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Home      Epilog of Liepaja Jewish non–Jewish Heritage Holocaust
 
   
Epilog of – 
Liepaja Jewish non–Jewish Heritage Holocaust 
 
Contents: 
 
01. 1940 June 15, The Beginning of Latvia and Liepaja Year of Atrocities – 
02. 1939 August 23–24, in the late hours Nazi Germany – Soviet Union signed The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol – 
03. 1940 June 15, Soviet Union Invasion of Latvia – 
04. 1940 June 17, Soviet Union First Occupation of Latvia and Liepaja – 
05. 1941 June 13–14, Soviet Union NKVD Mass Deportation of Latvia and Liepaja Citizens – 
06. 1940–1941 June, Soviet Union NKVD Atrocities committed during Occupation and Retreat from the Nazi Army – 
07. 1941 June 22 at 03:15hrs on Sunday, Nazi Army Invasion of Latvia and Liepaja – 
08. 1941 June 23– 24, Beginning of the Nazi Army's Mass Murders – 
09. 1941 July 3–4, Nazi Army's first documented Mass Murders in Raina Park – 
10. 1941-1942, Nazi Army's SS SD Liepaja Mass Murders – 
11. 1941-1942 Liepaja Jewish and non-Jewish Holocaust Sites – 
  • Raina Park Memorial Stone, Site of the 3 July 1941 Mass Murders – 
  • Jewish Reburial Site of Raina Park Mass Murders – 
  • Courtyard where Jewish non-Jewish victims were held before being taken out and shot – 
  • Skede Dunes, Site of the 1941–1942 Jewish non-Jewish Mass Murder Graves Trench Lines – 
  • Soviet Union Memorial in Skede Dunes to the 1941–1942 Mass Murders – 
  • Jewish Memorial in Skede Dunes to the 1941–1942 Mass Murders – 
  • Skede Dunes Memorial Plaque, Honoring Jewish and Non-Jewish Victims – 
  • Jewish World War II Memorial Wall – 
12. Other Latvian Jewish non-Jewish 1941–1944 Mass Murder Sites – 
  • Bikernieku Forest – Site of the 1941-1944 Jewish non-Jewish Mass Murders – Memorial and its 55 Mass Graves – 
  • Rumbula Forest – Site of 1941 Jewish Mass Murders – Memorial and its 6 Mass Graves – 
  • Salaspils Concentration Camp "Transit Camp Kurtenhof" – 
13. Satellite Map of Skede Dunes, Site of the 1941-1942 Jewish non Jewish Mass Murders Graves Outlines – 
14. Map Showing what was known as the Liepaja Jewish Ghetto Area – 
 
01. 1940 June 15, The Beginning of Latvia and Liepaja Year of Occupation and Atrocities; 
 
The Beginning! We first must journey back to the year 1940 and the beginning of the “Terror Tyranny and Atrocities” of the Latvian and its Latvian Jewish people,  basically ending 20 years of independence from being ruled by a foreign country. 
 
It all began at dawn “02:30hrs” of 15 June 1940 and with its occupation the 17 June 1940 with the Soviet Red Army invasion of the Latvia Territory. Latvia’s terror started at once with the mass arrests murders or deportations of its leaders to far regents of the Soviet Union. 
 
Then in June 1941 Latvians and Latvian Jewish terror again starting on the night of 13 and 14 June 1941, where thousands of Latvians and Latvian Jewish people were arrested with out warrant loaded on fright carriages and then deported to far regents of the Soviet Union or were outright murdered. The Stalin's Soviet Union NKVD mass deportation of prominent Latvians and Latvian Jewish leaders left the country leaderless when the Nazi Germany Army invaded Latvia on Sunday, 1941 June 22 at 03:15hrs and finally entered the City of Riga Latvia on 1 July 1941, where they were welcomed as liberators from the year "June 1940 to June 1941" spent under Soviet Union and NKVD terror.  The Jewish terror and horror, which the Jewish people called the "Bloody Summer of 1941" with the “Beginning of Terror Against Jews”, starting on the night of 3 July 1941 and on 4 July 1941 with the Jewish people being dragged from their homes either being severally beaten or outright murdered by "pro-Nazi sympathizers and collaborators". 
 
This was just the beginning of the Jewish and non-Jewish terror that year and the next four years and beyond! 
 
To understand just what happened, first we must journey back to Moscow Russia and the late hours of 23 August 1939, were all this Terror Horror and Atrocities really started with the signing of The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol dividing Europe between them and dividing Poland. Within this pact, the Baltic States then fell under the Soviet Union and Stalin to which Stalin literally used intimidation to enforce it.  
Author's Note: The former Soviet Union and now the Federation of Russia literally and completely denied any part of this Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol to nowadays even when they were presented with a copy of it that was recovered after the fall of Hitler and Nazi Germany.  
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, colloquially named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled “the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939”. It was a non-aggression pact under which the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany each pledged to remain neutral in the event that either nation were attacked by a third party. It remained in effect until 22 June 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. 
 
In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence, anticipating potential "territorial and political rearrangements" of these countries. Thereafter, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded, on 1 and the 17 of September respectively, their respective sides of Poland, dividing the country between them. Part of eastern Finland was annexed by the Soviet Union after the Winter War. This was followed by Soviet annexations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and Hertza region. 
 
02. 1939 August 23–24, in the late hours Nazi Germany – Soviet Union signed The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol; 
 
Following completion of the Soviet-German trade and credit agreement, there has arisen the question of improving political links between Germany and the USSR. 
 
On 22 August 1939, one day after the talks broke down with France and Britain. Moscow revealed that Ribbentrop would visit Stalin the next day. This happened while the Soviets were still negotiating with the British and French missions in Moscow. With the Western nations unwilling to accede to Soviet demands, Stalin instead entered a secret Nazi–Soviet alliance. On 24 August 1939 a 10-year non-aggression pact was signed with provisions that included: consultation; arbitration if either party disagreed; neutrality if either went to war against a third power; no membership of a group "which is directly or indirectly aimed at the other." 
 
Most notably, there was also a secret protocol to the pact, revealed only after Germany's defeat in 1945, according to which the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet "spheres of influence". In the North, Finland, Estonia and Latvia were assigned to the Soviet sphere. Poland was to be partitioned in the event of its "political rearrangement"—the areas east of the Pisa, Narev, Vistula and San rivers going to the Soviet Union while Germany would occupy the west. Lithuania, adjacent to East Prussia, would be in the German sphere of influence, although a second secret protocol agreed to in September 1939 reassigned the majority of Lithuania to the USSR. According to the secret protocol, Lithuania would be granted the ethnic Polish city of Wilno, which was a part of Poland during the inter-war period. Another clause of the treaty was that Germany would not interfere with the Soviet Union's actions towards Bessarabia, then part of Romania; as the result, Bessarabia was joined to the Moldovan ASSR, and become the Moldovan SSR under control of Moscow. 
 
At the signing, Ribbentrop and Stalin enjoyed warm conversations, exchanged toasts and further addressed the prior hostilities between the countries in the 1930s. They characterized Britain as always attempting to disrupt Soviet-German relations, stated that the Anti-Comintern pact was not aimed at the Soviet Union, but actually aimed at Western democracies and "frightened principally the City of London “i.e., the British financiers” and the English shopkeepers." 
 
On 24 August 1939, Pravda and Izvestia carried news of the non-secret portions of the Pact, complete with the now infamous front-page picture of Molotov signing the treaty, with a smiling Stalin looking on “located at the top of this article”. The news was met with utter shock and surprise by government leaders and media worldwide, most of whom were aware only of the British–French–Soviet negotiations that had taken place for months. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was received with shock by Nazi Germany’s allies, notably Japan, by the Comintern and foreign communist parties, and by Jewish communities all around the world. So, that day, German diplomat Hans von Herwarth, whose grandmother was Jewish, informed Guido Relli, an Italian diplomat, and American chargé d'affaires Charles Bohlen on the secret protocol regarding vital interests in the countries' allotted "spheres of influence", without revealing the annexation rights for "territorial and political rearrangement". 
 
Time Magazine repeatedly referred to the Pact as the "Communazi Pact" and its participants as "communazis" until April 1941. 
 
Soviet propaganda and representatives went to great lengths to minimize the importance of the fact that they had opposed and fought against the Nazis in various ways for a decade prior to signing the Pact. Upon signing the pact, Molotov tried to reassure the Germans of his good intentions by commenting to journalists that "fascism is a matter of taste". For its part, Nazi Germany also did a public volte-face regarding its virulent opposition to the Soviet Union, though Hitler still viewed an attack on the Soviet Union as "inevitable". 
 
Concerns over the possible existence of a secret protocol were first expressed by the intelligence organizations of the Baltic States scant days after the pact was signed. Speculation grew stronger when Soviet negotiators referred to its content during negotiations for military bases in those countries. 
 
The day after the Pact was signed, the French and British military negotiation delegation urgently requested a meeting with Soviet military negotiator Kliment Voroshilov. On 25 August 1939, Voroshilov told them "[i]n view of the changed political situation, no useful purpose can be served in continuing the conversation." That day, Hitler told the British ambassador to Berlin that the pact with the Soviets prevented Germany from facing a two front war, changing the strategic situation from that in World War I, and that Britain should accept his demands regarding Poland. 
 
On 25 August 1939, surprising Hitler, Britain entered into a defense pact with Poland. Consequently, Hitler postponed his planned 26 August 1939 invasion of Poland to 1 September 1939. Britain and France responded by guaranteeing the sovereignty of Poland, so they declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. 
 
Texts of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol;  
- Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Secret Additional Protocol, 23 August 1939. 
 
- Secret Additional Protocol of 28 September 1939 Amending the Secret Agreement of 23 August 1939. 
 
- German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty of 28 September 1939; Confidential Protocols Concerning Repatriation and Political Subjugation of Poland; Declaration of the German Reich and the Government of the USSR. 
 
- German-Soviet Protocol of 10 January 1941 Concerning Transfer of the Rights to the Suwalki Strip to the USSR.  
GERMAN CORRESPONDENCE ON THE PACT, OCTOBER 1939  
- The German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Schulenberg. 
 
- The German Minister in Kaunas Informed of the Secret Protocol; Zechlin Reports on Lithuanian Reaction. 
 
- Ribbentrop Tells German Envoys in the Baltic About the Secret Protocol.  
Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 
 
The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following agreement: 
 
Article I 
 
Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other either individually or jointly with other powers. 
 
Article II 
 
Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third power. 
 
Article III 
 
The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests. 
 
Article IV 
 
Neither of the two High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party. 
 
Article V 
 
Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions. 
 
Article VI 
 
The present treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not denounce it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years. 
 
Article VII 
 
The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed. 
 
Done in duplicate, in the German and Russian languages; 
 
Moscow, 23 August 1939. 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                     With full power of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                         V. Molotov 
 
Secret Additional Protocol 
 
On the occasion of the signature of the Nonaggression Pact between the German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the undersigned plenipotentiaries of each of the two parties discussed in strictly confidential conversations the question of the boundary of their respective spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. These conversations led to the following conclusions: 
 
1. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States “Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania”, the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilnius area is recognized by each party. 
 
2. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narew, Vistula, and San. 
 
The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish state and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. 
 
In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement. 
 
3. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in the areas. 
 
4. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret. 
 
Moscow, 23 August 1939. 
 
For the Government of the German Reich                                       Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                          V. Molotov 
 
Secret Additional Protocol of 28 September 1939 
 
The undersigned plenipotentiaries declare the agreement of the Government of the German Reich and the Government of the U.S.S.R. upon the following: 
 
The Secret Additional Protocol signed on 23 August 1939, shall be amended in item 1 to the effect that the territory of the Lithuanian state falls to the sphere of influence of the U.S.S.R., while, on the other hand, the province of Lublin and parts of the province of Warsaw fall to the sphere of influence of Germany (cf. the map attached to the Boundary and Friendship Treaty signed today). As soon as the Government of the U.S.S.R. shall take special measures on Lithuanian territory to protect its interests, the present German-Lithuanian border, for the purpose of a natural and simple boundary delineation, shall be rectified in such a way that the Lithuanian territory situated to the southwest of the line marked on the attached map falls to Germany. 
 
Further it is declared that the economic agreements now in force between Germany and Lithuania shall not be affected by the measures of the Soviet Union referred to above. 
 
Moscow, 28 September 1939 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                       By authority of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                           V. Molotov 
 
"Second Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact" of 28 September 1939. Map of Poland signed by Joseph Stalin and Joachim von Ribbentrop adjusting the German–Soviet border in the aftermath of German and Soviet invasion of Poland. 
 
German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty of 28 September 1939 
 
The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the U.S.S.R. consider it exclusively their task, after the collapse of the former Polish state, to re-establish peace and order in these territories and to assure to the peoples living there a peaceful life in keeping with their national character. To this end, they have agreed upon the following: 
 
Article I 
 
The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the U.S.S.R. determine as the boundary of the respective national interests in the territory of the former Polish state the line marked on the attached map, which shall be described in more detail in a supplementary protocol. 
 
Article II 
 
Both parties recognize the boundary of the respective national interests established in Article 1 as definitive and shall reject any interference of third powers in this settlement. 
 
