Museum of the Occupation prepares tours of cells
As part of its European Capital of Culture events this year, Riga will soon open the doors of the ghostly, infamous and feared building on the corner of Brivibas and Stabu streets, for the first time since Latvia’s independence was restored in 1991.
During the Soviet occupation, the building – which the Latvians often referred to as the “corner house” – housed the headquarters of the KGB. But from April 30 to October 31 it will be the venue for a project called The KGB House, File No.1914/2014.
As a part of the project, experts from the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia are preparing an exhibition about the history of the KGB and will offer tours of the basement prison cells.
The Soviet political secret police was founded in December 1917 as the All-Russian Special Commission for combating counterrevolution and sabotage. It quickly established a large and oppressive apparatus that searched for and eliminated opponents and suspected opponents of the Bolshevik regime.
When Soviet forces occupied Latvia in June 1940, the Cheka as it was then known starting working in Riga too, continuing until 1991. It was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Latvian citizens and the exile to Siberia of many thousands more.
[pictured: The “corner house” in Riga]