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In the 1960s, only a simple commemorative plaque was placed in the forest and the grave sites were marked with concrete borders. The plaque stated that 46,500 Soviet citizens had died and omitted mentioning nationalities. The location had been neglected and slowly degrading since. The first plans for the Bikernieki forest grave site clean up were formed in 1986 by a team from the Komunālprojekts Institute. The team included Gaļina Lobaševa, Vija Jansone, Gaļina Alsina, Ineta Vītola, Māris Galarovskis, and Sergey Rizh in the lead. The project received Riga City Council's approval and state funding and the works continued until 1991 when the current government was dissolved after Latvia declared independence. The work halted at around a fifth of the completion with only the surrounding terrain cleared and central and entrance memorial signs erected.
The project was revived in 1993–4 by the initiative of Eric Herzl, an expert from Austrian Society of Memorials, who obtained the permission from Riga City Council to continue the construction work. Austria brought the project to the attention of the German War Graves Commission and more than a dozen German cities in 1999. On May 23, 2000, 13 German city representatives and the president of German War Graves Commission met in Berlin to form German Riga Committee. The chapter was formed to plan and build a war memorial in Bikernieki forest to commemorate the Jews deported and killed at start of 1940s. The project was funded by German War Graves Commission, the National Fund of the Republic of Austria, the German government including Central Council of Jews in Germany, and donations from several German town municipalities. The work was carried out by The German Commission, Latvian Fraternal Cemeteries Commission, and the Riga City Council. The projected cost was DEM 900,000 and the actual project cost DEM 1M (or LVL 285,000).
The memorial was opened on November 30, 2001, 60 years after the start of the deportations.
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