Senatobia to honor Latvian DPs in Mississippi

A plan for a monument to honor Latvian Displaced Persons who once lived in the Senatobia, Miss., area has been granted an initial approval by the board of aldermen, according to The Democrat, a local newspaper.

City officials Aug. 3 gave local resident Gale Cushman approval to research the cost of a marker to be erected in Bethesda Cemetery, where a number of Latvians are buried, the newspaper reported.

Senatobia is in northern Mississippi, about 40 miles south of Memphis, Tenn.

Although the Latvian community of Senatobia is all but forgotten today, it once was large enough to support a church and a local newsletter, according to historical records reviewed by Latvians Online.

The Senatobia Christian Church, once known as the Senatobia Latvian Lutheran Church, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The Latvian church published a newsletter, Ziņu biļetens, from 1949-1953, according to Benjamiņš Jēgers’ Latviešu trimdas izdevumu bibliografija, 1940-1960.

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

7 thoughts on “Senatobia to honor Latvian DPs in Mississippi

  1. My Latvian immigrant family lived in Senatobia from 1949-50, picking cotton on a plantation there after coming over from Germany as DPs aboard the U.S.S. Omar Bradley. They lived in a small shack in Marks,MS. I made a pilgrimage to Senatobia last year on my Harley-Davidson motorcycle to try to find some remnants of that lost era. While I didn’t find much there to see, it was very gratifying to visit. The trip taught me a lot about perseverance,hope for a bright future, and the American dream, of which I am provided the opportunity to live out because of what my parents went through. I as one will never forget their contribution and their suffering and I am proud to know that they and their friends will be remembered through this memorial. Thank You and Lai Dievs Sveti.

    1. I am researching Displaced Persons from Latvia who came to the Mississippi Delta after WWII. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sharon

  2. My family was one of the few to come to the United States through the port at New Orleans. We ended up in Senatobia, Mississippi. While I have no memories of that time, I have heard stories and seen pictures. I second my brother Ziggy in his statements! And I thank the people in Senatobia for remembering the Latvians who came to this country with very little but their hearts and a willingness to work hard. It is amazing to me that we made such an impression on you that you would remember us in this way! Paldies and Sveiks!

  3. Dievs sveti Senatobia!

    A fitting tribute to the both Senatobia and the Latvians that came to a foreign land with but a few remanents of their homeland. For me I find it remarkable in this day and age to comprehend, let understand the enormity of my parents, along with others, fleeing a country they cherished to resettle. Altough mom an dad did not stay long in Senotobia it was that connection with the church that allowed thenm to further their future.

    Tough times, you bet! What I truly find amazing, as my parents recount the story of life in Senatobia, is that the cotton crop was dismal and that this bonded the Latvians and citizens of Senotobia in a way that only people from the land can understand. Perhaps, as peoples who both respect nature there becomes a common understanding, and, from that a respect that someway translated better than the differences in tongue.

  4. My mother and her 9 siblings came with their dear mother, Marta Kiperts. My mother was Rita Kiperts. We have heard stories all of our lives and resided in Southaven. I would love to have some permanent area in the museum positioned with pictures and memories in honor of the sacrifice the Latvians had to make.

  5. My mother was able to see this memorial that honor her and her family, the Donins. Thank you for recognizing their struggles and welcoming the to the is.

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