Article III 
 
The necessary reorganization of public administration will be effected in the areas west of the line specified in 1 by the Government of the German Reich, in the areas east of the line by the Government of the U.S.S.R. 
 
Article IV 
 
The Government of the German Reich and the Government the U.S.S.R. regard this settlement as a firm foundation for a progressive development of the friendly relations between their peoples. 
 
Article V 
 
This treaty shall be ratified and the ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin as soon as possible. The treaty becomes effective upon signature. 
 
Done in duplicate, in the German and Russian languages; 
 
Moscow, 28 September 1939 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                       By authority of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                           V. Molotov 
 
Confidential Protocol 
 
The Government of the U.S.S.R. shall place no obstacles in the way of Reich nationals and other persons of German descent residing in the territories under its jurisdiction, if they desire to migrate to Germany or to the territories under German jurisdiction. It agrees that such removals shall be carried out by agents of the Government of the Reich in cooperation with the competent local authorities and that the property rights of the emigrants shall be protected.
 
A corresponding obligation is assumed by the Government of the German Reich in respect to the persons of Ukrainian or Belorussian descent residing in the territories under its jurisdiction. 
 
Moscow, 28 September 1939 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                       By authority of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                           V. Molotov 
 
Secret Additional Protocol 
 
The undersigned plenipotentiaries, on concluding the German-Russian Boundary and Friendship Treaty, have declared their agreement upon the following: 
 
Both parties will tolerate no Polish agitation in their territories which affects the territories of the other party. They will suppress in their territories all beginnings of such agitation and inform each other concerning suitable measures for this purpose. 
 
Moscow, 28 September 1939 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                       By authority of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                     V. Molotov 
 
German-Soviet Secret Protocol 
 
The German Ambassador, Count von der Schulenburg, Plenipotentiary of the Government of the German Reich, on the one hand, and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R., V.M. Molotov, Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R., on the other hand, have agreed upon the following: 
 
1. The Government of the German Reich renounces its claim to the strip of Lithuanian territory which is mentioned in the Secret Additional Protocol of 28 September 1939, and which has been marked on the map attached to this Protocol; 
 
2. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is prepared to compensate the Government of the German Reich for the territory mentioned in Point 1 of this Protocol by paying 7,500,000 gold dollars or 31,500,000 million reichsmarks to Germany. 
 
The amount of 31,5 million Reichsmarks will be paid by the Government of the U.S.S.R. in the following manner: one-eight, that is, 3,937,500 Reichsmarks, in nonferrous metal deliveries within three months after the signing of this Protocol, the remaining seven-eights, or 27,562,500 Reichsmarks in gold by deduction from the German gold payments which Germany is to make by 11 February 1941, in accordance with the correspondence exchanged between the Chairman of the German Economic Delegation, Dr. Schnurre, and the People's Commissar for Foreign Trade of the U.S.S.R., A.I. Mikoyan, in connection with the "Agreement of 10 January 1941, concerning reciprocal deliveries in the second treaty period on the basis of the Economic Agreement between the German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of 11 February 1940." 
 
3. This Protocol has been executed in two originals in the German language and two originals in the Russian language and shall become effective immediately upon signature. 
 
Moscow, 10 January 1941. 
 
For the Government of the German Reich:                                       By authority of the Government of the U.S.S.R.: 
v. Ribbentrop                                                                                     V. Molotov 
Schulenburg                                                                                       (Seal) 
(Seal) 
 
The German Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Schulenburg 
 
Telegram 
 
Very urgent 
 
Strictly secret 
No. 497 of 4 October 
 
Berlin, 5 October 1939—3:43 a.m. 
Received Moscow, 5 October 1939—11:55 a.m. 
 
Referring to today's telephonic communication from the Ambassador; 
 
The Legation in Kaunas is being instructed as follows: 
 
1) Solely for your personal information, I am apprising you of the following: At the time of the signing of the German-Russian Nonaggression Pact on 23 August, a strictly secret delimitation of the respective spheres of influence in Eastern Europe was also undertaken. In accordance therewith, Lithuania was to belong to the German sphere of influence, while in the territory of the former Polish state, the so-called four-river line, Pissa-Narew-Vistula-San, was to constitute the border. Even then I demanded that the district of Vilnius go to Lithuania, to which the Soviet Government consented. At the negotiations concerning the Boundary and Friendship Treaty on 28 September, the settlement was amended to the extent that Lithuania, including the Vilnius area, was included in the Russian sphere of influence, for which in turn, in the Polish area, the province of Lublin and large portions of the province of Warsaw, including the pocket of territory of Suwalki, fell within the German sphere of influence. Since, by the inclusion of the Suwalki tract in the German sphere of influence a difficulty in drawing the border line resulted, we agreed that in case the Soviets should take special measures in Lithuania, a small strip of territory in the southwest of Lithuania, accurately marked on the map, should fall to Germany. 
 
2) Today Count von der Schulenburg reports that Molotov, contrary to our own intentions, notified the Lithuanian Foreign Minister last night of the confidential arrangement. Please now, on your part, inform the Lithuanian Government, orally and in strict confidence, of the matter, as follows: 
 
As early as at the signing of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 23 August, in order to avoid complications in Eastern Europe, conversations were held between ourselves and the Soviet Government concerning the delimitation of German and Soviet spheres of influence. In these conversations I had recommended restoring the Vilnius district to Lithuania, to which the Soviet Government gave me its consent. In the negotiations concerning the Boundary and Friendship Treaty of 28 September, as is apparent from the German-Soviet boundary demarcation which is published, the pocket of territory of Suwalki jutting out between Germany and Lithuania had fallen to Germany. As this created an intricate and impractical boundary, I had reserved for Germany a border correction in this area, whereby a small strip of Lithuanian territory would fall to Germany. The award of Vilnius to Lithuania was maintained in these negotiations also. You are now authorized to make it known to the Lithuanian Government that the Reich Government does not consider the question of this border revision timely at this moment. We make the proviso, however, that the Lithuanian Government treat this matter as strictly confidential. End of instruction for Kaunas. 
 
I request you to inform Mr. Molotov of our communication to the Lithuanian Government. Further, please request of him, as already indicated in the preceding telegram, that the border strip of Lithuanian territory involved be left free in the event of a possible posting of Soviet troops in Lithuania and also that it be left to Germany to determine the date of the implementing of the agreement concerning the cession to Germany of the territory involved. Both of these points at issue should be set forth in a secret exchange of letters between yourself and Molotov.

Original text


Ribbentrop

The German Minister in Kaunas, Zechlin, to the German Foreign Office 

Telegram 

Most urgent

No. 175 of 5 October
Kaunas, 5 October (1939)—7:55 p.m.
Received 5 October —10:30 p.m.

With reference to telegram No. 252 of 5 October (4)

[Deputy Prime Minister Kazys] Bizauskas sent for me today even before I could ask for an appointment with the Foreign Minister as instructed in telegram No. 252; he first made excuses for Mr. Urbšys, who was completely occupied today with continuous discussions in the Cabinet and therefore unfortunately could not speak with me himself. He then informed me that Molotov had told Urbšys that Germany had laid claim to a strip of Lithuanian territory, the limits of which included the city and district of Naumiestis and continued on past the vicinity of Mariampolė. This had made a deep and painful impression on Lithuania, and Urbšys had flown back to Kaunas partly because of this information, which he had not wished to transmit by telephone.

The Lithuanian Government has instructed Škirpa to make inquiries in Berlin.

I told him that in the Moscow discussions on the delimitation of the German and Soviet spheres of interest, the Reich Foreign Minister had advocated giving the Vilnius area to Lithuania and had also obtained the Soviet Government's agreement in the matter. While Lithuania had the prospect of such a great increase in territory a difficult and impracticable boundary in the vicinity of the Suwalki tip had come into existence because of the German-Soviet border division. Therefore the idea of a small border rectification at the German-Lithuanian frontier had also emerged in the course of these negotiations; but I could inform him that the German Government did not consider the question pressing. Bizauskas received this information with visible relief and asked me to transmit the thanks of the Lithuanian Government on his score to the Reich Government. Furthermore he asked on his part that the matter be kept strictly secret, which I promised him. 

I might add that since the fixing of the German-Soviet frontier became known, political quarters here have had great hopes of obtaining the Suwalki tip from Germany. 
 
Zechlin 

The German Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, to the German Ministers in Tallinn, Riga and Helsinki 

Telegram 
 
Most Urgent 
 
(1) To Talinn, N. 257 
(2) To Riga, No. 328 
(3) To Helskin, No. 318 
 
Berlin, 7 October 1939 
 
Exclusively for the Minister personally: 
 
Supplementing our telegrams No. 241 to (1), No. 303 to (2) and No. 305 to (3), I am communicating the following to you in strict secrecy and for your personal information only: 
 
During the Moscow negotiations with the Soviet Government the question of delimiting the spheres of interest of both countries in Eastern Europe was discussed in strict confidence, not only with reference to the area of the former Polish state, but also with reference to the countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. At the same time the delimitation of the spheres of interest was agreed upon for the eventuality of a territorial and political reorganization in these areas. The borderline fixed for this purpose for the territory of the former Polish state is the line designated in article 1 of the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty of September 28 and publicly announced. Otherwise, the line is identical with the German-Lithuanian frontier. Thus it follows that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland do not belong to the German sphere of interest in the sense indicated above. 
 
You are requested to refrain, as heretofore, from any explanations on this subject. 
 
Most of the Baltic Germans left Latvia by agreement between Kārlis Ulmanis government and Nazi Germany after the conclusion of the Molotoc-Ribbentrop Pact. In total 50,000 Baltic Germans left by the deadline of December 1939, with another 1,600 remaining to conclude business and 13,000 choosing to remain in Latvia. Most of those who remained subsequently left for Germany in the summer of 1940, when a second resettlement scheme was agreed upon. On 5 October 1939, Latvia was forced to accept a “mutual assistance” pact with the Soviet Union, granting the Soviets the right to station between 25,000 and 30,000 troops on Latvian territory. 
 
03. 1940 June 15, Soviet Union Invasion of Latvia;  
 
Soviet Union Invasion of the Baltic’s and Bessarabia 
 
The tiny Baltic States had the misfortune to be located between the totalitarian regimes of the Soviets and the Nazis. In August and September 1939, Hitler and Stalin had their countries sign treaties and secret agreements; by this time, the Baltic States were no longer republics, but had authoritarian regimes. 
 
Hitler, in order to execute his plans of aggression, had to pay a price. In secret agreements he "gave" Stalin not only a part of Poland, but also a free hand in Bessarabia, Bukovina, Finland and the three Baltic states. 
 
In mid-June 1940, when international attention was focused on the German invasion of France, and after first extracting a Latvian agreement under duress, Stalin personally threatened the Latvian foreign minister, in Moscow during negotiations, to the stationing of Soviet troops on Latvian soil, the Soviet Union invades Latvia on 15 June 1940 and occupied the country of Latvia two days later. 
 
Soviet NKVD troops raided border posts in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. State administrations were liquidated and replaced by Soviet cadres, in which 34,250 Latvians, 75,000 Lithuanians and almost 60,000 Estonians were deported or murdered. Elections were held with single pro-Soviet candidates listed for many positions, with resulting peoples assemblies immediately requested admission into the USSR, which was granted by the Soviet Union. Latvia, now a puppet government, was headed by Augusts Kirhenšteins. Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on 5 August 1940 as the “15th Republic of the Soviet Union”. The USSR annexed the whole of Lithuania, including the Scheschupe area, which was to be given to Germany. “Lithuania had joined the Soviet Union on 3 August, Estonia followed on 6 August”. Nevertheless, although it had lost its sovereignty de facto, Latvia continued to exist de jure, in international law, since many nations including the United States and Switzerland never acknowledged its annexation. 
 
15 June 1940, Soviet “NKVD” Masļenki Latvija Border Attacks – 
 
15 June 1940, Soviet NKVD commando troops attacks on three border posts in Eastern Latvia. 
 
At dawn “02:30hrs” of 15 June 1940, two days prior to the occupation of Latvia by USSR, Soviet military units of the NKVD crossed the border between the two countries and carried out several attacks against Latvian Border Guard facilities in Abrene District, killing several people and taking into captivity many others, mostly civilians, including little children 
 
Attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
The most tragic and the best known of the 15 June attacks is the Soviet attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company located in Masļenki. 
 
The patrol building consisted of five rooms and a kitchen. Two rooms were occupied by the patrol leader and his family, two rooms were the living quarters of four guards, and the fifth room was the patrol duty office." "Also on the property was a brick cellar, built on the very bank of the Ludza River, and a small utility building together with a wood shed, covered by a tin roof. Outside of the cordon, Patrol Leader F. Puriņš had equipped a woodworking shop in a building owned by Dmitrii Maslov." "The patrol building had been built only 10 meters from the border Ludza River." "Beyond the borders of the cordon in the direction of the First Patrol, 70 meters from the guardhouse, could be seen a small wooden house which belonged to local farmer Dmitrii Maslov, and was rented by the family of border guard Žanis Krieviņš. 
 
The night of 15 June was unusually cold. From midnight, Jānis Macītis and Pēteris Čimoška were on duty on the border. One of them was on patrol while the other was in a blind. Kārlis Beizaks was resting in the service quarters. 
 
At 02:30, twenty-five NKVD commandos managed to cross the Ludza River unnoticed. The NKVD commandos surrounded the patrol on all sides. The house of Guard Žanis Krieviņš and the nearby newly built house of Dmitrii Maslov were surrounded as well. Hand grenade packets had been placed around the guardhouse except at the front door. This signifies that the attackers had at first intended to capture the patrol post without firing shots. The Soviet soldiers' attack was first uncovered by Patrol Guard Jānis Macītis after being hailed, the attacker shot a round from his automatic at the patrol guard. At the time of the attack, visibility was near zero. A thick fog had covered the cordon territory and its surroundings. In this combat situation automatic weapons had an advantage. Unfortunately, all thirty-five patrols of the Abrene Battalion were armed only with combat rifles. 
 
With the first shots the attackers realized that they had been discovered and changed their combat tactics, destroying the guard post and shooting all the bor­der guards. Patrol Guard Jānis Macītis, seriously injured, and tried to reach the guard­house, which was not yet on fire. Not far from the guardhouse Macītis stepped on a hand grenade which tore off his left foot. 
 
Best off was Guard Pēteris Cimoška, who was in the blind. Cimoška joined in the firing, since, upon hearing the bursts of automatic gunfire, he understood that the Soviet Border Guards were attacking. The Third Abrene Battalion Border Guards were not yet armed with lightweight submachine guns. However, after the shots fired by Cimoška the enemy pinpointed the blind's location and tried to surround and destroy it. Firing, Cimoška retreated in the direction of the patrol post, where he heard Valdis Grīnvalds defend the post with separate shots. Arriving at the guardhouse, Cimoška unexpectedly stepped on one of the grenade packets and was torn to pieces. Later, when the burning building collapsed, Cimoška's body was charred. 
 
The Red Army soldiers' bullets were penetrating the building, and Valdis Grīnvalds could move about only by lying flat. The telephone communications were down. Grīnvalds asked Kārlis Beizaks for a combat rifle from the bedroom. This provides evidence that the guard weapons were stored in one of the bedrooms. Grīnvalds then return fire through a window, but visibility was poor and he could only shoot in the direction of the attackers without taking direct aim. Beizaks had apparently decided to leave the building and attempted to run to the First Patrol for help. He jumped out the window and was lost in the fog. As was discovered later, he managed to cover only 199 meters. Beizaks had passed by Žanis Krieviņš' house and was shot by the attackers surrounding the house. Later, the coroner's inquest would also found grenade fragments in his body. Hand grenades had been thrown at the running Beizaks. Since there was still evidence of resistance from the guardhouse, the attackers threw in firebombs through the windows. The inside of the building caught fire. 
 
At this moment, mortally wounded, Jānis Macītis collapsed at the front door, calling for help. Help was impossible since the building was filling up with choking smoke. With his last efforts Macītis crawled outside and was later found dead 8.5 meters from the foundation with charred legs. 
 
In the service quarters of the guardhouse were also Patrol Leader Puriņš' wife Hermīne Puriņa and her fourteen-year old son Voldemārs. They had each chosen their own way of leaving the burning building. Puriņa jumped out the window on the south side of the building, holding a pillow, apparently with the thought of pro­tecting herself from bullets. Grenades had already exploded on the spot where she landed and nearby lay body parts of Pēteris Cimoška. Hermīne Puriņa was shot 8.3 meters from the window, and her body was later found in the strawberry beds. 
 
Voldemārs tried to save himself by running out the door. He succeeded and headed for a hiding place in the woodpile, which was located a distance from the burning buildings. One of the Russian attackers had taken shelter behind the woodpile and shot the running Voldemārs in the abdomen and in this leg. 
 
At this moment, the building's only defender Valdis Grīnvalds also left the burning building. Throwing down the rifle on the floor, he jumped out the window facing east and jumped into the river unscathed. There he was captured by Soviet Border Guards. 
 
Simultaneously with the attack on the guardhouse, the NKVD men also attacked Guard Žanis Krieviņš' house. In the building at the time were Žanis Krieviņš, his wife Lida Jūlija, son Arturs, five-year old daughter Rita and six-year old Ērika, the daughter of Border Guard Eduards Kalniņš." "First, hand grenades were thrown through two of the windows. 
 
Lida Krieviņš later testified: 
 
Towards morning, around 03:00, I woke up from a deafening blast. I felt a blow to my head and throughout my body. It turned out that a hand grenade had been thrown in and that I was seriously wounded. My husband and children were not hurt. My husband called out: "Red Army soldiers!" and ordered the children to crawl under the bed, but dragged me into the hall, since rifle fire and automatic rifles could be heard outside. At that point, someone outside shouted in Russian for everyone to come out and began to break in the door, until the door gave in. Through the broken door in came three Red Army soldiers, armed with rifles with drawn bayonets. They took my husband and 12-year old son Arturs with them - I don't know what became of them. For a time, I passed out from my injuries. When I came to, I went outside to look for my husband, but there was no one outside. I saw that the guardhouse was burning. 
 
After Žanis Krieviņš dragged his wife out into the hall, a second hand gre­nade was thrown into the room. The explosion injured Krieviņš lightly in the head and also injured his son Arturs. The Red Army soldiers took both of the injured across the river as hostages. 
 
When the Red Army soldiers had overcome the resistance of the patrol and captured those still alive, they started to evacuate their own wounded and dead. It would not have been wise to leave material evidence, but because of poor visibility they could not gather up battle gear strewn about. With such a delay reinforcements could arrive, for which the Russians had prepared themselves by positioning a lookout 250 meters from the Masļenki cordon in the direction of the First Patrol. It was at this very spot that First Patrol Leader Vilis Lazdiņš and Guards Arvīds Polis and Jēzups Abrickis were captured as they were rushing to the attack location. 
 
Border Duard Jānis Locāns testified on the next day: 
 
Arriving at the patrol post, I saw the guardhouse so completely burned down, that there were only flaming walls to be seen. On the other side of the road, I saw the house belonging to Dmitrii Maslov, in which the leader of the Second Patrol Puriņš had installed a woodworking shop, burned to the foundations. Approaching the burning Second Patrol guardhouse, between the house where guard Krieviņš lived and the guardhouse itself, I came upon the wife of Krieviņš, Lidija, and saw that she was wounded, with blood streaming. I asked Lidija Krieviņš what had happened here. She did not answer, but instead asked me: "Where are my children, where is my husband, what have you done?" I left Lidija Krieviņš and continued on, where, by the wood pile, I saw patrol leader Puriņš' son Voldemārs. He was huddled with scorched hair and clothing, very tired, and asked me to give him first aid. I hurried on to the patrol post, and in the yard I saw the patrol leader's wife Hermīne Puriņš lying on the ground. She seemed only to have lost consciousness, so I got some water from the well and poured it on her, but found that she was dead. At the west side of the guard building, I saw the quite charred body of a guard, but did not recognize him. At the north-west side of the guard building I saw the body of another guard, but could not identify him either. So I pulled the body by the hand a few meters from the burning building and doused it with water. 
 
Other Soviet attacks of 15 June: 
 
Attack on the 3rd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
The Soviets attack on the 3rd Patrol of the 1st Company in Smaili begun at 03.00, 30 minutes later than the attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company in Masļenki. Soviet soldiers cut the telephone line, approached the building of the Patrol and took Border Guards V. Kraucis and A. Ozolnieks prisoners. In vicinity of the Patrol the head of the 4th Patrol Fricis Kancītis, who was supervising the 3rd Patrol that night, was also taken prisoner. 
 
To prevent possible resistance by “two other Border Guards Fricis Gailis and Staņislavs Driņģis, captive V. Kraucis was sent to the private house flats in Šmaiļi Village with a request for these border guards to come out into the yard of the post together with their wives and children. Red Army soldiers themselves took hostages inhabitants of the surrounding homes. 
 
All the rounded up prisoners were taken to the Blonti Mill, “whose Dam served also as a Border Crossing point”. Here the prisoners were joined by the family of the owner of the Watermill Kārlis Smukkalns, whose youngest child Dagnija was only one year old, and Water Miller Assistant Bētere with his wife. Son of the Border Guard F. Gailis also was only two years old. All the hostages were taken over the Blonti Watermill Floodgates to the USSR side. 
 
Attack on the 7th Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
Soviet attack on the 7th Patrol of the 1st Company in Žuguri was called off. Latvian Border Guard Z. Kronis spotted the Soviet soldiers who were traversing the Ludza Border River and fired a red flare. The fired flare as well as voices of guests in the courtyard of the Patrol, who were celebrating 25 year birthday of Marianna, the wife of the Border Guard J. Strazdiņš, scared the attackers and made them pull back to the USSR. 
 
After 15 of June: 
 
Mortally wounded Voldemārs Puriņš died on 16 June in a hospital in Rezekne. 
 
On 17 June 1940 the Red Army crossed the Borders of the Republic of Latvia and occupied the country. A gruesome period of Soviet rule begun, known by its name as “The Horrible Year”. 
 
As a result of 15 June morning attacks the Soviets brought into captivity across the border to USSR 37 persons in total. Of those 10 were border guards, but 27 were civilians, including children taken hostages from nearby homes by the Soviet soldiers. 
 
Eventually all except one of the hostages were released. Dmitrii Maslov, a farmer, who was captured and brought to USSR by the NKVD combatants together with his family, was kept in prison and was executed in spring of 1942 as a Latvian spy. 
 
On 7 July 1940 in two trucks, going to the Latvia - USSR Border were delivered those Latvian citizens who were captured in the territory of the country on 15 June. Authorized representative of the USSR handed them over to the commander of the 3 Abrene Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel Oskars Jansons. It was only now that the prisoners learned that the Soviet troops had occupied Latvia. 
 
After WWII the “Abrene District” was annexed by Russia. Aforementioned Facilities of Border Guard of the Republic of Latvia now are located in the territory of Russia to this day. Pytalovo “Russian: Пыта́лово, Latvian: Pitalova, Abrene” is a town in Pskov Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Pytalovsky District. Latvia disputed the jurisdiction of the area which it calls Abrene District, until signing the 2007 treaty with Russia. 
 
The Soviet “NKVD” Masļenki Latvija Border Attacks on 15 June 1940 and its Attack on the 2nd Patrol of the 1st Company of the 3rd Abrene Battalion. 
 
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs “Russian: Народный комиссариат внутренних дел Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, NKVD” “Russian: НКВД” was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin. 
 
The NKVD contained the regular, public police force of the USSR “including traffic police, firefighting, border guards and archives” but is better known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security “GUGB”, which eventually became the Committee for State Security “KGB”. It conducted mass extrajudicial executions, ran the Gulag system of forced labor camps, suppressed underground resistance, conducted mass deportations of entire nationalities and Kulaks to unpopulated regions of the country, guarded state borders, conducted espionage and political assassinations abroad, was responsible for influencing foreign governments, and enforced Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries. 
 
04. 1940 June 17, Soviet Union First Occupation of Latvia and Liepaja; 
 
Prior to the German invasion, in order to accomplish its own goals, the NKVD was prepared to cooperate even with such organizations as the German Gestapo. In March 1940 representatives of the NKVD and the Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane, to coordinate the pacification of Poland. For its part, the Soviet Union delivered hundreds of German and Austrian Communists to the Gestapo, as unwanted foreigners, together with their documents. However, some NKVD units were later to fight the Wehrmacht, for example the 10th NKVD Rifle Division, which fought at the Battle of Stalingrad. 
 
During World War II, NKVD units were used for rear area security, including stopping desertion. At the beginning of the war the NKVD formed 15 rifle divisions, which were eventually expanded to a total of 53 divisions and 28 brigades by 1945. Though mainly intended for internal security, NKVD divisions were sometimes used in the front-lines, for example during the breakthrough in Crimea. Unlike the Waffen-SS, the NKVD did not field any armored or mechanized units. 
 
In liberated territory the NKVD and “later” NKGB carried out mass arrests, deportations, and executions. The targets included both collaborators with Germany and non-Communist resistance movements such as the Polish Armia Krajowa. The NKVD also executed tens of thousands of Polish political prisoners in 1939–1941, inter alia committing Katyń massacre. NKVD units were also used to wage the prolonged partisan war in the Ukraine and the Baltics, which lasted until the early 1950s. 
 
The main function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union. This function was successfully accomplished through massive political repression, including the use of sanctioned political murders and assassinations. 
 
There is an unknown and unpublished fact that the Soviet NKVD before the Nazi Army invaded the Soviet Union was responsible for handing over to the Nazi Gestapo, SS and SD Tens of thousands of Jews that had fled to the Soviet Union in the wake of the advancing Nazi Army. This was before the Nazi Army had invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. Even the tens of thousands of Soviet Union Jewish people were not safe from being turned over to the Nazi Gestapo to be taken to Nazi Concentration Camps or just outright murdered. As for the exact number of Jewish people that the Soviet NKVD had turned over to the Nazi Gestapo is known today for the Soviet Union has had over 60 years to hide this information. 
 
On 16 June 1940, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov presented the Latvian representative in Moscow an ultimatum to be answered within six hours. Based on unfounded accusations and accusing Latvia of violations of the pact. 
 
