This site is a collection point for images and information about Latvian aviation, 1918–1940.
When the Soviet Union dissolved, historical material which had previously been kept from the public began to re-appear. Perhaps most interesting of all, this included old photographs of Latvia's first fliers, the aircraft they flew, and Latvia's earliest aerodromes.
I began purchasing and collecting these photos. I eagerly read
everything I could about the subject, and the very scarcity of this material
made the pursuit exciting. Eventually, I realized that I had accumulated a
modest collection of images, many of them originals which, stored in my
collection, were unavailable to others with a similar interest. More and more
it seemed to me that this is a disservice to other such enthusiasts. So, I
bought a book about web page design, and set about creating a public forum for
this material. Since that time, my photos have been supplemented by images from
many other sources as well. —GDZ
Let us deal with this issue right off the top.
You will notice that many of the aircraft depicted on this site carry the insignia commonly known as the Swastika. I am very aware of the painful association which many of us have with this symbol. Please understand that the symbol had a history and usage which dates from long before the nazis co-opted it. In Latvia, it was called the Ugunskrusts (which translates as "fire cross"). The swastika was a positive cultural symbol for milennia before the first nazi was born. The Latvian aviators adopted this symbol in 1919, and its use continued until 1940. Finland also adopted the swastika—and continues to do use it to this day.
The swastika appears here in this historical context only.
It would be a great error for the reader to infer any political statement from its inclusion here.
The following outlines and organizes our content to guide your reading. If you are searching for an overview ("Pioneers") or particular individuals or events, use our menu across the top for quick access.
Latvian Aviators in World War II
This site, for the time being, is written in English only. However, it is inevitable that Latvian names and key words will occasionally appear here. The written Latvian language uses a character set which includes slight modifications of english language characters. As many computers are not equipped to reproduce these characters, I will simplify the text by using the regular english language characters without the modifications. Latvians will have no difficulty 'interpreting' the simplified text, and non-Latvians will not miss them in the first place. It is my hope, in the future, to add a Latvian version of this site.
LATVIANAVIATION.COM contents copyright © 2012 Gunars Zulis and heirs. All Rights Reserved.