Rumbula


In november 1941, the working-able Jews in the Riga ghetto were separated from those who were not deemed working-able. About 25,000 were deemed incapacitated where the majority were murdered by Nazi and Latvian nationalist (Sonderkommando Arajs) murder units in a wooded area called Rumbula about ten kilometres from the ghetto. The first mass execution took place on 30 November and the second on 8 December. The second mass execution also killed a small number of Jews in Bikernieki in eastern Riga. Three senior Nazi officers who were largely responsible for the executions were SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Lange, head of SD and SIPO in Riga and commander of Einsatzkommando 2 in Einsatzgruppe A, the, Lange’s command carried out the executions on November 30 and December 8 respectively. The other was SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Dr Karl Eberhard Schongarth, head of a murder commando in Krakow who was transferred to Riga to participate in the executions. Because of their experiences in mass murder, they were invited to participate as experts at the conference in Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The third was the SS-Oberg group, Friedrich Jeckeln, the supreme police leader of the General Government, commanded to Riga by Himmler to monitor the executions. In 1944, Jews were also murdered at the Kaiserwald concentration camp in Rumbula.

Current status: Monument (2010).

Location: 56°53'4.19" N 24°14'40.08" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

A historical interesting detail about Rumbula is that there is a smaller monument that looks like a tombstone. This monument is unique in that it was the only monument in the then Soviet Union specifically dedicated to the Jews when it was established in 1964. Until then, the victims in Rumbula had been described as Soviet citizens. This was done under pressure from Jewish organizations. After the fall of the Soviet Union, there is a small plaque on this monument that mentions this detail. It is quite right not to remove the old monument because each memorial is to be understood from its own time. If you remove the old, you also remove part of the story. However, it is right to explain this detail on the basis of the political conditions that prevail after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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