Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. A paraphrase of George Santayana’s quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
Some wounds should probably remain open forever so that people can never forget. This was my first thought as I opened the small wooden door of the Corner House – the headquarters of the KGB secret police in Riga, also known as Cheka. The imposing structure on the corner of Brivibas and Stabu streets seems just like any other art nouveau building in the neighborhood. It could be an apartment house, or an office building, or anything else.
The small waiting room with a single row of empty chairs on the right has an allure of abandonment. “Can I help you?” asks a faint voice that seems to come from nowhere. As I look around I notice a middle age woman behind a window in the left corner of the room. “I’m a travel journalist,” I repliy pulling out my press card. “I’m here to visit the KGB Museum. Is this the one?” I ask, not sure I am in the right place. “Yes, the guided tour starts at 10:30, but you can visit the display boards in the entrance area until then. That exhibit is free” the woman replies and closes the window abruptly, as if she has nothing else to say. So I continue through a small corridor towards the display boards. Continue Reading