My name is Maris Goldmanis. I come from Eastern European country Latvia.  I have Masters Degree in History. From September 2013 I have started PHD studies in history at the University of Latvia Faculty of History and Philosophy. I live in Riga, sometimes I live other places in Latvia for short time.

I read English, Russian and French literature, mostly historic books and others.  My preferred English authors are Niall Ferguson, A. J. P. Taylor, Walter Laquer and others.

This website is detailed introduction in issues relating to History of Latvia. Many topics are discussed here, politics, historical events and culture. The blog is aimed at the English speaking world audience to spread the word of Latvia from Latvian point of view. I hope that those who will take a look at this blog will find something new about the history of Latvia and other topics. This website holds my personal opinion on history of Latvia and its not connected with the official state institution. . Blog is not intended to be strictly academic source of knowledge its more a informative and encyclopedic source. You can use it in your academic works at your own risk. However the 99% of the information of the articles comes from academic sources.

My research fields were and are: the political parties in Latvia before the WWII, National minority question in Latvia before the WWII, Jewish history in Latvia and historical art sources like posters and caricatures. I am also interested in WW2 history, the Nazi-Soviet relations from 1939 to 1941, Radio History and Foreign Affairs.


The development and upgrades for this site has been canceled until further notice.



Māris Goldmanis


25 responses to “About

  1. oorhideja

    Congratulations! It’s very interesting blog and I will read it in the future…

  2. keenanreed


    I’m trying to find information about residents and ownership of tracts of land near Mitau in the 1830s through the 1850s. Can you help me with that?


  3. keenanreed

    Hello Maris,

    Thank you for the reply.

    I don’t know German, Russian or Latvian. Catholic Church birth records in the Latvian archives in Riga are in Latin, which I also don’t know. I know some French, which in not helpful in this situation.

    Archivists in Riga searched the Catholic Church birth records and found no record of my subject there. An independent researcher searched Catholic and Lutheran birth records and found nothing for my subject. She also searched tax records for Mitau and found a family with one of the many names that might apply but no record for the correct time period or my subject’s given name.

    I thought that perhaps by contacting an historian or genealogist in or near Mitau, I might be able to prove or disprove my subject’s claims of his heritage there. A man in Moscow wrote to me that there are many old mansions in Jelgava and people there who know the mansions’ ownership back to their origin.

    My time period is the 1830s to 1860s. I have several names my subject used or were attributed to him in Latvia, Russia and Germany. I can provide them if you’re interested in pursuing the topic. I’m in the US and don’t know the languages or procedures there, which makes my doing the research frustrating to the point of impossible.

    Please let me know.


    • gold88

      You may write a letter to the Jelgava history museum- muzejs@muzejs.jelgava.lv to find local historians and genealogists that might help you. You can provide the names if you want. What is your subject by nationality?

  4. keenanreed

    Thank you for that link. Does someone there know English?

    The man I’m looking for said he was born in Riga in 1832. Latvia was then in Russia. His first language, and probably his heritage, was German, but he was a passionate czarist and Russian nationalist.

    • gold88

      Older and middle age Latvian historians have problems with English because Soviet education pushed Russian and German language. Young generation historians know English because its now the first foreign language. If there some younger workers and I think there must be, they can understand English.

  5. keenanreed

    OK, thanks for that information. I posted my request to the Jelgava museum in English and am hoping that works.

  6. keenanreed

    No word from the museum yet. If I hear nothing after a few days, I’ll use Google Translate and post the same query in Latvian. Thanks for your help. Have a good trip.

    • gold88

      I kind a mixed up the dates, I will going away the week after. I don’t know if the Google translator will do any good because its translation from English to Latvian is horrible. Its translates much better in Russian by my experience.

  7. keenanreed

    OK, unless I get a reply in English within a few days, I’ll post again in English, Russian and Latvian, the latter two translated by Google Translate. Is Babelfish better than Google Translate with Latvian?

  8. gold88

    I could not find an option in Babelfish for Latvian so I checked other translation sites, but quality is all the same. So is better to add Russian translation also because its much more better.

  9. keenanreed

    The museum in Jelgava replied in English! They found nothing on my subject, so I posted again with more identifying information. They suggested archives in Riga, so I posted there with the same identifying information. I had posted there months ago when I had a lot less knowledge about my subject, and they were unable to find anything. Maybe with the new identifiers, the museum or the archive will find him.

  10. Hi, fellow Historian!! 🙂

    I’m thinking about writing in my blog about a controversial Latvian historical figure: Herbert Cukurs. Do you know where can I find some information?

    I know about the point of view about his involvement with the Holocaust in Riga, given by some international researches (Or, of course, what the Mossad had to say about it). However, an oppinion from a Latvian Historian would be more than interesting, indeed!

    Thank you very much for your help! Paldies tev!!!

    • gold88

      The most complete source about Holocaust in Latvia is in English is book written by Andrew Ezergailis The Holocaust in Latvia The Missing Center, where states that Cukurs played a leading role in 30,November atrocities in Riga Ghetto and Rumbula. However he admits that there are not enough proof that he was “Holocaust monster”, because by Latvian witnesses saw him mostly working in SD Commando garage. But Jewish witnesses say something else. A defender book of Cukurs is written by Baiba Šāberte can be still purchased in Jumava book magazine, its all in Latvian but you can ask your Latvian friends to translate the main points. Unfortunately she is not a historian. There is many internet sites like http://herberts-cukurs.blogspot.com/. Also its worth to search for Aivars Stranga the leading Jewish specialist what he has to say about it.

