Monday, January 21, 2013

Vintage postcards from Nazi-occupied Latvia: Riga Opera House

Below you will find three postcards of the Riga Opera House that were mailed during Nazi German's occupation of Latvia. They were mailed from the town of Saldus in the Kurzemē (German: Courland) region and are addressed to Mrs. Marathon Pundit's godmother's mother, who lived in Ogre, which is near Riga. I believe all three of the cards were mailed in 1942--all of the messages are in German.

The Riga Opera House, also known as the National Opera House, was designed by the St. Petersburg architect Ludwig Bohnstedt and was built in 1863. After Latvian independence was restored in 1991, it was one of the first of Riga's many historic buildings to be renovated.

Here's the message: Yes, that is Adolf Hitler on the six pfennig Deutches Reich stamp.

Another view of the opera house. A predecessor body to the Latvian National Opera was the Riga City Theater--Richard Wagner was its music director from 1837-1839.

When the opera house opened, Germans made up over forty percent of Riga's population.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit has attended the opera many times in this building--including twice during her last trip there.

Most of Latvia's German population returned to Germany after the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939. The following year the Soviet Union invaded and then annexed the Baltic States. In 1941 the Nazis invaded the USSR.

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Latvia in World War II by Lumans, Valdis O. [Hardcover] (Google Affiliate Ad)

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