This is a story by Anita Apinis-Herman as told to her by her parents Anna and Ervins Apinis.

In this current world there are many stories of displacement, of the movement of people from one place or country to another. With this displacement comes disorientation and disruption. Displacement can occur on foot, by train, road, boat or plane. My experience of displacement comes from my parents who arrived in Australia in 1950 from Latvia. Displacement shapes our future and can be totally different to the future we anticipated.

What if?

I often wander what my life would be like if my parents had stayed in Latvia and I had been born in Latvia - where would I be today? In this website I want to tell the story of my parents' journey from Latvia to Australia but at the same time show images of places where relatives now live - those who stayed behind as well as places where my parents used to live in their early years.

Life's rich tapestry

This website is a historical as well as a creative journey. I have a passion for weaving and photography. Why? Well, it is something passed on, I believe, from my parents. My mother was a weaver and my father enjoyed photography as a hobby, taking pictures of my mother and of their travels around Latvia on their honeymoon.



My mum - Anna Apinis (nee Strauss)

My mum was born in Liepaja, Latvia in 1913. She had an older brother called Arnolds. She finished the Latvian State High School for Applied Arts in 1933 in Liepaja majoring in weaving. Her mother Made Strauss came from a home where weaving was practiced as a regular way of life as she was raised in the country. Most of Anna's relatives lived in the country in a small town called Aizpute. Anna would spend the summer school holidays there seeing the weaving looms and practicing to weave herself.

Another source of inspiration for her was the Liepaja Ethnographic Museum, where she used to sketch the textiles displayed and took copious notes.

In 1938 my mum married Ervins Apinis at a simple ceremony at midnight on New Year's eve on 31 December at St. Annes Lutheran church in Liepaja. They set up their own small apartment in Klaipeda Street, Liepaja and in 1940 their first child was born on 28 September. He was named Erik after Ervins deceased brother. Anna's father,Ernests would often look after Erik and play with him as Anna's mother had died on 15 February 1939.

My dad - Ervins Apinis

My father was born in Lizums, in central Latvia on 22 June 1913.He had an older brother named Erik. Ervins parents were Janis Apinis and Marta Kulle. Marta had 2 brothers and a sister. One of the brothers operated a windmill but he and his family were deported to Siberia on 14 June 1941.

After finishing Cesvaines Primary school my father went to Riga, the capital of Latvia, to the Technical College to study road engineering. He shared a small wooden house with his brother at 22 Katolu Street in Riga between 1928 and 1932. During this time his brother Erik died of tuberculosis.

After completing his studies and gaining engineering qualifications Ervins was assigned work in Liepaja where he moved to live and work. He worked as a highly qualified engineer and draftsman with the Department of Roads and Construction. Here he met my mother Anna Strauss, who worked there as the accountant and payroll officer.