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New virtual exhibition “Confiscated Letters 1940/1941”

New virtual exhibition “Confiscated Letters 1940/1941”

2019. gada 18. decembris

The KGB Building’s exposition “HISTORY OF KGB OPERATIONS IN LATVIA” has been supplemented with new materials which can be viewed virtually. On 19 December, the Museum of Latvia’s Occupation will open a new virtual exhibition titled “Confiscated Letters 1940/1941” at the KGB Building. It displays personal letters found in the files of criminal cases initiated by the KGB.

On two screens, visitors will be able to see unique historical evidence in the form of seven personal letters found after examining around 800 KGB criminal case files held in the National Archives of Latvia. Most of these files do not contain such letters. The archives hold over 4000 files of criminal cases initiated in the period 1940-41.

The two exhibited letters were illegally sent from prison but were confiscated before they could reach their addressees. There is no information about what happened to the other four written by relatives. One letter – an appeal by a nine-year-old girl to Stalin to grant clemency to her father, was intercepted en route to Moscow.

According to historian Inese Dreimane, creator of the exhibition’s content: ”The relatives from the relations who remained free contained news of the births of children, everyday events, the course of pregnancies, the lives of family and friends. In their letters, the prisoners asked for essential items to be sent, while at the same time expressing concern for their families and regret that they couldn’t be there to help. The photographs of prisoners attached to letters add another level of poignancy, allowing viewers to look into the eyes of these people who met a tragic fate. There were no reunions; most of those arrested were sentenced to death and executed in 1941, while another two died in places of incarceration in the Soviet Union."

The exhibition has been produced by KGB Building experts I.Dreimane, Līga Strazda and Rolands Vēgners in cooperation with the design firm Giraffe Visual. Funding for the virtual exhibition is provided by Riga City Council.

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