Riga Holocaust museum to remain open after city waives rent

Latvian capital scraps plans to charge Ghetto Museum about $12,000 after 10-year lease expires

Riga Ghetto Museum des Vereins Shamir in Riga, Latvia (Fishman/ullstein bild via Getty Images via JTA)
Riga Ghetto Museum des Vereins Shamir in Riga, Latvia (Fishman/ullstein bild via Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — The city government of Riga, Latvia, waived its demand for rent from a Holocaust museum whose director said it couldn’t afford to pay.

The Riga City Council on Monday withdrew its intention to collect $12,000 in rent per month from the Riga Ghetto Museum, one of the Latvian capital’s three Holocaust museums, Rabbi Menachem Barkahan, who heads the Shamir Association that runs the museum, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The city also revised its plan to rezone most of the area it had leased to the museum for 10 years, agreeing to take away only half of its allocated 6,500 square feet. “This will allow the museum to keep its main exhibition, Ghetto Street, as is,” the Shamir Association said in a statement Tuesday.

The museum’s previous 10-year lease, which expired this year, did not charge any rent.

Shamir “welcomed the decision, and thanked the council for choosing to maintain the agreement,” the statement read.

The Nazis and their collaborators murdered about 70,000 Jews in Latvia during the Holocaust. The Riga Ghetto refers to areas of the city where Jews were forced to live during the Holocaust.

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