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The Museum's goal is to portray life during the three occupation periods suffered by Latvia and Latvians. The items of the exhibition tell about Latvia during the fifty+ year-long subjugation: about power politics, about Soviet and Nazi terror, about the destruction of Latvia's economy, about Soviet and Nazi totalitarian ideologies, about the opposition to the regimes, and finally how Latvians regained their freedom in 1991.
The first section of the exhibit documents the events that led to Latvia's occupation: Soviet and Nazi pact, finalized on 23 August 1939, by Molotov and Ribbentrop, which divided East Europe into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence.
Further on, the Museum visitors follow the events of the first Soviet occupation (1940-1941), then Nazi occupation period (1941-1944/45), and the second Soviet occupation (1944/45-1991). The exhibit concludes with documentation of the people's struggle to renew their independence in the late 1980s and the reclaiming of sovereignty in 1991.
Tribute is paid also to Latvians living outside Latvia during the occupation (during World War Two approximately 200 000 Latvians fled West to escape the terror of renewed Soviet regime of which approximately 120 000 remained there), their cultural life and their contribution to the struggle for a renewed independent Latvia.