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Primary school students with their teacher in Latvia

Date: 1936
Overall: 86 x 137 mm, 0.004 kg
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00029745
Place Manufactured:Latvija

User Terms

    This black and white photograph shows a group of primary school students with their teacher in Platones, Latvia. The photograph was taken outside the schoolhouse in 1936.
    SignificanceThe photograph is part of a series that relates to the migration of Displaced Persons from Latvia to Australia after World War II. The series documents life in Latvia prior to and after German occupation during World War II, life in German refugee camps awaiting resettlement as Displaced Persons and the journey via England to life in Australia. Latvians were amongst the first migrants to be accepted by Australia after World War II through the Displaced Persons’ Resettlement Scheme. This scheme, an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the International Refugee Organisation, marked a major shift in Australian immigration policy, which had previously prioritised British migration.
    HistoryDuring World War II much of Western Europe was invaded by Nazi Germany, forcing millions of people to flee their oppressed homelands to Displaced Persons camps. The Soviet Union annexed Latvia in 1940 under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Germany. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union during World War II Latvia was invaded and occupied. The Soviet Union recaptured Latvia from Germany in 1944.

    In the decade after the end of World War II, more than two million people migrated to Australia as part of a government campaign to increase Australia’s population. More than 170,000 were European displaced people resettled in Australia through the Displaced Persons’ Resettlement Scheme, established through an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the International Refugee Organisation (IRO).

    The IRO was formed in 1946 to transport Displaced Persons to countries in Europe, North America and Australia. The organisation chartered individuals and families from various European countries including Germany, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Lithuania. Latvians were one of the first Displaced Persons groups to be accepted by Australia, with some 19,421 Latvians living in the country by 1951.

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