“TheCeļotājs” –
 “Beginning of the 1941 Terror Against the Jews in Riga Latvia”
 
Biķernieku Forest
 
               
     Entrance White Archway, Black Marble Map and path leading to Biķernieku Forest
     Memorial and Mass Graves
 
With in the first two weeks of July 1941 the mass executions of Riga Jews began and started in the Biķernieku Forest. About 4000 men arrested in the first weeks of July 1941 were taken out of the Central Prison by truck to Biķernieku Forest, where they were executed. All murders were supervised by the officers of the Nazi Germany SS and SD “Security Service”.
 
Biķernieku Forest is located 3 kilometers east of Riga centre city and on the south side of Biķernieku iela.
 
Biķernieku Forest is by far where the largest site of mass executions and burial of victims of Nazi terror in Latvia is located. From 1941 till 1944, 35,000 people, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis’ political adversaries, were executed here. In 1943, Riga Ghetto prisoners who were not transferred to the “Kaiserwald” concentration camp were executed here, followed in the autumn of 1944 by those “Kaiserwald” prisoners no longer able to work. 
 
          
     One of the 55 Mass Graves located        The largest of the 55 Mass Graves
     through out the Biķernieku Forest           located through the Biķernieku Forest 
 

 
Under the pretext and promise of work, the Jewish groups were either trucked or forced to walk carrying only a single suitcase and the cloths on their back from the Riga Ghetto to the entrance to Biķernieku Forest where their lives were changed for ever. Men women children families and undesirables entered Biķernieku Forest to never return. Others were Western European Jews, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis’ political adversaries, were executed here.
 
Moving down the many different paths that lead to one after another of the 55 mass graves located through the forest, all one has to do is close your eyes open your mind and ears you will be able to see feel and hear the men women and children being moved silently to an area where they were ordered to leave their suitcases ordered to undress, naked and now stripped of their possessions and their dignitary they were then taken to the edge of one of the freshly dug mass graves lined up and shot some were shot in the back of the head as others were lined up in groups and then shot in the back as shots ring out the bodies fell backward and crumble into the grave. One group after another was executed until the mass grave was full. Then they would move on to the next mass grave and the executions would continue. Soviet war prisoners who were ordered and forced to dig the mass graves then were ordered to fill them in. Once their work was done, they were also murdered and dumped into one of the mass graves.
 
Biķernieku Forest Memorial “Memoriāls Biķernieku” 
 
          
     Biķernieku Forest Memorial                      Jagged rocks come out of the ground 
                                                                             to look as though the forest floor has 
                                                                             opened up, and each represents a lost life
 
Located at the entrance to Biķernieku Forest Memorial site is a white archway with a stone path leading to the Biķernieku Forest Memorial. The memorial is located some ways down this path leading into the forest and at the beginning of the 55 mass grave sites were over 35,000 murders were committed can be found through out the forest.
 
Funded in part by Germans, local architects worked for 15 years to create an appropriate monument for the atrocities that occurred among the trees.
 
The memorial consists of a white altar, under which a black granite block stands with English, Russian, German and Hebrew words from the book of Job, 16:18: “O earth, do not cover my blood, and let there be no resting place for my cry”. Jagged rocks come out of the ground to look as though the forest floor has opened up, and each represents a lost life. The paths between the stones are named with the cities from which prisoners were transported to the camp.
 
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Continued on to Riga Jewish Ghetto