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March 25: Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist Terror

March 25 is one of several days in the Latvian calendar designated as a day of remembrance for victims of Communist terror. The others are June 14 and the first Sunday in December. As of today, I have now been in the Baltic countries for all three of these days (The December one in 2009, […]

January 20: Day of the Barricades

January 20 is a day of remembrance in Latvia, for an event in more recent memory than others – in this case, the time of the barricades, and subsequently, the end of the Soviet Union.

Latvia had already declared independence from the Soviet Union, but there was still fear that the Soviet Union might try to […]

June 14, 1941

My apologies – this post should have been up yesterday, but my Internet provider had an outage, so thus this post comes to you today.

June 14, 1941 is a day that remains emblazoned on the Latvian psyche – this is the day when thousands of our countrymen and women were deported to Siberia, along with […]

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory

Marta Emīlija (Līcīte) Jakstāne

June 26, 1911 – November 2, 2010

Marta Līcīte, c. 1946

My great aunt passed away last night. She was 99 years old.

She was born on June 13 (O.S.)/June 26 (N.S.), 1911, in Krustpils, Latvia. At the time of her birth, Krustpils was a border town in Vitebsk guberniya in the Russian […]

Latvian Cemetery Culture

The title of this post may seem a bit odd to most readers – how is there a culture revolving around cemeteries?

In Latvia, cemeteries (“kapi” or “kapsētas”) are a very important part of life. Great care is taken to keep the graves of family and loved ones looking tidy and pretty. While in many Western […]

Day of Remembrance – Jewish Victims of the Holocaust

This post should have been up yesterday, but I was out of town for most of the day and returned with a splitting headache, so I hope you’ll accept the post today instead.

On July 4, 1941, numerous synagogues across Latvia were burned to the ground, some of them with people inside. One of the most […]

Day of Remembrance – Occupation Day

As mentioned in my June 14 Day of Remembrance post a few days ago, June 17 is the day that Latvia was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1940. It is an official remembrance day, and is also one that requires the display of the Latvian flag (with the black ribbon of mourning) on all […]

June 14 – Day of Remembrance

Sorry things have been a bit quiet here, I’ve been busy! But in a week’s time I will be concluding my day job so that I can be on my way to Latvia for the summer, and then when I return home to Canada I will be returning to school.

But back to the topic of […]

Tombstone Tuesday - Alma Kalniņa

When the Soviets invaded Latvia during the Second World War, they deported and/or murdered thousands of people from all walks of life.

One of these people was Alma Kalniņa. Her grave marker is in the town cemetery of Jēkabpils. She was 34 years old. She is buried alongside five others who were also murdered by the […]

Tombstone Tuesday - Cemetery of Non-Existent Cemeteries

Another slightly unusual “Tombstone Tuesday”. Today I’m deviating somewhat from the “Latvian” part of this blog, because what I came across here while visiting Gdansk, Poland, really spoke to me.

This is the memorial stone at the “Cemetery of Non-Existent Cemeteries” – a memorial built to commemorate all of the destroyed cemeteries in Gdansk, and the […]