The Soviets demanded that Latvia immediately form a new government and allow an unlimited number of Soviet troops enter the country. Latvia could not resist the aggression and conceded. The Red Army occupied Latvia on 17 June 1940. 
 
On 5 August 1940, the Supreme Council of the USSR admitted Latvia as the 15th Republic of the Soviet Union “Lithuania had joined the Soviet Union on 3 August, Estonia followed on 6 August”. Nevertheless, although it had lost its sovereignty de facto, Latvia continued to exist de jure, in international law, since many nations including the United States and Switzerland never acknowledged its annexation. 
 
The Soviet dealt harshly with their opponents prior to the German invasion, in less than a year, at least 27, 586 Latvians were arrested; most were deported, and 945 Latvians were just plain murdered. While under German occupation, Latvia was administered as part of Reichskommissariat Ostland. Latvian paramilitary and Auxiliary Police units established by occupation authority participated in the Holocaust as well. More then 200,000 Latvian citizens died during World War II, including approximately 75,000 Latvian Jewish people murdered during the Nazi occupation. Latvian soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict, including in the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS, most of them conscripted by the occupying Nazi and Soviet authorities. 
 
05. 1941 June 13–14, Soviet Union NKVD Mass Deportation of Latvian and Liepaja Citizens; 
 
Instructions on how to carry out mass deportations were prepared in the autumn of 1939 for the newly-annexed regions of western Ukraine by the head of the Ukrainian SSR NKVD “later known as KGB”, General Ivan Serov. They were approved in Moscow and later used in the Baltic States as well.  As the USSR Commissar for State Security, Serov signed the orders on 21 January 1941. 
 
In the night between 13 and 14 June 1941, about 15,500 Latvian residents, among them 2400 children younger than ten were arrested without a court order to be deported to distant regions in the Soviet Union. Targeted were mainly families who had members in leading positions in state and local governments, economy and culture. 
 
People to be deported were awakened in the night and given less than one hour to prepare for the journey. They were allowed to take with them only what they could carry, and everything left behind was confiscated by the state. The unfortunate were herded into already prepared cattle or freight railroad cars, in which they spent weeks and months. Many died on the way, especially infants, the sick, and the elderly. Men, totaling some 8250, were separated from their families, arrested, and sent to GULAG hard labor camps. Women and children were taken to so-called "administrative settlements" as family members of "enemies of the people". 
 
No word of these events was mentioned in Latvia's Soviet-censored newspapers. Loved ones had no way of knowing what had become of those deported. None of the institutions including the militia provided information or help. Scattered along the railroad tracks were farewell notes written by the deported to their families few of them ever reached their intended recipients.  
 
Conditions in the hard labor camps were inhumane. The inmates lost their identities, and were terrorized by the guards and criminal prisoners. Food rations were meager, and did not replace the calories expended through work. People grew weak, and were crippled by diarrhea, scurvy, and other illnesses. Winters were marked by unbearable cold, and many did not survive the first one. Only a small part of those deported in 1941 later returned to Latvia. Some of those who were allowed to return were later rearrested and again re-deported to force labor camps. The families in forced settlement had to fend for themselves in harsh conditions; the death rate among the very young and the elderly was likewise high. 
 
When the Soviets executed the first round of mass Baltic deportations, on the night of 13 and 14 June 1941, where thousands of Latvians and Latvian Jewish people were deported. Of all the ethnic groups so deported, Jewish people suffered proportionately more than any other, and were deported to especially harsh conditions, many to camps at Solikamsk, Vyatka, and Vorkuta. Some estimate the Soviets deported from 5,000 to 6,000 Jews during the first occupation. These deportations of Jewish Civic Leaders, Rabbis, Members of Parliament, the Professional and Merchant Classes, left the Jewish community ill-prepared to organize in the face of the subsequent Nazi invasion of Latvia and its terror and horrors to follow. 
 
Finally, on 26 June, four days after France sued for an armistice with the Third Reich, the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding Bessarabia and, unexpectedly, Northern Bukovina from Romania. Two days later, the Romanians caved to the Soviet demands and the Soviets occupied the territory. The Hertza region was initially not requested by the USSR but was later occupied by force after the Romanians agreed to the initial soviet demands 
 
It is estimated that of the 1,900,000 Jewish people who came under Soviet control as a result of Hitler's and Stalin's pact dividing Eastern Europe, about 400,000 were deported to Siberia and central Asia. 
 
There is an unknown and unpublished fact that the Soviet NKVD before the Nazi Army invaded the Soviet Union was responsible for handing over to the Nazi Gestapo, SS and SD Tens of thousands of Jewish people that had fled to the Soviet Union in the wake of the advancing Nazi Army. This was before the Nazi Army had invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. Even the tens of thousands of Soviet Union Jewish people were not safe from being turned over to the Nazi Gestapo to be taken to Nazi Concentration Camps or just outright murdered. As for the exact number of Jewish people that the Soviet NKVD had turned over to the Nazi Gestapo is unknown today for the Soviet Union has had over 60 years to hide this information. Just in recent years, some of this information is just now coming to the surface! The Soviet Union unlike Nazi Germany keep what they did secret and did not publish it unlike Nazis Germany did. 
 
Liepaja 1941 June 14 Stalin's Soviet Union NKVD Mass Deportations – 
 
On the night of 14 June 1941 "527" Latvian people were deported from the City of Liepaja. Located in the Liepaja Under the Regimes of Occupation "Liepāja okupāciju režīmos" Museum and located in the main hallway is a Wall of Remembrance dedicated to those who were deported from Liepaja and the province around Liepaja. These lists are by provinces located around Liepaja with a total number deported from each province. The first section shows those deported on 14 June 1941 the names, date of birth, address lived at, the gulag or forced labor camp sent to and when they died. 
 
06. 1940–1941 June, Soviet Union NKVD Atrocities committed during Occupation and Retreat from the Nazi Army; 
 
The Soviet Union "Communists NKVD Year of Atrocities” was from June 1940 to June 1941, which was known as Latvia's "Year of Terror"....  
 
From the 17th of June 1940 to the 22nd of June 1941, the Soviet Union "NKVD Atrocities" that were committed against the Latvian people during its first Occupation and Retreat from the invading Nazi Army! 
 
Soviet Communist regime was not so active in making photographic and cinematographic documents of its crimes itself as the National Socialist regime was, besides, being the victor in its part of the world, it had unlimited time and opportunities for hiding all their traces. Probably a lot of other dramatic documents are kept secure today in the archives of Russia. As we know, availability of Russian archives, after short improving during Yeltsin's presidency, is again diminishing and the old Soviet tradition of denial and secrecy is returning. Therefore even more cynical seem the Russian accusations of East European countries of attempts to “rewrite history” - the propaganda term for attempts to find out the truth buried behind the wall of disinformation and silence built by the Communist regime over half of the century. 
 
The Soviet occupation culminated on 14 June 1941 when a mass deportation of civilians from Latvia to distant areas of the Soviet Union took place. A total of 15,424 persons, according to latest figures, were arrested and sent away in fright carriages that were unsuited for human transportation. Among those deported were minor children and babies, most of them died on the way or from cold or malnutrition in their settlement areas in Siberia. Many civilians were brutally murdered in Riga and many other places after the beginning of the war between Germany and Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941, as the Red Army retreated in disarray. These mass deportations of Latvian citizens and their leaders vestigially left Latvia leaderless at a time Latvia was about to be invaded by the Nazi German Army. 
 
To see the photographs mentioned below, please go to the section "1940–1941 June Soviet Union NKVD Atrocities"  
 
The following photographs are from this period of time and defiantly show the “atrocities” that were committed by the Soviet Union "NKVD" and its communist’s sympathizers and collaborator groups against the Latvian people. 
 
Photos of arrested Latvian People in the register of Cheka "NKVD" Joseph Stalin's Secret Police; 
 
Handwritten instruction by Soviet Commissar of NKVD Simon Shustin, dated 26 June 1941, a list of arrestees: “Because of their social dangerousness shoot them all” 
 
Additional Scenes of Soviet Union “NKVD” The Communists “Year of Atrocities” from June 1940 to June 1941 
 
07. 1941 June 22 at 03:15hrs on Sunday, Nazi Army Invasion of Latvia and Liepaja;  
 
1941 June 22 Nazi Invasion of Latvia and Liepaja – 
 
On the 22nd of June 1941 at 03:15hrs a Sunday, the Nazi Army Invasion Russian and the country of Latvia and the City of Liepaja! 
 
Nazi Germany terminated the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with its invasion of the Soviet Union at 03:15hrs on Sunday, 22 June 1941 with the Nazi Army invasion of Latvia with Liepaja was targeted by the Nazis as a town of special importance. It was a naval base and also an important international port. As such, the population was suspected of being more sympathetic to Communism. The German army planned to capture the city on the first day of the war, Sunday, 22 June 1941. The attack on Liepaja was led by the German 291st Infantry Division. Strong resistance by the Red Army and other Soviet forces prevented the Germans from entering the city until 29 June 1941, and resistance, including sniper fire, continued within the city for several days afterwards. The city was heavily damaged in the fighting and fires burned for days. 
 
08. 1941 June 23– 24, Beginning of the Nazi Army's Mass Murders; 
 
In Liepaja the Holocaust started on the night of 23rd 24th of June 1941, when in Grobiņa, a town near Liepāja, Einsatzkommando 1a members killed six local Jews, including the town chemist, in the church graveyard. Once Liepaja itself fell on 29 June 1941, "the hunt for the Jewish people began with the first hours of occupation." Professor Ezergailis estimates that about 5,700 Jewish people of Liepaja and the surrounding district fell into German hands. 
 
Note: The Liepaja massacres were a series of mass executions, many in public or semi-public, in and near the City of Liepaja “German: Libau”, on the west coast of Latvia in 1941 after the Nazi occupation of Latvia. The main perpetrators were detachments of the Einsatzgruppen, the Sicherheitsdienst or SD, the Ordnungspolizei, or ORPO, and Latvian auxiliary police and militia forces. Wehrmacht and German naval forces participated in the shootings. In addition to Jewish people, the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators also killed Gypsies, communists, the mentally ill and so-called "hostages". In contrast to most other Holocaust murders in Latvia, "the killings at Liepaja were done in open places". About 5,000 of the 5,700 Jewish people trapped in Liepaja were shot, most of them in 1941. The killings occurred at a variety of places within and outside of the city, including Raina Park in the city center, and areas near the harbor, the Olympic Stadium, and the lighthouse. The largest massacre, of 2731 Jewish victims, and 23 communists victims, happened from the 15 December to the 17 December 1941, in the dunes near Šķēde, on an old Latvian army training ground. “More is known about the killing of the Jewish people of Liepaja than in any other city in Latvia except for Riga”. 
 
On 29 June and 30 June 1941, there were random shootings of Jewish people in Liepaja by German soldiers. About 99 Jewish people were killed in these shootings. Shootings began almost immediately. For example, at 5:00 p.m. on 29 June, arriving German soldiers seized 7 Jewish people and 22 Latvians and shot them at a bomb crater in the middle of Ulicha Street. At 21:00hrs the same day German soldiers came to Hika street, where the assembled all the residents and asked if any were refugees from Germany. One man, Walter or “Victor” Hahn, a conductor who had fled Vienna in 1938, stepped forward and was immediately shot. “Another source says that Hahn was killed by a mob of Latvians fomented by Nazis”. The next day, 30 June, soldiers went to the City Hospital, arrested several Jewish physicians and patients, disregarded the protests of the Latvians on the hospital staff, and shot them. Among the victims was 10 year old Masha Blumenau. 
 
On 29 June 1941, a detachment of Einsatzkommando 1a, “EK 1a” under SS-Obersturmbannführer Reichert entered Liepaja. One of the first people EK 1a killed, on 30 June, was the musician Aron Fränkel, who, not knowing that Einsatzkommando had set up headquarters at his place of employment, the Hotel Saint Petersburg, showed up for work. He was identified as a Jewish person and was immediately shot. 
 
09. 1941 July 3–4, Nazi Army's first documented Mass Murders in Raina Park; 
 
During the fighting, the Soviet forces had dug defensive trenches in Rainis Park “Raina parks” in the center of Liepaja. On 3 and 4 July 1941, in their first documented massacre in Liepaja, Reichert's EK 1a men, all Germans of the SD, rounded up Jews and marched them to these trenches in the park. Once at the trench, they were shot and the bodies pushed in. How many were killed during these shootings is not known. Estimates range from several dozen to 300. After the war, the Soviet Union investigatory commission concluded that 1,430 people were killed in the park shootings, which Professor Ezergailis characterizes as an exaggeration. One participant, Harry Fredrichson, later testified that in one massacre he participated in, 150 people were killed. 
 
