Photo: Commemorative event at the Bikernieki Forest Memorial

Commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial event organized by the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia was held on January 25 in Riga at the Bikernieki memorial. During the ceremony ecumenical worship was held by the rabbi of Riga synagogue Elijohu Krumer, rabbi Kalev Krelin, bishop Guntars Dimants, Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, priest Marcins Vozņaks, Roman Catholic Church in Latvia, priest Janis Dravants, Latvian Orthodox Church, and deputy bishop Edgars Godinsh, Union of Baptist Churches in Latvia.

The event was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other Latvian and foreign organizations and members of the Jewish community.

Bikernieki is the biggest killing site and mass grave of Nazi victims in Latvia. Between 1941 and 1944, 35 000 people, including about 20 000 Jews from Latvia, Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia, as well as 10 000 Soviet war prisoners, and 5 000 Nazis’ political adversaries, were killed here.

The memorial designed by architect Sergei Ryzh was opened in 2001.

In 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring January 27 the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The official Commemoration Day of Genocide against the Jews in Latvia is July 4th.