Daugavpils Latvian Society

The Daugavpils Latvian Society was founded on April 13, 1917. The Soviet regime closed the Society after the occupation of Latvia in 1940. The work of the Daugavpils Latvian Society was renewed in 1993; it was registered in the Societies’ and foundations register on February 27, 2006.

The mission of the Daugavpils Latvian Society is to gather all the Latvians, who have decided commonly to promote their development, rise national and State consciousness and cultural level of the local society.

The aims of the Society are to maintain and cultivate Latvian national culture, language, traditions, national identity and Latvian way of living, promote strengthening of Latvian national belonging and consciousness, promote Latvians’ unity, actively participate in the society’s culture events and promote cooperation with other cultural organisations. The Society gathers members for the united activities, help and self-government, promoting development and strengthening of the unity mood, initiative and Latvian culture.

The Daugavpils Latvian Society has approximately 200 members. The work of the Society leads the Board. The Chairwoman of the Daugavpils Latvian Society is Genovefa Barkovska.


Until the foundation of the Latvian State Latvians in Daugavpils and all Latgale were forbidden to gather freely, because in Vitebsk Province were other administrative rules, than in other Latvia. Daugavpils Latvians went through river Daugava to Grīva since 1904 that was located in Kurzeme Province, where Latvians had already won the opportunity to gather in their own organisations.

After the February 1917 revolution in Russia, also Daugavpils Latvians gained freedom of gathering and speech. On already April 13, 1917 the first Daugavpils Latvian Society protocol was written, that is why this day is considered to be the foundation day of the Daugavpils Latvian Society. In 1917 the Society managed to organise only few events, when its work was interrupted by the revolution and German Occupation.

The Society’s work was renewed on February 24, 1920, when 18 Society’s members gathered. At the beginning the work of the Society was connected with taking care of the people having suffered in war and orphans, organising of kindergartens and other charity works. In 1921 the Society got its premises and in 1922 established Guide Group. The Society organised literary discussions, national handicraft evenings and painting exhibitions.

In 1935 Daugavpils Regional Court’s chairman Aleksandrs Ko¬ciņš started to manage the Daugavpils Latvian Society. During his time the work of the Society flourished and the Society started to think about its – Unity House – building. The building was built mainly from the society and banks donations. The State President Kārlis Ulmanis supported the building of the house and gave the financing also from the State budget for this project. On December 10, 1937 the building of the Unity House was finished and Daugavpils Latvians received modern building with a swimming pool, theatre and concert hall.

On that time under the wing of the Daugavpils Latvian Society worked 14 different commissions and sections. Starting from the year 1934 the Society published its newspaper “Latgales Vēstnesis” (Latgale’s Messenger) that was published already as a daily newspaper “Daugavas Vēstnesis” (Daugava Messanger) since 1939. Between the Society’s managers were many well-known persons in the town, also the town’s mayor. Also the state politics of that time was directed to the Latvianization of the Eastern regions. State officials – Latvians were sent to Daugavpils and Latgale: lawyers, railwaymen, teachers and doctors. In 1940 the Society had 1554 members.

The successful and active work of the Daugavpils Latvian Society was interrupted in 1940 by the Latvia’s Occupation and the following World War II. The Occupation power interrupted the Society’s work as well as other organisations’ work in 1940. During the German Occupation the Society renewed its work, resumed the publishing of the newspaper and organised different events, however, the activity was small.

With the beginning of the Awakening the Daugavpils Latvian Society was resumed in 1991. The Society organised Christmas events and leisure evenings, established the Latvian folklore ensemble “Dzīsme” (Song). On October 7, 1992 The Daugavpils Latvian Society received premises in the Unity House. However, couple a years after the renewing of the organisation the Society’s work stopped and it finished its existence.

In November 2003 the former members came together and decided to renew the work of the Society.  


In the Daugavpils Latvian Society several committees are working – Culture Committee, Economical Committee, History Committee and Inspection Committee. In the Daugavpils Latvian Society are also the folklore ensemble “Dzīsme”, adult dance group “Saime” (Family) and senior dance ensemble “Atbalss” (Echo).

The Daugavpils Latvian Society is a member of the Union of the Latvian Societies, has participated and organised Latvian Societies’ gatherings in Daugavpils. The Society regularly organises annual and leisure events.

The Society pays huge attention to the involvement of the youth, organises competitions for school youth, actively participates also in the solving of important questions for the Latvian society, and cooperates with Latvian Societies abroad and its region’s minority organisations.

Preparing for the Latvia’s 100th years’ celebration – Daugavpils Latvian Society has suggested to present special monument for the town – testimony of the development of Latvian State. The project competition has been announced and artists are welcome to submit the sketches. The Daugavpils Latvian Society hopes to huge responsiveness of the local and foreign artists.


Rīgas Street 22a, Daugavpils, LV-5401

E-mail: dauglb@inbox.lv

Genovefa Barkovska, Daugavpils Latvian Society Board Chairwoman
Phone: 654 25150
E-mail: genovefa.barkovska@du.lv