As a naval base, Liepaja came under the command of the German navy, the Kriegsmarine. Lieutenant commander “Korvettenkapitan” Stein was appointed as town commandant. On 1 July 1941, Stein ordered that ten hostages be shot for every act of sabotage, and further put civilians in the zone of targeting by declaring that Red Army soldiers were hiding among them in civilian attire. This was the first announcement in Latvia of a threat to shoot hostages. On 5 July 1941 Korvettenkapitan Brückner, who had taken over for Stein issued a set of anti-Jewish regulations. These were published in a local newspaper, Kurzemes Vārds. Summarized these were as follows: 
 
All Jewish people must wear the yellow star on the front and back of their clothing; 
– Shopping hours for Jewish people were restricted to 10:00hrs to 12:00hrs. Jewish people were only allowed out of their residences for these hours and from 15:00hrs to 17:00hrs; 
 
– Jewish people were barred from public events and transportation and were not to walk on the beach; 
 
– Jewish people were required to leave the sidewalk if they encountered a German in uniform; 
 
– Jewish shops were required to display the sign "A Jewish-owned business" in the window; 
 
– Jewish people were to surrender all radios, typewriters, uniforms, arms and means of transportation. 
On 3 or 4 July, Erhard Grauel, commander of a detachment of Einsatzkommando 2, entered the city with about 30 men, most of them from Police Battalion 9 of the Ordnungspolizei. Reichert was then engaged in the Rainis Park shootings, which he described to Grauel as a "special assignment." Reichert left the day after Grauel arrived. Grauel took over the "Courtyard located at Lat: N56.50838, Lon: E021.00422, Tiesu iela 5, Liepaja" and used it as a detention facility for the targets of the Nazi regime. Mostly they were Jewish, but Communists and communist-sympathizers were also arrested. Rumors were spread that the Jewish people were responsible for the Communist atrocities during the Soviet regime in Liepaja. Latvian militia "self-defense men" carried out most if not all of the arrests. On 6 July 1941, Werner Hartman, a German war correspondent, saw the Courtyard crammed so full of Jewish non-Jewish victims that there was no room for them to lie down. 
 
The first shootings carried out by Grauel were of about 30 Jewish and Communists, arrested on 5 July through 7 July and executed on 7 July 1941 as "hostages" pursuant to Korvettenkapitan Stein's decree of 1 July supposedly in retaliation for shots having been fired at German patrols in the Liepaja vicinity. Grauel had selected every fifth prisoner for execution, and Grauel's men shot them on the beach in the dunes near the lighthouse. The numbers killed in the hostage massacre were stated as 30 in Grauel's postwar trial, and estimated at 27 plus or minus 16 by Anders and Dubrovskis. 
 
On or about 7 July 1941, Reichert returned to Liepaja, with a message from Stahlecker, commander of Einsatzgruppe A, which accused Grauel of not executing people fast enough. Grauel showed Reichert the list of people he had arrested. Reichert checked off a number of names on the list and demanded that they be shot immediately. Grauel ordered his assistant, one Neuman, to organize an execution. On 8, 9, and 10 July, Grauel's men shot 100 men, almost entirely Jewish, on each day. They were transported to the execution site from the Courtyard in groups of 20. 
 
According to Hartman's later testimony, on 8 July, he was present at the killing site from 11:00hrs to 17:00hrs and saw about 200 people killed. The procedure was for the Latvian "freedom fighters" as they were called by Hartman to drive the victims ten at a time into a long ditch that ended in a pit. There they would be aligned in a double row, and shot, generally by Germans, but possibly by Latvians. The area around the execution site was guarded by Germans and Latvians, who could be distinguished by their red-white-red armbands. 
 
The early executions, which happened at least every two weeks, if not more often, were on the beach to the south of the lighthouse. The initial execution squads were Germans, but were later replaced by a commando of Latvians. 
 
Grauel later testified at his post-war trial that he had requested to be relieved from command because of the stress of the massacres of 8 July to 10 July. His request was granted by the Einsatzkommando 2 commander, Rudolf Batz, and by the end of October, Grauel returned to Germany to study jurisprudence. Professor Ezergailis noted however, that before returning to Germany, and despite his claim to have been shocked by the 8 July to 10 July massacres, Grauel went on from Liepaja to the nearby town of Ventspils, where he organized additional killings. 
 
Arajs Kommando; 
 
The Arājs Kommando “also: Sonderkommando Arajs”, led by SS-Sturmbannführer Viktors Arājs, was a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police “German: Lettische Hilfspolizei” subordinated to the Nazi SD. It was one of the more well-known and notorious killing units during the Holocaust. 
 
This group composed of Latvian men, made contact with the leader of Einsatzgruppe A, Walter Stahlecker, in early July 1941, immediately following the German capture of Riga. All of the Arājs Kommando members were volunteers, and free to leave at any time. Note: The only problem with this was those who did leave either ended up in a concentration camp or as a conscript in a Nazi Army line unit.  
 
The Arājs Kommando unit actively participated in a variety of Nazi atrocities, including the killing of Jewish, Roma, and mental patients, as well as punitive actions and massacres of civilians along Latvia's eastern border with the Soviet Union. The Kommando killed around 26,000 Jewish people in total. Most notably, the unit took part in the mass execution of Jewish people from the Riga Ghetto, and several thousand Jewish people deported from Germany, at Rumbula Forest on November 30 and 8 December 1941. 
 
Some of Arājs's men also served as guards at the Salaspils Concentration Camp. 
 
As can be seen in contemporary Nazi newsreels, part of a documentation campaign to create the image that the Holocaust in the Baltic’s was a local, and not Nazi-directed activity, the Arājs Kommando figured prominently in the burning of Riga's Great “Choral” Synagogue on 4 July 1941. 
 
The unit numbered about 300-500 men during the period that it participated in the killing of the Latvian Jewish population, and reached up to 1,500 members at its peak at the height of its involvement in anti-partisan operations in 1942. 
 
In the final phases of the war, the unit was disbanded and its personnel transferred to the Latvian Legion. The Latvian Legion was created in January 1943 and consisting primarily of ethnic Latvian conscripts. 
 
Viktors Arājs; 
 
Viktors Arājs “13 January 1910 – 13 January 1988” was a Latvian collaborator and Nazi SS officer, who took part in the Holocaust during the German occupation of Latvia and Belarus “then called White Russia or White Ruthenia” as the leader of the Arājs Kommando. The Arājs Kommando murdered about half of Latvia's Jewish people. 
 
Viktors Bernhard Arājs was born in the town of Baldone, then part of the tsarist empire. His father was a Latvian blacksmith and his mother came from a wealthy family of Baltic Germans. Arājs attended Jelgava Gymnasium, which he left in 1930 for mandatory national defense service in the Latvian Army. In 1932, Arājs studied law at the University of Latvia in Riga, but never completed his degree. He was a member of the elite student fraternity "Lettonia", which may have helped him get a job with the Latvian police after he left the university. Arājs remained with the Latvian police until he was promoted to police lieutenant. During the Ulmanis dictatorship in Latvia 1934–1940, Arājs was a "low ranking provincial police officer" who, as a loyal administrator, dutifully "distanced himself officially from the Pērkonkrusts". 
 
Activities during World War II; 
 
The war between Germany and the Soviet Union began on 22 June 1941. Shortly afterwards, the Red Army abandoned Riga to the advancing Wehrmacht. 
 
Arājs then took over an abandoned police precinct house at Valdemāra “Krišjāna Valdemāra” iela 19. Arājs's future commanders, Franz Stahlecker and Robert Stieglitz, had with them a Latvian translator, Hans Dressler, whom Arājs had known in high school and in the Latvian army. Because of this friendship, Arājs met the Germans, got on their best side, and gained their trust. Arājs recruited the core of his troops from his student fraternity and Pērkoņkrusts. On 4 July 1941, the German leadership turned loose "Security Group Arājs", generally referred to as the Arājs Kommando “arājs means plowman in Latvian” or Special Commando “Sonderkommando” Arājs. On the same day, in the German forces Latvian newspaper Tēvija “Latvian: Fatherland”, appeared a recruiting advertisement: "To all patriotic Latvians, Pērkoņkrusts members, Students, Officers, Militiamen, and Citizens, who are ready to actively take part in the cleansing of our country of undesirable elements" should enroll themselves at the office of the Security Group at Valdemāra “Krišjāna Valdemāra” iela 19. On 4 July, Arājs and his henchmen trapped 500 Jewish people, who had not been able to take flight before the advancing Germans, in the Riga Synagogue on Gogoļa iela. There they were burnt alive while hand grenades were thrown through the windows. The Arājs commando consisted of 500–1500 volunteers. The unit murdered approximately 26,000 people, first in Latvia and then in Belarus. Arājs was promoted to police major in 1942, and in 1943 to SS-Sturmbannführer. Herberts Cukurs, the former Latvian pilot, was the adjutant to Arājs. 
 
The First Arājs Action; 
 
22 July 1941: "About 8,000 Jewish people with the present of SS personnel would take about 1 year, which is untenable for pacification of Libau" “Liepaja”. 
 
27 July 1941: "Jewish problem Libau “Liepaja” largely solved by execution of about 1,100 male Jews by Riga SS commando on 24th 25th and 27th of July 1941". 
 
Hans Kawelmacher, Libau “Liepaja” Naval Commandant. 
 
Grauel was replaced with SS-Untersturmführer Second Lieutenant Wolfgang Kügler on 10th or 11th of July. Under Kügler's supervision, massacres occurred at a rate of about twice a week. Shootings of small groups of Jewish people continued after 10 July, happening every evening. These were organized by Kügler. Often these were of less than 10 individuals, which was a pattern particular to Kügler's administration in Liepaja. The exact number of those killed in these actions is not known, but was estimated by Anders and Dubrovskis to be 81 individuals plus or minus 27. Anders and Dubrovskis estimate the total number of victims to be 387 individuals, plus or minus 130. 
 
On 16 July 1941, Fregattenkapitän Dr. Hans Kawelmacher was appointed the German naval commandant in Liepaja. On 22 July, Kawelmacher sent a telegram to the German Navy's Baltic Command in Kiel, which stated that he wanted 100 SS and fifty Schutzpolizei "protective police" men sent to Liepaja for "quick implementation Jewish problem". By "quick implementation" Kawelmacher meant "accelerated killing." Mass arrests of Jewish men began immediately in Liepaja, and continued through 25 July 1941. The Arājs commando was brought in from Riga to carry out the shootings, which occurred on 24th and 25th of July. About 910 Jewish men were executed, plus or minus 90. Statements in other sources that 3,000 “Vesterman” and 3,500 “Soviet Extraordinary Commission” were killed are incorrect. 
 
This first Arājs action was later described by Georg Rosenstock, the commander of the second company of the 13th Police Reserve battalion. Rosenstock testified after the war that when he and his unit had arrived in Liepaja in July, 1941, they had heard from some passing marines that Jewish people were being continuously executed in the town, and these marines were going out to watch the executions. A few days later, on Saturday, 24 July 1941, Rosenstock saw Jewish people “whom he identified by the yellow stars on their clothing” crouching down in the back of a truck, being guarded by armed Latvians. Rosenstock, who was himself in a vehicle, followed the truck to the north of the city to the beach near the naval base, where he saw Kügler, some SD men, and a number of Jewish people. 
 
10. 1941-1942, Nazi Army's SS SD Liepaja Mass Murders; 
 
The Jewish victims were crouching down on the ground. They had to walk in groups of about ten to the edge of a pit. Here they were shot by Latvian civilians. The execution area was visited by scores of German spectators from the Navy and the Reichsbahn “national railway”. I turned to Kügler and said in no uncertain terms that it was intolerable that shootings were being carried out in front of spectators. 
 
Skede Dunes was the largest site of Jewish and non-Jewish 1941–1942 Nazi Mass Murders. Today there are two memorials located at this site. One is Jewish and the other one is Russian Memorials. 
 
The killings continued in August after the first Arājs action, but on a lessened scale. From 30 August to 10 December 1941, there were a large number of shootings, in which about 600 Jews, 100 Communists, and 100 Gypsies were killed. Anders and Dubrovskis estimate the total victims through 15 August 1941 as 153. Schulz, a boatswain's mate “Oberbootsmaat” from the harbor surveillance command, testified that on a day in August, 1941, he had heard continuous rifle salvoes all day coming from across the harbor from his position. 
 
Between 17:00hrs and 18:00hrs Schulz and another man rowed across the harbor to see what was happening. They followed the sounds of the shooting until they came to the old citadel. By standing on a bunker at the citadel they could see a long deep trench which was said to have been dug by the Jewish people the previous day. This was about one kilometer north of the lighthouse. They watched for about an hour or an hour and a half. During that time, three or four trucks arrived at the site, each carrying five Jewish victims. They were forced to lie down in the truck. When the truck reached the site, the driver took the vehicle right up to the trench. Latvian guards, wielding clubs, forced the victims to enter directly into the trench. A squad of five men, possibly Latvians, but more probably German SD men, then shot them in the head. The supervising SS or SD officer then shot again any one not immediately killed. 
 
The Romani people “called "Gypsy" in English and Zigeuner in German” were also targets of the Nazi occupation. On 4 December 1941, Hinrich Lohse issued a decree which stated: 
Gypsies who wander about in the countryside represent a two-fold danger. 
 
As carriers of contagious diseases, especially typhus; 
 
As unreliable elements who neither obey the regulations issued by German authorities, nor are willing to do useful work. 
 
– There exists well-founded suspicion that they provide intelligence to the enemy and thus damage the German cause. I therefore order that they are to be treated as Jewish. 
Gypsies were also forbidden to live along the coast, which included Liepaja. On 5 December 1941, the Latvian police in Liepaja arrested 103 Gypsies “24 men, 31 women, and 48”. Of these people, the Latvian police turned over 100 to the custody of the German police chief Fritz Dietrich "for follow up" “zu weiteren Veranlassung”, a Nazi euphemism for murder. On 5 December 1941, all 100 were all killed near Frauenburg. 
 
By 18 May 1942 the German police and SS commander in Liepaja indicated in a log that over a previous unspecified period, 174 Gypsies had been killed by shooting. The German policy on Gypsies varied. In general, it seemed that wandering or "itinerate" Gypsies “vagabundierende Zigeuner” were targeted, as opposed to the non-wandering, or "sedentary" population. Thus, on 21 May 1942, the SS commander in Liepaja police and SS commander recorded the execution of 16 itinerate Gypsies from the Hasenputh district. The documentation however does not always distinguish between different Gypsy groups, thus on 24 April 1942 EK A reported having killed 1,272 people, including 71 Gypsies, with no further description. 
 
The largest of the Liepaja massacres took place on three days from Monday, 15 December to Wednesday, 17 December 1941. On 13 December, Kurzemes Vārds published an order by Emil Diedrich, the Nazi police in Liepaja, which required all Jewish people in the city to remain in their residences on Monday, 15 December and Tuesday 16 December 1941. The order came from SD headquarters in Riga; whether it was received by Kügler or his deputy, Reichle, was disputed, with both Kügler and Reichle later claiming Kügler was on leave in Germany. The Latvian police began arresting the Jewish people in the city on the night of 13 and 14 December 1941 bringing them to the location where Jewish non-Jewish victims, where they were confined in the courtyard. There was not enough room for the people, so they were ordered to stand facing towards the wall, and not move, look for relatives, or look at the guards, who beat people and treated them with brutality. Located at Šķēde Dunes, there was an old wooden building, a garage, barn, or horse barn, at the beach at Šķēde. Some of the Jews were taken to this building on the evening of Sunday, 14 December. 
 
Photographs of the Liepaja December shootings see the section "1941-1942 Nazi SS SD Liepaja Mass Murders". 
 
Pēteris Galiņš, where little is known other than that he was killed in Russia in the winter of 1943, was in charge of the Latvian guards, and he ordered a team of 20 to report for duty at 05:30hrs on 15 December. 
 
The murder site was on the beach, north of the city, and north of the small barn or garage, which was used as a temporary holding point for the victims while their turn came to be murdered. A trench had been dug in the dunes that ran parallel to the shore and was about 100 meters long and 3 meters wide. Columns of Jewish victims were formed at the Courtyard in Liepaja where they were being held and then marched out under guard to the killing site. The guards were Latvians with Germans acting as supervisors. 
 
Once at the site, the Jewish victims were housed in the barn and taken in groups of 20 of a time to a point 40 or 50 meters from the trench, where they were ordered to lie face down on the ground. Groups of ten were then ordered to stand up, and, except for children, remove their outer clothing. As they were moved closer to the pit, they were ordered to strip completely. A Latvian guard, Bulvāns, later testified that he saw two Germans, SS-Scharführer "squad leader" Karl-Emil Strott and Philip or “Filip” Krapp, using a whip on people who did not move on to the pit. 
 
The actual shootings were done by three units, one of Germans, another of Latvian SD men, and another unit of the Latvia police, apparently the one commanded by Galiņš. The victims were positioned along the edge of the sea side of the trench. They were faced away from their killers, who fired across the trench, with two gunman allocated to each victim. After the initial volley, a German SD man would step down into trench, inspect the bodies, and fire finishing shots into anyone left alive. The goal was to have the bodies fall into the trench, but this did not always happen. Accordingly, the murders had a "kicker" come along after each group of victims. The kicker's job was to literally to kick, roll, or shove the bodies into the grave. Sergeant Jauģietis of the Latvia police worked as a kicker for at least part of the killings. Each murder team was relieved by another after killing 10 sets of victims. 
 
It was the practice of the persons commanding the murders in Latvia to encourage drinking among at least the Latvian killing squads. During the Liepaja killings, a milk can of rum was set up at the killing pits. High-ranking Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine officers visited the site during the course of the murders. 
 
Lucan, an adjutant of the 707th Marine Antiaircraft Detachment, described seeing the murder of 300 to 500 Liepaja Jewish people in the winter. He saw a column of 300 to 500 Jewish people of all ages, men and women, being led under guard past his unit's headquarters’ north on the road to Ventspils. The trench was 50 to 75 meters long, 2 to 3 meters wide and about 3 meters deep. Lucan did not see the actual shooting, but he and other members of his unit heard rifle fire coming from the direction of the pit for a long time. Lucan inspected the site the next day: 
 
The following day I went with several members of our unit to the murder area on horseback. When we arrived at the said hills we could see the arms and legs of the murdered Jewish victims sticking out of the inadequately filled-in grave. After seeing this, we officers sent a written communication to our headquarters in Liepaja. As a result of our communication the dead Jewish victims were covered properly with sand. 
 
After the shootings, on 3 January 1942, Kügler reported to Fritz Dietrich, then in command of the Riga Order Police German: “Ordnungspolizei” that the murders were well known to the local population and had not been well-received: 
 
Regret about the fate of the Jewish people is constantly expressed; there are few voices to be heard which are in favor of the elimination of the Jewish race. Among other things, a rumor is abroad that the murders were filmed in order to have material to use against the Latvian Schutzmannschaft. This material is said to prove that Latvians and not Germans carried out the murders. 
 
Many of the Liepaja murders were witnessed by persons other than the participants. Klee Dressen and Riess, in their study of the Holocaust perpetrators, concluded that in many ways the public murders were "in many ways a festival", that German soldiers traveled long distances to get the best places to witness the mass shootings, and that these public murders continued over a long period of time and became a form of "murder tourism. Nobody was forced to murder Jewish people, and there were people who refused to do so. Nothing bad happened to them and in particular no one who refused was ever sent to a concentration camp. At most, those who refused orders to kill were abused as "cowards" by their commanders. This pattern was followed in Liepaja. For example, a boatman who worked under the harbormaster, Navy personnel and at least one hundred Wehrmacht soldiers were present at a murder, apparently pursuant to orders. 
 
Richard Wiener, who photographed the Einsatzgruppen murders, went to the July or August massacres to take photographs. He found German soldiers standing around the murder site, not as participants, but as spectators. Motion pictures were taken by Richard Wiener, on leave from his position as a German naval sergeant. The December shootings at Skede were photographed by SS-Scharführer Karl-Emil Strott. These became the best known images of the murders of Jewish people in Latvia, and they show only Latvians. The photographs were found by David Zivcon, who worked as an electrician at the SD office in Liepaja. He found four rolls of film "negatives" when he was repairing wiring in a German's apartment. Zivcon stole the film "negatives", had prints made, and returned the originals before they were missed. He then placed the prints in a metal box and buried them. After the Germans were driven out of Latvia, Zivcon retrieved the prints, which were later used in war crimes trials and displayed in museums around the world. Professor Ezergailis also states that it was Kügler himself, who photographed the shootings, 
 
11. 1941-1942 Liepaja Jewish and non-Jewish Holocaust Sites – 
 
11a. Raina Park Memorial Stone, Site of the 3 July 1941 Mass Murders; 
 
Raina Park the site of the June 1941 Mass Murders and its Memorial located at the north end of the Raiņa Park. 
 
The first murder operation took place on the first day of occupation, on 3 and 4 July 1941, when the Einsaztkommando shot a group of Jewish people along with other Latvian activists and Red Army POW’s in the anti-tank ditches in Raina Park. The killings were carried out by Einsatzkommando 1a, under the command of SS-Obersturmfuhrer Fritz Reichert. Groups of victims “according to different sources, between 33 and 150 men” that apparently comprised of Jewish and suspected political activists and Red Army POW’s were ordered to march in line along Brīvības iela to the two ditches previously dug by the Red Army, 100 and 200 meters in length, where they were shot. 
 
There are different estimates of the total number of victims that varies from several dozen to about 300. The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission investigating Nazi crimes noted that “is seemingly exaggerated” 1,430 people were killed in Raina Park. 
 
11b. Jewish Reburial Site of Raina Park Mass Murders;  
 
This Memorial with the Victims Names and their finial Burial Site of the victims of those who were murders in Raina Park. 
 
Located in the Jewish Cemetery section is the memorial and graves to the Victims of the Raiņa Park Massacre, there are Gravestone for 37 Jews “including 3 unknown ones” who were executed in Raina Park on 03 and 4th of July 1941 by SS-Einsatzkommando 1a under Reichert and reburied in the Jewish Cemetery several days later. The Soviet inscription says: "Eternal Glory to the Heroes Who Fell in the Battles for our Soviet Fatherland". True, many were members of the paramilitary Workers' Guard, but they were arrested and shot, not killed in combat. 
 
The first murder operation took place on the first day of occupation, on 3rd and 4th of July 1941, when the Einsaztkommando shot a group of Jews along with other Latvian activists and Red Army POW’s in the anti-tank ditches in Raina Park. The killings were carried out by Einsatzkommando 1a, under the command of SS-Obersturmfuhrer Fritz Reichert. Groups of victims “according to different sources, between 33 and 150 men” that apparently comprised of Jews and suspected political activists and Red Army POW’s were ordered to march in line along Brīvības iela to the two ditches previously dug by the Red Army, 100 and 200 meters in length, where they were shot. A few days later, they were reburied in the Jewish Cemetery. This memorial located in the Jewish Cemetery has the names of those shot in Raina Park. Located at the north end of Raina Park at the site of the 3rd and 4th of July 1941 mass murders is a memorial stone in Raina Park dedicated to those who where murdered there. 
 
11c. Courtyard where Jewish non-Jewish victims were held before being taken out and shot; 
 
On the night of 13 December 1941, Latvian police forces began to arrest Liepaja's Jewish people not yet concentrated in the ghetto. These victims were then brought to this "Courtyard, is located at Lat: N56.50838, Lon: E021.00422, Tiesu iela 5, Liepaja, Latvia", where Jewish victims of all ages were crammed into the courtyard. The Jewish victims were ordered to stand with their faces towards the wall, and warned not to move or look around for relatives or at the watchmen. Some were transported to Skede on the evening of the following day and crowded into a barn “a wooden structure, described also as a garage”. Today these structures are no longer there. There is traces of something have been in the area, but due to the length of time, it is hard to say exactly what they were, but there is signs of some kind of structure(s) were in the area. Where it is from this time period or from something during the Soviet Union time. 
Authors Note: While spending sometime in Liepaja and talking to many Liepaja residents, to which none of them can remember or verify that this location was ever a Women's Prison. During this time period  prier to 1941-1945 and currently to date, there has only been two Women's Prisons in Liepaja. The old one which is now closed and its current one which is located on the corner of Ganību iela and Dārza iela – and neither one was ever located at this location. As to where anyone ever came up with the idea that is location was ever a Women's Prison, I have not been able to verify it with any of the people who lists it as a prison. 
11d. Skede Dunes, Site of the 1941–1942 Jewish non-Jewish Mass Murder Graves Trench Lines;  
 
Located in this area is the Site of the 1941–1942 Mass Murder Graves Trench Lines that are located in the Skede Dunes along the Baltic Sea Coast line, is located some fifteen kilometers north of the city and about a kilometer from the road towards the sea. These mass murders began as early as July 1941. 
 
Located just north of the Jewish Memorial and starting at the south end of the woods and the beginning of the tree line between the Baltic Sea Coast line “Dunes” and the Soviet Union Monument and working our way north through the woods to the open area some 1250 meters north of the woods and from the start 1650 meters. We will try and give one a general idea and the area where these mass graves and their trench lines lay. Here again, since there are no markers showing the exact locations of these mass graves are, all one can do is showing their rough locations. As we move north through the woods and the open area of the dunes, we will pan the area where the GPR "Ground Penetrating Radar" Satellite Map shows where these mass grave trench lines are located. 
Authors Note: Before we start exploring the area of these Mass Murder Graves Trench Lines where these mass graves are located, I want to remind everyone that it has been 71 years since these mass murders took place and during this length of time the elements and the environmental changes to the dunes that have taken place since the mass murders took place, how the dunes looked then and how it looks today is very different. With the many years of Baltic Sea storms and high winds and every changing movement of the dunes sand, the outline of the mass graves are hard to define as to their exact locations are. If it had not been for a GPR “Ground Penetrating Radar” Satellite Map made by Prof. Valdis Seglin's' and Drs. A. Kukela and G. Sic'ovs from Latvia University at the request of Edward Anders and Vladimir Ban, of the Jews in Liepaja Latvia project, the exact location and outline of the mass graves would never be known of found. Thank you gentlemen for you hard work and dedication to this project. May these grave locations never be lost nor forgotten again. 
In contrast to most other Holocaust murders in Latvia, the killings at Liepaja were done in open places. About 5,000 of the 5,700 Jewish people trapped in Liepaja were shot, most of them in July 1941. The killings occurred at a variety of places within and outside of the city, including Raina Park in the city center, and areas near the harbor, the Olympic Stadium, and the lighthouse. The largest massacre, of 2731 Jewish people, and 23 communists, happened from 15th to the 17th of December 1941, in the Skede Dunes, near an old Latvian army training ground. More is known about the killing of the Jews of Liepaja than in any other city in Latvia except for Riga. 
 
