The International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January is a memorial day on which many countries across the world commemorate the tragic events of Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jewish people.
In November 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 27 January – the day of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in 1945 – as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust. Latvia was amongst those countries that actively supported the resolution.
Latvia joins with other countries in remembering this most tragic chapter in the 20th century history and commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. This year, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked with a commemoration service at the Biķernieki Memorial with participation of clergy from Riga Jewish congregation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, the Roman Catholic Church of Latvia, and the Latvian Orthodox Church.
The Biķernieki forest is the largest mass murder site and a burial site for the victims of the Nazi terror in Latvia. From 1941 to 1944, an estimated 35,000 people were killed there, approximately 20,000 of them – Jews from Latvia, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.
The commemorative event is organised by the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia and is attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic corps accredited in Latvia.
Latvia, being a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, honours commitments under the Stockholm Declaration and has greatly contributed to the work of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. The Commission of Historians, established on an initiative by the President of the Republic of Latvia, is currently active; a considerable number of historians are engaged in the Holocaust studies; the history of the Holocaust has been included in the compulsory curriculum of Latvia’s educational system and in study programmes in culture and history; and the Holocaust sites have been marked with memorials and plaques commemorating the victims.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day in Latvia is officially marked on 4 July, the date in 1941 when Nazis and their collaborators burned down Riga’s Great Choral Synagogue.