From 22nd July to 1st August Country Office Latvia took part in a Volksbund youth camp in Latvia. I had the opportunity to be a teamer in the camp with the help of two other Volksbund colleagues from Germany. The planning for the camp already started in December 2022 after we got to know the Volksbund in Berlin during Volkstrauertag commemoration events. This is the first time that the German-Baltic Future Forum is a partner of Volksbund for one of these camps. This year the overarching theme of the camp was "Minorities in Latvia: a source of enrichment or conflict" with the main language being English, however participants also spoke German, Latvian and Russian. Volksbund organizes many camps abroad, and the aim of these camps is to give young people an insight into the history of war, remembrance of war victims and to allow intercultural exchange.
We spent the first days of the camp in Tīnuži, in guest house "Krauklīšī" where we got an overview of minorities in Latvia with a lecture by minorities researcher Agnese Lāce, as well the opportunity to visit Salaspils and Rumbula memorials with architect Sergei Rižs, who designed the latter. This was a great additional resource for the group, as we gained insights that you don't always hear about. The rain contributed to the solemn atmosphere of the day, yet we gained a strong impression of the work and thought behind the memorials.
On 27th August we began the second half of the camp in Riga. On the first afternoon we had a tour of the Mentzendorff House and a talk about the German-Baltic and Latvian association Domus Rigensis by Nora Rutka, manager of the association, whose office is in the house itself. On Friday we held our memorial event in Biķernieki that the participants had prepared the whole week, which I personally found very moving. In Riga our participants also had the opportunity to discover Riga for themselves and look at other points of interest.
Finally, a huge thank you to Volksbund for the opportunity and my colleagues from Country Office Latvia Rozīte and Nelda for their help with the organisation. We are looking forward to working together in the future!
Daina Auziņa – Stellvertretung Landesbüro Lettland