The Commission of the Historians of Latvia was established on 13 November 1998 following the initiative of the former State President Guntis Ulmanis. It assumed its work at the end of 1998 composed by eleven members of the Commission. The Commission included professional historians from the Institute of History and the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the University of Latvia, State History Archives of Latvia as well as the Museum of Occupation and employees of the Chancery of the President. Andris Caune, the Professor of the Institute of History, was elected Chairman of the Commission.
In co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs foreign members of the Commission were found and involved in the Commission. The meetings of the Commission with the participation of its foreign members are to be held twice a year. The involvement of foreign scholars and community activists should promote impartiality in the work of the Commission as well as provide for better acquisition of the methods of history research developed in the West.
The main task of the Commission during its initial working period was to study the issue - “Crimes against Humanity Committed in the Territory of Latvia under Two Occupations, 1940 - 1956”, as well as to organise the production of the final report on the theme. Only a few of the members of the Commission were directly involved in the research of the theme – major work is being implemented by approximately 25 professional historians. The task involves work for several years, which is connected both with the need to acquire new materials from archives in Latvia and abroad, as well as the need to acquire a possibly most impartial estimation of the problems connected with the theme.
5 independent working groups have been established: Crimes against Humanity in the Territory of Latvia in 1940 -1941 (chaired by Prof. I.Sneidere), The Holocaust in Latvia in 1941 - 1944 (chaired by Prof. A.Stranga), Crimes against Humanity in the Territory of Latvia during the Nazi Occupation in 1941-1944 (chaired by Prof. I. Feldmanis), Crimes against Humanity in the Territory of Latvia during the Soviet Occupation from 1944 - 1956, Latvia during the Soviet Occupation from 1956 - 1990 (chaired by dr. hist. D.Bleiere).
The detailed research about the politics of Nazi and Soviet regime, the issue of the Holocaust evaluation is at the centre of the work of the Commission at present. Deep and academic research on the Holocaust will represent a certain criterion for the maturity of the scholars as well as the community as a whole. During the recent years Commission has to paid greater attention to Latvia's development problems during the Soviet regime. Impartial studying of history is of vital importance in the context of the international dialogue between Latvia and Israel, Russia and other countries.
A further task of the Commission of Historians is to contribute to teaching history in schools by preparing the basis for creating new teaching materials, as well as to promote dissemination of knowledge on this period to the people of Latvia and abroad.
Chairman of the Commission of Historians of Latvia:
Inesis Feldmanis - dr. habil. hist., Professor, full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
Members of the Commission of Historians of Latvia:
Ilgvars Butulis - dr. hist., Professor, Faculty of History and Philosophy, University of Latvia
Aivars Stranga - dr. habil. hist., Professor, chairman, Department of Latvian and Eastern European History, University of Latvia Faculty of History and Philosophy, full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Ēriks Jēkabsons - dr. hist., Associate Professor Faculty of History and Philosophy, University of Latvia
Valters Nollendorfs - Ph.D., Professor emeritus, external affairs director, Latvian Occupation Museum, foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
Daina Bleiere - dr. hist., Docent, Department of Political Science, Faculty of European Studies, Rīga Stradiņš University, senior researcher, University of Latvia Institute of Latvian History
Marģers Vestermanis - dr. hist. h.c., Latvian Academy of Sciences, curator, Jews in Latvia Museum
Kārlis Kangeris - dr. a researcher at the Latvian Institute of History
Antonijs Zunda - dr. habil. hist., Professor
Uldis Neiburgs – Dr. hist., historian, Latvian Occupation Museum
Aleksandrs Ivanovs – Dr.hist., professor, Daugavpils University
Valters Ščerbinskis – Dr.hist., docent, Faculty of European Studies, Rīga Stradiņš University
Foreign members of the Commission of Historians of Latvia:
Professor Erwin Oberlender (Germany), Professor George D. Schwab (United States), Steven Springfield, head of the Jews Who Survived in Latvia association in the United States, Dr Alexander Rupasov, senior researcher at the St Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Dr Aaron Schneier, senior researcher at the Yad Vashem institute in Israel.