University of Minnesota
Digitizing Immigrant Letters

Letters selected from the Edward Paikens Papers

Edward Paikens (1917-1993). For biographical information, click here.

Edward Paikens, 1949
Anna Paikens, 1959
Edward Paikens, ca. 1946 in the Insula DP camp, Bavaria, Germany

The Paikens Collection at the IHRC contains more than 250 letters, documents and pictures exchanged from 1949 until 1977 mainly between Edwards Paikens (Eduards Paikens) who settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota after World War II as part of the displaced persons' group from Germany and his mother Anna Paikens (Anna Paikens) in the Aluksne district, in the northeast of Latvia. These letters between Anna Paikens, her son Edward and his American wife Helena reveal the complexities of life behind the Iron Curtain, search for belonging, coping with loneliness and despair, as well as struggle to build meaningful relationship over distance with the last living family member that Anna Paikens had left as a result of the devastation of World War II.


Anna Paikens - letter to Edward Paikens, 1956/11/25
Anna Paikens - letter to Edward Paikens, 1957/2/3
Anna Paikens - letter to Edward Paikens, 1957/2/24
Anna Paikens - letter to Edward Paikens, 1957/4/14
Helena Paikens - letter to Anna Paikens, 1957/9/10
Anna Paikens - letter to Helena Paikens, 1957/9/27
Edward Paikens - letter to Anna Paikens, 1957/10/7

Listen to Ilze Garoza reading from one of the letters here.

View video of translator Ilze Garoza speaking about her work with the Paikens letters:

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