THE LATVIAN EXCEPTION: TREASURES OF LATVIAN MUSEUMS AND ARCHIVES EVACUATED BY NAZI GERMANY DURING WWII AND RETURNED BY USA FORCES TO THE USSR IN 1945 (Latvijas iznemums: Nacistiskas Vacijas Otraja pasaules kara evakuetas un ASV karaspeka PSRS 1945. g
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One of the most successful cases of recovered cultural treasures taken out by Germany during WWII is still almost unknown even in such Latvian cultural institutions as museums and archives. In 1944 Germany had planned to evacuate the oldest and most significant documents pertaining to German influence in Latvian and Baltic political and cultural history and the property of Baltic Germans as well as important documents and cultural testimonies of the newly founded state of Latvia. There was a plan to evacuate more than 1200 crates of historical documents and other valuables from the State History Archive, Riga City History Archive, Latvian History Museum and its affiliate the Dom Museum, Riga City Art Museum and other institutions as well as about 23 000 packages of State History Archive documents to Opava (Troppau in German). The repositories were arranged in the surrounding Sudetenland palaces that had been seized from the Czech Republic and a department of the German State Archive was situated there. This plan, carried out by Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg in all countries of Eastern Europe, was not as successful as had been envisaged because the employees of the State History Museum hid part of the most valuable items such as the numismatic collection, silver pieces and archaeological discoveries, in the Riga Castle. The State History Archive staff also replaced some of the most valuable documents with less significant ones.
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