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 begun the process of collecting oral history interviews of children born of world war two in Latvia.
With technical assistance from the Audio Visual Department of the Occupation Museum of Latvia, Oskars Gruzins has begun the process of collecting empirical evidence for his study, through the use of semi-structured biographical interviews of CBOW. Together with Andrejs Edvins Feldmanis, who has worked as the manager of the Audio-Visual Collections of the Occupation Museum of Latvia and has helped collect up to 1500 video testimonies during his career, Oskars is conducting interviews of Latvians born during and directly after the Second World War to local mothers and fathered by foreign soldiers.
In this first step in gathering empirical evidence, Oskars has conducted two extensive interviews of individuals fathered by soldiers of the Third Reich army in Latvia. Each interview consisted of more than 2 hours of taping and encompassed the entire life experiences of these subjects. These first interviewees shared with Oskars how they initially learned of their father’s identity, how they dealt with harboring their story of origin in Soviet Latvia and how now, in later life, they reflect on this aspect of their identity. With later interviews, Oskars hopes to also gather testimonies from and shed light on the lives of children fathered by foreign soldiers of the Soviet army. In this way, Oskars’ study hopes to compare and contrast the life stories of children born of both Third Reich and Soviet soldiers in Latvia
Oskars’ study 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.” To learn more about the project please visit the following website: www.CHIBOW.org