Latvian Aspects

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 37 – Culture of Remembrance

The historian Dr. Marģers Vestermanis assumed a central role in the investigation of the mass murders of the Latvian Jews: The sole survivor of his family, who lived through the ghetto and the concentration camp Kaiserwald, made the research of the Latvian Shoa (Holocaust) his life’s work. Because the Jewish mass murder was a taboo under Soviet reign, he could only implement his plans after Latvia’s return to independence. In 1990, he established the “Jewish Museum and Documentation Center” in Riga, the first Jewish museum in Latvia, and took on its management.

In his publications, Vestermanis repeatedly describes the collaboration of the Latvian population with National Socialist organisations: Another torture headquarters was the staff of the extreme National Socialist Latvian organisation “Pērkonkrusts” [Thunder Cross]. Encouraged and incited by the German occupiers, the extreme anti-Semitists of the “Pērkonkrusts” began to take the last [possessions] from the Jews – their lives. To quite a considerable degree, the National Socialist program of the Holocaust was put into effect precisely by the “Pērkonkrusts” and groups under their influence.

As of late, the history of the Latvian Jews and their persecution and annihilation in the Ghetto of Riga is commemorated in the exhibit of the “Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum” which opened on September 21st, 2011.

The museum can be traced back to an initiative by the Jewish community “Shamir” and was funded by private donations. Aside from a museum exhibit, it offers the opportunity to research the names of relatives and their places of residence in a database.

Picture credits


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 37 from 39 – Culture of Remembrance
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond