History of the Jews in Latvia

From Wikipedia for FEVERv2
Jump to navigation Jump to search

History of the Jews in Latvia_table_infobox_0

Latvian JewsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_table_caption_0
Regions with significant populationsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_0_0_0
LatviaHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_0_1_0 4,800History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_0_1_1
LanguagesHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_0_2_0
ReligionHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_0_3_0
Related ethnic groupsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_0_4_0

The history of the Jews in Latvia dates back to the first Jewish colony established in Piltene in 1571. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_0

Jews contributed to Latvia's development until the Northern War (1700–1721), which decimated Latvia's population. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_1

The Jewish community reestablished itself in the 18th century, mainly through an influx from Prussia, and came to play a principal role in the economic life of Latvia. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_2

Under an independent Latvia, Jews formed political parties and participated as members of parliament. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_3

The Jewish community flourished. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_4

Jewish parents had the right to send their children to schools using Hebrew as the language of instruction, as part of a significant network of minority schools. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_5

World War II ended the prominence of the Jewish Community. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_6

Under Stalin, Jews, who formed only 5% of the population, constituted 12% of the deportees. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_7

In comparison, the Holocaust killed 90% of Latvia's Jewish population. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_8

Today's Jewish community traces its roots to survivors of the Holocaust, Jews who fled to the USSR to escape the Nazi invasion and later returned, and mostly to Jews newly immigrated to Latvia from the Soviet Union. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_9

The Latvian Jewish community today is small but active. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_10

General history History of the Jews in Latvia_section_0

The nucleus of Latvian Jewry was formed by the Jews of Livonia and Courland, the two principalities on the coast of the Baltic Sea which were incorporated within the Russian Empire during the 18th century. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_11

Russia conquered Livonia, with the city of Riga, from Sweden in 1721. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_12

Courland, formerly an autonomous duchy under Polish suzerainty, was annexed into Russia as a province in 1795. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_13

Both these provinces were situated outside the Pale of Settlement, and so only those Jews who could prove that they had lived there legally before the provinces became part of Russia were authorized to reside in the region. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_14

Nevertheless, the Jewish population of the Baltic region gradually increased because, from time to time, additional Jews who enjoyed special "privileges", such as university graduates, those engaged in "useful" professions, etc., received authorization to settle there. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_15

In the middle of the 19th century, there were about 9,000 Jews in the province of Livonia. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_16

By 1897 the Jewish population had already increased to 26,793 (3.5% of the population), about three-quarters of whom lived in Riga. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_17

In Courland there were 22,734 Jews in the middle of the 19th century, while according to the 1897 Imperial Russian Census, some 51,072 Jews (7.6% of the population) lived there. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_18

The Jews of Courland formed a special group within Russian Jewry. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_19

On the one hand they were influenced by the German culture which prevailed in this region, and on the other by that of neighboring Lithuanian Jewry. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_20

Haskalah penetrated early to the Livonia and Courland communities but assimilation did not make the same headway there as in Western Europe. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_21

Courland Jewry developed a specific character, combining features of both East European and German Jewry. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_22

During World War I when the Russian armies retreated from Courland (April 1915), the Russian military authorities expelled thousands of Jews to the provinces of the interior. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_23

A considerable number later returned to Latvia as repatriates after the independent republic was established. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_24

Three districts of the province of Vitebsk, in which most of the population was Latvian, Latgallia (Latvian: Latgale), including the large community of Daugavpils (Dvinsk), were joined to Courland (Kurzeme), Semigallia (Zemgale) and Livonia (Vidzeme), and the independent Latvian Republic was established (November 1918). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_25

At first, a liberal and progressive spirit prevailed in the young state but the democratic regime was short-lived. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_26

On May 15, 1934, the prime minister, Kārlis Ulmanis, dissolved parliament in a coup d'état and Latvia became an autocracy. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_27

Ulmanis was proclaimed a president of the nation. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_28

His government inclined to be neutral. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_29

Jewish population in the Latvian Republic History of the Jews in Latvia_section_1

Before World War I there were about 190,000 Jews in the territories of Latvia (7.4% of the total population). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_30

During the war years, many of them were expelled to the interior of Russia, while others escaped from the war zone. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_31

In 1920 the Jews of Latvia numbered 79,644 (5% of the population). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_32

After the signing of the peace treaty between the Latvian Republic and the Soviet Union on August 11, 1920, repatriates began to return from Russia; these included a considerable number of Jewish refugees. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_33

In this time, there were 40,000 Jews in Riga alone. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_34

By 1925 the Jewish population had increased to 95,675, the largest number of Jews during the period of Latvia’s existence as an independent state. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_35

After that year the number of Jews gradually decreased, and in 1935 had declined to 93,479 (4.8% of the total). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_36

The causes of this decline were emigration by part of the younger generation and a decline in the natural increase through limiting the family to one or two children by the majority. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_37

Between 1925 and 1935 over 6,000 Jews left Latvia (the overwhelming majority of them for the Mandatory Palestine which was soon to be declared the State of Israel), while the natural increase only partly replaced these departures. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_38

The largest communities were Riga with 43,672 Jews (11.3% of the total) in 1935, Daugavpils with 11,106 (25%), and Liepāja with 7,379 (13%). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_39

Economic life History of the Jews in Latvia_section_2

Jews already played an important role in industry, commerce, and banking before World War I. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_40

After the establishment of the republic, a severe crisis overtook the young state. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_41

The government had not yet consolidated itself and the country had become impoverished as a result of World War I and the struggle for independence which Latvia had conducted for several years (1918–20) against both Germany and the Soviet Union. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_42

With the cessation of hostilities, Latvia found itself retarded in both the administrative and economic spheres. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_43

Among other difficulties, there was running inflation. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_44

Jews made a large contribution to the rebuilding of the state from the ruins of the war and its consequences. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_45

Having much experience in the export of the raw materials of timber and linen before World War I, upon their return from Russia they resumed export of these goods on their own initiative. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_46

They also developed a variegated industry, and a considerable part of the import trade, such as that of petrol, coal, and textiles, was concentrated in their hands. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_47

However, once the Jews had made their contribution, the authorities began to force them out of their economic positions and to deprive them of their sources of livelihood. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_48

Although, in theory, there were no discriminatory laws against the Jews in democratic Latvia and they enjoyed equality of rights, in practice the economic policy of the government was intended to restrict their activities. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_49

This was also reflected in the area of credit. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_50

The Jews of Latvia developed a ramified network of loan banks for the granting of credit with the support of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_51

Cooperative credit societies for craftsmen, small tradesmen, etc., were established and organized within a central body, the Alliance of Cooperative Societies for Credit. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_52

However, the Jewish banks and cooperative societies were discriminated against in the sphere of public credit and the state bank was in practice closed to them. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_53

These societies nevertheless functioned on sound foundations. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_54

Their initial capital was relatively larger than that of the non-Jewish cooperative societies. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_55

In 1931 over 15,000 members were organized within the Jewisherion societies. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_56

Jews were particularly active in the following branches of industry: timber, matches, beer, tobacco, hides, textiles, canned foods (especially fish), and flour milling. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_57

About one half of the Jews of Latvia engaged in commerce, the overwhelming majority of them in medium and small trade. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_58

About 29% of the Jewish population was occupied in industry and about 7% in the liberal professions. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_59

There were no Jews in the governmental administration. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_60

The economic situation of the majority of Latvia’s Jews became difficult. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_61

Large numbers were ousted from their economic position and lost their livelihood as a result of government policy and most of them were thrust into small trade, peddling, and bartering in various goods at the second-hand clothes markets in the suburbs of Riga and the provincial towns. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_62

The decline in their status was due to three principal causes: the government assumed the monopoly of the grain trade, thus removing large numbers of Jews from this branch of trade, without accepting them as salaried workers or providing them with any other kind of employment; the Latvian cooperatives enjoyed wide governmental support and functioned in privileged conditions in comparison to the Jewish enterprises; and Jews had difficulty in obtaining credit. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_63

In addition to the above, the Jewish population was subjected to a heavy burden of taxes. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_64

Public and political life History of the Jews in Latvia_section_3

Latvian Jewry continued the communal and popular traditions of Russian Jewry, of which it formed a part until 1918. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_65

On the other hand, it was also influenced by the culture of West European Jewry, being situated within its proximity (i.e., East Prussia). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_66

In its spiritual life there was thus a synthesis of Jewish tradition and secular culture. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_67

From the socio-economic point of view the Jews of Latvia did not form one group, and there were considerable social differences between them. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_68

