German Riga Committee
The Association of Cities for the Remembrance and Commemoration of the Deportation of Jews
On 23rd May 2000, Federal President Johannes Rau, ex officio also patron of the War Graves Commission, received representatives of 13 major German cities. Together with the President of the German War Graves Commission, they founded the "German Riga Committee" in Berlin, in the presence of representatives of the cities of Riga and Vienna.
This association of cities has the task of remembering the more than 25,000 Jewish citizens who were deported from their cities to Riga in 1941/42 and murdered in their overwhelming numbers in the Bikernieki forest. It is unique in Europe in terms of remembrance culture; the cities of Brno, Prague, Riga, Theresienstadt and Vienna also belong to it. The German Riga Committee also feels connected in its work to the more than 26,000 Latvian Jewish victims of the Riga Ghetto who were murdered on "Riga's Bloody Sunday" (30.11.1941) and in the days following in Rumbula, so that the people deported from the German Reich could be crammed in there.
The first task was the construction of a dignified gravesite and solemn memorial for the victims.
The site in the Bikernieki forest was inaugurated on 30th November 2001, exactly on the 60th anniversary of "Riga's Bloody Sunday" and 60 years after the deportations from Germany began.
The German Riga Committee has now grown to well over 60 cities.
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