Skede Dunes is the largest of the mass murder sites located in Liepaja during the first year of the Nazi Army occupation of Liepaja, these mass murders which took place during July 1941 through December 1942. Located along the path leading to the Jewish Memorial and the entrance to the Skede Dunes Area, we will see a memorial to the 3000 anti–Nazi and non–Jewish of the 7500 that were murdered in the dunes. Located in the grassy area is the Jewish Memorial dedicated to the Liepaja Jewish victims that were murdered in the Skede Dunes and just north of this memorial there is also the Soviet Unions Memorial to those murdered along the dunes location. Even though it does not name the Jewish victims by name, it is dedicated to all those who were murdered here during this period of time. 
 
These murders in the Skede Dunes began as early as July 1941 where some 200 Jewish people were murdered there. During a three-day massacre on 15-17 December 1941, German and Latvian units killed 2,749 Jewish people, more than half of Liepaja's Jewish population. Preparations for the operation began some days before. On 13 December 1941, Liepaja Police Chief Obersturmbannfuehrer Fritz Diedrich placed an announcement in the Latvian newspaper Kurzemes Vards stating that Jews were forbidden to leave their living quarters on Monday, 15 December and Tuesday, 16 December 1941. 
 
On the night of 13 December 1941, Latvian police forces began to arrest Liepaja's Jewish people not yet concentrated in the ghetto. These victims were then brought to this "Courtyard, located at Lat: N56.50838, Lon: E021.00422, Tiesu iela 5, Liepaja, Latvia", where Jewish victims of all ages were crammed into the courtyard. The Jewish victims were ordered to stand with their faces towards the wall, and warned not to move or look around for relatives or at the watchmen. Some were transported to Skede on the evening of the following day and crowded into a barn “a wooden structure, described also as a garage”. Today these structures are no longer there. There is traces of something have been in the area, but due to the length of time, it is hard to say exactly what they were, but there is signs of some kind of structure(s) were in the area. Where it is from this time period or from something during the Soviet Union time. 
Authors Note: While spending sometime in Liepaja and talking to many Liepaja residents, to which none of them can remember or verify that this location was ever a Women's Prison. During this time period  prier to 1941-1945 and currently to date, there has only been two Women's Prisons in Liepaja. The old one which is now closed and its current one which is located on the corner of Ganību iela and Dārza iela – and neither one was ever located at this location. As to where anyone ever came up with the idea that this location was ever a Women's Prison, I have not been able to verify it with any of the people who lists it as a prison. 
In the early morning of 15 December 1941, a column of victims was driven from Liepaja by Latvian policemen, under the supervision of the German SD, to the same barn in Skede where Jewish people from the courtyard had been taken. They were taken in groups of twenty to a site forty to fifty meters to a deep ditch dug in the dunes nearby, parallel to the shore. The ditch was about three meters wide and 100 meters long. There they were forced to lie face down on the ground. Groups of ten were then ordered to stand up and, apart from the children, to undress, at first to their underwear and then, when taken near the ditch, undress completely. They were shot by a German unit, the Latvian SD Platoon headed by Lt. Peteris Galins, and a Latvian Schutzmannschaften team. 
The Baltic Sea the last thing the Jewish and non Jewish victims seen before being shot in the back! 
During the murder operation, the Jews were placed along the side of the ditch nearest the sea, facing the water. The killing squad was positioned across the ditch, with two marksmen shooting at the same victim. Children who could walk were treated as adults, but babies were held by their mothers and killed with them. A “kicker” rolled in those corpses that did not fall directly into the ditch. After each volley, a German SD man stepped into the ditch to inspect the bodies and if any signs of life were found, they delivered “insurance” shots. 
 
Their clothes were piled in piles after being forced to undress completely nude and then their cloths or anything of value was then taken away by German military trucks, where the clothing was sorted and redistributed or sold to German people or where anything of value, the Nazi Commanders would keep it. The Nazi administers were great accounts for before anything was either given away or sold, each piece of article had a value placed on it. During the murder operation, Strott and another officer, Erich Handke, took pictures with a Minox, and senior Wehrmacht and navy officers visited the site. 
 
The murder operations in Skede continued until December 1942. On 15 February 1942, the Germans planned to murder 500 Jewish people in Skede. However, on the way to the murder site a group of 22 Jews pounced on the drunken Latvian guards and managed to escape. 
In order to try to hide these mass murders in 1943 the German SD poured chlorine over the corpse’s buried in the mass graves! 
11e. Soviet Union Memorial in Skede Dunes to the 1941–1942 Mass Murders; 
 
The Soviet Union Memorial located in Skede Dunes and located just north of the Jewish Memorial is also dedicated to those that were murdered in this location between 1941–1942 in the Skede Dunes. Even though it does not name the Jewish victims by name, it is dedicated to all those who were murdered here during this period of time.  Inscribed on the front of this Soviet Union Memorial is these words; 
ŠEIT 1941-1945 
HITLERISKI IEBRUCĒJI 
ZVERISKI NOGALINAJA 
VAIRĀK NEKĀ 19000 
LIEPĀJAS PILSĒTAS 
MŪŽIGA PIEMINA 
PADOMJU 
PATRIOTIEM! 
Rough Latvian Translation; 
HERE 1941-1945 
The Nazi invaders 
brutal KILLED 
MORE THAN 19000 
The city of Liepaja 
everlasting memorial 
BOARDS 
PATRIOTS! 
11f. Jewish Memorial in Skede Dunes to the 1941–1942 Mass Murders; 
 
Located in this area of Skede Dunes is the largest areas of mass murder sites in Liepaja that took place between 1941–1942, which is located fifteen kilometer north of the City of Liepaja and about a kilometer from the road that leads toward the sea, and leads to the Skede Dunes which is located along the Baltic Sea Coast line. 
 
As you arrive in the parking lot and follow the path that leads to the mass killing fields and the Skede Dunes memorial, and located on the right side of the path there is a small memorial plaque dedicated to the some 3000 plus anti-Nazi and non-Jewish of the total people who where murdered here. Moving up the path you will come to the Jewish Memorial, which is in the shape of a Jewish "Hanukkah”. The total number of people who were murdered at this location differs from one account to another”. Located north of the Jewish Memorial is the Soviet Union Memorial. Starting at the south end of the woods, as you look north from the sea side of the memorial is the start of the mass murder trench lines and continue through the woods to the north of the woods along the dunes. The grassy area just in front of the Jewish Memorial is the area that the Jewish victims that were to be shot were held before being taken to the trench lines and shot. 
 
In contrast to most other Holocaust murders in Latvia, the killings at Liepaja were done in open places. About 5,000 of the 5,700 Jewish people trapped in Liepaja were shot, most of them in 1941. The killings occurred at a variety of places within and outside of the city, including Raina Park in the city center, and areas near the harbor, the Olympic Stadium, and the lighthouse. The largest massacre, of 2731 Jewish people, and 23 communists, happened from 15th to the 17th of December 1941, in the Dunes near Skede, an old Latvian army training ground. More is known about the killing of the Jewish people of Liepaja than in any other city in Latvia except for Riga. 
 
11g. Skede Dunes Memorial Plaque, Honoring Jewish and Non-Jewish Victims; 
 
This Small Memorial Plaque is Dedicated to the 3000 plus anti-Nazi non-Jewish people who where murdered here. 
 
In  January 2006 the Mayor of Liepaja was asked for permission to build a memorial plaque at the mass grave and to landscape the area. They had hoped that survivors would then be able to walk up right to the edge of the graves, a deeply moving experience. However, the graves are  located on one of the "Gray Dunes“, which are very fragile and under strict environmental protection. Thus a raised wooden walkway would have to be built for visitors to prevent damage to the dunes. Under Latvian law, the walkway must be wide enough for wheelchairs, which would raise the cost even further beyond means. 
Perhaps some wealthy donor will take over. 
The City proposed a less expensive solution: to set up a memorial plaque at the road fork between the old "Soviet Obelisk" and new Skede Monuments "Giant Menorah". In 2005 a number of former Liepaja Jewish people had written to Mayor Uldis Sesks, urging him to ensure that the new monument acknowledge all victims murdered at Skede Dunes i.e. Jewish, Soviet POWs, and Latvians. The City agreed and assigned a special place for such a stone, and required "Liepaja Jewish Heritage" to install it, in return for permission to build the new monument. 
 
The Foundation "Liepaja Jewish Heritage" shirking its obligation, never installed it. Many fellow Liepaja Jewish people do not understand how the Jewish people, though deeply indebted to rescuers of Jewish and Soviet Red Army soldiers, can brazenly refuse to honor these non-Jewish victims who opposed the Nazis and were killed by them. The Memorial Plaque was paid by individual Jewish non-Jewish people themselves. The text, as approved by the City of Liepaja and the Plaque was installed on the 27th of October 2006. 
 
11h. Jewish World War II Memorial Wall; 
 
The Jewish World War II Memorial Wall is located in the front part of the Jewish Cemetery dedicated to those who were murdered during World War II by both Hitler's Nazi Army and victims of Stalin's NKVD in June 1941. 
 
The need for this second memorial and newest one became evident in 1998 when it was learned that the names of most Liepaja Holocaust victims had been forgotten. Although Yad Vashem "Jerusalem" had since 1953 collected victims’ names from survivors, only 20% of the names from Latvia had been recovered, and there was little hope of getting additional names. As only 2% of Latvian Jewish people had survived the German occupation, many Liepaja Jewish families and their friends were totally annihilated in the Holocaust, leaving nobody to remember their names. Such oblivion would have pleased Hitler. 
 
For the next 3 years and aided by Juris Dubrovskis in Riga, a search of dozens of archival sources in five countries for Jewish people who lived in Liepaja on the eve of the Holocaust. Ella Barkan in Tel Aviv provided invaluable help by interviewing survivors. A memorial book with 7,060 names was published in 2001. The complete database was posted on the Internet, enabling people to check for errors and omissions. The current list, posted on the Memorial Wall, includes 6,428 names of the victims of Hitler and Stalin. That is at least 93% of the total. 
 
With helped from Ella Barkan and Solomon Feigerson, plans for a Memorial Wall in the Jewish Cemetery in Liepaja was started. The Wall was strictly a grass-roots effort, without any help or support by organizations or governments. However, a gratefully acknowledge contributions by the City of Liepaja toward renovation of the cemetery. The memorial was designed by Alzhaana grafikas un dizaina birojs “Liepāja” and was built by UPTK Liepaja. 
 
One cannot revive the victims of the Holocaust or even provide them a decent burial. As a symbolic gesture, sand from the Skede Dunes Mass Graves was buried at the foot of the Memorial; it probably contains a few atoms of the victims. In a more visible tribute we have brought their names to the cemetery, where most victims would have found their final resting place if there had been "No War", "No Holocaust", and "No Gulag". 
 
12. Other Latvian Jewish non-Jewish 1941–1944 Mass Murder Sites; 
 
12a. Bikernieku Forest – Site of the 1941-1944 Jewish non-Jewish Mass Murders – Memorial and its 55 Mass Graves;  
 
Located at the entrance to Bikernieku Forest Memorial site is a white archway with a stone path leading to the Bikernieku Forest Memorial. The memorial is located some ways down this path leading into the forest and at the beginning of the 55 mass grave sites were over 35,000 murders were committed can be found through out the forest. 
 
Funded in part by Germans, local architects worked for 15 years to create an appropriate monument for the atrocities that occurred among these trees. 
 
The memorial consists of a white altar, under which a black granite block stands with English, Russian, German and Hebrew words from the book of Job, 16:18: “O earth, do not cover my blood, and let there be no resting place for my cry”. Jagged rocks come out of the ground to look as though the forest floor has opened up, and each represents a lost life. The paths between the stones are named with the cities from which prisoners were transported to the camp. 
 
This White Archway, is the entrance to Bikernieku Forest Memorial and its 55 Mass Graves, Located on the left side of this arch is a Black Marble Map showing the path leading to these 55 Mass Graves. 
 
Bikernieku Forest Memorial “Memoriāls Biķernieku”; 
 
Jagged rocks come out of the ground to look as though the forest floor has opened up, and each represents a lost life. 
 
With in the first two weeks of July 1941 the mass murdering of Riga Jewish people began and started in the Bikernieku Forest. About 4000 men arrested in the first weeks of July 1941 were taken out of the Central Prison by truck to Biķernieku Forest, where they were murdered. All executions were supervised by the officers of the Nazi Germany SS and SD “Security Service”. 
 
Biķernieku Forest is located 3 kilometers east of Riga center city and on the south side of Bikernieku iela. 
 
Biķernieku Forest is by far the largest site of mass murders and burial of victims of Nazi terror in Latvia is located. From 1941 till 1944, 35,000 people, including Latvian and Western European Jewish people, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis’ political adversaries, were executed here. In 1943, Riga Ghetto prisoners who were not transferred to the “Kaiserwald” concentration camp were executed here, followed in the autumn of 1944 by those “Kaiserwald” prisoners no longer able to work. 
 
These are some of the 55 Mass Graves located through out the Bikernieku Forest. 
 
