Beloved film critic Valentīna Freimane dies at 95

Take note – story published 5 years ago

On February 16 beloved film critic and writer Valentīna Freimane passed away, just before what would have been her 96th birthday. 

Her death was confirmed to Latvian Radio by members of her family.

Relentlessly erudite and charismatic, Freimane was an icon for several generations of post-war students who studied theater history and attended Freimane's lectures on films.

Of Jewish origin, she was born in Riga in 1922 and described her childhood memories and survival of the holocaust in her 2010 book Adieu, Atlantis! that has been translated into several languages.

Her father was lawyer Leopold, and she spent her formative years in Riga, Paris, and Berlin where her father worked at the UFA film company. After Hitler came to power, her family returned to Riga in 1935. She married medical student Dietrich Feinmanis in June 1941.

She hid with her husband during the German occupation and, after he was arrested, in other flats, including the home of Paul Schiemann (Pauls Šimanis), a famous journalist of Baltic-German origin. 

After World War II, she graduated from the History Faculty of Latvian State University. She was a graduate student at the State Theater Art Institute in Moscow from 1962 to 1965. Freimane worked as a teacher at several schools in Liepāja, and as an editor at the Komunists newspaper (1950-1963). She then worked at the radio 

From 1968 to 1980 Freimane worked at the Latvian Academy of Science as a senior researcher at the Institute for Language and Literature. At the same time, she taught theater history at the Latvian State Conservatory. 

She was among the founders of the film forum Arsenāls and in 2015 an acclaimed opera about her remarkable life was performed in Riga and Berlin. 

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