The “Synagogue Garden,” a sculptural/architectural memorial installed last year at the site of the destroyed Great Synagogue in Bauska, Latvia, has received an “Annual Latvian Award in Construction” award.
The monument, carried out by the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia in cooperation with the sculptor Girts Burvis and dedicated in October 2017, received second place in the Public Outdoor Space category.
The Great Synagogue was erected in 1844 and was noted for, among other things, its richly carved wooded Ark. It was the only Jewish site to be listed (in 1931) as a national cultural heritage in the pre-WWII Latvian Republic. The synagogue was torched and burned down by the Nazis in 1941.
The Latvian Jewish Community web site describes the memorial (which stands at 35 Riga St.) as including:
the conventional walls of a synagogue and five figures of people, as if coming out after a service. Menorah has been placed at the site where Aron Kodesh was located, while a symbolic Bimah is standing in the centre of the memorial, containing an inscription: “Dedicated to the Jews of Bauska, who for centuries lived here and built this city, and who in 1941 were murdered by the Nazis and their local accomplices. In memoriam – descendants of Bauska Jews and Bauska citizens”. The Bimah also contains a brief history of Bauska Jews and the surnames of the families who perished in the Holocaust.
It said special structures – gabions filled with dolomite stones and also with some of the original stones from the synagogue unearthed during the building process were used in the construction of the memorial.