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Daugavas Vanagi (DV) is a world-wide Latvian welfare organization.


The beginnings of the Daugavas Vanagi organization can be found in a British-run prisoner of war camp in Belgium after the end of World War II. The Daugava Vanagi organization was founded in this prisoner of war camp on December 28, 1945 by former soldiers of the Latvian Legion. The initial goals of the new organization were to help Latvian ex-soldiers and their families.


Approximately 25,000 Latvians were imprisoned in prisoner-of-war camps run by the western allies. The largest number were in British-run camps in northern Germany. Although many were scattered among many camps, about 12,000 lived in the Zeedelgem camp in Belgium. From the beginning of the activity in 1945 and 1946, the organizers of the Daugava Vanagi were allowed to communicate with Latvians in other camps in order to create a network for mutual support. Although at first the members consisted of former legionnaires, the founders of the Daugavas Vanagi organization hoped to include all Latvians in their ranks. After their release from the POW camps in 1946, the ex-soldiers moved to refugee camps, where they continued their efforts to offer mutual support and maintain their unity.


In the early 1950s, Latvians left the refugee camps and moved to Australia, Western Europe, Canada, South America, and the United States. The Daugavas Vanagi organization went with them.


Over the decades, members of the Daugava Vanagi continued their task of gathering and uniting Latvians in order to preserve the unity of the Latvian nation. For many years, this task was understood as a struggle for the liberation of Latvia from Soviet rule. Daugavas Vanagi has also tried to promote the education of Latvian youth and involve them in the community of Latvians living outside Latvia. This is done by offering scholarships and supporting Latvian schools, choirs, folk dance ensembles, theater ensembles, sports teams and many different cultural activities.


Goals and tasks

The Latvian care society Daugava Vanagi (DV) is a non-profit non-governmental organization with the following tasks:


  • To gather Latvians all over the world for the preservation of a united nation;
  • Cultivate and maintain heroic spirit, national unity and moral standing among Latvians;
  • Help compatriots in difficulties;
  • Support and promote Latvian culture, education and youth development;
  • To defend the independence and freedom of Latvia;
  • Strengthen faith in the Latvian state, its democratic institutions, human rights and freedom;
  • To honor all the soldiers who fought for Latvia's freedom and independence;
  • Cooperate with people from other nations to promote common interests and goals.


Anyone who supports the goals and activities of Daugavas Vanagi can become a member of Daugavas Vanagi. Active members who have the right to vote at meetings of local DV associations, as well as other elections provided for in the statutes, are those who have reached the age of 18. Members of the Daugavas Vanagi can also be divided into one or more of the following categories: "Vanadzēni" - under 16 years of age; Daugava Vanagu Youth - from 16 to 30 years of age; and Active Members - 18 years and older. Women are also members of the ladies section "Vanadzes". After submitting a request to join the Daugavas Vanagi, potential members are accepted after approval by the local board of the Daugavas Vanagi with a 2/3 majority vote.

Organisation Structure


The organization Daugavas Vanagi is based on local Daugava Vanagi associations and groups located where Latvians live: in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Latvia itself. The Daugavas Vanagi associations or branches of each country are part of the national board of the Daugavas Vanagi. All Daugavas Vanagi country boards are part of the world-wide Daugavas Vanagu Central Committee – see The Daugavas Vanadzes (women's auxiliary organization) is also based on the local groups of Vanadzes, who work together with their local Daugava Vanadze associations and groups. Vanagi have their own terrestrial and global organizations. Together, the Daugava Vanagi and Vanadzes form the Daugava Vanagi family.


Every year, Daugavas Vanagi associations and branches elect delegates to the Delegates' Meeting, which takes place in April or May. The meeting of delegates elects the country board. The head of the board, the secretary, the treasurer together with other committee members work in the country  board. Country boards may have sections for care, companionship, ideology, information, culture, sports and youth.


Events and activities


Local associations and branches of Daugavas Vanagi organize various types of activity for the benefit of their members and the local community. These include concerts, poetry readings, reports, video shows, theater performances, field trips, exhibitions, markets, and sports games. Commemorative, festive, charity and other meetings are also held. Some associations sponsor theater groups, folk dance groups, scout and scout groups, song groups and libraries.


Charity and relief work


Each association and group of the Daugavas Vanagi provides various types of support and assistance to compatriots in difficulties in Latvia and in all countries where the Daugavas Vanagi are active. Among those who receive this assistance are the elderly, the sick, the disabled, large families and orphans. Special attention is paid to former soldiers and their families. Benefits are also given to hospitals, orphanages and charitable foundations.

Support for culture, education and youth

Each association and branch of Daugavas Vanagi also supports Latvian culture, education and youth upbringing. Support is given to Latvian schools (in Latvia and other countries), summer secondary schools, scholarships and summer camps.


Educating the global public on historical issues


Daugavas Vanagi believe that people all over the world should know and respect the truth about Latvia's history, especially about the events during the Soviet and Nazi occupation. Therefore, the Daugavas Vanagi organisation supports:

  • the world public about all aspects of Latvia's 20th century history the restoration of the Latvian Freedom Monument;
  • Latvian Occupation Museum;
  • Lestenes Brothers' graves in Kurzeme;
  • the creation of a monument to the victims of communism in the US capital, Washington, and in the Canadian capital, Ottawa;
  • and various efforts to educate.


For this purpose, in 2000 the Daugavas Vanagi Cntral Committee published the book Damages caused by the occupation forces in Latvia 1940-1990, ISBN 91-87114-35-6. Daugavas Vanagi was published in Canada in 2009 by Edgar Jasūna Aiz Dzelzs vārtiem on the Internet in audiobook format.


Since 2009, Daugavas Vanagi Monthly is available on the Internet. "Adventures of the Latvian people" and "Climb the tower" by Dr. Uldis Gērmanis are published in audio format. Arnold Šiņkis's book "Kurzeme fortress" published in 1954 was narrated in podcast format in 2010.


Non-political, non-governmental, non-profit organization

Daugavas Vanagi does not adhere to any political party or group, but always supports those who act in accordance with the ideas and goals of the Daugavas Vanagi organization.


External links


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