Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Riga

4 out of 5 stars 30 Reviews

  • Museum of Occupation, Riga
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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Latvian Occupation museum

    by Raimix Updated Feb 25, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This one museum shows Latvian history period in occupation by Soviet Union and Germany. Lot of interesting documents, guns, example of killing lager room, occupation coins and banknotes, stories of Latvian people about that period and much more.

    This museum is with a free entrance, if you want, you can give donation. This occupation period of 20th century is a period, mostly common to all Baltic States, and you can find such museums in Estonia and Lithuania as well.

    Address: 1 Strelnieku laukums

    Directions: Near Town hall square.

    Phone: 7212715

    Exhibition - Soviet Union soldier

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  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    Museum of Occupation

    by MalenaN Written Jan 9, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Museum of Occupation is situated next to the House of Blackheads in a bunker like building. The museum was founded in 1993 and the exhibitions give an insight in the life of the Latvians during the Nazi and Soviet occupations between 1940 - 1991. In the exhibition there are many photos and documents and also different artefacts. There are some signs in English and a booklet for each part is available in English, German, Latvian and Russian. When I had spent some times in the museum I noticed that some of the visitors were using audio guides. They are probably available from downstairs, by the entrance.
    There was no admission.
    The museum is open between 11 - 17 on Tuesdays - Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.

    Address: Latviesu Strelnieku laukums 1

    Phone: 721 2715

    Website: http://www.occupationmuseum.lv

    Museum of Occupation Museum of Occupation
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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (1940 -1991)

    by wabat Updated Feb 22, 2016

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Thankfully most of us have not lived in situations where we have been oppressed for most of our lives. We have not had our freedom taken away by tyrannical regimes, been incarcerated or exiled for crimes we did not commit, lost our loved ones without trace, been persecuted for our religious convictions or lost everything with no recompense.

    Sadly this did not hold for the people of Latvia for half of the 20th century while they suffered horribly at the hands of Soviet and German occupiers.

    At the end of World War I Latvia gained independence from Russia which stated in a peace treaty that it

    “unreservedly recognises the independence and sovereignty of the Latvian State and voluntarily and forever renounces all sovereign rights to Latvian people and territory”.

    The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (1940 -1991) portrays life (such as it was) in Latvia and the impact of totalitarian regimes on the country during the three periods of occupation between 1940 and 1991.

    The first part of the museum shows how ‘forever’ didn’t last long and relates how Hitler and Stalin entered into a secret non-aggression pact in August 1939 whereby Eastern Europe was divided into spheres of Soviet and Nazi influence. The USSR agreed to ignore the German invasion of Poland which occurred on 1 September 1939 unleashing World War II. With the rest of Europe distracted, the USSR helped itself to Latvia and the other Baltic countries, enforcing its rule through fear, intimidation, imprisonment, torture and execution.

    Exhibits go on to explain how Nazi Germany drove the Red Army out of Latvia in 1941 to ‘liberate it’ from Soviet tyranny. All that happened in reality was that the jailer had changed and, in addition to the enforcement tactics used by the USSR, Germany added one of it own – the Holocaust or the Final Solution. In the three years Germany occupied the country 65,000 Jews were murdered including 25,000 on 30 November and 8 December 1941, in or on their way to Rumbula Forest near Riga.

    The museum then outlines how as the War ended in 1944 Russia returned as self declared liberators. Latvians anticipated that this visitation would be short-lived, expecting to rely on the Atlantic Charter of 1941 which provided for self-determination of nations to reject territorial changes made against their wishes. Sadly for Latvia, Britain and the US accepted Stalin's view that the Charter did not apply to his ’indivisible USSR’. So commenced another 46 years of subjugation and iron fist rule for Latvia.

    The final part of the museum deals with the relaxation of oppression under Gorbachev’s Glasnost in the late 1980’s, the rise in activity by those seeing independence from the Soviet Union and how Latvia finally gained its independence in 1991.

    As stated on one of the museums exhibits:
    ‘During the periods of Soviet and German occupation, Latvia lost 550,000 people, or more than a third of its population. This is the number who were murdered, killed in battle, sentenced, deported, scattered as refugees and who disappeared without a trace’.

    The museum’s home has got to be one of the ugliest buildings in Riga and indeed, in my humble opinion, a ghastly blight on the otherwise visually stunning Town Hall Square. Yet, it has a certain charm.

    It also has an interesting history. It was built in 1970 by the Soviets as a museum to the Red Latvian Riflemen and was complementary to the Red Latvian Riflemen Monument unveiled in the adjacent square, also in 1970. For more detail on the Latvian Riflemen see my separate review - the Latvian Riflemen Monument. Promptly after Independence in 1991, the Red Latvian Riflemen Museum was closed. The Monument survived though it was re-badged.

    When I visited in August 2015 the museum was undergoing a major refurbishment and exhibits seemed to be rotating between the Square of Latvian Riflemen (Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1) and the former US Embassy building at Raiņa bulvāris 7.

    The Museum’s website indicates (Jan 2016) that the main museum building has been closed for renovation since 1 November 2014 with a temporary exhibit open at Raiņa bulvāris 7. Other sources support the view that only the temporary exhibition at Raiņa bulvāris 7 is currently open (Jan 2016). Senile as I may be getting, I am absolutely sure that I visited the museum at its Square of Latvian Riflemen location in August 2015, as depicted in my main picture, and this is to where it will return when renovations are competed.

    When you visit Riga do locate this most interesting, yet confronting and depressing, museum and visit it.

    Opening hours
    Until renovations completed – uncertain

    Entrance fee
    By donation – though tours are available at very reasonable prices.


    My Next Riga Old City Review

    Address: Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1

    Directions: Old City - At the south western end of Town Hall Square

    Website: http://okupacijasmuzejs.lv/en

    Main Museum Building Hitler and Stalin Conspire Support on the Berlin Wall Reconstruction of Gulag Shack, Siberia Fight for Independence - late 1980s
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  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo

    History of Latvia

    by Toshioohsako Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Museum of Occupation gives a very good review of the Lativia's history from 1918 to present. It is hardly possible to know about this country and its future with out knowing the history of occupied Latvia. You will see the struggles and pains this country went through this period, as well as its striving energy for the future as an independent member of the international community. One needs to spend at least 2-3 hours in this museum in order to read and see all the historical events - both unbelievably tragic happenings and citizen's hard work and political struggles which led Latvia to an independent and free state .

    Address: Strenineku 1, Riga LV-1050, Latvia

    Directions: Got to the old City Hall and Black Heads direction.

    Phone: +371 7212715

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Occupation Museum: a litany of Latvian oppression

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 17, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    One the most interesting - but not necessarily the most pleasant - things to do in Riga is to visit the Occupation Museum, which is a moving tribute to the oppression that the Latvians have endured under successive waves of invasion and occupation throughout the 20th century. The sheer statistics on the percentage of the population that were killed by the Germans and particularly the Russians are terrifying - all the more so because the outside world is largely ignorant of the genocide that took place. In particular, I found it utterly chilling to see warrants of execution issued where the crime 'committed' is listed as no more than "being Latvian".

    The museum is housed in what can only be described as a hideous concrete bunker of a building. Inside, the exhibit is well thought out and provides a 'user friendly' perspective on a very sorry period of history that is accessible even to those with little or no knowledge of Soviet or Baltic politics. It is also admirable that the material is presented in English as well as Latvian. For me, the most sobering exhibit was a reconstruction of the interior of a barrack in an internment camp under Soviet occupation, and, in particular, the portable barrel-like toilet used by literally dozens of men (many of whom would have been suffering from diarrhoea and other stomach disorders). It reinforced the harshness of the 'living' (or should that be, 'dying'?) conditions and the lack of even basic privacy, which would have served to further dehumanise an opposed people. Depressing stuff.

