The upcoming publication Abraham Edelman. 20th Century. A Letter

Following up on the recent panoramic research on the history of Jewish community in Rēzekne (Jewish Rēzekne, 2017) and Kārsava (Kārsava Stories, 2019), the upcoming title will represent a unique personal account of the Holocaust survivor Abraham Edelman from the border town Kārsava about his family and his own experiences throughout the 20th century.

The account of Mr Edelman is outstanding in several respects. Born in 1938 in Rēzekne, despite tumultuous war years spent in emigration in the Soviet Russia, the surviving Edelman family members managed to save the family records (including documents and photographs dating back to late-19th century) which make a rich background of his story.

Thanks to detailed knowledge of his family tree – names and dates, occupations and fate of each family member – and to the remarkably clear and crisp language of the now 82-year-old Mr Edelman, this personal account makes an exceptionally interesting read. 

Starting with a flashback of his Jewish family history in the Tsarist Russia’s pale of settlement in small border town in Latgalia – Kārsava, moving through the 1st World War and the years of Latvian independence, Mr Edelman takes the reader to his conscious recollections of the 2nd World war (fatal for many of his family members, father including) and the harsh post-war years in Riga with his mother and other female relatives. 

Starting from being a Jewish schoolboy in the mid-1940s Riga who practices violin, then an apprentice at the factory in the 1950s, then a technical student at one of the most prestigious Moscow universities followed by professional career up until 1980s, at every turn his origin is an extra hurdle to achieve a place in the Soviet system not to speak about banal everyday life. The discrimination towards Jews in the account of Mr Edelman is pervasive. The emigration to Israel after the 1991 putsch imminent.

In essence, Mr Edelman in a form of a personal letter takes us to a journey through his personal 20th century through the eyes of a person who has kept his place of origin close to his heart. It makes not only a rare and rich account of one Jewish person and his family from Kārsava but a pleasant read too. The new publication will complement the growing series of Kārsava Stories about the times and fates of its people and become a lasting contribution to a better understanding of our shared recent history.


Author: Abraham Edelman;

The academic editor of the publication and review author is Dr. hist. Uldis Neiburgs;

Comments are written by Director of the Museum “Jews in Latvia” Ilya Lensky;

Project coordinator: Ineta Zelča Sīmansone;

Translators: Artis Ērglis and Jānis Balodis;

Editors: Sigita Kušnere, Laine Kristberga and Jana Taperte;

Graphic Design: Edvards Percevs;

Publisher: Think Tank Creative Museum;

Project is supported by Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Uniting History Foundation.

Ineta Zelča Sīmansone

Museologist, Project Manager and Consultant