• Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue Riga
Shortly after the German Wehrmacht invaded Riga (Latvian: Rīga) in July 1941, around 300 Jews perished in the city's largest synagogue. Latvian nationalists had chased them into the synagogue, boarded up the doors and set the building ablaze. This mass murder marked the beginning of a wave of pogroms which hundreds of Jews fell victim to. In 2001, a Holocaust memorial was constructed at the ruins of the burned down synagogue.
Image: Riga, July 4,  1941, The Great Choral Synagogue on fire, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«
Riga, July 4, 1941, The Great Choral Synagogue on fire, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«

Image: Riga, 2005, Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Riga, 2005, Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
After German troops invaded Riga on July 1, 1941, pogroms and attacks on Jews began to take place in the Latvian capital. Members of the SS and voluntary Latvian units destroyed synagogues and confiscated Jewish property. They murdered or arrested hundreds of Jews in the course of these attacks. The victims were mostly members of the Riga intelligentsia.
On July 4, 1941, Latvian nationalists locked around 300 Jews in the Great Choral Synagogue on Gogol Street. They had destroyed its interior, layered the debris, poured gasoline over it, and set fire to it. The synagogue burned down to its foundation walls. None of those locked inside survived. Jews who tried to escape through the windows were shot.
In mid-August 1941, the occupiers established a ghetto for the Jewish population in Riga. With its close to 30,000 residents, the ghetto was hopelessly overcrowded. In order to accommodate the Jews deported from the German Reich, higher police chief of Ostland, Friedrich Jeckeln, had the ghetto evacuated in November 1941. During two »Aktionen« at the end of November and beginning of December 1941, members of the SS and Latvian helpers murdered almost all the residents of the Jewish ghetto in Rumbula forest, with few exceptions. From the beginning of 1942, there were again shootings in Bikernieki Forest, claiming thousands of German and Latvian Jews as victims.
Image: Riga, July 4,  1941, The Great Choral Synagogue on fire, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«
Riga, July 4, 1941, The Great Choral Synagogue on fire, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«

Image: Riga, 2005, Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Riga, 2005, Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Around 300 Jews perished during the fire in the Great Choral Synagogue. They were mainly Lithuanian Jews who had fled from the German troops to Latvia and seeked refuge there.
About 25,500 Jewish men, women and children from the ghetto perished in Rumbula forest in 1941, as well as 1,000 Jews who had been deported from Berlin.
Image: Riga, end of 1941, Latvian Jews on their way to execution in the forest of Rumbula, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«
Riga, end of 1941, Latvian Jews on their way to execution in the forest of Rumbula, Muzejs »Ebreji Latvijā«

Image: Riga, 2005, Memorial stone next to the ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Riga, 2005, Memorial stone next to the ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
After the war, the Soviet administration ordered the Synagogue's ruins to be levelled off. The basement in which Latvian nationalists had placed the bones of the fire victims was filled up.
Eventually, on July 4, 1988, a monument was set up on this site, with permission of the Soviet administration. The monument is a round stone, engraved in it is a star of David and the date of the mass murder.
In November 2001, the foundations and basement rooms of the former Choral Synagogue were rededicated as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. In 2005/06, a memorial site to the victims of the Holocaust and to all Jews murdered on Latvian soil was established in the Synagogue's restored basement. A further memorial was unveiled on July 4, 2007. It commemmorates Žanis Lipke and other Latvians who helped to save Jews from persecution.
Image: Riga, 2005, Ruins of the burned down synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius
Riga, 2005, Ruins of the burned down synagogue, Stiftung Denkmal, Adam Kerpel-Fronius

Image: Riga, 2009, Memorial put up in 2007 for Latvian rescuers, Ronnie Golz
Riga, 2009, Memorial put up in 2007 for Latvian rescuers, Ronnie Golz
Name
Nodedzinātās Rīgas Horālās sinagogas vieta
Address
Gogoļa iela 25
1050 Rīga
Phone
+371 6(0)7 283 484
E-Mail
ebreji.latvija@apollo.lv
Open
The memorial is accessible at all times.