The city of Jurmala
Distance from Riga 25 km (A10)
The settlements on the sites of modern Jurmala already existed in 16th century. Schlok (Sloka) – the settlement of traders, started developing in the late 18th century, and by the mid-19th century the resorts of Kemmern (Kemeri) and Rigaer Strand were in operation. They were designated towns in 1920 and later in 1959 were merged, became a city, and received the name Jurmala.
The first Jews came to Sloka in the late 18th century. It was the nearest to Riga settlement, where the Jews had permission to reside permanently. The majority of Riga Jews were officially assigned to Sloka Jewish community until the 1840s. However, very few Jews were actually living in Sloka. The 107 Jews lived here in 1878, made up 10% of its entire population.
According to the decision of the local Baron, the owner of the land along the seaside, the Jews were strictly forbidden to live in the coastal villages of Assern (Asari), Karlsbad (Melluzi and Pumpuri) and Majorenhoff (Majori). This decree was abolished in 1920. Only the Jewish merchants of the first guild (the “aristocracy” of capital and industry) were allowed to permanently live in Bilderlingshof (Bulduri) and Edinburg (Dzintari).
The only part of Jurmala, where the Jews had unconditional residential rights was Dubbeln (Dubulti). It became the favourite holiday venue for the wealthy Jews of Riga since 1870s. By the late 19th century, the absolute majority of the people taking holidays here were Jewish. The Great Summer Synagogue was built here. During the same period, a Jewish cemetery was opened in Dubulti. The cemetery was destroyed in the 1950s.
The Jewish community of Jurmala was established in the 1920s–1930s. Several new synagogues were built during the same period. Among the 7, 865 people, who lived in Jurmala in 1935, 180 were Jewish.
Jurmala became a rehabilitation resort for the Wehrmaht soldiers in July 1941. Five local Jews were killed in the synagogue in Bulduri on the 21st of July 1941. After that, the entire building was blown up. Obeying the order of the German military administration, the Jews of Jurmala moved to Riga, where they shared the tragic fate of their fellows.
The Jewish life in Jurmala was revived in the late 1980s. Some 300 Jews live in the city at present.
The “New Synagogue”
Majori, Viktorijas, 33. It was built in the 1930s. After the WWII, the synagogue was converted into a children’s sport school and then into a DIY shop. The building is currently not in use.
The Great Summer Synagogue
Dubulti, Ceriņu, 12. It was built in 1904 and reconstructed in 1939. After the WWII, the synagogue was converted into an indoor market. Currently it is not in use. The building is included in the List of Local Protected Monuments.
Additional Historical Prayer Houses
– Prayer House, Dubulti, Dubultu, 97. Private, residential property.
– Prayer House, Bulduri, Vidus, 13. Private, residential property.