Mass burial sites in Bikernieki forest

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Mass burial sites in Bikernieki forest, near Riga, Latvia. Bikernieki forest is Latvia’s biggest mass murder site during The Holocaust of World War II during years 1941-44. There are 55 marked mass burial sites in the forest. About 46,500 people were reported to have been killed there, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, and Nazis’ political adversaries.

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Eduard Vilde memorial, Tallinn

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

This monument stands near the intersection of Harju and Niguliste Streets, on the northeast side of the St. Nicholas Church in Tallinn, Estonia. It consists of two large white stone tablets. The left tablet is a relief art sculpture with a number of people engaged in various activites. The right tablet has a relief sculpture of Eduard Vilde’s likeness (just the head), superimposed over a poem, that reads:

JANUNEB INIMESE HING
LOODUSE SUNDUSLIKULT ILU
JÄRELE, SIIS
JANUNEB TA
UHES SELLEGA
TÕE JÄRELEE
E LUTÕE,
I LUTÖE,
KUNSTITÕE
JARELE JA KAS EI OLE
TEILE TEATAVAKS SAANUD
NÄHTUS, ET SUURED JA
SUGAVAD VAIMUD KÕIGIST
PAHVIJSTEST-KIRJANIKUD
LUULETAJAD, FILOSOOFIDET
NAD KÕIK TÕE, ÕIGUSE
SEISAVAD ET NENDE SULG
VÄLJA
ASTUB
RÕHUTUE EEST JA RÕHUJATE
VASTU, VAE VATUTE EEST
JA VAEVAJATE VASTU ET
ESTEETIK JA EETIK NENDE
TEOSTES ÜHISEKS AKORDIKS
KOONDUVAD NAD EI SAA
TEISITI, KUI
INIMEST
ARMASTADA

In English:

“Thirsty beauty of the human soul, when he is thirsty for truth in this – elutõe, ilutõe, kunstitõe, and, if you do not become known phenomenon that the spirits of all nations large and deep – writers, poets, philosophers – they all truth, justice and fairness in the service encounter to the bracket to take the downtrodden, and the oppressors against the oppressed, and vaevajate against the aesthetes and eetik their works in one chord to converge. they can not be otherwise, when the people you love.”

Eduard Vilde (4 March 1865 in Pudivere, Väike-Maarja Parish, Lääne-Viru County – 26 December 1933 in Tallinn) was an Estonian writer, a pioneer of critical realism in Estonian literature, and a diplomat. Author of classics such as The War in Mahtra and The Milkman from Mäeküla. He was one of the most revered figures in Estonian literature and is generally credited as being the country’s first professional writer.

Vilde grew on the farm where his father worked. In 1883 he began working as a journalist. He spent a great deal of his life traveling abroad and he lived for some time in Berlin in the 1890s, where he was influenced by materialism and socialism. His writings were also guided by the realism and naturalism of the French writer Émile Zola (1840–1902). In addition to being a prolific writer, he was also an outspoken critic of Tsarist rule and of the German landowners. With the founding of the first Estonian republic in 1919, he served as an ambassador in Berlin for several years, and spent the last years of his life editing and revising an enormous volume of his collected works.

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Bikernieki Memorial near Riga, Latvia

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Bikernieki Memorial (Latvian: Bikernieku memorials) is a war memorial to The Holocaust victims of World War II in Bikernieki forest, near Riga, Latvia.

Bikernieki forest is Latvia’s biggest mass murder site during The Holocaust of World War II during years 1941–44. There are 55 marked mass burial sites in the forest. About 46,500 people were reported to have been killed there, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, and Nazis’ political adversaries. The exact number of victims is unknown. Although Soviet Nazi War Crime Research Committee declared over 46,000 murders, later excavations did not confirm this number. The number of victims is speculated to be closer to 30,000.

The first victims were a few thousand men arrested in July 1941 and brought from Riga Central Prison. In 1942 another 12,000 Jews were brought from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. In 1943 Riga Ghetto prisoners were brought here who were unable to work at Kaizerwald concentration camp, followed by those from the camp itself unable to work in 1944. In 1943 and onwards Nazis dug up graves and burned the bodies to hide the evidence. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 victims buried in the forest.

Bikernieki forest is the biggest mass murder site during The Holocaust in Latvia with two memorial territories spanning over 80,000 square metres (860,000 sq ft) with 55 marked burial sites with around 20,000 victims still buried in total.

The memorial was initially planned and construction started in 1986, but was delayed after Latvia declared independence in 1991. The construction was revived in 2000 by German War Graves Commission with the help of local Latvian organisations and several German cities. It was financed mostly by German government and organisations, Austrian State Fund, and involved city donations. It was designed by Sergey Rizh and opened on November 30, 2001.

