'Virtual museum' tells stories of child deportees

The ground-breaking 'Esi Pats' (Be Yourself) online virtual museum has opened a brand new English-language site, telling the stories of child deportees to Siberia via video, audio and other means.

The museum is inspired by the life and works of Melanija Vanaga, who was herself deported to Siberia by the Soviets and recalled her often harrowing experiences in a series of books notable for their literary as well as historical value.

Historian Elina Kalnina, who has been the driving force behind the project, told LSM at the launch of the new site on December 12 she was "deeply satisfied" to have the English-language version up and running, with Russian, French and German versions also set to go live in the first half of 2016.

Among the audience was Andris Eglitis, a 5-year-old when he himself was sent to Siberia.

"It's important to remember those who did not come back as well as those who did," he reminded the audience at the Amata district council building in central Latvia.

"I urge everyone to visit the memorial to the child deportees outside Riga castle and perhaps leave a candle or a flower," he said.

You can find out more about Latvia's child deportees and their remarkable stories of hardship and survival HERE.

Esi Pats is far more than an archive - some of the video materials and animations are stunning.

As well as the online museum, Amata district also has a physical museum dedicated to Melanija Vanaga's life and works just outside the village of Giksi.

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