Jewish Riga

During the tour you will visit the main memorial places and sights of Jewish heritage in Riga.

The Riga Synagogue, also called Peitav Shul, is the sole survivor of Riga’s fourteen synagogues. The Jewish community of Riga celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2005. The Peitav Shul escaped destruction by the Nazis because of its architecture. Wedged between two other Old Town buildings, the Nazis decided against burning it down as they did to the rest of Riga’s synagogues, due to its close proximity to the neighboring buildings. The synagogue served as a warehouse and horse stall until the end of the war.

The former ghetto is situated about one kilometer to the southeast of the old city in a three-quarter square-kilometer area known as Maskavas Forstate. There you will see ruins of The Big Choral Synagogue (Die Greise Hor Shul), which was completely destroyed on 4 July 1941.  On 4 July 1988, a memorial was dedicated on the very spot. Next to the ruins of Synagogue stands a monument dedicated to the saver of Jewish people – Zanis Lipke. *Extended “Jewish Riga“ tour includes visit of the Zanis Lipke Museum which is dedicated to a brave man who saved more than 50 Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War by hiding them in a bunker under a shed.

Riga Ghetto Museum is also located in the historic area bordering the former ghetto. More than 70 000 names of Holocaust victims and a photo exhibition, focusing on anti-Semitic propaganda, the Holocaust in Latvia, the resistance movement and those who provided safe haven, are set on a piece of land, covered by cobblestone taken from the streets of the former ghetto.

The Old Jewish Cemetery on Liksnas Street was the first tract of Jewish land in Riga; it was obtained in the early 18th century. The road leading to it was known as Hebraische Begrabnisstrasse or Jewish Cemetery Street. The location became a killing ground in July of 1941. After the war, the cemetery was desecrated. Today, it is the Park of the Communist Brigades.

Memorial place in Rumbula where Jewish people from Europe were massacred during the World War II is one of the biggest sites of mass killings of Jews in Europe. In November, 1941, the Nazi Administration decided to murder all the Jews imprisoned in the Riga Ghetto. 25 000 people, including about one thousand Jews deported from Germany, were shot in two waves on November 30 and December 8, 1941. Several hundred Jews from the Kaiserwald concentration camp who were used for exhuming and burning bodies were also killed here in 1944.

Salaspils Concentration Camp “Transit Camp Kurtenhof”. Set in a pine forest southeast of Riga, near the town of Salaspils, Kurtenhof Concentration Camp was the biggest of two camps built in or near the Latvian capital for civilians and Jews from the occupied territories. It mainly served as a transitional camp and approximately 17 000 – 18 000 persons went through during its existence. More than 2 000 people died here.

*Extended “Jewish Riga“ tour includes visit of Bikernieku Forest which is the site of the biggest mass murder and burial of victims of Nazi terror in Latvia. From 1941 to 1944, 35 000 people including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet prisoners of war and the Nazis’ political adversaries were killed here.

Tour covers:

  • The Riga Synagogue (also called Peitav Shul)
  • Ruins of the Big Choral Synagogue
  • Monument dedicated to Zanis Lipke
  • Zanis Lipke Museum (extended tour)
  • Riga Ghetto Museum
  • The Old Jewish Cemetery
  • Memorial place in Rumbula
  • Salaspils Concentration Camp 
  • Bikernieku Forest memorial (extended tour)

Price from EUR 50 per person (depends on size of the group)

Extra payment: Donations at Peitav Shul Synagogue and Jewish Ghetto

Included: Hotel pick up/drop off, transportation and a tour guide.

Duration: 4 – 5 hours, including transfers

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