LATVIA'S HISTORY: EDUCATION, REMEMBRANCE, RESEARCH
July, 2002 (22)
- Latvia commemorates the Remembrance Day of the Victims of Genocide against the Jewish Nation
- Report on Latvia's accomplishments in Holocaust education and research delivered at the ITF meeting in Paris
- The Government reviews Latvia's progress in implementation of the Holocaust Action Plan
- The 6th volume of the Symposium series of Latvia's History Commission published
Latvia commemorates the Remembrance Day of the Victims of Genocide against the Jewish Nation
The opening of the exhibition "Remember..." on the 3rd of July at Riga Central Library commenced the commemorative events of the Remembrance Day of the victims of genocide against the Jewish nation in Latvia. The exhibition, which presents the materials telling about the tragedy of the Holocaust in Latvia from the Library collections, as well as items borrowed from the museum and documentation center "Jews in Latvia", particularly - publications, files from the archives, and photographs, will run till the 15th of July.
On the 4th of July at noon a memorial meeting was held by the ""Wailing Wall" of Riga", the place where the building of Riga synagogue once was located. The synagogue was burnt down by Nazis in 1941 together with hundreds of people trapped inside. Among the participants of the meeting was the Prime Minister of Latvia Mr Andris Berzins, MPs, Archbishop of the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Latvia Janis Vanags, representatives of Riga Jewish Community and Riga Jewish religious congregation, as well as the survivors of the Holocaust, including Mr Margers Vestermanis, Director of the Museum "Jews in Latvia", and a member of Latvia's History Commission.
In his address to the audience of more than 300 people Mr Vestermanis pointed out that on this day of remembrance it was important to know that the Jewish people would not have survived if not taking care of their historic memory. "Today we can say that the largest and better part of the society in Latvia is together with us. It is the society that has learned to respect others", Mr Vestermanis concluded. The Prime Minister Mr Berzins asserted that the Government of Latvia would make every effort to further develop Latvia as democratic nation, which places a human being in the center of the values to be safeguarded.
The ceremony dedicated to the Remembrance Day with the participation of the three Baltic Presidents, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, the US Senator Trent Lott, Mr Steven Springfield, President of Jewish Survivors of Latvia, Rabbi Andrew Baker, International Director of the American Jewish Committee, was held at the Riga Synagogue, presently located in Peitavas street, later in the day.
The President of Latvia Dr Vaira Vike-Freiberga in her address accentuated: "Latvia knows from its bitter experience under the occupation of foreign totalitarian states what it means to lose one's freedom. Latvians have seen – at their expense – what happens when human rights and the rule of law are not respected. We know the value of security, and having regained our independence, we are investing considerable resources to ensure that our country never again becomes the peripheral province of an occupying power; to ensure that it is never again is used as a killing ground of innocent civilians. We are also working hard to prevent our country from becoming a base for terrorist operations. Terrorism in all its forms poses a serious threat to the security of all civilized nations and we are fully committed to the international coalition to combat it".
Full text of the address of the President of Latvia at Riga synagogue 04.07.2002: http://www.am.gov.lv/en/?id=3495
Report on Latvia's accomplishments in Holocaust education and research delivered at the ITF meeting in Paris
On the 25th – 26th of July the regular meeting of the International Task Force (ITF) for Co-operation on Holocaust Education took place in Paris. In the framework of the meeting a special session dedicated to Latvia's accomplishments in this field was held. During the session Undersecretary of State of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Armands Gutmanis informed about the accomplishments of Latvian institutions in the area of Holocaust education and research. Among upcoming events related to further improvement of teaching of the history and Holocaust issues in Latvia a study visit of 30 Latvian teachers to Jerusalem is planned to take place in 2003, as well as training seminars, co-financed by Swedish delegation of the ITF, for history teachers are to be held in Latvia this year. Mr Gutmanis repeatedly invited the participants of the meeting to visit Latvia at the scheduled time of the seminars, presumably in August and October.
The Government reviews Latvia's progress in implementation of the Holocaust Action Plan
On the 2nd of July the Government of Latvia reviewed and accepted a report on implementation of the Action Plan "The Holocaust: Remembrance, Research and Education in Latvia", covering the period from August 2001 to June 2002, delivered by the Minister of Education and Science Mr Karlis Greiskalns. The Action Plan was developed by the Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a number of other state institutions and representatives from NGOs. The plan enumerates the activities that are currently underway, as well as the projects to be carried out in future. Among the most important upcoming events will be the visit of the representatives of the International Task Force, and a seminar on the Holocaust issues for Latvia's history teachers to be held in October 2002 in Liepaja. Both events are planned to complement each other.
The 6th volume of the Symposium series of Latvia's History Commission published
The sixth volume of the Symposium Series entitled "Deportation of the 14th of June 1941: Crime Against Humanity" –has been published by Latvia's History Commission. The volume is a compilation of the international conference's materials. This is the most complete publication up to date on the events in the Baltics, Bessarabia and other territories annexed by the Soviet Union during the period of 1939-1941.