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Rumbula Holocaust Memorial, Riga, Latvia

Attendees at the 2002 dedication of the Commission-funded memorial to Jews murdered in the Rumbula Forest, Latvia during two days in 1941.

The Commission sponsored and raised the funds needed to complete a memorial to more than 25,000 Jews murdered one-by-one in the Rumbula Forest, outside of Riga, Latvia, during just two non-consecutive 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, Joseph Halfon. Then Commission Chairman Warren Miller raised the funds for the project. Major donors 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 in the killings.

Chairman Miller worked with the U.S. ambassador in Latvia, to obtain a historically accurate inscription. It was finally agreed upon with the assistance of Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and other Latvian officials.

The memorial was dedicated on November 29, 2002. Ambassador Carlson read a statement The memorial was dedicated on November 29, 2002. Ambassador Carlson read a statement  from Chairman Miller. from the Commission. Also speaking were President Vike-Freiberga, and other dignitaries. The British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation  reported on the event. reported on the event.

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