Brīvības square 19 – a former prison

Sestdiena, 21.06.2014, 07:30

Uzmanību, atvērt jaunā logā. PDFDrukātNosūtīt draugam

This building is on the territory of the former Livonian Order castle. It was built around 1830 as a courthouse and prison for up to 120 people.

Most of those who were imprisoned were sentenced for criminal and economic offences. Most worked at workshops. During the summer, prisoners also worked at the prison farm in the Milzkalne Parish. During the winter, they cleaned the ice on the lake to prepare it for ice skating and hockey.

The history of the prison traces the most important events in Latvia’s history. Between 1905 and 1907, for instance, it held members of the revolutionary committee in Tukums. In 1919, it was used to house German barons and other civilians who had been arrested by the Bolsheviks. Between January 20 and March 15 of that year, they were all shot.

During World War II, the German occupation regime arrested 1,543 people who were held at the prison. 85 were shot in the Valgums forest, while others were sent to concentration camps or liberated. In 1945, the building was handed over to the state’s interior structures.

The militia and KGB used the building during the Soviet era. The prison was used to hold national partisans, deportees who had illegally returned from Siberia, as well as people who had been arrested for economic or criminal offences before they were shipped off to Rīga.