The Beginnings of the Riga Ghetto

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 16 – Perpetrators

The first deportation trains from Germany were sent to the ghettos of Łódź and Minsk which quickly became overcrowded. As of November 1941, trains were also headed for the Latvian capital of Riga.

By the summer of 1941, the German occupiers had fenced the “Moskauer Vorstadt” (Moscow District) with barbed wire and had installed guard posts. This suburb of Riga had derelict houses and inadequate sanitary conditions. Until October 25th, 1941, about 30,000 Latvian Jews were detained here in overcrowded conditions.

In order to clear the ghetto for the German Jews, about 3500 Latvian women and men - classified as skilled workers - were separated into one part of the ghetto. All other internees were herded for about eight kilometres to the forest of Rumbula and shot on November 30th (Riga’s Bloody Sunday) and December 8th/9th.

Prior to Bloody Sunday, several thousand German Jews had already arrived in Riga. They were either shot immediately or interned in the dilapidated buildings of the nearby Jungfernhof Estate. Under the desolate conditions, mortality rates were high.

Picture credits

1: Archive Scheffler

2: Federal Archives Berlin


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 16 from 39 – Perpetrators
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond