Places of Commemoration in Riga

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 34 – Culture of Remembrance

The German War Graves Commission (German: Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.), in conjunction with its Latvian partner organization, the Fraternal Cemeteries Commission, and the Riga City Council, created a dignified burial place and memorial for the victims of the Holocaust.

The dedication ceremony took place on November 30th, 2001: 60 years after the beginning of the deportations.

The Volksbund president at the time, Karl-Wilhelm Lange, envisioned that the joint maintenance of the facility by Latvian and German youth should “create a living bond of remembrance and exchange between Riga and the German cities from which the mass transport [of Jews] originated”.

The legal basis for the places of commemoration is the German-Latvian War Graves Agreement from 1996 in which the federal government committed to the creation of dignified burial places for German deportation victims in Latvia.

In May 2002, Henny Markiewicz-Simon traveled to Riga with her children and grandchildren on a “journey to the past”. She describes the visit of the memorial site in the forest of Biķernieki:

Now we drove on to the forest of Biķernieki where my beloved mother, relatives, friends and acquaintances were shot. A commemorative plaque had been installed at the entrance. We walked along the “path of death” to the memorial. We found the plaque for Hannover. I spoke the Kaddish with my children, and we laid down a stone. This was a difficult path, but I was drawn towards the graves of our murdered [people]. I think it was, so to speak, a closure for me.

Picture credits

1. German War Graves Commission

2. Private Collection, Henny Simon


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 34 from 39 – Culture of Remembrance
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond