The Commission sponsored and raised the funds needed to complete a memorial to more than 25,000 Jews murdered in the Rumbula Forest, outside of Riga, Latvia, during two days in November and December of 1941.
The project originally was a collaborative effort among the Riga City Council, a German charity named “The People’s Union”, the Embassy of Israel in Riga, and the Jewish Survivors of Latvia, an organization of Holocaust survivors headed by New Yorker Steven Springfield.
The Commission’s sponsorship of the project was proposed by Commission Member, The Honorable Joseph Halfon. Commission Chairman Warren L. Miller raised the funds for the project. Major contributors were Seth Gerszberg of New York and the Mrs. Estee Lauder Philanthropic Fund. The Albert and Ethel Hertzstein Foundation also contributed funds for the memorial.
The inscription on the memorial became an issue when some Riga officials wanted language that would have obscured Latvian complicity.
Chairman Miller worked with the U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, Brian Carlson, to obtain a historically accurate inscription. It was finally agreed upon with the assistance of Latvia President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and other Latvian officials.
The memorial was dedicated on November 29, 2002. Ambassador Carlson read a statement from Chairman Miller. Also speaking were President Vike-Freiberga, and other dignitaries. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported on the event.
For more information on Rumbula visit http://www.rumbula.org
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