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Eduards Kraucs’ biography

Eduards Rihards Kraucs was born in Riga on 21 August 1898. In 1923, he began working as a photojournalist in Latvian newspapers. In 1929, Kraucs filmed his first newsreels – “Latvijas hronika” (“Latvia’s Chronicles”) and “Pēdējā brīdī” (“At the Last Moment”), films which were devoted to the latest events in the country and the lives of its people. He also created the first sound newsreels and is recognised as the father of Latvian sound newsreels in the annals of Latvian film history. In 1930, Kraucs was hired by the German company UFA, and later, in 1933, he opened his photo workshop in Riga.

During the period from 1936 to 1940 in Ķegums, Kraucs proved himself to be a gifted and talented master of photography in preparing photographic documentation of the industrial facility. Although narrow-gauge film cameras were already available at that time, Kraucs used rather more complex photo equipment in the form of glass plates. It was no simple task to move around the construction site with a heavy camera and its stand and document the construction process. However, working with glass plates is regarded as a sign of quality: this work led to creating excellent general views of the construction, highlighting interesting details of the structures and work processes and reflecting the uniqueness of the construction process of the Ķegums Hydropower Plant, which anyone interested can see with their own eyes by visiting the Museum of Energy and looking at the photographs obtained from E.Kraucs’ glass plate photo negatives.

In 1940, when the Soviet occupation of Latvia began, Kraucs made the newsreel “Padomju Latvija” (“Soviet Latvia”) and later continued to film and create newsreels, often working right on the frontline. During the Nazi occupation, he produced the film “Sarkanā migla” (“The Red Fog)”, reporting on the events of the Year of Horror.

Being concerned about the possible evaluation of his professional activity during the Nazi occupation, documenting the Soviet terror and its consequences, Kraucs fled to Germany in October 1944 and later emigrated to the United States, where he continued to work in the film industry. He died in exile, in America on 14 September 1977.

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