Kaiserwald


When the Nazis dismantled the ghettos in Latvia in 1943 and most of the ghetto inhabitants were murdered, those who had not been murdered were sent to concentration camps. The reason not all Jews were murdered was that they were needed in the German war industry. In Riga there was since March 1943 a camp called Kaiserwald whose first prisoners came from Germany but which in the summer of 1943 in connection with the dismantling of the ghettos in Riga, Libau (Liepaja) and Dvinsk (Daugavpils) were largely composed of Jews from these ghettos. Even Jews who had survived the great actions of the Vilnius ghetto were deported to the Kaiserwald. The prisoners were allowed to work in nearby industries. In 1944, a number of satellite camps were established throughout Latvia, which were subordinated to the Kaiserwald.

When the Nazis occupied Hungary in the spring of 1944 and began to carry out major deportations of the Hungarian jews to Auschwitz, some of these jews were sent to the Kaiserwald. A small number of Jews from the Lodz ghetto were also sent to the Kaiserwald when the Lodz ghetto was finally wound up in the summer of 1944. That same year, the Nazis began dismantling and demolishing the camp because the Soviet Red army was approaching. The Nazis evacuated the prisoners via train or sea route to, among others. Stutthof. Those who were too sick to be evacuated were killed. The evacuation was completed in September 1944 and in mid-October the same year the Red army arrived at Kaiserwald. It is, as in most cases, difficult to estimate the number of prisoners who ended up in the Kaiserwald and how many of these were killed there.

Current status: Demolished with monument (2009).

Location: 56°59'46.48" N 24°07'56.63" E

Get there: Bus.

My comment:

Kaiserwald is probably the most famous of all Nazi concentration camps in the Baltics. But do not expect that people, including the tourist office, in Riga knows about the monument.

Follow up in books: Ezergailis, Andrew: The Holocaust in Latvia, 1941-1944 (1996).