Latvia SIG Events at the IAJGS Conference in New York
The Latvia SIG luncheon will be held on Monday, 14 August at 12:30 PM in
the Brecht meeting room on the fourth floor and is scheduled as Session Code
3006. David Michaelson will be our guest speaker and will talk about his
efforts to restore one of the last wooden synagogues in Eastern Europe: the
Green Synagogue of Rezekne. Those of you who subscribe to our newsletter
will recall reading about the remarkable effort made by David in fulfilling
Briefly, the Green Synagogue is the only synagogue in Rezekne that survived
WWII, and it is the synagogue where David's great-grand-parents were
married. The building now stands empty and condemned. Dave has attracted the
attention of the World Monuments Fund, the Heritage Conservation Network,
and the Latvian Tourism Development Agency in his effort to restore the
The annual meeting of Latvia SIG will take place on Tuesday, 15 August at
3:15 PM in the Herald meeting room on the seventh floor. It is scheduled as
Session Code 1020. I have reserved the meeting room for two consecutive
time-slots, which will give us plenty of time for our business meeting as
well as for two scheduled presentations. The business meeting will cover the
election of new officers as well as the status of various projects and
database activities. A complete agenda will be forthcoming.
Following the business meeting will be two discussions and presentations.
Henry Blumberg, the SIG Vice President, will present his rare collection of
Old Latvia memorabilia including turn-of-the-century photographs and post
cards of long-gone Latvian shtetls and communities. In contrast, Bella
Zisere will talk about and answer questions concerning contemporary Jewish
life in Riga and other parts of Latvia.
In addition, I have arranged with Pamela Weisberger, film coordinator at the
conference, to show the documentary film, "My Jewish Grandfather" at a time
that is compatible with our meeting schedule. It will be shown at 5:15 PM in
the Zeigfield Room, following our meeting. This will give us close to two
hours to complete our business meeting and the two
The film was made about 10 years ago by Danish filmmaker Casper Hoyberg. He
was born in Israel to a Danish mother and Jewish father, and the film deals
with his tracing the origins and fate of his Jewish grandfather who was born
in Riga. The film includes historical footage of Riga and current video
clips of his trip there.
On Wednesday, 16 August, >from 8:00 AM until 9:15 AM, Bella Zisere, a current
resident of Riga as well as a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Political
Studies in Paris, will present material based on her dissertation research.
Entitled, "Memory of the Holocaust in Latvia: A Contemporary Debate,"
Bella's presentation is scheduled as Session Code 332 and will be held in
the Westside Ballroom-Salon 3 on the fifth floor.
Bella's presentation focuses on questions and the debate concerning the
Holocaust in Latvia within different ethnic communities after Latvia's
democratization, including the role of the local Latvian population in the
event. The analysis of this debate is based on the study of Latvian media
and recent scholarly research, as well as on oral interviews with members of
the Latvian Jewish and non-Jewish population. It will demonstrate how a
historical conflict can influence inter-ethnic relationships within a state
more than 60 years after the conflict.
President, Latvia SIG