Leading Museum with CHIBOW Discovered Materials in its Permanent Exhibition
After more than 10 years in the making, the newly built home of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is open. The Museum, which tells the fate of Latvia while under the control of two occupying totalitarian powers, from 1940-1991, illustrates that dark history with a new permanent exhibition, including two artefacts discovered by CHIBOW researcher Oskars Gruziņš.
While collecting oral history testimonies of WWII children born of war in Latvia, Gruziņš uncovered in the possession of two of his subjects several rolls of film made by a Wehrmacht solider during his time stationed in Latvia, as well as one of only four known photographs to exist of the 25 March 1949 mass deportations in Latvia. The films document not only everyday life in Nazi-occupied Latvia, but also the atrocities of slave labour and the Holocaust. The photograph has already become emblematic of an event of immense importance to the history of Latvia, to a crime against humanity committed by the Soviet regime that was meant to be forgotten, that was never meant to be documented. “I can only say that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to make such discoveries,” Gruziņš commented. “After half a century of totalitarianism, it shows how much of our history is still left to be discovered in the field. If it wasn’t for my CHIBOW project, I would have never interviewed those individuals, I would have never discovered these items and they would remain lost to us.
These materials of immeasurable importance to Latvian history, and humanity as a whole, are available for viewing to the general public in the permanent exhibition of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. The Museum is a leader in its field, in Latvia and beyond. The Museum gathers and preserves testimonies and other materials, leads lectures, conducts research, publishes findings, plays a role in Latvia’s educational curriculum, as well as Latvia’s diplomatic protocol, welcomes tens-of-thousands of visitors a year, and more.