80 years since Rumbula Holocaust massacre

Take note – story published 2 years ago

30 November marks the 80th anniversary of the biggest mass murder of civilians in the history of Latvia when 25,000 Latvian Jews were killed in the Rumbula forest during the Nazi occupation.

At 13:00 an official commemorative event was held at the Rumbula forest with officials, diplomats, and members of the Jewish community attending. Among the attendees was the Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš who said on Twitter: 

"80 years ago, in Rumbula, the Nazi regime began implementing an unimaginable and brutal mass murder of Jews, claiming tens of thousands of lives. Today, in our thoughts and with a lit candle, we commemorate all victims of the Holocaust, their suffering and deaths."

Justice Minister Jāņis Bordāns said: "It is difficult to believe and to grasp such an attestation to mass cruelty when it comes to tragic deaths 80 years ago. This has been the largest mass murder of civilians in Latvia's history, one of the largest Holocaust crimes in Rīga. During Nazi occupation, 25 000 Latvian citizens lost their lives in the forest of Rumbula, which is an unspeakable loss to Latvian society and the people of Latvia."

Since 2016, candle-lit commemorations at the Freedom Monument have been taking place. The Civic initiative 'Rumbula – 80. We Remember. It Hurts' invited residents to light a candle either at one's own home or at the Freedom Monument while observing the safety precautions of distancing and wearing masks.

From 17:00 to 21:00 volunteers at the Freedom Monument will make sure that the candles do not go out.

State President Egils Levits, himself of partly Jewish heritage, was also in attendance. He said:

"It is impossible to express in any numbers or words what the Latvian state and society have lost with the killing of most of its Jewish community during World War II. [..] We bow our heads before the victims and call to remember these events so that they never happen again in the history of mankind. That is the meaning and task of historical memory."

For more information, visit the Facebook page of ‘Rumbula – 80'.

The Occupation Museum has this excellent historical account of the events that led to the Rumbula massacre and the lengthy historical aftermath.   

Ceremony marking 80th anniverary of Rumbula massacre
Ceremony marking 80th anniverary of Rumbula massacre

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