Home and Sense of Belonging in the Life Stories of Latvian Exiles


In 1944-1945, approximately 180 thousand people left Latvia in order to escape the advancing battlefront and second Soviet occupation. After the war they found refuge in different host countries, defining themselves as an exile community. When Latvia regained its independence in 1991, exile Latvians finally had the opportunity to return home. However, most often it turned out that the occupation period has been too long and people are too entrenched in their host countries to return. In addition, the question arose: What is the place that these people considered their home? Is it a specific geographical location/country or ideal image that cannot be returned to? The paper will explore these issues by analysing life-story interviews of exile Latvians gathered at the Latvian National Oral History archive which highlight the clash between the imagined home(land) and the reality, but at the same time reflects the fact that for some exiles, despite the long years spent abroad, Latvia still embodied the only and real home.

May 13, 2022
Limerika (Īrija)
Maija Krūmiņa
vadošā pētniece

Vēsturniece, Latvijas Universitātes Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta pētniece