"Animals do have something to say. They have no voice or rather, no language that we humans can or will learn. Yet they have infinitely much to tell us, not just about themselves, but about the world around us, about the interrelation of all living things and, last not least, about ourselves."
Christine Chilver, founder of "Animals Friend Fund"
Marija Christine Chilver was born in 1920 in London to a family of a Latvian and an Englishman. She grew up in her mother’s native Latvia. In 1939, Marija Christine went to Paris to start studying at the University of Sorbonne. This is where she was when the Second World War began. She was brought to a concentration camp, from where Christine ran away in 1941. Christine fled to the U.K., not knowing of the extraordinary faith that was awaiting her.
After returning to the U.K., Christine was noticed by Britain’s Special Operations Executive who rated her intelligence, courage and strength of character very highly. She was then employed to fulfil highly secretive and special orders. Thus, Christine turned from an ordinary 22 year old woman to a special agent Fifi – a legend of Special Operation Executive, whose assignment was to check the trustworthiness and loyalty to the country of British spies.
Christine’s work as a special agent was held as a great secret and only 75 years later, in the autumn of 2014, British National Archives were able to reveal her identity and publish information regarding her work as Agent Fifi, also noting that her investment in the security of Great Britain during the Second World War is invaluable.
After the war, Christine got a degree in French Philology at the University of London and worked as a translator.
During the second half of her life, Christine devoted all her energy, intelligence and talent to the animals, supporting animal protection organizations from all over the world, taking parts in organization of charity and education events and taking care of animals at the shelters.
After regaining independence in Latvia, animal protection movement began to develop and Christine’s dream could come true – a place where all the animals in need could receive help and caring was founded. “Animals Friend Fund” (“Dzīvnieka Drauga Fonds”) was founded on 8th of October, 1996. Thanks to Christine’s true love of animals and her wisdom, with the help of her friends Justs Karlosns and Ieva Laukers, animal shelter’s “Dzīvnieku draugs” („Animals friend”) doors had opened in Riga, on 4 Fr.Candera Street.
Courage, charity and kindness were those treats of character that helped Christina evaluate people around her and choose her friends. According to her, all the animal friends around the world have these characteristics. Christine was sure that “Helping animals does not attract heartless, thoughtless people or people who ask “What’s in it for me?”. Animals, only animals and attitude towards them are the litmus paper of people’s values.”
She was happy with her choice to live, work and for one goal only – to make animals’ and people’s lives better, trusting and without asking any questions. She was happy with her choice to do good things because they are good, without being noticed, honored or awarded. She was happy, because she knew how to listen to the animals and tell us some things that they would like to tell us, to ask us, for us to think about. She knew the truths…
On 5th of November, 2007, in the United Kingdom, this great human’s life came to an end. She would describe herself with three words only – Christine, friend of animals.