Mission and History

Mission

  • to identify, research, elucidate and commemorate the wrongdoings committed by the foreign occupation powers against the state and the people of Latvia from 1940 to 1991;
  • to preserve historical memory of the Latvian people about the occupation period;
  • to inform and educate the people of Latvia and other nations about the history and consequences of the occupation period in order to strengthen the Latvian state and its place amongst the free and democratic nations of the world.

History

In February 1993, History Professor Paulis Lazda of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire proposed to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia the establishment of a museum dealing with the period 1940–1991, when Latvia was an occupied country. In the spring of 1993, 11 persons founded the Occupation Museum Foundation (OMF), now – Occupation Museum Association (OMB) – to establish, administer and finance the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. As a private museum, the Museum of the Occupation is financially and thus – politically independent. The support of each donor is important to maintain the Museum as an independent institution.

On 1 July 1993 the first exposition of the Museum was opened in the building of the former Latvian Red Riflemen's Museum.  The exposition presented and explained the atrocities of the Soviet regime in Latvia 1940/41. In the following years the permanent exposition was augmented and expanded to include the entire occupation period. The Museum is accredited by the state and is internationally recognized as an important memory site that objectively reflects recent Latvian history.

The Museum of the Occupation plays an essential role in restoring and reinforcing historical awareness and consciousness in Latvia.  During the occupation period (1940–1991) history was the handmaiden of alien totalitarian ideologies and regimes. Their censorship had removed or grossly distorted historical events that the ruling regimes wanted to erase from human memory, such as the Hitler–Stalin pacts, the Holocaust, mass deportations, repressions and many others. The mission of the Museum of the Occupation is expressed in its motto: Remembering, Commemorating, Reminding.

Since 2005, the Museum has been visited by more than 100,000 visitors annually, including many statespersons as a part of the Latvian State Protocol.