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Interview with Irina Ozolins [sound recording] Interviewer: Daniela Kautsky

Item Title
Interview with Irina Ozolins [sound recording] Interviewer: Daniela Kautsky
Lives of Older Women of Non-English Speaking Background and their Adaption to and Contribution to Life in South Australia; J. D. Somerville Oral History Collection
State Library of South Australia
OH 18/20
Date Range
22 March 1989 - 10 January 1990
Ozolins, Irina (1920 - 2016)

3 hours (approx.)

Irina Ozolins was born in Russia in 1920 where her parents lived as refugees. Her father was killed there and her mother returned to Viesite, Latvia when Irina was still an infant. Irina's mother worked as an accountant and they lived with her parents. Irene describes her childhood and her decision to study mathematics at university. She speaks of how family members perished under the Russian invasion of Latvia and how she decided to travel to Germany in 1944 where she continued her studies at Dresden University. Irene survived the bombing of Dresden in 1945, although she was buried alive. In the aftermath she met her husband, a lawyer who was retraining as an electrician, and they married in a Latvian displaced persons camp. After three years living in camps the family, now including two sons, travelled to Australia. The family went straight to Port Pirie in South Australia to stay with another Latvian family and then built their own home at Marino Rocks. In 1953, after the births of two more children, Mrs Ozolins sought work with the Education Department and began teaching high school mathematics. She recalls her astonishment at the unequal conditions of women. Mrs Ozolins concludes with discussing how she has emphasised culture in the manner in which she has raised her children; her work as an artist; and her continued involvement with the local Latvian community.

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