Remembrance Memorial to the Victims of the Soviet Occupation - Atlas Obscura

Remembrance Memorial to the Victims of the Soviet Occupation

With a design inspired by traditional Latvian textiles, this monument honors the Latvian people who suffered under Soviet occupation. 

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The Remembrance Memorial to the Victims of the Soviet Occupation was built as a symbolic confirmation of the connection between the present day and the tragic history of the country. The memorial specifically commemorates a period when the Soviet regime deported several tens of thousands of Latvian citizens.

The memorial was designed by Kristaps Ģelzis and Ilze Miķelsone. The front façade has a pattern made of red and white granite that is meant to evoke the geometric design of a Latvian blanket. The front center of the memorial consists of a wagon made of stainless steel. Inside the wagon is a set of metal steps with a message written on the front edge of the top step. This side of the memorial was designed to be the “official” side where town officials could lay wreaths and conduct ceremonies.

On the back is the Wailing Wall, which is decorated with a large reproduction of Mērija Stakle’s handkerchief.  The original handkerchief can be seen in the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (LOM) just next door.  The handkerchief is made up of metal plates onto which are welded words, depictions of the names embroidered on the original handkerchief. This side is designed to be more personal, it is where visitors are allowed to light a candle or place flowers. 

The memorial is equipped with audio-visual equipment which creates what is supposed to be an emotion-evoking sound and vibration effects. If you do not know these special effects are a part of the memorial, the eerie sound can come as a shock. The sound effects for the memorial were created by Voldemārs Johansons.

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October 23, 2023

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