The aim of this project is to collect a wide range of memories about various aspects of the traditional life of Latvian Jews, as well as to explore interfaith and interethnic relations in Latvia before the Second World War.
The project consists of ethnographic field work in Jekabpils and Krustpils (Eastern Latvia) and a translation into English of the collection of articles "The Lost Neighborhood: Jews in the Cultural Memory of the inhabitants of Latgale".
Jekabpils (Jakobstadt) was part of the Courland province, and contained an established Jewish population, even though it was not part of the Pale of Settlement. In 1962, Jekabpils was united with Krustpils (Kreuzburg), a town located on the opposite side of the Daugava river. Krustpils had historically been part of the Vitebsk province (like the whole of Latgale), and was home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the region. The city’s rich ethno-cultural environment provides an abundance of material for comparative analyses using materials from previous fieldwork and sources from other oral history collections. The project aims to attract both local and foreign researchers (including folklorists, anthropologists, historians, social scientists), which furthers an interdisciplinary approach that allows for the combination of existing methods with innovative ones. The researchers aim to document the oral facts about the history of this region and Jewish life: to explore other nations’ prejudices as regards traditional Jewish life, and to analyze the perception of Jewish tradition in the context of the ethno-cultural neighborhood. The materials gathered during the fieldwork will be published in an English version of the "The Lost Neighborhood" publication. The English edition will also contain new, previously unpublished articles and notes.
The project continues the series of successful ethnographic expeditions on collecting memories about the pre- and post-war periods in Latvia. The expeditions took place in 2011-2018, organized by the museum "Jews in Latvia" in cooperation with other academic institutions.
Marina Geht, Museum "Jews in Latvia".
Ilya lensky, Director of the Museum "Jews in Latvia".
Dr. Svetlana Pogodina, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Latvia.