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Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review

Authors

Keywords

Switzerland, Swiss history, European history

Abstract

T his opening quote appears in the 1949 Stalinist fi lm Rainis, one of several biographical films of cu ltural and scientific figures from the early years of the Cold War. The quote comes at the end of the film , just as Rainis prepares to leave his native Latvia and live under an assumed identity in Switzerland. The scene expresses the tensions of a writer from a relatively small nationality heading to an unknown land . However, instead of finding a strange and unfami liar land, the historic Rainis (Janis Plieksans, I 865-1929) fe lt welcomed and at home among the Swiss people. Furthermore, he engaged in an intensely productive writing period in exile with help of his wife and fellow poet Aspazija (Elza Rozenburga, 1865-1943).

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