Monday, December 15, 2014


The proclamation of Republic of Latvia 18  November 1918
Rosetta's parents were immigrants from Friedrichstadt  a town in Latvia on the left bank of the Daugava River about 80 km southeast of Riga. So it is interesting to me that the Republic of Latvia was proclaimed on November 18,1918, Rosetta's 9th birthday, and that date became a key date in history. Finally after long years of oppression Latvians took the steps to proclaim their country. Every year there is a military parade in Riga and other celebrations.  

The revolution in 1905 was the first sign of Latvian national awaking and the thought of breaking from Russia. Although the main force in the revolution was Latvian social democrats, the whole revolution was made against foreign oppression. The attacks on German mansions and calls for Latvian autonomy had national character. The next crucial point was the First World War. 

In 1915, the German army invaded Latvian territory. 567 000 people fled Latvia to Russia. Had Matilda and Eli Schwartz not immigrated to the United States in the late 1800's, before starting a family, they might have been among those refugees. It was a catastrophic situation when half of Latvian population left their homeland. Nationally minded refugees organized self-support committees in all Russia. Only Jewish refugees were more organized than Latvians. The German army stopped near Riga and stayed there until 1917. To fight Germans Latvians organized national rifleman regiments. Latvians gathered under the Russian banner to protect their land. This was a birth of the Latvian national military.

Rosetta was 6 years old the year the German army invaded the area where her parents lived in Latvia. By then the Schwartz's were secure in their home in Chicago. It is unknown whether close relatives had remained in Latvia and were part of the mass exodus, or worse yet, were murdered. Rosetta was the youngest of their ten children, and while the family didn't have much money, and  they did have two priceless things. LAUGHTER AND FREEDOM 

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