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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Man to fulfil 'Latvian promise'
Robert Strongitharm and suitcase of Mr Jurgevics's belongings
Robert Strongitharm is fulfiling a childhood promise
A Sheffield man is travelling to Latvia to reunite two sisters with memories of their father - nearly 60 years after he was exiled from his country.

Robert Strongitharm became friends with Peteris Jurgevics as a 12-year-old in the 1980s through a school project.

When the pensioner died in 1986 he left him a suitcase containing letters and photos intended for his daughters.

After several failed attempts, Mr Strongitharm, now 32, has tracked the pair down through a Latvian newspaper.

He is set to give the suitcase to Mr Jurgevics's daughters Marta and Vilma on a trip to Latvia next week.

Missed independence

"'Peter became a 'grandfather' figure to me spending hours talking about his life as a farmer in Latvia," said Mr Strongitharm.

"During the Second World War he was captured whilst defending his country and was sent to a labour camp. He was forced to leave his wife and three young children.

"Peter had always longed to return home to his family but unfortunately he was never able to. This is why I decided to one day track down his family and take back his personal items."

Mr Jurgevics died in exile five years before Latvia regained independence from Russia. He never saw his family again.

Whilst studying Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, Robert travelled to Latvia and produced a short film based on his life.

"I have made several attempts to find Peter's family but this year after an appeal appeared in a Latvian newspaper Peter's two daughters came forward," he added.

"I am very excited to meet them and give them back their father's suitcase and belongings. I think it will be a very emotional experience as it is what he had always wanted."




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