    Website: http://www.omf.lv/index.php?lang=english

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  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo

    st mary's cathedral and square

    by cbeaujean Written Oct 6, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    all streets lead to this square as a focal point.
    in fact,created in 1936 when they demolished many buildings to give the oportunity to prime minister to speak to the people from a balcony....
    st mary,the dom,with a nice red brick structure and a gable like a hanseatic merchant's home and a bulbous dome...
    inside,a very interesting 6768 (!) pipes organ...

    cathedral square and the dom
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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    Museum of Occupation of Latvia

    by stevemt Written Aug 9, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This museum is a little sobering and confronting as you see first hand what life was like for Latvians during the occupation.

    It is certainly a good and interesting museum to visit, This is private museum, not run or administered by the state.

    Well worth a visit if you are interested in history.

    Address: Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1 Rīga,

    Directions: Just off Ratsluakums Square

    Phone: (+371) 67 212715

    Website: http://okupacijasmuzejs.lv/en

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    MUSEUM OF THE OCCUPATION OF LATVIA

    by LoriPori Written Jun 14, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located at Raina Bulvaris 7, the MUSEUM OF THE OCCUPATION OF LATVIA reveals Latvia's history from 1940 to 1991, when the occupations by the Soviets and Nazi Germany, took place.
    In the expositions, one can see documents, photographs and museum objects.
    Open every day
    May 1 to September 30 - from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Address: Raina Bulvaris 7

    Phone: 37 167212715

    Website: http://www.okupacijasmuzejs. lv

    Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

    by angiebabe Updated Dec 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A MUSEUM MUST SEE....Of all the horror museums, such as HOlocaust museums and sites at Dachau and Auschwitz, the museums about the Burmese railway and immense cruelty inflicted by the Japanese and as much reading and docuementaries and films etc, I actually had to go and hide in the ladies loos and sob at the end of my visit here such I guess the impact at the enormity of the suffering and endurance needed to get through the cruelty dished out through the years to the peoples of this country....and in the end they got free by getting out in vast numbers and singing!

    An impressive museum giving account of the Soviet and Nazi occupations of Latvia and the impressive determination to reach eventual independence in 1991.

    Address: Strelnieku laukums

    Directions: the old centre near St Peters church

    the secret pact btwn the Soviets and Nazis the decimation of the populations of Latvia poignant poem
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  • DennyP's Profile Photo

    VISIT THE MUSEUM OF OCCUPATION OF LATVIA

    by DennyP Written Sep 22, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I decided to view this museum as I had previously visited the Freedom Museum in Estonia..The museum was Established in 1993 to show what happenend here in Latvia during the years of Occupation from 1940 till 1991 firstly by The German Army and then The Soviet Occupational Forces. Life for Latvians living under the jackboot of these two regimes was relentless and extremely difficult for the local people to endure.These two talitarian regimes commited various crimes and attrocities from transportation and extermination to persecution or imprisonment to the peoples of Latvia and this museum goes some way in explaining these periods of Occupation.
    There are many various exhibits here that are showcased and there are Archive collections, some audio visul archives containing films and various testimonies, Photographs, artifacts,Uniforms,weapons etc...many Education programmes are in place for visiting local schools. and there is also a Travelling Exhibition called "Latvia Returns to Europe" and travels in Canada,Australia, and many European cities..

    Address: Strelnieku laukums1 Riga lv 1050 Latvia

    Directions: OPEN FROM MAY 1 TILL SEPTEMBER 30TH. 11 AM TILL 1800
    FROM OCTOBER 1 TILL APRIL 30 11 AM TILL 170
    ENTRANCE FEE IS A VOLUNTARY DONATION

    Phone: +371 67 212 715

    Website: http://www.occupationmuseum.lv

    THE MUSEUM OF OCCUPATION OF LATVIA...RIGA LOCAL CHURCH SPIRE BEING BURNT AND DESTROYED MANY OLD  SOVIET OCCUPATIONAL POSTERS MANY OF THE SHOWCASED EXHIBITS
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  • mcblacktiger's Profile Photo

    Museum of Occupation

    by mcblacktiger Written Feb 23, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Excellent free museum(donations suggested) about the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Latvia. Quite detailed and informative.

    Also very unusual for Eastern Europe the exhibits have been translated into English, along with Latvian and Russian.

