The Children of Siberia Foundation and the Uniting History Foundation in cooperation with the
Jews in Latvia Museum in Riga held a solemn presentation of the book “Shalom, Siberia!” by
Dzintra Geka on Tuesday, the 15 th of September. The event took place at the Jewish Community.
In June 1941, thousands of residents were deported from Latvia to Siberia. Among them were
1789 Jews – children, adults, and elderly people. In many families, children were born already in
Siberian settlements. The book “Shalom, Siberia!” is dedicated to the personal stories of people
who survived these terrifying and difficult events. Over the years, the author of the book has
recorded dozens of interviews, and the result of this immense work has been materialised in the
form of a collection of memoirs “Shalom, Siberia!”. All interviews in the book are published in
three languages: Latvian, Russian and English.
The presentation was opened with a welcoming speech by Ilya Lensky, the director of the Jews
in Latvia Museum. Dzintra Geka told the guests how the idea of creating such a book was born
and about the fate of the people she met in the process of creating this collection of memoirs.
Elina Sklar, the executive director of the Uniting History Foundation, told that the Foundation
considers it important to support the publication of materials about the fate of Latvian residents
of different nationalities since knowledge of common history will help in forming a tolerant
modern society. The presentation was supplemented with personal stories of the book’s heroes.
Rafail Rosenthal, one of the authors of the memoirs included in the book, was the guest of the
event. He told about the fate of his family, which was forced to endure deportation and the
experience of Siberian settlements.
Fragments from the book were read by the pupils of the Riga Jewish Secondary School – this is
how the written text found its voice. Yakov Shatz shared his memories about the deportation to
Siberia. These personal stories become fragments of the common history of the country, and
private destinies paint a general picture of the life of the people in the 20 th century.
The presentation was complemented by a musical performance - the famous Israeli composer
Don Jaffe was among the guests of honour, and he thanked all those present. His cello sonata
Shoah was performed by the Riga virtuoso cellist Mark Vilensky. In addition to the musical
illustration, guests of the event were offered to watch fragments from two films – Remember
Siberia (2010) and Where did Our Fathers Remain (2014). These are documentaries filmed by
Dzintra Geka based on materials from her Siberian expeditions and research on the topic of
The publication of the book “Shalom, Siberia!” became an important cultural event. But this is also
a significant event for the preservation of the historical memory of the residents of Latvia.