Oskars Gruziņš, member of the European Union’s Marie Curie Initial Training Network, “Children born of war – past, present and future project,” from the University of Latvia, participated on project LIVINGMEMORIES fact-finding mission to Perm, Russia.
Oskars accompanied members of the multi-disciplinary project, focuses on difficult memories and diverse identities related with conflicts in Russia, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Germany and Turkey, on a mission to Perm, Russia. There the group had the opportunity learn of oral history approaches in the Russian Federation and to visit the only preserved GULAG prison camp from the Stalin era.
Perm, which is a city situated to the east of Moscow and just before the Ural Mountains, has a long history in connection to GULAG system. The group had the unique opportunity to visit the Perm-36 GULAG camp, which was opened in 1946 and housed political prisoners up until the fall of the Soviet Union. Today the camp has been preserved as a museum and, since 2004, it has been included on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
Upon the groups return, they were invited to share their experience at Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, in celebration of the 85th birthday of the Latvian national resistance movement participant Gunars Astra who was imprisoned in Perm-36.
At the event, the group shared their impressions of the camp and the political changes surrounding it, including a short film of their visit. Guests who had visited the camp in the early 2000s shared their memories of the camp in relation to those of today. Also former victims of political repressions in Soviet Latvia spoke of the repressive system and memories of the time. The mission and event will tie into Oskars' PhD study on Soviet and Latvian history.
Oskars' study will focus on children born of Third Rich 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.”
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