Officials mark Rumbula massacre

President Raimonds Vējonis attended a ceremony November 29 with other top officials marking one of the darkest chapters of Latvian history, the 'Rumbula massacre'. 

Alongside Speaker of the Saeima, Ināra Mūrniece, and the Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Vējonis took part in a remembrance ceremony organised by the Council of the Jewish Communities of Latvia at the Rumbula Memorial.

In his address Vējonis emphasised that victims deserve not only our prayers but also our efforts to prevent war and other crimes.

"We are acutely aware of this here at Rumbula, the site of a monstrous crime. We are in a place where people were betrayed and slaughtered. This was an act instigated by occupying powers. Our state had been destroyed. Regrettably, there were those amongst us who turned to evil. What they did is deplorable and must be condemned," Vējonis said.

The goal of Latvia's restored statehood is to provide all possible support for Latvia’s Jewish congregations and communities to mitigate the consequences of wrongful actions by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, he added, encouraging the restitution of Jewish properties that have still not been returned.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said that Holocaust education, remembrance and research is a challenging task, and paid tribute to around 600 Latvians who showed resistance to the occupying Nazis by sheltering Jews.

Rumbula is one of the largest sites of mass extermination of Jews. On 20 November and 8 December 1941, more than 25,000 Jews from the Riga Ghetto and approximately 1,000 Jews deported from Germany were killed in Rumbula forest just outside Riga.

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