Posted by: henrymcghie | June 20, 2016

Visit to Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum

It’s World Refugee Day today, and I had started a blog post on a project I was involved in in Riga recently. I’ve repurposed the blog, as it aligns with World Refugee Day, and it is worth remembering the dreadful effects of intolerance, hatred and fear.

I visit the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum, behind the market (which is in converted Zeppelin hangers!) and close to the river. The museum is sited among converted factory buildings close to the site of the ghetto itself. The museum’s website says its mission is to ‘strive to preserve the lessons of the past and help the world progress to a future filled with more kindness, compassion and tolerance.’

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Railway car of the type that transported thousands of Jews to the ghetto

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The exhibition ‘3000 fates’ explored the stories of 3,000 Jewish people transported to the ghetto. The exhibition was extremely well put together, with people’s stories on fragile paper cubes that hung at head height in one of the factory buildings. They were very poignant, with photographs of the people, copies of hand-written documents and official papers.

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3000 fates

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The overall exhibitions reminded us that these are not just stories, they are people’s lives. Immigrants, migrants, refugees, they are just people. When we use these words, what values do we attach to them? How do they justify and shape the way we think about these people? What would we do if the tables were turned?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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