The Grandma Choir

A 80 years old Latvian woman might have never moved in her entire life but lived in six different countries.

Let’s say she was born on the 23th June 1933 in Riga. And like most of the girls born at the saint’s day of Līga, her parents called her Līga, too. Līga took her first breaths in a independent Latvia with a parliamentary democracy and modern rules of minority protection.
Following a European trend, the Latvian democracy changed into a nationalistic dictatorship after a coup of the prime minister Karlis Ulmanis in 1934. While Līga didn’t notice the first change for sure, she might have heard her parents talking about the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact by the age of six.
The pact split Europe between the Soviets and the Nazis. Latvia fell to the Soviets. Due to the pact the Soviet army invaded Latvia in 1940. From now on Līga didn’t live in Latvia anymore but in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Pictures can be found in which Latvian women throw flowers at the Nazis when they, despite the nonaggression pact, invaded Riga in 1941. The Latvians suffered a lot under the Soviet Regime and hoped the Germans might treat them better. Maybe Līga and mother joined the other women on the streets waving at the Germans.

Anyhow, from 1941 her hometown Riga was known as the capital of the Reichskommisariat Ostland. A from Nazis occupied and administered federation of the Baltic states, parts of Poland, and Belarus. This, however, didn’t last long either. If Līga wasn’t lucky enough the escape Riga, she might have witnessed heavy fighting between the Soviets and the Nazis in her hometown by the age of 11. A little later the heavily destroyed Riga was handed over to the winning Soviet troops. From this moment on the girl lived again in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. In this state she grew up. Maybe she worked in one of the Soviet factories around Riga or in the port. Maybe she raised children, too. However, by the age of 56 she witnessed how the Soviet Empire begun to to fall apart. Perhaps she has been one of the thousands of people who formed a human chain through the Baltic countries to protest for their independence.

Raw footage of the Baltic humanchain. Best to be started at 2:50

After the peaceful revolution she lived in the sixth, and probably last, country of her live: the independent Republic of Latvia. Continue reading