Salaspils Concentration camp memorial complex, about 15km southeast of Riga, is a memorabilia for the people who died there during the Nazi regime in Latvia.
Salispils concentration camp (in Deutsche: Kurtenhof) was built by the Jewish labourers captured by the Nazis during 1941. Thousands of people including 12,000 children were held here, Jews, Russian POW, and political prisoners from the Baltic states. Most of the children were sent to the concentration camp without their parents and were used as involuntary blood donors for the German military hospitals.
The memorial consists of a museum and huge statues signifying the psychological, physical and emotional turmoil of the inhabitants. The life on the camp is shown by the statues namely, The Mother, The Humiliated, The Unbroken, and Solidarity. The barracks for children have a memorial adorned with toys and flowers. The barracks were all destroyed by the Germans. The solitude of the statues, the deserted camp and the toys, gives it a dreary feeling, makes one feel very humble of one's own existence.
Getting to the Salaspils in not very easy and needs a little effort on the traveler's part. But when one visits the place, every effort put into journey seems worth it.
Take a train from Riga is the best way of getting to Salaspils.
This is a beautiful walk through the green forest and should take you about 15-20 min.
There is an unpaved bicycle path from Riga to the memorial. Ask at the tourist information center and they will hand you the map.
There are several mini-buses which leave from Riga for Salaspils, at higher frequency during the day. But it is difficult to get from the Salaspils bus station to the memorial.
All in all this is an important reminder of history and deserves a visit, but this is a deserted place and having company is always advisable.
The statues and the museum are the two main attractions at this memorial. The barracks are all destroyed.
This place is neglected by the tourists and the officials, and need to be revived for the sake of the history. Because anyone who forgets the history is bound to live it again.