Riga, the Bikernieki Forest

Location of the monument:

Latitude: 56.963025
Longitude: 24.210447

The largest mass murder site of the Nazi terror victims in Latvia is located in the Biķernieki Forest. In the period from 1941 to 1944, in a number of actions more than 35 000 persons were murdered here, of which approximately 20 000 were Latvian, German, Austrian, and Czech Jews.

In 2001 a memorial to all victims of Nazism was unveiled in the Biķernieki Forest, with the support of Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, the National Fund of the Republic of Austria, the Government of Germany and several German municipalities (design author – architect Sergey Rizh). A symbolic altar is placed in the centre of the memorial – a black granite cube with an inscription from the Book of Job: “O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place!”, but the numerous granite stones placed around it serve as a reference to a traditional Jewish cemetery. Stone plaques with the names of European cities – places of residence of Jews murdered in the forest – have been placed in the territory of the memorial, symbols designating various groups of victims have been carved into these – the Star of David, a wreath of thorns, and a cross.

Further reading:

  • Meler M. Jewish Latvia: Sites to Remember. Tel-Aviv: Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel, 2013.
  • Ezergailis A. The Holocaust in Latvia, 1941-1944: The Missing Center. Riga: The Historical Institute of Latvia; Washington, DC: US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1996.

Search for the related names of Jews at http://names.lu.lv.