Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Biķernieki Memorial

Biķernieki Forest is east of Rīga.  During the Holocaust this was the largest mass murder site in Latvia.  In 2001 a memorial opened to honor the more than 30,000 people who died here.

Jews, political prisoners, communists, and those who opposed the Nazis were killed here.  The victims came from Latvia, Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia.

In 1943 the Nazis began digging up the graves in an attempt to hide any evidence.  Today there are 55 burial sites that still contain the remains of around 20,000 victims.

The main memorial is a black granite cube with a quote from the Book of Job written in Latvian, Russian, German and Hebrew.

Earth, don't cover my blood.
Let my cry have no place to rest.

There are 4,000 granite stones placed nearby to resemble tombstones.  There are stones with the hometowns of the victims.  Berlin, Dresden, Münster, Leipzig, Bremen, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Osnabrück, Hannover, Wien, Terezín, Brno and several others.  

I definitely hadn't expected to see a Brno memorial while on holiday in Riga.

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