RIGA, Latvia, Dec, 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This season in Riga, Jerusalem, and New York, families, descendants, and a few eyewitnesses are remembering the 70th anniversary of a monstrous mass shooting of the Holocaust. On November 30 and December 8, 1941, Nazi S.S. Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) aided by Latvian collaborators murdered 25,000 Jews at Rumbula Forest, outside Riga.
Mostly women and children were shot in mass graves, avoiding separate burial in a method called "sardine packing" by its SS inventor. The first documentary to focus on the massacre, Rumbula's Echo, is racing against time to capture recollections of Latvian survivors and eyewitnesses now in their 80s and 90s who have settled across four continents.
Although historians consider Rumbula the second-largest mass shooting of its kind, after Babi Yar in the Ukraine, the horror in Latvia has remained obscure. Yet, Moshe Arens, former foreign minister of Israel, who lived in Riga as a boy, has remarked, this time of year "my thoughts...turn to the killing fields in Latvia, Rumbula..."
On November 13, in New York, 130 people attended the Jewish Survivors of Latvia's annual memorial service and viewed 74 minutes of work-in-progress on Rumbula's Echo.
On November 27, in Riga, 200 people from the country's now small but vibrant Jewish community convened at Rumbula for a memorial service. In July, on the 70th anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Latvia, Riga's Jews also viewed excerpts from the film.
December 6, Latvian Jews from throughout Israel took buses to its Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, for a Rumbula memorial service.
Who attends these events? Descendants of survivors, relatives of the murdered, and a handful of elderly survivors themselves, estimated to number no more than 140 worldwide.
In commemoration of this 70th anniversary, the documentary's website, www.RumbulasEcho.org, features a 93-second clip of three Holocaust survivors describing the forced march to Rumbula.
Rumbula's Echo is being produced by TV and documentary veterans, advised by the world's five leading historians on the Holocaust in Latvia, through the non-profit educational media organization, Luminescence Media Group, which in 2002 launched the respected educational website, www.Rumbula.org.
Latvia: Tatjana Libinsone +371-66-163-216
U.S.A.: Mitchell Lieber +1-312-602-3302
Luminescence Media Group NFP
Note to media-editors:
downloadable photos, MPEG-4 film clips, filmmaker information: www.rumbulasecho.org