Under the pretext and promise of work, the Jewish groups were either trucked or forced to walk carrying only a single suitcase and the cloths on their back from the Riga Ghetto to the entrance to Bikernieku Forest where their lives were changed for ever. Men women children families and undesirables entered Bikernieku Forest to never return. Others were Western European Jews, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis’ political adversaries, were executed here. 
 
Moving down the many different paths that lead to one after another of the 55 mass graves located through the forest, all one has to do is close your eyes open your mind and ears you will be able to see feel and hear the men women and children being moved silently to an area where they were ordered to leave their suitcases ordered to undress, naked and now stripped of their possessions and their dignitary they were then taken to the edge of one of the freshly dug mass graves lined up and shot some were shot in the back of the head as others were lined up in groups and then shot in the back as shots ring out the bodies fell backward and crumble into the grave. One group after another was executed until the mass grave was full. Then they would move on to the next mass grave and the executions would continue. Soviet war prisoners who were ordered and forced to dig the mass graves then were ordered to fill them in. Once their work was done, they were also murdered and dumped into one of the mass graves. 
 
12b. Rumbula Forest – Site of 1941 Jewish Mass Murders – Memorial and its 6 Mass Graves; 
 
In November, 1941 the Nazi Administration decided to destroy all the Jewish people imprisoned in the Riga Ghetto. 
 
On these Sacred Grounds is located the Memorial to those who were murdered here and then buried in the Six Mass Graves that are marked by rectangular raised concrete borders. 
 
Rumbula is a small railroad station 12 kilometers southeast of Riga, which was connected with Daugavpils, the second largest city in Latvia, by the rail line along the north side of the Daugava River. Located on a hill about 250 meters from the station, the massacre site was a "rather open and accessible place". The view is blocked by vegetation. The gun fire was audible from the station grounds. The area lay between the rail line and the Riga-Daugavpils highway, with the rail line to the north of the highway. Rumbula was part of a forest and swamp area known in Latvian as Vārnu mežs. The sounds of gun fire could be and was heard from the highway. The Nazi occupation authorities carried out a number of other massacres on the north bank of the Daugava in the Rumbula vicinity. The soil was sandy and it was easy to dig graves. While the surrounding pine woods were sparse, there was a heavily forested area in the center which became the murder site. The rail line and highway made it easy to move the victims from the Riga Ghetto. It had to be within walking distance of the Riga Ghetto on the southeast side of the city, as well as transport the murders and their arms. 
 
Located in six massive graves were 25,000 Jewish people, including about one thousand Jews deported from Germany, who arrived in Riga by “Locked Railway Freight Carriages” on 30 November 1941 unexpectedly, were immediately taken from the “Locked Railway Freight Carriages” to Rumbula Forest were they were murdered that same day. The murders were held in two waves on 30 November and 8 December 1941. In 1944 the Nazis used several hundred Jewish prisoners from the “Kaiserwald Concentration Camp”, to try and hide from the world what they had done here, were used for exhuming and burning the bodies that were murdered here in 1941, were also murdered here. 
 
Men women children and families under the pretext and promise of work, the Jewish groups were taken by railway cars trucks or were forced to walk carrying only a single suitcase and the cloths on their back from the Riga Ghetto to the entrance to Rumbula Forest where their lives were changed for ever. Men women children families and undesirables entered Rumbula Forest to never return. Others were Western European Jewish people, Soviet war prisoners, and the Nazis’ political adversaries, were murdered here. 
 
Moving down the path leading to one after another of these mass graves located through the forest, all one has to do is close your eyes open your mind and ears you will be able to see feel and hear the men women and children being moved silently to an area where they were ordered to leave their suitcases ordered to undress, naked and now stripped of their possessions and their dignitary they were then taken to the edge of one of the freshly dug mass graves lined up and shot some were shot in the back of the head as others were lined up in groups and then shot in the back as shots ring out the bodies fell backward and crumble into the grave. One group after another was murdered until the mass grave was full. Then they would move on to the next mass grave and the murders would continue. Soviet war prisoners who were ordered and forced to dig the mass graves then were ordered to fill them in. Once their work was done, they were also murdered and dumped into one of the mass graves. 
 
Memorial in Rumbula Forest; 
 
In 1964, local Jewish activists managed to overcome Soviet government barriers and erected the Rumbula memorial stone, with the inscription “To the victims of fascism” not only in Latvian and Russian, but also in Yiddish. 
 
Near the road, at the entrance to the memorial complex, there is a metal construction that symbolizes the horror of the catastrophe. This is the path on which thousands of Jewish people were driven to their deaths. 
 
The memorial designed by Sergejs Rizhs was inaugurated on 29 November 2002. It was created with the support of various institutions and organizations as well as private donations by individuals from Latvia, Israel, USA, and Germany. 
 
Located at the dirt entrance path leading to these sacred grounds and its the Memorial and the Six Mass Grave Sites is marked by two slabs with inscriptions in Latvian, English, German, and Hebrew, narrating the tragic events that took place here. 
 
The names of those killed in Rumbula are carved into the granite stones. 
 
This path will leads you to the central part of the memorial, where a menorah “Ritual Candlestick” woven of metal wire and four meters in height, is located. The base of the candlestick has the shape of the Star of David, whose sides bear engravings of the ghetto street names. 
 
While creating this memorial, the memorial stone from the Soviet times was preserved. 
 
12c. Salaspils Concentration Camp "Transit Camp Kurtenhof" – 
 
Set in a pine forest southeast of Riga, near the town of Salaspils, Kurtenhof Concentration Camp was the bigger of two camps built in or near the Latvian capital for civilians and Jewish people from the occupied territories. Set in a clearing a few hundred meters from the Riga-Salaspils railway line, served first as a transitional camp and later, by personal order of Himmler, as the site of mass executions. 
 
Salaspils Concentration Camp was established in October 1941 till its liberation on 13 October 1944 located 18 km southeast of Riga and east of Maskavas iela. The Nazi bureaucracy drew distinctions between different types of camps. Officially, Salaspils was a Police Prison and Work Education Camp “Polezeigegfängnis und Arbeitserziehungslager” to house 15,000 deported Jewish and political prisoners. Approximately 12,000 persons went through the camp during its existence. 2,000 to 3,000 people died here. 
 
Estimates differ of how many people were murdered at Salaspils. The Soviets claimed over one hundred thousand, Latvian textbooks half that, recent studies offer a figure of under three thousand. What is certain is that this was a dark and terrible place. 
 
It was also known as camp Kurtenhof after the German name for the city of Salaspils. Planning for the development of the camp and its prisoner structure changed several times. In 1943, "Heinrich Himmler" briefly considered converting the camp into an official concentration camp “Konzentrationslager”, which would have formally subordinated the camp to the National Security Main Office “Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA”, but nothing came of this. 
 
As you approach what served as the entrance to the Salaspils Concentration Camp ”Transit Camp Kurtenhof" we see a concrete overhead enclosed walkway with the words inscribed in Latvian “AIZ SIEM VARTIEM VAID ZEME” English translation “Beyond this Gate the Ground is Crying” is located on the front of it. Walking under the overhead enclosed walkway and looking to the right of the entrance we see a black stone wall with marks on it showing the number of dead for each year the camp was in existence. 
 
At the entrance to the site a rectangular concrete hall, mounted on pillars and tilting down from the entrance “Signifying Life” to a black colored marker showing the numbers of the dead. 
 
Entering the former camp area and scanning from left to right we will first see four of the eight raised concrete slabs where the camp gallows once were. Scanning further right we will see a black marble block monument with the sounds of a metronome can be heard coming from the black marble block which is called the “Reminding Heart”. These dead heart beats are the only sounds that interrupt the dead silence of this place. Looking to the center of the camp area we see a large open area with six huge stone statues located in the center of it. Still scanning right, we will see two more concrete slabs where more camp gallows once were. 
 
The sounds of a metronome can be heard, coming from a black marble block which is called the “Reminding Heart”. These dead heart beats are the only sounds that interrupt the dead silence of this place. 
 
The gallows and thirty-nine barrack buildings are long gone, but there history and were they once were are marked by foundation stones. 
 
Moving to the left of the entrance we can see up close the concrete slabs which is all that remains of where the gallows once stood. These gallows were user to hang prisoners for the briefest infractions of the camp rules, which were strictly enforced. 
 
Moving to the left and to the rear of the camp we will see the foundation stones, which is all that remains of the camp barracks. Moving on to the left rear part of the camp area, we see the remains of what was once the location of the children’s barracks. These children who occupied the camp were experimented on in the most cruel and barbaric ways to where they died in the most inhuman ways. One of these with daily blood draws to the point they were bled to death. Located in the woods just bordering the camp in one of the burial places by the camp there is a mass grave of 632 corpses of children of ages 5 to 9. Those who weren't Jewish children were what were call street children. A street child is one that has no place to live and live on the street. 
 
As one moves to the rear area of the camp, we can see more foundations stones which are all that remains of the camp barracks. Still moving on to the right we will see more of what once were the barracks that made up the camp. Located on the right side of once was the camp, we will see a carved block which reads, in both Russian and Latvian; 
“Here humans have been punished for not having committed a crime. Here humans have been punished for loving their motherland”. 
After the war, the Soviet authorities left the camp as a memorial site, constructing huge stone statues called; 
"The Invincible" 
"The Mother" 
"Solidarity" 
"Defeated" 
They stand in groups, square-jawed and arms outstretched, holding each other up in support, kneeling or stretching out in exhaustion across the grass. 
 
Moving to the center of the camp area, we will get a much closer look at the six huge stone statues. Standing in the middle of the large area and from left to right the names of the statues are “The Invincible” “The Mother” “Solidarity” “Defeated” Again standing in the middle of the camp, panning from left to the right starting at the entrance and panning right one will get a panorama view of the camp. 
 
Today there is currently a memorial complex located on the former camp area, in memory of those who suffered here. Located on the wall next to the concrete overhead enclosed walkway is four signs which are in four different languishes Latvian, German, Russian and English. 
 
These signs read; 
“The Salaspils Memorial – a remembrance place of fascist victims. Here, not far from a little town Salaspils, a concentration camp was situated from October 1941 till 13 October 1944. Thousands of people from the occupied Latvia, the USSR and many other European countries were imprisoned there in 39 barracks. The principle function of the Sapaspils concentration camp was transportation of the imprisoned to the larger camps of the Third Reich. 
The prisoners of the camp were employed in peat marshes, aerodromes, in road building and other hard labor jobs. 
 
The camp regime was "Exclusively Strict”.

13. Satellite Map of Skede Dunes, Site of the 1941-1942 Jewish non Jewish Mass Murders Graves Outlines; 

This satellite map of Skede Dunes is a outline of a GPR "Ground Penetrating Radar" study done to locate the 3 mass graves that are located along dunes and Baltic Sea Coast line. There are a few small graves shown on the map also, but they are not explained. This GPR “Ground Penetrating Radar” Satellite Map was made by Prof. Valdis Seglin's' and Drs. A. Kukela and G. Sic'ovs from Latvia University at the request of Edward Anders and Vladimir Ban, of the "Jews in Liepaja Latvia" project, the exact location and outline of the mass graves would never be known of found. 
 
These mass graves are located just north of the Jewish Memorial and starting at the south end of the woods and the beginning of the tree line between the Baltic Sea Coast line “Dunes” and the Soviet Union Monument and working our way north through the woods to the open area some 1250 meters north of the woods and from the start 1650 meters. 
Authors Note: Before we start exploring the area of these Mass Murder Graves Trench Lines where these mass graves are located, I want to remind everyone that it has been 71 years since these mass murders took place and during this length of time the elements and the environmental changes to the dunes that have taken place since the mass murders took place, how the dunes looked then and how it looks today is very different. With the many years of Baltic Sea storms and high winds and every changing movement of the dunes sand, the outline of the mass graves are hard to define as to their exact locations are. Here again, since there are no markers showing the exact locations of these mass graves are, all one can do is showing their rough locations. 
14. Map Showing what was known as the Liepaja Jewish Ghetto Area; 
 
This map showing the what was called the Liepaja Jewish Ghetto Area was taken from a map located at the Liepaja Under the Regimes of Occupation Museum. This is a copy of that map. 
 
Description of Large Map of Liepaja – 
 
01. What was known as the Liepaja Jewish Ghetto Area – 
The area or streets that were known as the Jewish Ghetto Area is marked in Yellow High Light. There was no fences around this area like in Riga, but they were heavily patrolled to make sure the Jewish people stayed in their homes. 
 
02. Courtyard area where Jewish non-Jewish victims were held – 
Lat: N56.50838, Lon: E021.00422 
Tiesu iela 5, Liepāja, Latvia 
Location where Jewish non-Jewish victims were held before being taken out and shot in the back. 
 
As of today, I have not found any evidence that this was or ever was once a Women's Prison. In the history of Liepaja, it only had one Women's Prison, an older one, which is now closed and its current one, which is located at the corner of Ganību iela and Dārza iela. Lat: N56.5070840, Lon: E021.0209418, Dārza iela 19/21, Liepāja, LV-3401. 

It may have been a Women's Detention Center, which is not what Latvia or Liepaja calls a prison. 
 
 
Home – 
 
 
Revised: 06/29/2013 – 06/29/2013  

Original text