Lost without trace in Riga

According to information received from the municipal archivist Werner Mühlhäußer, the following Jewish citizens of Gunzenhausen have been listed as “lost without trace in Riga” :

Blumenstein, Sofia * 24.06.1887
Gutmann, Rosa * 02.12.1884
Hellmann, Betty * 03.05.1898
Hellmann, Dora * 20.08.1898
Hellmann, Heinz * 09.02.1934
Hellmann, Martin * 18.01.1895
Hellmann, Paula * 20.06.1904
Kellermann Max *28.09.1874
Lauchheimer, Moritz * 29.12.1890
Neumann, Heinrich * 17.12.1881
Neumann, Sofie * 22.12.1887
Rosenfelder, Albert * 04.05.1882
Rosenfelder, Emanuel * 13.07.1889 * 13.07.1889

Franz Müller visited Riga and gave us the following report :

The first large extermination transport of Jews from Nürnberg and other Franconian towns left the Märzfeld Station on 29 November 1941 , destination Riga.  It carried 741 people.  The Nazis abducted a total of over 20.00 Jews from their home towns to Riga in the first wave of mass deportations in the years 1941 and 1942.  (“Nürnberger Nachrichten” dated 22.05.2000)

In Riga, the Jungfernhof camp was the detention centre for deportees from Germany during December 41 to March 42.  The Nazis kept no personal records of the deportees in Riga, but more than 95% were murdered (statements dated 18.07.2000 and 02.08.2000 from Mr Margers Vestermanis, head of the Museum and Documentation Centre “Jews in Latvia” in Riga).  


Salaspils Concentration Camp

Between 1941 and 1944 a concentration camp was situated in Salaspils, a municipality close to the south east outskirts of Riga.  The Germans called the camp Kurtenhof, or Kirchholm, but in the designation of the camp the Latvian name Salaspils was consistently used (Margers Vestermanis). 

It was not the smallest camp of its kind: 330 835 prisoners of war and 313 789 civilians, among them 39 835 children, were interned there.  The children were listed separately, as their blood was taken for so long until they died.  This blood bank lengthened the lives of German soldiers.  What is certain is that well over 100.000 people died in Salaspils. 

In 1944 the Nazis burned the wooden barracks to the ground.  The Red Army troops opened the mass graves and burned the corpses.  The Soviets deported the survivors to other camps in Sibiria (Goldstadt-Guidebook, number 92, Latvia).

• The entrance to the Memorial consists of a 100 m long and over 10 m high concrete wall. • A team of architects and sculptors received the 1970 Lenin Prize for the concept of the memorial.

The layout of the former camp can only be seen in pictures. Each stroke, chiseled in the stone, symbolises one day of the existence of the camp.

Only a few traces of the former camp buildings can be found on the site. Only a few visitors seem to find their way to the memorial and even bring flowers with them.

The locations of the former wooden barracks are marked with white stone slabs. A very audible metronome in a block of marble is a reminder of the heartbeat of the deceased.

Six colossal figures stand in the middle of the grounds: The uncompromising, the degraded, the mother protecting her children with her body and the sculptures “Vow” “Red Front” and “Solidarity”.

The memorial and graves in the Bikernieki forest near Riga

The architect Sergej Rizs conceived the memorial, which was built between 1999 and 2001 and was officially opened on 30. November 2001. More than 20 000 German Jews were deported to Riga between 1941 and 1945. Most of them were murdered in the Bikernieki forest.

The memorial was financed by the Federal Republic of Germany, the National Fund of the Republic of Austria and by German towns which belonged to the Riga Committee. The most important part of the building work undertaken by the German War Graves Commission was the creation of surrounds around the many mass graves, together with their identification. Each grave was marked with a stone pillar or stele.



Job, 16,18