Documentary examines how Latvian refugees fled to Sweden against the odds

Take note – story published 3 years ago

Latvian Television has prepared another of its series of short historical documentary films, complete with English-language subtitles.

This time the starting year is 1944 and thousands of Latvians are fleeing their war-ravaged country across the Baltic Sea to Sweden. It was a perilous trip for numerous reasons, and one that in many cases would not work out as hoped. 

The evacuation effort was a complex and remarkable feat in itself, requiring some ingenious improvisation and plenty of courage, though the biggest heroes have recieved only belated recognition.  

It is an episode in Latvian history that continues to provoke discussion to the present day and even plays a role in contemporary debates about Latvian attitudes to refugees and asylum-seekers.   

According to LTV "The Keys" series tells of the most important or "key" events, personalities and turning points in the history of the Latvian state from 1918 to the present. The purpose is to reveal each selected event from an unusual point of view, as if "unlocking the door" to lesser known and therefore particularly intriguing facts. 

"Such an exploratory approach, bypassing the usual stereotypes of presenting history, will allow viewers to perceive what is known to others and to better understand what has happened in the context of today's experience," says LTV.

The show is made by VFS Films, a long-time partner of Latvian Television and it is hosted by Mārtiņš Ķibilds, a distinguished cultural journalist who sadly passed away late last year.

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