chapter  9
12 Pages


The lives of the 25 women in this book bring together some of the most significant events of the second half of the twentieth century, as well as a range of dominant ideologies and key theoretical debates. The great political movements of fascism and communism, the Nazi domination of Germany and Stalin’s grip on the Soviet Union, are reflected in the experiences of dislocation, loss and exile that were the consequence of their own and their families’ decisions to leave Latvia in 1944. In Britain, post-war ideals about gender, femininity and domesticity and their eventual (partial) disruption were the background to their decisions as adult women, as technological and local, national and increasingly global social, economic and political changes altered the structure of opportunities for ordinary working families with relatives scattered across the world. Living standards rose during the 1950s and 1960s. Later, the quite extraordinary changes in technologies that transformed space and time enabled these women to build new contacts with distant friends and relatives as the decades in Britain passed. Then, in later life, the radical transformation and disintegration of the Soviet Union brought independence back to Latvia and allowed these women to reclaim their Latvian citizenship, completing their transformation from citizens to exiles to British citizens and, finally, once again as citizens of their own homeland.