Riga, Latvia

The Peitav-Shul synagogue, Riga, Latvia.

Today, Baruch and I are on our way home.  We have a long layover in Riga, Latvia, so we went into the city center, which is not very far from the airport.  Our first stop was the Peitav Synagogue, which is situated in the Old Town.  This synagogue is the only synagogue in Riga to survive the Holocaust.  Since it was in the middle of the town, and surrounded by wooden structures which would catch fire, the nazis did not burn it down, but rather used it as a warehouse.  It is one of only 2 active synagogues in the entire country of Latvia.

In July 1941, the other synagogues of the city were all burned, with Jewish people inside of them.  In October 1941, a Jewish Ghetto was established and 35 days later, 24,000 Jewish citizens were marched out to a nearby forest and shot.  Ninety percent of the Jewish population of Latvia were killed in the Holocaust.

Today, Riga has a quaint Old Town visited by many tourists.  I wonder how many of them have learned about the brutality which took place on these beautiful streets.

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