The United Nations resolution established 27 January as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this occasion, many countries across the world remember the tragic events of Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jewish people.
Latvia joins with other countries in remembering this most tragic chapter in 20th century history and commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. Today, at the launch of a Latvian language translation of Frīda Mihelsone’s book entitled “Es izdzīvoju Rumbulā” (“I Survived Rumbula”), the Latvian Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovičs said that this story is important evidence of the terrible crime that was perpetrated on the land of the occupied Latvia, a story about murderers, their associates, and the selfless people who risked their lives to help Frīda escape.
Frīda Mihelsone is one of the two people who survived Rumbula. The book is a unique testimony of the cold winter days of 30 November and 8 December 1940 when 25,000 Jews, our fellow countrymen, were ruthlessly massacred in an atrocity of unbelievable viciousness at Rumbula.
High ranking Latvian officials will take part in international events to commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ināra Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament) will take part in an event to mark 70 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. And the Chairman of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Commission, Ojārs Kalniņš, will participate in the Holocaust remembrance events in Prague.
From the time of the renewal of its independence, Latvia has devoted special attention to gaining an understanding of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes; Latvia has contributed to the work of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. Acting upon an initiative by the President of the Republic of Latvia, the Commission of Historians was established and has been working diligently; the compulsory study of the history of the Holocaust has been included in the curriculum of Latvia’s educational system, and in study programs in culture and history, and the places of remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust have been marked with commemorative plaques.
As a member state of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Latvia is fully committed to the goals of the Stockholm Declaration.
In November 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 27 January – the day of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps – as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust. Latvia was amongst those countries that actively supported the resolution.
On 27 January 1945, the Soviet troops fighting in Poland entered the territory of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, managing to save about seven thousand prisoners from death. In the period from 1940 to 1945, over one million Europeans, most of them Jews, were murdered in the Auschwitz death camp.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day in Latvia is marked on 4 July, the date in 1941 when Nazis and their collaborators burned down Riga’s Great Choral Synagogue.