Osvalds Feiks

My first contact with the Latvian language, history and lifestyle took place in connection with my first wife. In 1973, I took her on her first adventurous trip to Riga through Moscow to meet her parents' family. Unfortunately, my wife Skaidrīte has already passed away, but family contacts still exist. I found out that the real Latvia could be found only outside Riga, when in 2006 I was driving through the country with Gerda and our two dogs Deizija and Lumpis and we arrived in Aizpute. Gerda already had accommodation here, from where we could get to the Kurzeme coast and many inland manors in one day trips.

My interest in Latvian culture and history was first aroused by Latvians in exile. After that, contacts were established with the Baltic Germans. But only trips around independent Latvia gave me a real sense of belonging to the country and its people.

Gerda suggested creating a virtual walk around Aizpute also in German. At first, this seemed like a simple task. However, the real difficulties here also lay in the details. The names of the many people mentioned in the texts of the virtual walk had to be re-examined, because in the Latvian version their spelling was inevitably adapted to the state language. Thanks to the excellent Baltic library that Gerda had accumulated over many years, it was possible to reconstruct the original names of Latvian, Russian and German speaking population. My role in this process was quite insignificant. As a technical student, I once took an additional linguistics course. I later worked as a software developer. Fortunately, with these three components, I was able to make a small contribution to the development of the German version of the virtual walk.

If you study the content of the description of the virtual walk in detail, you cannot ignore the large proportion of Jews among the town's population. Together with my college friend Oded Zingher from Israel, we once explored a Jewish cemetery in Aizpute. We were also familiar with the international working group LOT, which renovated the cemetery. Unfortunately, this cemetery does not have a monument to the people who were killed in Aizpute during the German occupation.