Jews in Latvia in 1918-1941

The second room is dedicated to the cultural, political and social life of the Jews in Latvia from 1918 to 1941 — the golden age of the Jewish community in the free state of Latvia.

With the foundation of the Republic of Latvia, Jews took an active part in the new state. Many took part in the War for Independence, tens of them were honored. During the democratic rule, Jewish political parties took an active part in the elections and were represented in the Saeima (parliament) and municipalities.

The Jewish political life was determined by rivalry between religious conservative, socialdemocratic and Zionist ideologies. They were included in the political party programs, and gained a lot of interest and sympathy.

The struggle between various political trends was reflected not only in politics, but also in educational facilities. The Jewish schools, some of them state funded, offered a wide of choices and educational models in four languages – Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and German.

In the same way as the political and educational, other public societies – cultural, sport, religious, social, mutual-support, student and others – were active. State support of national-cultural autonomy stimulated an active artistic and intellectual life.

This upswing was partly limited by the absolution of democracy in 1934 and was completely disrupted by the Soviet occupation in 1940-1941. Soviet authorities suppressed almost all Jewish organizations, while some important persons among thousands of other Latvian citizens were deported or shot.