ALA announces Nov. 18 gifts to Latvia

About USD 280,000 in financial support for a children’s fund, a museum and a film have been approved by the American Latvian Association in honor of the 90th anniversary of Latvia’s proclamation of independence.

ALA Chairman Juris Mežinskis, in a Nov. 18 message to Latvians in the United States, said the association’s board of directors approved a USD 90,000 donation to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (Latvijas Okupācijas muzejs). The museum, in downtown Rīga, presents the story of Soviet and Nazi occupation of the country between 1940 and 1991.

One result of the occupation, Mežinskis said in his message, is that 42 percent of Latvia’s inhabitants today are non-Latvians. Before World War II, the proportion of non-Latvians in the nation was 23 percent, according to the 1935 census.

The association also has approved a more than USD 9,000 donation to director Edvīns Šnore’s documenary film, The Soviet Story, to aid in copyright clearance so that the work may be shown to a wider audience. The controversial film, released earlier this year, argues that the Soviet Union helped Nazi Germany instigate the Holocaust.

A donation of more than USD 180,000 has been made by the association to the Latvia Children’s Fund (Latvijas Bērnu fonds). The fund is a Rīga-based nongovernmental organization focused on children’s health, education and development.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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