10th International Conference
The conference is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Latvia and the contribution of Jews to Latvia’s founding and development.
April 26-28, 2017,Riga
Conference venue: Riga Jewish Community Center, Skolas 6


• Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia

• Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia

• Museum “Jews in Latvia”

Co-Chairmen of the conference: Prof. Herman Branover (Israel) and Prof. Ruvin Ferber (Latvia)


Financial supporters:

• Ministry of Culture of Latvia

• State Cultural Capital Foundation

• Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Latvia

• Arlene Beare (UK)

• Henry Blumberg (Canada)

• American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

• Stiftung “Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft” (Germany)


Simultaneous translation in English is provided.

Everyone is welcome to attend the conference.


Wednesday, April 26

10:30 – 13:00

Session 1. The Diversity of Latvian Jewish Fates: History, Politics, Culture

Yehuda Bitty (Israel). An educational pioneer in Jewish Riga: Reuben Joseph Wunderbar

Ineta Kulša (Latvia). Zalman Yakub – the history keeper

Leo Dribins (Latvia). Grigory Smirin’s contribution to Latvian Jewish historiography

Ļudmila Zapļetņuka (Latvia) A doctor, a pedagogue and a municipal politician – Yefim Grodzinsky and his fate

Leonid Tyorushkin (Russia) Correspondence from the front and a brief biography of a mathematician Isaac Rabinovitch

Mārtiņš Vesperis (Latvia) The activities of doctors Morduch Weinreich (1891-1972) and Max Zik (1904-1986) in Liepaja before and after World War II

13:00 – 14:00 Break

14:00 – 16:00

Session 2. The Diversity of Latvian Jewish Fates: International Context

Serafim Seppala (Finland). Orthodox dialectic of opposites: Rabbi Kook from Griva

Vadim Stetsyuk (Ukraine). Yosif Endrik: the fate of Latvian Jew in the Ukrainian army

Karina Simonson (Lithuania). Questions of power, domination and Western cultural canon in the works of South African photographer Eli Weinberg

Ivar Brod (USA). Prominent Latvian Jews in the US: a few semi-forgotten biographies

Henry Blumberg (Canada). Joseph. H. Hirshhorn’s migration from Mitau to the USA: becoming an art benefactor extraordinaire

16:00 – 17:00 Break

17:00 – 20:00. Official opening of the conference

• Welcome speeches

• Awards ceremony of school student essay contest “Diverse Latvia: the Jewish community in Latvian history and modernity”

• Keynote presentation: Iļja Ļenskis (Latvia). The Jewish role in the history of Latvia: from the blank spots to an honorary plaque


Aivars Stranga (Latvia) Latvian Jews in 1939-1940: the unknown aspects of the history

Marģers Vestermanis (Latvia) The rescue of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Latvia (1941-1945): the motivation of rescuers

Svetlana Pakhomova (Russia) Stepping over the threshold: the cinematography of Herz Frank


Thursday, April 27

10:00 – 11:40

Session 3. Jews in the Republic of Latvia (1918-1940)

Sergejs Tihomirovs (Latvia).* The image of the Jew in the texts of L.Korol-Purashevitch: based on material published in newspaper “Zavtra”

Anastasija Smirnova (Latvia).*Jewish women’s organizations in Latvia in the 1920’s-30’s

Dāvids Gurēvičs (Latvia).* The activity of the Jewish deputies of the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia in the mirror of the press

Theis Klauberg (Latvia/Germany) Paul Mintz: a lawyer and a statesman

11:40 – 12:10 Coffee Break

12:10 – 13:50

Session 4. Jews in Latgale: Social Anthropology and Oral History

Josifs Ročko (Latvia). Jewish travelling salesmen in Latgale in the late 19th and early 20th century

Mariya Vyatchina (Russia/Estonia).* The existence of the term “beliye zhydi” (White Jews) in Latgale: variations and interpretations

Svetlana Amosova (Russia). Particularities of Jewish holidays in Latgale

Valda Čakša (Latvia). Memories about Jews in the interviews, conducted by history students of Rezekne Academy of Technologies

13:50 – 15:00 Break

15:00 – 16:40

Session 5. Jews in Latgale: Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Milana Bula (Latvia). Permanent exhibition of the Ludza Great Synagogue: development and perspectives

Ronita Kiršnere (Latvia).* The Synagogue of Ludza as a socio-cultural phenomenon

Marina Sokolova (Latvia).* Rezekne’s Green Synagogue as a cultural tourism object

Kaspars Strods (Latvia).* Jewish cultural heritage sites in Varakļāni

16:40 – 17:30

Presentation of recent publications in Latvian Jewish studies

17:30 – 19:00

Screening of the documentary film “The Burning” (2016), presented by the producer Kaspars Rolšteins

Friday, April 28 

10:00 – 11:30

Session 6. Jewish Community of Latvia in a Regional Perspective

Irina Kurčanova (Latvia), Mārtiņš Vesperis (Latvia). The Jewish Community of Pavilosta: from the first traders to the period of its blossoming

Ingrīda Zīriņa (Latvia). Search for the lost: research materials on the history of the Jewish Community in the Valmiera museum

Krista Evelīna Liepiņa (Latvia).* Jews in Rujiena from the beginning of the 20th century to 1941

Olga Gogina-Miroļubova (Latvia). Grobina – the center of “Musar” education

11:30 – 12.00 Coffee Break

12:00 – 14:00

Session 7. Latvian Jews: contemporary history

Karīna Barkane (Latvia). Preservation problems of the synagogues in Latvia after World War II

Olga Miheloviča (Latvia). Dissidentism and Jewish Movement in Latvian SSR (1970s-80s)

Vlads Šuļmans (Latvia). Professors of the Latvian State Conservatory Max Goldin, Lyudmila Pismennaya, Mendel Bash. Creative and pedagogical activities

Yelizaveta Yakimova (Russia). History of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Israel

Elīna Vasiļjeva (Latvia). Jewish text in contemporary Latvian literature

Conference Closing: Concluding Remarks.

* This symbol marks participants of the youth section