REUNION OF LATVIAN JEWRY
- In the 1950s, Holocaust Survivors founded the Association of Jewish Survivors from Estonia and Latvia in Israel . Amongst them were not only pioneers who built the first Kibbutz before WWII but also survivors of the Holocaust and the soviet deportation in 1941 June,14. Since then, regular meetings of Survivors and their descendants have taken place. This period saw the start of what became a significant tradition: the World Reunion of Latvian Jewry.
- The Jews of Liepaja (Libau) origin were grouped under the leadership of Gershon Yuval (Grisha Landman, one of the first scout members of the 52th pack of Jewish scouts). The leadership of this group passed to Professor Solomon Feigerson who as a boy survived the Liepāja ghetto and concentration camps.
- The Association of American Jewish Survivors from Latvia was founded in the USA in 1985 and the Riga Holocaust Survivor Steven Springfield and Prof. George Schwab, who as a boy of 10 overcame the horrors of Liepāja ghetto and concentration camps..
- At the first meeting in Israel of the Liepāja Survivors in 1988, Raya Westermann-Mazin, addressing the participants of the meeting, said:
“My husband, who was not a Libauer, used to say:
“This, your Libau, is the strangest place I’ve ever heard about. Approximately 9000 Jews lived there before the war, the Nazis killed more than 90%, but wherever you go, you will always meet at least one Libauer. “
This phenomenon is a unique manifestation of devotion and deep love for Libau (Liepāja), for our small but beautiful city on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Everyone who leaves Liepāja (Libau) for any reason sooner or later encounters an irresistible longing and a desire to return: to the sea, to the unique city beach, to parks, to its streets, plunged into history and, above all, to return to their roots.
- The first World Reunion of Latvian Jewish Survivors was organized in Riga in 1990 by Marger Vestermanis and Alexander Bergman. Among the participants was a group of Liepāja Survivors who visited their hometown and set up contacts with the reunited Jewish Community of Liepāja.
- This meeting formed the basis for regular gatherings of Liepāja Jews from many countries of the world, which are organized by the “Uniting History” and “Liepājas ebreju mantojums” Foundations.
- They provide an opportunity for Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants to meet in their hometown and share memories not only of the horrors of war, but also of miraculous rescues and Saviors of Jews in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, subsequent reunions of Liepāja Jewry took place under the auspices of the World Reunion of Latvian Jewry. This was followed by reunions in 2007 in Israel, in 2011 in Riga and Liepāja and in 2014, 2016, 2019 in Liepāja.