Video: The Latvian refugee university in Germany

The second in the series of short documentary films titled "The Keys" is now available for you to watch online, complete with English-language subtitles.

This episode looks at the large numbers of refugees from Latvia who found their way to refugee camps in Germany at the end of the Second World War as they sought life in the democratic west while their homeland remained under Soviet occupation. They quickly organized to an impressive degree, aware from the start that they would play an important role in keeping the idea alive of an independent, democratic Latvia with its own particular culture and language.

To that end an amazing venture was begun - the founding of a Baltic university in exile, with academics from all three Baltic states participating. Its location: Hamburg Zoo.

According to LTV "The Keys" will tell 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.

Throughout the year, Latvian history will be told in 'mixed order' - events will not be sequenced year by year, but viewed in the exact month in which they occurred. For example, this first episode is devoted to the events of the January 1991 barricades, the second will be a miraculous story from January 1946, when Baltic war refugees established their university in Germany, the third the Soviet repression of Rīga intellectuals in January 1951. and the fourth will be concerned with the 1992 Winter Olympics, where Latvia, after regaining its independence, was re-admitted to the World Olympic Family. 

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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