On 20th of August, the highest state awards – the Order of the Three Stars, the Order of Viesturs and the Cross of Recognition – were awarded at a ceremony held at the Riga Castle. More than 180 people were decorated, including Elīna Vasiļjeva and Lolita Tomsone, long-time friends and partners of the Jewish Community, who received the Cross of Recognition.

Dr.philol. Elīna Vasiļjeva, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities of Daugavpils University, Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, received the Order “For her long-standing pedagogical and academic work and significant contribution to the awareness of Latvian cultural history and the promotion of social cohesion”.

Elīna commented at the time of receiving the award, “I will express my gratitude to my family at home, individually, because in reality, behind an individual award is the work, support and devotion of many people. This award is a confirmation that Jewish culture and the Latvian Jewish community are a very important part of the Latvian cultural space, and it is also a confirmation that the work of Daugavpils University is highly appreciated by the state. Honour to serve Latvia!”

Lolita Tomsone, public activist and cultural worker, Director of the Žanis Lipke Memorial Museum, was decorated “For her significant contribution to perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust victims and rescuers and promoting social cohesion”.

Lolita’s speech of gratitude after receiving the award: “Many thanks to Mr President, and certainly to the Chapter. None of us are receiving this Order because we would have applied for it ourselves, so I thank the Latvian Jewish Community, which submitted this letter. And it just makes us remember that Latvia has always been a place where there are all kinds of people that have built and made the land of Latvia strong, and I am also very happy that we all have different ethnicities in our families. Thank you to my Kurzeme mother, Irīda, who is here! Thank you, Dad, for watching, and thank you to all my fellow “vidzemnieki”! And I would like to wish us all an inclusive, beautiful and considerate Latvia, which I think we will all need for the next hundred years. Thank you very much!”

Congratulations and honourings to the ladies on receiving the Cross of Recognition, the country’s highest honour!