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Bikernieku Meza
Also known as: Bikernieki Forest Memorial
Bikernieku iela
Riga  Latvia

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Cemetery notes and/or description:

Getting there:
It may be reached by taking motor bus 16 from downtown toward Garkalnes Muceniekiem. The stop is the Kapi stop. When getting off the bus, go left a little up the road and you will come to the entrance on your right with the arched entrance and a cement walkway. You can also go to the right a little from the bus stop and will come to a footpath that was used originally by the people who were walking to their death. Both lead you to the main monument.

There are two memorial territories 6,550 and 79,630 square metres (70,500 and 857,100 sq ft) wide on both sides from the main road. The smaller ones entrance is several hundred feet further down the road toward the city and on the other side of the road.

The largest site of mass murders and burial of victims of National Socialist regime in Latvia is located in Bikernieku Forest.

Within the first two weeks of July 1941, the mass murdering of Riga Jews commenced. Approximately 4,000 men arrested in the first weeks of July were taken from Cenral Prison and executed here.

From 1941 till 1944, 20,000 to 35,000 people, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis' political adversaries, were murdered here and interred in 55 mass graves. In 1943, Riga Ghetto prisoners who were not transferred to the "Kaiserwald" concentration camp were murdered here, followed in the autumn of 1944 by those "Kaiserwald" prisoners no longer able to work. Bikernieku Forest is located 3 kilometers east of Riga center city and on the south side of Bikernieku iela.

Working 15 years on the design, Sergey Rizh said that it was "his human obligation" to devote his career to this. The monument was unveiled on November 30, 2001.

The center of monument houses a black granite cube a symbolic altar with engraving from the Book of Job 16:18 "Earth, don't cover my blood. Let my cry have no place to rest." in Latvian, Russian, German, and Hebrew.

Surrounding this is 4,000 granite stones in a grid of forty five 13X13ft (4X4 meter) squares that resembles a traditional Jewish cemetery. Along with the plain stones, there are stones that have the engraved names of the European cities that were the homes of the victims.

Each mass grave has been identified and is surrounded by a low concrete wall with a single large stone in it. There are concrete columns among the marked grave sites with symbols representing various groups of the fallen Star of David representing Jews, Crown of Thorns representing war prisoners, and Christian cross representing civilians.

Walking toward the main monument and through the area of the mass graves, one is overcome by the sadness of the area and what man has done to their fellow man.

April 2012
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Bikernieku Meza
Added by: Bearded Graver
Bikernieku Meza
Added by: Bearded Graver
Bikernieku Meza
Added by: Bearded Graver
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