    Becareful when you enter, there are many school and tourist group tours there and if start at the wrong time(like I did) you may be overrun and forced to speed up or slow down if you want to actually read anything.

    Address: Strelnieku laukums 1

    Phone: (+371) 721 2715

    Website: http://www.occupationmuseum.lv

    Poem Quotation from the museum

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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Museum of Occupation

    by antistar Updated Nov 27, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Museum of Occupation is a grim, but fascinating, portrayal of life under the different, and often brutal, occupiers this country has suffered. It mostly focuses on the crimes of the Soviet Union, but that's more recent so it isn't surprising. There's also a good amount on life under the Nazis, who many Latvians saw initially as liberators, only to discover they were no different to the Communists.

    In the Museum I found these voting slips (pictured) from Soviet elections. There's only one candidate. Some real Latvian slips were on show, with the single candidate's name crossed out, and replaced by handwritten entries like "comedy" and "long live free and independent Latvia." There was also a poster (pictured) about Churchill saying that the independence of the Baltic states was inviolable. Shortly later he signed the Yalta Accords giving them to Stalin.

    Probably the most memorable item was the "walk-in" Soviet prison cabin, where you could see exactly the conditions that Latvian prisoners, many of them political, had to suffer. There's a great piece on the history of the special Soviet "toilet made from a steel barrel", with the unpleasantness and indignities that imposed on Latvians, whose culture makes that kind of exposure especially unpleasant.

    It's all housed in the suitable stark and gloomy Museum of Occupation on the main square.

    Address: Ratslaukums

    Directions: In the main square, in between St. Peter's and the stone bridge, and next to the House of the Blackheads.

    Website: http://www.occupationmuseum.lv/

    Voting slips for Soviet Churchill Poster, Riga Museum of Occupation, Riga Museum of Occupation, Riga Propaganda Poster, Riga

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  • WanderingFinn's Profile Photo

    The Occupation Museum of Latvia

    by WanderingFinn Written Mar 6, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Museum of the occupation of Latvia (1940-1991) is a very interesting place and a must for those Riga visitors who are interested in history.

    The museum was established in 1993 e.g. to provide information about Latvia and its people under two occupying totalitarian regimes from 1940 to 1991.

    Also it is there to remind the world of the wrongdoings committed by foreign powers against the state and people of Latvia.

    And last but not least, to remember those who perished, suffered and fled the terror of the occupying regimes.

    Address: Strelnieku laukums 1, Riga LV-1050, Latvia

    Phone: (+371) 7 212 715

    Website: http://www.occupationmuseum.lv/

    Going to the Occupation Museum of Latvia They did NOT recognize incorp. of Latvia i. Soviet A reconstructed barrack of a gulag work camp
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  • Airpunk's Profile Photo

    Museum of Occupation

    by Airpunk Updated Jul 11, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Perhaps, this is the “Odd man out” at town hall square. Standing, close to the House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads and the Town Hall, this is by far the most ugly building on the square. I think, it would even wind any competition within Riga hands down. Anyway, what makes it so special is not its mid-20th century architectural style, but its exhibition. That deals with the time of occupation, first by the Nazis and then by the Soviets. Surely, a difficult matter as the wounds from this time are quite fresh. I must admit that it has been always high on my wishlist, but I haven’t managed to visit the museum. IN 200, I was too late and in 2015 it was refurbished and therefore closed.

    By the way, before 1993, the museum was dedicated to the Latvian Riflemen – another controversial point in latvia-russian relationship.

    Address: Raiņa bulvāris 7, Rīga

    Directions: Close to town hall, House of Blackheads and Akmens bridge

    Website: http://okupacijasmuzejs.lv/en

    Museum of Occupation, Riga Museum of Occupation, Riga
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  • bonio's Profile Photo

    Occupation Museum of Latvia

    by bonio Written Jul 27, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Telling the history from 1940 until independance. Many photos of life under the Soviet and German occupations. Tells the story of resistance fighters too. A moving and unforgettable visit, recommend a visit. Entrance is free, donations well received though.

    Address: Strelnieku laukums

    Phone: 7212715

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