Stanford University Libraries to host evening of Latvian history and culture
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Stanford University Libraries to host evening of Latvian history and culture

Despite war, deportations, and a 50-year occupation by the Soviet Union, Latvia has successfully rebuilt a democratic state since it regained its independence in 1991.

The country’s culture, history and future aspirations, particularly in the face of growing aggression from neighboring Russia, will be discussed Monday, May 12, at Stanford University.

“A Latvian Cultural Evening: Sustaining a Memory of the Future,” will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Cubberley Hall, 485 Lasuen Mall. The event, sponsored by Stanford University Libraries, is free and open to the public.

A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Latvian Cross of Recognition or Atzinibas Krusts, to Edward Anders, a Latvian Jew who survived the Holocaust in Latvia. Liga Hoy, Honorary Consul of Latvia, will present the medal on behalf of Latvia’s president to Anders for his “highest acts of patriotism and devotion to support the social and cultural good of the state of Latvia in the world.”

Anders, a professor emeritus of the University of Chicago and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has spent the last two decades recording the history of Latvia’s Jewish population before, during and after World War II. He is the author of Amidst the Latvians during the Holocaust and helped complete a memorial wall for Jewish Holocaust and Gulag victims in his hometown of Liepaja.


6:30-6:45 pm: Opening words by Liga Hoy, Honorary Consul of Latvia, and Michael Keller, Stanford University Librarian.

6:45-7:30 pm: Lecture by Janis Kreslins of National Library of Sweden on the culture of collecting in the Baltic. According to Kreslins, history is often told as an idealized myth, a myth that has special meaning for people who believe that their history has not been accurately told. By making collections, individuals not only look back at and create a new past, but also look ahead to the future, he says. Q&A will follow.

7:30-8 pm: Snack and coffee break

8-9:30 pm: Screening of Controversial History (2010) by Latvian filmmakers Inara Kolmane and Uldis Neiburgs. Norman Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor in East European Studies at Stanford University, will introduce the documentary, which tries to understand how collective memory is formed and why memories of World War Two diverge so radically in Latvia, a Baltic nation that lost most of its Jewish population during the war. The film will be followed by a discussion with Edward Anders, who is featured in the film.

Related Information:
The Rescuer and the Rescued: A Latvian Story of the Holocaust

Contact: Liisi Eglit, Assistant Curator for Estonian and Baltic Studies
Stanford University

Work: (650) 736-4724
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