Now Latvian civic initiative ‘Rumbula – 78. We Remember. It Hurts’ is calling on Rigans and others to commemorate the tragic events by laying candles at the foot of the Freedom Monument in central Riga on 30 November, between 18.00 and 22.00.
The candlelit commemoration, first held in 2016, is attended each year by thousands of people. Marģeris Vestermanis, a Holocaust survivor and the founder of the Museum Jews in Latvia, said in a release from the event organizers:
“I am happy that I have lived to see this moment when candles are lit at the most sacred place in Latvia, the Freedom Monument, to commemorate the great sorrow, the great grief of the Jewish people.”
Participants in the commemorative event are encouraged to bring durable candles, able to withstand the elements. The candles must be placed on the foil-covered paths prepared by the volunteers.
“There are no speeches and no official photographs by the Freedom Monument. We just lay the candlelit paths, in silence, to remember the 25,000 lives lost and to prevent such tragedies repeating in the future. This is a story of the whole Latvia, not just of the Jewish community,” said Lolita Tomsone, one of the organizers of the commemorative event.
For more information on the event, visit the Facebook page ‘Rumbula 78’.
To find out more about the history of the Holocaust in Latvia, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has an excellent and informative online resource.