LATVIA'S HISTORY: EDUCATION, REMEMBRANCE, RESEARCH
April - May, 2001 (11)
- President of Latvia Opens a Travelling Exhibition "Anne Frank – a History for Today" in Riga
- Memorial Plaque to the Rescuer of Jews from Latvia Unveiled in the U.S.
- Simon Wiesenthal Center Praises Latvia's Steps in the Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals
- Work on the Exhibition on the History of Jews in Latvia Started
President of Latvia Opens a Travelling Exhibition "Anne Frank – a History for Today" in Riga
On 21 April at the Riga Jewish Community, the President of Latvia Dr Vaira Vike-Freiberga opened an international travelling exhibition "Anne Frank – a History for Today" that has been on view in many countries all over the world since October 1996, and since 8 May 2000 - also in Latvia. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Amsterdam museum "Anne Frank House" and the National Board of Latvian Museums.
"It is important that every child is acquainted with these events of the past in all their tragic appearance. These were appalling events, yet we read about them today in order to understand how and why they happened, in order to prevent recurrence of anything similar in future. There is a need for understanding of these issues since they are part of our history, which cannot be erased", the President said.
In the words of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Latvia Mr Nicolaas Beets: "Anne Frank's life story is part of our common history from which we all should learn a lesson."
Three stands have been added to the exhibition from the Latvian side. They tell about a Jewish girl Shimma Gramm from Preili, eastern Latvia. Little Shimma was writing a diary from the time Nazis occupied Latvia until her death. She was killed at the age of 15.
Together with opening of the exhibition the Latvian translation of Anne Frank's diary was presented.
Memorial Plaque to the Rescuer of Jews from Latvia Unveiled in the U.S.
On 22 April the United States Jewish Community in Washington unveiled a memorial plaque in honour of a Latvian Mr Bruno Rozentals who rescued 36 Jews from death during Nazi occupation in Latvia.
The memorial plaque to Mr Rozentals was unveiled at the central synagogue in Washington during the annual ceremony attended by the Washington mayor, the Israeli and Latvian Ambassadors, State Department officials and Jewish organisations leaders.
The name of Mr Rozentals, who has also been awarded Latvia's highest decoration, the Three Stars Order, has been inscribed on the memorial plaque alongside names of Raoul Wallenberg and others, who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Mr Rozentals was hiding Jews in his family house in Dobele during the years of World War II.
In his address to the audience of several hundred people that were present at the ceremony, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S. Mr Aivis Ronis said ".. I am proud that amongst us were people as Bruno Rozentals, whose heroic deeds deserve a place in Latvia's history books".
Mr Rozentals' memories of the time have been recorded to produce an eight-hour-long video that will be kept in the Holocaust Museum in Washington and thus available for further research and studies.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Praises Latvia's Steps in the Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals
18 April, Simon Wiesenthal Center has admitted Latvia's and Lithuania's efforts during the last year in investigating and prosecuting Nazi war criminals. The SWC released "Nazi War Criminals Prosecution – Annual Status Report April 2001", that "grades the performance over the past few years of eighteen countries which in the Center's opinion should be prosecuting Holocaust perpetrators either because the country was the location of the crimes or are the current country of residence of the suspected criminals", places Latvia in the C category according to the system from A to F. As Latvia has requested the extradition of Nazi war crimes suspect Konrads Kalejs residing in Australia, Latvia was mentioned among the countries, which have made certain efforts to prosecute Nazi war criminals. On 14 May this year, the Melbourne Court in Australia launched the consideration of his extradition case to Latvia. On 29 May the Melbourne Court ruled that Konrads Kalejs can be extradited to Latvia.
Simon Wiesenthal Center press release:
SWC Nazi War Criminals Prosecution Status Report - April 2001:
Work on the Exhibition on the History of Jews in Latvia Started
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia in collaboration with the Museum and Documentation Centre "Jews in Latvia" has commenced work on a project on the history of Jews in Latvia. The project will include preparation of an exhibition, publication of a booklet based on exhibition materials, as well as publication of a brochure on the history of the Holocaust in Latvia. The exhibition would be on display during the autumn conference of Latvia's History Commission, which will focus on the most recent researches into the Holocaust in Latvia and abroad.
The exhibition will highlight three separate stages: the history of the Jewish community in Latvia at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the World War II and the Holocaust, as well as today's Latvia by revealing government's activities in support of the Holocaust education, remembrance and research.
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