ANNOUNCEMENTS


31.08.2012

Field school on Jewish studies in Latvia was held in August

Field school in Latvia: Riga and Latgale (Eastern Latvia)was held on August1 to 12, 2012 .

The school was organized by the Sefer Center in cooperation with Chais Centre with the support of Genesis Philanthropy Group (part of the charity program Charities Aid Foundation «The Jewish Community»), UJA Federation of NY, AVI CHAI and Nativ.

Daugavpils University, the Jewish Museum in Latvia and the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia also took A large part in the organization of the school.

The school participants’ work was carried out in two directions: ethnographic and archival research. Ethnographic group, made up 14 students and young researchers from Russia, Belarus and Latvia and headed by one of the leading experts Svetlana Amosova, conducted their research in Daugavpils, Kraslava Rezekne Preili and Subate. During the expedition, over 80 hours of interviews about Jewish life in Latgale in the interwar period , the Holocaust and ethnic stereotypes were recorded. Work on processing the recorded interview continues after the school competion, and in the future materials on school are to appear.

Archival group was headed by Museum «Jews in Latvia» Director Ilya Lensky and researcher at the Center Chase Ilya Lurie. Archival group participants (6 students and young graduate students from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Warsaw) were collecting the materials for their researches and theses in archives and libraries of Riga. We hope that their articles and / or inventory of collections are to be published in a forthcoming collection of materials.

Besides the main work during the school, the participants attended lectures on broad topics as, such as, Dmitry Olekhnovichi “History of Latvia”, Ilya Lensky “History of the Jews in Latvia”, Dr. Inese Runce “History of Latgale”, etc., and narrowly focused on the groups topics (for example, ethnographers visited the Centre for Oral History at Daugavpils University and attended lecture by Irena Salenietse about the availability of materials in the collection of the Center for the materials about Jews, and the archive group participants listened to lecture by Ivar Strang “The policy of Latvia against Jews in the 1920s-30s”.

The school participans were impressed by a meeting with Dr. Marguerite Westermann, a person of amazing and complicated story, who gave a lecture “The formation of the Latvian Jewish identity in the 1920s-1930s”, with the examples of the stories from his own life.

The program also included school tours and visits to local history and the Jewish Museum, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues .

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