Oskars Gruziņš member of the European Union’s Marie Curie Initial Training Network, “Children born of war – past, present and future project,” from University of Latvia, has presented his findings on oral history and children born of war in Latvia at the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) 25th conference on Baltic Studies, “Global, Glocal, and Local: Distinctions and Interconnections in the Baltic States.”
Oskars presentation, “Children Born of War in the Baltics: Sources, Challenges and Limits,” focused on prominent oral history texts and their connection to oral history projects in Latvia. His work focused on the challenges related to generational oral history, oral history and trauma, and the role and challenges of archival work in oral history projects. As a part of his study he interviewed prominent Latvian oral historians to see what approaches and challenges to oral history work they highlight in Latvia. While interviewing Dzintra Geka, of the Children of Siberia Fund, Lelde Neimane, of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, and Andrejs Feldmanis, of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Oskars also inquired about the challenges they see in a project related to children born of war in Latvia. One challenge highlighted in the interviews was the perceived taboo of the subject and the resulting silence that surrounds it. “I know one concrete person who will not speak about it [being a CBOW]; despite how good and close our relationship is, that I have created over the years, it is taboo” stated Ms. Neimane.
In addition to four days of academic presentations, the more than 200 guests and presenters were honored by a welcome address by the president of Estonia. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves spoke to the participants on the security challenges in the Baltic region and the important role played by academics.
Oskars study will tie into his Ph.D. project on children born of Third Reich and Soviet soldiers in Latvia. The project is part of the European Union Marie Curie Initial Training Network, “Children born of war – past, present and future project.” This project is a Horizon 2020 plan which is composed of 15 early stage researchers, 11 organizations, 12 partner organizations, with an aim at “understanding the challenges of CBOW in volatile societies [that] will inform the normative debates and, ultimately, policies on the reintegration of CBOW into post-conflict societies.”