Rumbula is one of the largest places of mass extermination of Jews in Europe.
In November of 1941, the Nazi leadership decided to completely exterminate Jewish prisoners of the Riga ghetto. During the events which took place on the 30th of November and the 8th of December of 1941, more than 25,000 people were killed in the Rumbula forest, including approximately a thousand of Jews who were deported from Germany. Several hundreds of Jewish men from the “Kaiserwald” concentration camp were killed at this spot in 1944.
After the war, for many years the place of mass murder in Rumbula was not marked. Only after a long struggle, in 1964 local Jewish activists have managed to overcome the resistance of the Soviet government and achieve installation of the memorial stone with “To the Victims of Fascism” inscription not only in Latvian and Russian languages, but also in Yiddish.
A complete memorial complex with the ensemble created upon the project of an architect Sergei Ryzha, was opened on the 29th of November 2002. The complex was built at the expense of state institutions and public organizations of Latvia, Israel, USA and Germany, as well as using donations from private investors.
A metal structure which symbolizes the horrors of the Holocaust – thousands of Jews were forced to walk this path towards their death – is installed by the road, at the entrance to the memorial complex. The entrance to the memorial is marked with two plaques with inscriptions written in Latvian, English, German and Hebrew, narrating the tragic events which took place here. The path leads to the central part of the memorial, where Menorah, a ritual candle, is placed above the Star of David-shaped field. Roughly hewn stones with the names of the Jews from Riga who were executed here, are set around the Menorah. Ghetto street names are carved on some of the cobbles the field is paved with.
Six mass graves are located on the territory of the memorial. Those are indicated with rectangular concrete ledges.