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Officials mark dark day in Latvian history

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Latvia's senior officials marked one of Latvia's darkest days on July 4 at the site where 73 years earlier one of the city's main synagogues was burned to the ground.

After laying flowers at the site of the Riga Choral Synagogue, now a memorial, President Andris Berzins said: “In each nation's history there are the dates that need to be known... These are the dates that remind and warn us to think and act so that nothing like this will ever happen again.”

“This crime destroyed the Latvian Jewish community, which was an integral part of Latvian society,” Berzins said.

The burning of the Riga Choral Synagogue took place just three days after Nazi troops occupied Riga on July 1, 1941, driving out the Red Army.

According to some eyewitness reports, around 300 people were locked in the synagogue when it was torched and perished in the flames.

The Nazis wasted no time persecuting the city's Jews, sometimes with the help of local collaborators, establishing a ghetto and death camps in which an estimated 70,000 of Latvia's pre-war population of 85,000 Jews were murdered.

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