LATVIA'S HISTORY: EDUCATION, REMEMBRANCE, RESEARCH
March, 2002 (19)
- Exhibition "Latvia's Jewish Community – History, Tragedy, Revival" Tours Round Latvia
- The 4th Volume of the Symposium Series of Latvia's History Commission Published
- President of Latvia the First to Donate to the Renovation Project of Riga Synagogue
- Latvia's History Commission Concludes Competition for Continuation of the Researches
- Latvian Delegation to Participate in the International Conference in Jerusalem
- Representatives of Latvia's History Commission to Participate in International Holocaust Research Conference
Exhibition "Latvia's Jewish Community – History, Tragedy, Revival" Tours Round Latvia
In February 2002 the exhibition "Latvia's Jewish Community – History, Tragedy, Revival" began its tour round Latvia. On 19 February 2002 the exhibition was opened at the University of Daugavpils in the Latgale region. The opening ceremony of the exhibition and the following seminar was attended by representatives from 6 town and 24 regional schools. During the seminar the audience became acquainted with the activities of Latvia's History Commission (report by Dr habil hist Antonijs Zunda, Adviser to the President on History Issues), the methods used in teaching Holocaust issues at schools (Ms Ieva Gundare, representative of Latvia's History Teachers' Association), and the history of the Jewish schools during the first period of Latvia's independence as well as Jewish history in the Latgale region (Prof Josifs Steimanis and Prof Boriss Volkovics of the University of Daugavpils).
From Daugavpils the exhibition was shipped to Valmiera, town in northern Latvia, where it was opened at the premises of Vidzeme University College on 6 March 2002. The seminar was held with participation of representatives of Latvia's History Commission and Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In both towns books on the history of Jewish community and particularly the Holocaust were available.
The exhibition dedicated to the history of Jews in Latvia "Latvia's Jewish Community – History, Tragedy, Revival" was opened in November 2001 during the international seminar "The Issues of the Research into the Holocaust" at the University of Latvia in Riga. This exhibition is a part of the project entitled"Latvia's Jewish Community – History, Tragedy, Revival" which includes also publication of a booklet based on exhibition materials, and publication of a brochure on the history of the Holocaust in Latvia. The exhibition was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia in collaboration with the Museum and Documentation Centre "Jews in Latvia" and supported by the US Embassy in Latvia.
The next destination of the exhibition will be the University towns of Ventspils and Liepāja. This year it is planned to showcase the exhibition in Israel as well.
The 4th Volume of the Symposium Series of Latvia's History Commission Published
The fourth volume of the Symposium Series published by Latvia's History Commission under the title "Anti-Semitism and Its Expressions in Latvia" by Dr Leo Dribins was released earlier this year being the first book about anti-Semitism ever written in Latvian.
The book aims to accelerate the process of the overcoming of anti-Semitism, to encourage Latvian-Jewish co-operation in the development of an open democratic society.
The first part of the book entitled "The Origins of Anti-Semitism and Its Different Forms in Europe" presents the history of anti-Semitism in brief from its appearance to the present days. The second part, "Expressions of Anti-Semitism in Latvia", describes the harm that anti-Semitic ideas and behaviour have done in Latvia from the 14th century to the beginning of the 21st century. The concluding chapters of the book describe the participation of Jews in the struggle for the restoration of the independence of Latvia in 1988-1991 and the great impact of the Declaration "On the Condemnation and Inadmissibility of Genocide and Anti-Semitism in Latvia", adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia in 1990, on the improvement of Latvian-Jewish relations.
President of Latvia the First to Donate to the Renovation Project of Riga Synagogue
The President of Latvia Dr Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga was the first to donate to the fund for renovation of the Riga synagogue building.
In her speech on the occasion of the Festive Celebration of Purim on 26 February 2002 Dr Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga thanked Chief Rabbi of Riga and Latvia for the gift that was given to the President and told that it will remain as a sign to the excellent relationship between the Jewish Community and the State of Latvia: "We, of course, all wish that this good relationship is continued in future, we wish to see it living – this is one of the reasons why I am the first donator to the renovation project of this sanctuary. [..] I see it in a symbolic light – the Jewish community must revive in Latvia in order to regain the dynamism and significance it had before the tragic events [of the 20th century]. The community's future is closely linked with the future of Latvia, and it shall be resurrected together with the renovation of this synagogue."
The Prime Minister of Latvia Mr Andris Bērziņš and other Latvian officials also attended the Purim celebrations.
Latvia's History Commission Concludes Competition for Continuation of the Researches
The competition organised by Latvia's History Commission on the research themes for the historians to be worked out in 2002 has been concluded.
As a result of the competition twenty-six new research assignments have been made. The historians will continue research into the already commenced themes as presented by the History Commission's Progress Report of 28 November 20011. Among them three research themes are dealing with the annihilation of the Jewish community and pillage of their property in provincial towns of Latvia during the Nazi occupation.
The themes are linked with four directions of the main research work conducted by the Commission, i.e., Crimes against Humanity Committed in the Territory of Latvia 1940–1941, Holocaust in the Territory of Latvia 1941–1944, Crimes against Humanity Committed in the Territory of Latvia during the German Occupation 1941–1945, and Crimes against Humanity Committed in the Territory of Latvia during the Second Soviet Occupation 1944–1956.
Latvian Delegation to Participate in the International Conference in Jerusalem
On 8-11 April 2002 the Latvian delegation including Dr Armands Gūtmanis, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Aivars Stranga, Deputy Chairman of Latvia's History Commission and Dr habil hist Antonijs Zunda, are participating in the international conference "The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors: The Moral and Ethical Implications for Humanity" in Jerusalem.
During the visit meetings with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, representatives of Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Hebrew University of Jerusalemand historians of Israel are planned.
Representatives of Latvia's History Commission to Participate in International Holocaust Research Conference
Members of Latvia's History Commission of Latvia (Dr habil hist Antonijs Zunda, Mr Marģers Vestermanis, Head of the Museum and Documentation Centre "Jews in Latvia") will participate in the international conference "Focus: Reichskommissariat Ostland. Collaboration and Resistance during the Holocaust" to take place in Stockholm and Uppsala in Sweden on 18-21 April 2002.
The conference is a joint undertaking of the Baltic and East European Graduate School at Södertörn University College in Stockholm and the Uppsala Programme for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Uppsala University. The objective of the conference is to provide a forum for the newly completed and still ongoing research on aspects of collaboration between the population and the German occupation forces in the massacres, on the one hand, and the resistance of the persecuted groups both inside and outside the ghettos, on the other.
For further information:
History Commission of Latvia
Chairman: Professor Andris Caune
Address: c/o History Institute of Latvia
1 Akademijas lauk., Riga, LV 1050, Latvia
Tel.: (+371) 7 225 948;
Fax: (+371) 7 225 044
Adviser to the President of Latvia on the History Commission Issues
Dr. habil. hist. Assoc. Professor Antonijs Zunda
Chancery of the President,
3 Pils lauk., Riga, LV 1900, Latvia
Tel.: (+371) 7 092 109;
Fax: (+371) 7 325 800
1 Progress Report: http://www.am.gov.lv/file/e/HC-Progress-Report2001.pdf