pildegovičs said he was extremely pleased to congratulate the historian:
“Your birthday, Mr Vestermanis, is also an occasion for all of Latvia to celebrate. We are proud of you; we are proud of your humanity and your far-sightedness.
It is no coincidence that someone who survived the horrors of the Holocaust – a tragedy both for the Jews and for Latvia as a whole – came to be a founder of the “Jews in Latvia” Museum.
The museum you established is now an important centre of documentation storing thousands of testimonies and historical facts in its collections. It is of vital importance for us that these testimonies are never lost and are handed on to the next generations, and this is actually now the case with thousands of visitors that the museum receives each year. It should be noted that the research being done into the horrors and atrocities committed during the Holocaust is one of the key areas of work with which the museum is engaged. Your museum preserves the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and has identified and found people who, notwithstanding real dangers to their own lives and those of their families, have demonstrated courage and heroism by saving their fellow human beings who were Jewish. It is essential that we commemorate and honour these individuals and their heroism.
Their accomplishment is like the hope that the good will triumph in the end. And hope is also the leitmotif of the old Jewish song, the Hatikvah:
‘Our hope is not yet lost [..]
To be a free nation in our land.’
With people like you, Mr Vestermanis, we know that any hope can become a reality and the Foreign Ministry is lucky to be benefiting from the active cooperation with you and the museum you created.
On 18 September, Marģers Vestermanis (born 18 September 1925) marks his 90th birthday.
In 1989, Marģers Vestermanis established the “Jews in Latvia” Museum which has also been working as a documentation centre. Mr Vestermanis together with a group of Holocaust survivors set up this unique venue for remembrance and research, which is visited by about 10,000 people per year and holds 13,000 items in its collection. One of the principal aspects of the museum’s mission is research on the Holocaust, commemorating its victims, and identifying and paying tribute to the rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.
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