"TheCelotajs" –

Latvia Jewish Holocaust

Kaiserwald Concentration Camp – Memorial
Meža prospekts 90 – Lat: N56.99629, Lon: E024.132242
Kaiserwald Concentration Camp is no longer there and only a “Monument in Memory of the Victims of Kaiserwald Concentration Camp” to show where it once was. Kaiserwald Concentration Camp “was a Nazi German concentration camp near the Riga suburb of Mežaparks”. Located north of Riga Centre City and was located at the junction of Meža and Viestura iela between the railway tracks Tilta iela and Viestura prospekta, which is now covered with dwelling houses and the Preobrazenska pareizlic bazn. 
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At the base of the monument that surrounds the monument are two plaques, inscribed on these plaques are these words;
The monument was designed by sculptor Solveiga Vasiljeva was dedicated on the 29th of June 2005.
On 21 July 1943 Reichsführer SS Heinrich Luitpold Himmler gave an order to liquidate all ghettos in the east and transfer all Jews capable to work to the concentration camps. In accordance with this order, construction of Kaiserwald Concentration Camp was built in March 1943 in Mežaparks. It was done by prisoners brought from Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp who were mainly German and Poles. At first it was named Konzentration Sauer after the camp’s Commandant SS Sturmbannführer Georg Voldemare Sauer. Later it was renamed Konzentrations “Kaiserwald” after its location in Mežaparks “Forest Park” since the old times it has been called Kaiserwald by Baltic Germans. The first inmates of the camp were several hundred convicts from Germany.
Surviving prisoners of Riga, Liepaja and Daugavpils ghettos were imprisoned in Kaiserwald, the Jews from Lithuania, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were also kept imprisoned in Kaiserwald also. Starting in the summer of 1944 the prisoners of Kaiserwald were transferred to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. The last transport left Kaiserwald just days before Riga was liberated from the Nazis. Some 18,000 prisoners were imprisoned in Kaiserwald Concentration Camp during the course of its existence.
This camp differed in no way from any other Nazi extermination camps. As everywhere a then slice of Erzatzbread, “a replacement for bread” the same Appelle, roll-calls in the morning and in the evenings often were lasting for hours. Prisoners were harshly abused in the same way, forced to do exercises, stand up, lie down, jump like a frog, crawling, squat dozen of times. Many of them perished during night alarms, when the prisoners had to stand in front of their barracks. After a signal, Kapos Supervisors armed with clubs would begin their outrageous violence sessions in the barracks. The rest were waiting for the prisoners behind the doors and under the windows. Often such alarms with repeated driving out and back would go on for hours. And every time there were victims among the prisoners.
Having found themselves in Kaiserwald Concentration Camp, the Jews were deprived of their last belongings including civilian clothes with the yellow six pointed stat of David. Latvian Jews have been wearing these stars on their breasts and backs for two years. Foreign Jews had to wear the star only on their breasts, but the word “Jude” was inscribed in it. In Kaiserwald Concentration Camp the prisoners were dressed in threadbare rags marked with red and white “oil paint” tow semicircles on both sides of the clothes at the front and a circle or a multiplication sign on the back. They also had stripes on their pants. Everyone, even the women, had their hair cropped. Later the prisoners were dressed in striped clothes with their camp numbers on their jackets and on their pants above the knee.
Prior to the evacuation, thousands of Jews who were unfit for work, the ill, the frail, and the young were put to death “murdered” in Bikernieku Forest. All Jews who had ever been convicted of any offense, no matter how minor, were executed “murdered” in Bikernieku Forest prior to the evacuation, as were all Jews under the age of 18 and over the age of 30. By September 1944, all the inmates of Kaiserwald had been moved and the Red Army liberated the camp on 13 October 1944.
The last prisoners from Riga Liepaja and Daugavpils Ghettos in total fewer than a thousand prisoners found themselves in Kaiserwald Concentration Camp. 1,700 women and 80 men from Vilnius Ghetto and small groups from other camps in Lithuania, Poland, and Northwestern Russia were also brought to Kaiserwald Concentration Camp. In mid-summer of 1944 the last train with prisoners arrived at Kaiserwald Concentration Camp from Osvientzim and brought to Riga. Approximately a thousand young Jewish women from Hungary were exhausted to death. Kaiserwald Concentration Camp had over ten branches ABA “Armee Bekleidung Amt” in Milgravis, Balastadamm, Strasdenhof, etc. Thousands of prisoners went through Kaiserwald Concentration Camp and its branches. The number of prisoners was regularly reduced by constant special selections, murdering of teen agers, elderly prisoners and murdering of hostages. Every time labor groups of the strongest men were formed to never to return to the camp. Later it was found out that those prisoners were used for mine clearing in the front lines area, others were sent to big mass graves to exhume and burn corpses. They were usually chained. Most of them could not survive long. Those who endured till the end of their work were murdered on the spot.
In the summer of 1944, when the Red Army started fighting on the Latvian territory, Kaiserwald Concentration Camp inmates were taken by sea to a more terrible place Stutthof Concentration Camp. The first group was shipped there on 6 August 1944, the last group during the first part of October, a few days before the Red Army entered Riga Latvia on 13 October 1944. Martyrs of Concentration Camp were driven from Stutthof Concentration Camp to other camps, since the beginning of 1945 by senseless marches “Todesmarsch” death marches. Prisoners were saved from inevitable death by offensive action of the allies in the East and West. Not more than a thousand of Latvian Jews, who were taken to Germany, survived till the liberation.
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Revised: 24 May 2012 – 13:37:19