The architect of the memorial is Sergey Rizh, who worked for 15 years on the design of the memorial. There are two memorial territories – 6,550 and 79,630 square metres (70,500 and 857,100 sq ft) wide on both sides from the road. In addition to smaller forest pathways, there are two roads leading to the memorial’s central square – a historic road used to bring the victims and the main central road paved with concrete slabs and marked with a concrete arc exiting to Bikernieku Street.

The centre of assembly houses a black granite cube – a symbolic altar with engraving from Book of Job 16:18 “Earth, don’t cover my blood. Let my cry have no place to rest.” in Latvian, Russian, German, and Hebrew languages. The immediate area is surrounded by 4,000 granite stones arranged in a grid of forty-five 4-by-4-metre (13 ft × 13 ft) squares, and resembles a traditional Jewish cemetery. The unique rough-hewn 0.2-to-1.5-metre (0.66 to 4.92 ft) high granite stones of black, gray, and reddish colors come from Zhytomyr region in Ukraine. The stones are carved with European city names representing the home towns of the victims. The entrances to the memorial and other grave sites in the forest are marked with concrete pillars with symbols representing various groups of the fallen – Star of David representing Jews, Crown of Thorns representing war prisoners, and Christian cross representing civilians. Historians from the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum, educational establishment House of the Wannsee Conference, and historians from the member cities have documented the names of over 31,000 victims, published in Book of Remembrance: The German, Austrian and Czechoslovakian Jews deported to the Baltic States (2003).

Despite the nature of memorial, the surrounding hills are a popular summer hiking and winter sledding and skiing location. Although Germany supplies annual funding for memorial maintenance, it is insufficient to fund regular police patrols and surveillance. The memorial and gravestones have been vandalised several times, each time attracting media attention.
(From Wikipedia)

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Quote of Eisenhower in Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

6 June, anniversary of the D-Day, the allied invasion of Normandie in 1944.

“The eyes of the world are upon you… I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle”. 
– General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander

This inscription is in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honors American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II.

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Big Pun

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Graffiti memorial to rapper Big Pun in The Bronx, New York, USA. 

Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name Big Pun (short for Big Punisher), was an American rapper and actor of Puerto Rican background. Big Pun emerged from the underground hip hop scene in The Bronx borough of New York City, in the late 1990s. He first appeared on albums from The Beatnuts, on the track “Off the Books” in 1997, and on Fat Joe’s second album Jealous One’s Envy in 1995, prior to signing to Loud Records as a solo artist. Pun’s lyrics are notable for technical efficiency, having minimal pauses to take a breath, heavy use of alliteration as well as internal and multi-syllabic rhyming schemes. 

About.com ranked him #25 on its list of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007), while MTV2 ranked him #11 on its list of the “22 Greatest MCs.” In 2012, The Source ranked him #19 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. An article from The Rolling Stones Magazine states, “Pun embodied all of the traits of a master wordsmith: melody, a unique flow, an unforgettable voice, humor, and lyrics that made other MCs go back to their black and white composition notebooks.” 

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Pomona (Audrey Munson) on the Pulitzer memorial fountain

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Pomona, atop the Pulitzer memorial fountain, in Grand Army Plaza, at the intersection of Central Park South and Fifth Avenue in front of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, New York City. It stretches from 60th to 58th Streets between East Drive and Fifth Avenue. “Pulitzer Fountain of Abundance” was contributed by publisher Joseph Pulitzer. It is topped with this bronze statue of the Roman goddess Pomona also designed by Bitter.

Pomona (Latin: Pōmōna) was a goddess of fruitful abundance in ancient Roman religion and myth. Her name comes from the Latin word pomum, “fruit,” specifically orchard fruit. She was said to be a wood nymph. In the myth narrated by Ovid she scorned the love of the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus, but married Vertumnus after he tricked her, disguised as an old woman. She and Vertumnus shared a festival held on August 13. Her priest was called the flamen Pomonalis. The pruning knife was her attribute. There is a grove that is sacred to her called the Pomonal, located not far from Ostia, the ancient port of Rome.

The woman behind Pomona was Audrey Munson. She was the model of many New York City statues such as on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building as Civic, Columbia at the Maine Memorial at Columbus Circle, the Manhattan Bridge and as a strong woman holding a dead fireman at the Fireman Memorial on Riverside Drive and West 100 Street. After she became a sought after model, her fame came to a tragic turn. After moving in a boarding house that belonged to a doctor, he felled in love with her. He killed his wife to marry her. Audrey fame faded afterward. She attempted suicide by swallowing mercury and was committed to a mental hospital for the rest of her life. She died there at the ripe old age of 105.

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Monument for the jewish holocaust. Berlin, Germany.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square metres (4.7 acres) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.8 m (8 in to 15 ft 9 in). According to Eisenman’s project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.

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