Latvia // Rīga //

Jews in Latvia

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Jews living in Rīga and other parts of Latvia suffered the same fate as Jews in other parts of Eastern Europe when Latvia was overrun by Nazis. The Rīga Ghetto Museum built on the site of the Jewish ghetto behind the Central Market consists of two outdoor exhibits: a seemingly endless wall of victims’ names, and photographs and text illustrating the life of the Jewish community in different parts of Latvia before World War II. On Peitavas iela 6/8, you’ll find the last surviving synagogue in Rīga; when all the synagogues in the city were burned down by the Nazis in 1941, this synagogue and its treasures – the sacred scrolls – escaped destruction due to its close proximity to other buildings. There’s a memorial on Gogoļa iela where the Great Choral Synagogue was burnt down in July 1941 with its 300-strong congregation trapped inside. At Skolas 6, you will find a small but gritty and informative Jews In Latvia Museum on the history of Jewish life in Latvia from the eighteenth century onwards, including persecution by both Nazis and Soviets, and the survival and “rebirth” of Judaism in independent Latvia.

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