Country Holidays
No 38001
Historical site
Historical site Latvia, Vidzeme

Death Island

This was an island after the Rīga hydroelectric power plant created a reservoir, and before that it was a peninsula on the Left Bank of the Daugava.  During World War I, there were massive battles between Latvian Riflemen and a much larger German army on Death Island.  On December 25, 1916, the Germans used poisonous gas against the Latvian troops.  In honour of this, the architect Eižens Laube designed a monument to fallen Latvian riflemen on the northern shore of Death Island.  It was unveiled in 1924.  Death Island can be reached by boat, and the trenches and graves there are of interest.  There is a pier for boats on the north-western shore of the island, and nearby is a location for leisure.  Some of the trenches and dugouts have recently been restored.  The battles were described by Aleksandrs Grīns in his masterpiece, “Snowstorm of Souls.”