Dark tourism? / Salaspils concentration camp
Salaspils concentration camp was established at the end of 1941 at a point 18 km southeast of Riga. The Nazi bureaucracy drew distinctions between different types of camps. Officially, Salaspils was a Police Prison and Work Education Camp. Planning for the development of the camp and its prisoner structure changed several times. In 1943, Heinrich Himmler briefly considered converting the camp into an official concentration camp (Konzentrationslager), which would have formally subordinated the camp to the National Security Main Office, but nothing came of this.
Is original inmates were prisoners of war, but they were joined by Jews brought from several occupied different countries after Riga’s main ghetto was closed. The number of people who died in the camp is disputed as the Soviet regime subsequently exagerated the figures as a propaganda tool, but it is thought that hundreds were either killed directly or died as a result of the camp’s harsh conditions.
The entrance to the camp is marked by a long, sloping concret block placed at an angle to the ground, intented to symbolize the boundary between life and death. The text on the block reads “Behind this gate the earth groans” – a line from a poem by Elizens Veveris, who was a prisoner of the camp. Dominating the site is a series of huge sculptures erected in 1967, with titles such as “The Humiliated” and “The Unbroken”.