Latvians sing and dance in Esslingen

Starting June 16 about 700 Latvians are singing and dancing in Esslingen in a three-day event commemorating the song and dance festival Latvian war refugees held in the city 70 years ago, in 1947. 

After the second world war, Esslingen am Neckar was home to what was the largest Latvian war refugee camp in Germany. Despite all odds, they managed to achieve a rich cultural life there, culminating in the first song festival held in exile.

This weekend the city will host more than ten events including a parade, choral and dance concerts, as well as a play dedicated to Eslingen with about 60 participants from eight countries.

The city, which remained largely intact during the war, has a special flavor to it due to the abundance of 13th-century buildings.

A camp holding 7,000 Latvian war refugees was established shortly after the second world war in Esslingen.

"This meeting in Esslingen - both with the historical event, and with the people - is something extraordinary and unique ... Generations, stories, meetings - that's what these three days are about," said coordinator Laura Putāne.

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