Riga Regiment memorial in Riga

Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie

These two photos were taken in the summer of 1999. This memorial is tucked away and hard to find and very unpretentious. It refers to the unit of Riga citizens thrown together in October, 1919, to defend the city against the German and Russian troops of Bermondt-Avalov. The front ran along the Daugava for four weeks, during which time this side of the river, where the monument is located, was in enemy hands. Whether this particular location in Sudrabkalnins in western Riga played a significant role during the fighting in the city when the Latvians counter-attacked and drove the enemy back, I do not know.

It was designed by the architect Ernests Stalbergs and the sculptor Karlis Zale (Zale also did the Brethren Cemetery in Riga). It was unveiled on 31 October, 1937.

It reads, "To the soldiers of the Riga regiment, the defenders of Riga, 1919".
With the stairs in full view, the memorial appears much smaller. According to my source (see bottom of page), it is dedicated to the fallen of the 6th Riga infantry regiment. There is specific indication of this at the memorial, however. These were removed after the Second World War. I suppose the monument was left standing, unlike many memorials from this era, because with the wording as is, it is open to an interpretation that would refer to the communist defenders of Riga in the spring of 1919 when the Red Army, including Latvian units, was defending Riga in May against a German and Latvian army from the same direction as the battle five months later.

Source: Cela uz neatkaribu. Brivibas cinu piemenikli, Riga, 1997.


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