The Image of Latvia in the Eyes of Children Born in Displacement: The Example of Mass Deportations of 1941 and 1949 | pp. 36-44 | PDF

Evita Feldentāle
University of Latvia, Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 

Abstract. When studying the mass deportations, which have directly affected more than 57,000 inhabitants of Latvia, a lot of attention is paid to the implementation of the deportations and the deported population. To date, less attention has been dedicated to those born in displacement, which is an important aspect of deportation research. The purpose of the current article is to uncover the impressions of the children born in displacement about the Latvian SSR before they moved to their parents’ homeland and the factors that influenced their thoughts about it. The article examines the origin of these children’s families and its influence on them as they grew up, whether Latvian language was taught in the families and the assessment of knowledge after moving to Latvia, and their attitude towards Latvia. The article is based on case analysis reviewing the video testimonies of children born in displacement and, in some cases, of their parents. These video testimonies are available in the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia Audiovisual Archive repository. The examples used in the current study show the different experiences of different families, both in their attitude towards teaching the Latvian language while the family is still in forced settelement, and after moving to live in Latvia, and in various other aspects. The quality which unites all the examined examples is the silence prevailing in the family and also in the society about the experienced repressions and the origin of these people, which has had an impact on their subsequent lives, for example, not being able to enter the chosen educational institutions or not obtaining a permission to leave the Latvian SSR even in cases of athletic success.

Keywords: children, childhood, Latvia, mass deportation, displacement, forced settelement, language

In: Media and Society, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Mediji un sabiedrība, 2022. Rakstu krājums. Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 173 p.