      I personally think that Cukurs may share some extent of guilt, but not enough to be brutally killed without a trial. I have a book in Latvian written by be murderer of Cukurs, called “The death of Riga butcher” where he shows that he was killed without a proper proof. They knew that Uruguayan authorities wont handle him to Israel so they choose the brutal way. Its is also interesting detail that before the war Cukurs made a trip to Jerusalem and shared his experiences with Riga Jews in Jewish Club at Skolas street 6 where he was quite friendly to Zionism. What happened with him at the war time happened with many people who saw future in corporation with Germans. Naive ones hoped that Germans will give Latvia freedom, smart ones like Viktors Arājs saw good starting point for his carrier. He could be good NKVD officer as well as SD officer he may was not even anti-Semitic just did what Germans ordered him to. The same can go for Cukurs. Its must be understood that real perpetrators of Jewish killings were Germans and Latvians were just puppets for their work. I also recommend to search for book by Franks Gordons “The Jews and Latvians caught between Germany and Russia” where the Jewish patriot of Latvia shows how it happened. Good luck with the post I will want to read it in google translator when its published.

  11. gold88

    Thank you for you support. I have posts about Livonians, Latgallians, Jews and Baltic Germans.
    I do not have any posts about Slavic minorities but I will post it sometime in future.
    Russians are majority in Riga, Daugavpils and in Latgalian towns. They live in all largest Latvian cities because they prefer urban life than rural. Rural areas and small towns are more Latvian, but you can hear Russian language there too.
    I actually specialize in minority question but I prefer the period between 1918-1940. when there was a much different situation. I work with Jewish organization where I will have publications about this matter.
    As for present situation its the result of 50 year Soviet rule. In 1939. there were only 10% Russians. Soviet government enforced steady migration policy and in the result we have two sided society. It was a Soviet intention to quell national movement in occupied Baltic states. However it was also a responsibility of local Latvian communists who allowed this. In Lithuania local communists prevented the building of large factories that require workforce from the east and in so Lithuania is most ethnically unified country. Latvia and Estonia are prime examples of countries that gone trough forced migration.
    As for citizenship it may be a mistake not to give citizenship to all people in 1992, however since Latvia joined EU and NATO the law has been eased and large numbers have got the citizenship. There is a lot of dark sides in this, since not all Russians are loyal to Latvia. In dates such as 9, May you can see people with flags of Russian Federation and Russia flags in their cars.
    The national question here is difficult and will be the same in future. I glad that you are interested in this question its a controversial since its holds two opposite views- Russian and Latvian point of view. However not all Russians are enemies of Latvia, its a question of every man social and educational status.

  12. Great blog Maris! It’s a very interesting site providing countless information about Latvia, a beautiful country! I’ll follow you from now on!

  13. Hi, I just want to say that you created a fantastic blogg about Larvian history. Will read it page to page. My special interest is current trends in ethnic relations in Latvia and migration. Once again, great blog!

    Best Regards Michael Diamant / Stockholm, Sweden

  14. Būtu labi mēģināt sevi pozicionēt Ziemeļeiropā, nevis sevi saukt par austrumeiropieti. Ļoti patīkami, ka daudzi rietumos mūs pieliek pie Ziemeļeiropas 🙂 Tāpēc Māri, es domāju, ka Tu arī esi no Ziemeļeiropas 🙂

  15. I originally found your blog at Latviansonline.com years ago and have found it very informative but it’s topics seldom invite comment due to it’s educational format. There is never much to say except “nice post” which I find rather useless.

    I am married to a repatriate and we live in Riga 90% of the time so I would like to converse with Latvians both in country and abroad and to that end have attempted to join the above mentioned site, but it is locked down and e-mails are never returned.

    I see your posts in the forums. What is the problem with this Latviansonline.com site?

    I hope you aren’t offended by my enquiring on your site about another site but I find the situation ridiculous as I blog about Russia & Latvia and have not had a similar problem anywhere else!


    • gold88

      Thank you for reading my blog. Yes since I write these topics as a educated historian, they may sound too educational, but that is the purpose of this blog to show the history of Latvia from our point of view.

      Unfortunately I never used Latviansonline.com, never registered there. Those links to my posts in their forums are posted by other people, so I don’t know about their issues. The site as I check today however works. It may be that they had temporary issues or you emails were blocked by a antispam filter as it sometimes happen. If this persists then more likely you have to contact their staff.

      I wish you best in discovering your new homeland! If there is some questions regarding Latvian stuff, you can ask them again.
      Best regards.
      Maris Goldmanis

  16. Hi, Mari. Thank you for your very interesting blog. I have given link to it on my blog http://www.travelingaround50.wordpress.com, I hope you don’t mind. Cheers 🙂

  17. You’ve a really interesting blog. I’ve studied a lot of Latvian history and this is the best I’ve seen in English. Please keep posting.

  18. Hi Maris, I’m a Master student doing a research on History of Latvian Typography. I was wondering if I can use some of the valuable information I found on your blog as my reference. I would also appreciate if you could send me any specific links or references about the same decline.