Special Baltic Way memorial days were held on 23-24 August when Europeana, Europe's Digital Library, and the National Library of Latvia invited Latvians to bring their photos and memorabilia from the Baltic Way, and 164 items were brought along to be digitized and preserved for generations to come.
The special collection days were organized in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia and were held in the creative and information space of "Riga 2014". During the two day period around 100 people came to digitalize their memorabilia items. Amongst those people were one of the organizers of the Baltic Way, Romualds Ražuks; artist Džemma Skulte; and political scientist Veiko Spolītis. The range of memorabilia items that people brought along was huge, with everything from photographs, news articles, dolls, badges, national flags, clothes, radios and cameras.
The memorial days of the Baltic Way were formally opened on Friday 23 August in honour of the historical events of 1989 by the following individuals:
- Žaneta Jaunzeme Grende, Latvian Minister of Culture;
- Sarmīte Ēlerte, Europeana 1989 ambassador in Latvia;
- Ineta Kivle, Director of the Special Collections Department of the National Library of Latvia;
- Dagnija Baltiņa, General secretary of the Latvian National Committee of UNESCO;
- Māris Gulbis, Referent of the European Parliament;
- Valdis Ābols, Musician from the folk group "Akcents";
- Aivars Liepiņš, Photographer; and
- Cesis Ivars Prauliņš, Organizer of the Baltic Way in Latvia.
"The Europeana 1989 project is a great way to begin the year-long preparations for the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way in 2014. This is an opportunity to make our own memories part of a bigger story and to remind us that freedom in Latvia and the Baltic States in 1989 wasn't just a gift, it was achieved by us, by the people. This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that the Baltic Way was a road to a united Europe, a distinguished moment in the histories of the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian nations, and a distinguished moment in all of Europe," says Sarmīte Ēlerte, the ambassador of the Europeana 1989 project in Latvia.
Items, photographs and stories collected during the collection days will available to view on the Europeana 1989 website www.europeana1989.eu within the next two weeks.
The Europeana 1989 project aims to document the changes that took place in the year 1989 in Latvia and the former Eastern bloc countries. Next year, the world will celebrate 25 years since those revolutionary events took place that changed Europe. The project aims to create a vivid and complete picture of what took place in Europe with stories, photos, videos and sound recordings from every country affected. Personal stories, memories and experiences wil help others to better understand what it was like and to see events from a different perspective.
In addition to the collection days, Europeana and the National Library of Latvia invites participants of the Baltic Way to digitalize their memories and memorabilia themselves by publishing them on the internet webpage www.europeana1989.eu/lv. The online collection facility is open and ready to accept memorabilia and stories from people who participated in the 1989 events.
At the conclusion of this project, a very detailed archive will be created which will then be used for years and generations to come as a research resource, for studying or just for fun.
The Europeana 1989 project in the Baltic States is being organized in collaboration with the National Library of Latvia, the National Library of Lithuania, the National Library of Estonia. SIA "MGE" also kindly supported the project by providing "Bookeye 4" scanning facilities used at the collection days to record documents.
For more information contact:
+371 277 571 22
+49 (0) 163 4809862
+44 (0) 7885 516234