Everyday Antisemitism in Interwar Latvia

Experiences and Expressions through the Lens of Oral History


  • Paula Antonella Oppermann University of Glasgow




Antisemitism, testimonies, oral history, xenophobia, Latvia, Eastern Europe


This article examines forms of antisemitism in interwar Latvia. Based mainly on testimonies from Jewish and non-Jewish witnesses, it investigates how exclusionary practices by non-Jews were expressed and impacted on people in their everyday life. Latvia had no antisemitic legislation in the 1920s and 1930s, but state structures facilitated societal antisemitism, which was more widespread than scholarship has recognised. The Jews in Latvia were affected regardless of societal standing, linguistic, or religious affiliation. Animosities existed among all ethnic groups to a degree, but attacks against Jews were of a different quality. Despite frequent interaction which sometimes turned into ‘inter-ethnic’ affection, the majority of society did not perceive the Jews as fellow compatriots.

Author Biography

Paula Antonella Oppermann, University of Glasgow

Paula Oppermann studied History and Baltic Languages at the University of Greifswald and completed an M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Uppsala University. She has worked at the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre (Berlin) and the Wiener Library (London). Since 2017 Paula Oppermann is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow conducting a research project about the Latvian Fascist Organisation Pērkonkrusts (Thunder Cross). She received fellowships at the Institute for Contemporary History (Munich) and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute and is currently a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies. She has presented her work at international conferences including “Lessons and Legacies” and “Beyond Camps and Forced Labour”, published articles about the Holocaust and its commemoration in Latvia, and co-edited a volume about collaboration and resistance in occupied Europe.




How to Cite

Oppermann, Paula Antonella. 2021. “Everyday Antisemitism in Interwar Latvia: Experiences and Expressions through the Lens of Oral History”. S: I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation. 8 (3):48-64. https://doi.org/10.23777/SN.0321/ART_POPP01.