Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel. Half day Riga walking tour including Riga Old Town, Art Nouveau streets and Jewish Community building. During the guided Riga walking tour you will see the most famous sights of the Old Town: the Dome Cathedral, St.Peter's Church, the Swedish Gate, the House of the Blackheads, the Cat House, Riga Castle, the complex Three Brothers, the Small and Large Guilds and many other impressive classical sights of Old Riga. In Riga Old Town is also located an architectural monument of national significance the Riga Synagogue (Peitav Shul), which was the only synagogue in Riga to escape to burnt down in July 1941, because it was located in the Old Town and there was a risk that the fire would spread to nearby buildings. Today the Peitav Shul is the only functioning synagogue in Riga. Than you will walk to the world famous streets of Art Nouveau buildings created by Russian-Jewish architect Mikhail Eisenstein.
Afterwards you will visit the Museum “Jews in Latvia” and Documentation Centre located in the Jewish Community building, which is the centre of Jewish life in Riga. Nowadays, Riga Jewish Community is the biggest in the Baltics and numbers about 8 thousands members. During the Jewish museum visit you will get acquainted with different aspects of Latvian Jewish history and culture from the beginnings in XVI century and to 1945 – legal status and economic activities, education and religion, political and intellectual pursuits. The special section is dedicated to Holocaust and rescuing of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Latvia. In the collection of the museum are stored close to 14 thousand units – documents, photos, books and artifacts. Of special interest is wide range of XIX-XX century memoirs, the rich collection of family photos, as well as printed materials of different Jewish organizations from interwar era.
Second part of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Riga.
Day 3: Breakfast at the hotel. Full day tour to memorable Jewish sites of Riga and Salaspils. First stop of the tour is the former site of the Great Choral Synagogue that was burned down on 4th July 1941 with 300 Jews locked inside. They were mainly Lithuanian Jews who had fled from the German troops to Latvia and seeked refuge there.
Than you will drive east of Riga city center to Bikernieki Forest Memorial - the biggest mass killing site during the Holocaust in Latvia, where between 1941 and 1944, members of the SS and their volunteer accomplices murdered up to 35000 of Jews from Latvia, Germany, Austria, Czech, as well as politically persecuted persons and Soviet prisoners of War. To date, 55 mass graves have been found in Bikernieki Forest. A memorial at the site commemorates the victims.
Afterwards you will see Jewish Ghetto Area with sixteen blocks where 29062 Jews were squeezed into foursquare meters per person. The Jewish population started settling in the Ghetto from mid August of 1941, but mainly began on October 10, when a fence around the Ghetto was put up. In the Ghetto was a hospital, schools, soup kitchens. You will visit Riga Ghetto Museum which presents a stands with the names of thousands Latvian Jews who faced the Holocaust exposed at the museum area, covered by the stones from the streets of Riga Ghetto.
...In Riga Jewish Ghetto people were worried about the upcoming winter, but they didn't know that they would not see it. At the end of 1941 the Jews in the Ghetto were told that they would be shifted further east. They did not know that the journey was to the Rumbula Forest... The next stop is Rumbula Forest Memorial where up to 25,500 Latvian Jews from the Riga Ghetto and more than 1,000 Berlin Jews were murdered.
Further you will drive around 20 kilometers from Riga and see Salaspils concentration camp “Kurtenhof” - one of the largest places of incarceration and mass killing of people in the Baltic. Salaspils concentration camp was constructed in the winter of 1941/1942 under inhumane working conditions by Jewish men who had been deported from the German Reich. The camp was in operation till October 1944. During the tour you also will see Monument of Janis Lipke, who managed to save more than 50 people from imminent death. The monument consists of a falling wall, twelve meters in length and six meters in height, symbolizing the danger of annihilation threatening the Jews, with supporting columns carrying the names of the 270 rescuers. The central column has a portrait of Janis Lipke. The prophet Isaiah’s words are carved on the left side of the monument: “... I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” (56:5). Overnight in Riga.
Day 4: Breakfast at the hotel. Optional full day for “roots“ tour to visit towns and villages where your forefathers came from. Car transfers and guide/escort services upon your request. Overnight in Riga.
Day 5: Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and private car transfer to the airport.
Price per person: 465 Euro sharing St.Double room
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