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mazpuke3.GIF (425 bytes) The country they left


When I visited Israel in 1990, my friends told me a story about an elderly Jew who came to Israel from Latvian SSR and, as soon as he could afford it, traveled to London, where a Latvia embassy still existed, and made there his Latvia Passport. It happened in the mid-1970s when nobody thought Latvia's independence might once be possible, and the Passport had no practical use at all. Of course, the fellow Jews asked him what the profit of the Passport was, and he answered that he was born in Latvia, he is still a citizen of Latvia and should have the Passport. I think he knew the life of Jews in prewar Latvia quite well, and he did not imagine it was always marvelous, but I suppose he would never had done the job, if he had hated that country. I do not know his name, I am sorry.

Kersten Stubendorff from Germany, whose father had to leave Latvia in 1939, wrote me: I remember my father crying with tears rolling down when he listened to the Latvian hymn. His country was Latvia as long as he lived, no matter that his origin was German. In fact he never felt home in Germany and became sick in this country. I am afraid that the Germans in Latvia could also have some problems, but it is clear that Eduard Stubendorff felt home there.

I have received many letters from people with ancestors from Latvia and many of them remembered what their parents or grand parents told them about Latvia, and it is clear these memories have spread surprisingly much brightness in the lives.

I understand quite well the feelings of the people who recalled this country being far of it, though I am afraid they idealized a bit the life here. But I have no intention to destroy these idealizations, quite possibly I myself am idealizing life in Latvia in the olden times. I just wanted to show on this Site how the people lived and were happy without having Windows-2000 or Ferrari and sometimes even without much food.

The information about the real life in the prewar Latvia and in the region of Latvia of the 19th century is scattered throughout various pages of ROOTS=SAKNES site. In this Page I am collecting the links of the Site to longer descriptions of the country. The main problem was (and is still) to find texts in the languages I could hope you understand. Here the pictures of the country side and of the towns will also be published. I have many of them, but I think the publication can be postponed for some time.


zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes) Traveler reports

A British book about Latvia (1931)

Three chapters of the book: The Baltic States by Hebe Spaull printed in 1931.

A German painter writes about her impressions in Latvia (1938) Fragments of the book: Lettland. Ein Malerbuch by Käthe Köster. (In German)

zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes) Memoirs of various people

Jugenderinnerungen aus der Altstadt in Riga Memoirs of Bernhard Hollander about his childhood in Riga published in Rigascher Almanach 1928. (In German)
Errinerungen von Adele Stubendorff Memoirs of Adele Stubendorff b. Bitzky about her youth in Kurland province at the end of the 19th century. Published here for the first time by courtesy of Kersten Stubendorff - a grandson of the author. (265 kB, in German)
Mana dzimta Reminiscences of my mother Melanija Martuzâne b. Mednis on her childhood and youth in Latgale. Not published previously. (In Latvian)


© Bruno Martuzâns. 1995-2002