Bikerkieku Forest and Kaiserwald Concentration Camp

2009-07-01 Riga-96.jpg

(click to enlarge) Stones at memorial in Bikerkieku Forest, outside of Riga. The lanes between the stones are named with the cities from which prisoners were transported to the camp.

Friom the web site of the Jewish Community of Latvia:

"The biggest site of mass killing and burial of victims of Nazi terror in Latvia is located in Biķernieku Forest. From 1941 till 1944, 35,000 people, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis' political adversaries, were killed here.
To date, 55 mass graves have been found in Biķernieku Forest.
The total number of Jewish victims lying in the mass graves of Biķernieku Forest is about 20,000. The first Jewish victims were several thousand men arrested in the first weeks of July, 1941 who were kept in the Central Prison and later brought to Biķernieku Forest to be shot. In 1942 about 12,000 Jews from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia were shot here. In 1943, Riga Ghetto prisoners who were not transferred to the "Kaizerwald" concentration camp were killed here, followed in the autumn of 1944 by those "Kaizerwald" prisoners no longer able to work."

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(click to enlarge) Memorial outside Kaiserwald Concentration Camp

From Wikipedia:

"Kaiserwald was a Nazi German concentration camp near the Riga suburb of Mežaparks in Latvia.

Kaiserwald was built in March, 1943, during the period that the German army occupied Latvia. The first inmates of the camp were several hundred convicts from Germany.
Following the liquidation of the Riga, Liepaja and Daugavpils (Dvinsk) ghettos in June, 1943, the remainder of the Jews of Latvia, along with most of the survivors of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, were deported to Kaiserwald.

In early 1944, a number of smaller camps around Riga were brought under the jurisdiction of the Kaiserwald camp.

Following the occupation of Hungary by the Germans, Hungarian Jews were sent to Kaiserwald, as were a number of Jews from Łódź, in Poland. By March 1944, there were 11,878 inmates in the camp and its subsidiaries, 6,182 males and 5,696 females, of whom only 95 were gentiles.

Use of the inmates
Unlike Auschwitz or Treblinka, Kaiserwald was not an extermination camp, and the inmates were put to work by large German companies, notably Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft, which used a large number of female slaves from Kaiserwald in the production of electrical goods, like batteries.

On August 6, 1944, as the Red Army advanced westwards and entered Latvia, the Germans began to evacuate the inmates of Kaiserwald to Stutthof, in Poland. Those who were not thought to be able to survive the trip from Latvia to Poland were shot.
All Jews in Kaiserwald who had ever been convicted of any offense, no matter how minor, were executed just prior to the evacuation, as were all Jews under 18 or over 30. By September, 1944, all the inmates of Kaiserwald had been moved to Stutthof.
The Red Army liberated the camp on October 13, 1944."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Victor Bloomfield published on August 7, 2009 10:51 PM.

Salaspils Concentration Camp Near Riga, Latvia was the previous entry in this blog.

Jewish Cemetery on the Outskirts of Vilnius is the next entry in this blog.

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