They engaged in a variety of occupations and professions: there were large, medium, and small merchants, industrialists, and different categories of craftsmen, workers, salesmen, clerks, teachers, and members of the liberal professions such as physicians, lawyers, and engineers. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_69

All these factors—economic and spiritual—were practically reflected in public life: in the national Jewish sphere and in the general political life of the state. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_70

The Jewish population was also represented in the Latvian parliament. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_71

In the National Council which was formed during the first year of Latvian independence and existed until April 1920, there were also representatives of the national minorities, including seven Jews, among them Paul Mintz (later chairman of the Jewish National Democratic Party), who acted as state comptroller (1919–21), and Mordecai Dubin (Agudas Israel). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_72

On May 1, 1920, the Constituent Assembly, which was elected by a relatively democratic vote, was convened. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_73

It was to function until October 7, 1922, and included nine Jewish delegates who represented all groups in the Jewish population (Zionists, National Democrats, Bundists, Agudas Israel). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_74

The number of Jewish delegates in the four parliaments which were elected in Latvia until the coup d’état of 1934 was as follows: six in the first (1922–25), five in the second (1925–28) and the third (1928–31), and three in the fourth (1931–34). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_75

Among the regular deputies were Mordecai Dubin (Agudas Israel), Mordechai Nurock (Mizrachi, later a member of the Knesset in Israel after the country was established in 1948), Matityahu Max Laserson (Zionist Party), and Noah Meisel (Bund). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_76

The last two were not reelected to the fourth parliament. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_77

History of the Jews in Latvia_table_general_1

Seats won by Jewish political parties in elections during the first Republic of LatviaHistory of the Jews in Latvia_table_caption_1
PartyHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_0 Constituent Assembly

(1920)History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_2

First Saeima

1922History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_3

Second Saeima

1925History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_4

Third Saeima

1928History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_5

Fourth Saeima

1931History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_1_0_6

Agudas IsraelHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_2 2History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_3 2History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_4 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_5 2History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_1_6
BundistsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_2 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_3 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_4 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_2_6
Jewish Democratic BlocHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_4 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_3_6
Jewish Economic BlocHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_4 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_4_6
Jewish National BlocHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_0 Histadruth-HacionithHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_1 5History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_2 2History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_3 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_4 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_5_6
Jewish National Democratic PartyHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_6_0 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_6_1 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_6_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_6_3
MizrachiHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_7_0 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_7_1 2History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_7_2 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_7_3
Jewish People's PartyHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_2 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_4 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_8_6
Jewish Progressive AssociationHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_4 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_5 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_9_6
Jews of LudzaHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_0 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_4 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_10_6
Zionist PartyHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_0 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_2 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_3 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_4 1History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_5 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_11_6
United List of Zemgale JewsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_0 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_2 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_3 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_4 History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_5 0History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_1_12_6

History of the Jews in Latvia_table_general_2

Jewish parliamentary representatives, first Republic of LatviaHistory of the Jews in Latvia_table_caption_2
SaeimaHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_2_0_0 RepresentativesHistory of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_2_0_1 Fraction ("frakcija")History of the Jews in Latvia_header_cell_2_0_2
2ndHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_2_1_0 Morduchs Dubins, Maksis Lazersons, Markus Nuroks, Ruvins VittenbergsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_2_1_1 JewishHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_2_1_2
Noijs MaizelsHistory of the Jews in Latvia_cell_2_2_0 Jewish social-democratic "Bund"History of the Jews in Latvia_cell_2_2_1

Culture and education History of the Jews in Latvia_section_4

On December 8, 1919, the general bill on schools was passed by the National Council; this coincided with the bill on the cultural autonomy of the minorities. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_78

In the Ministry of Education, there were special departments for the minorities. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_79

The engineer Jacob Landau headed the Jewish department. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_80

A broad network of Hebrew and Yiddish schools, in which Jewish children received a free education, was established. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_81

In addition to these, there were also Russian and German schools for Jewish children, chosen in accordance with the language of their families and wishes of their parents. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_82

These were, however, later excluded from the Jewish department because, by decision of the Ministry of Education, only the Hebrew and Yiddish schools were included within the scope of Jewish autonomy. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_83

In 1933 there were ninety-eight Jewish elementary schools with approximately 12,000 pupils and 742 teachers, eighteen secondary schools with approximately 2,000 pupils and 286 teachers, and four vocational schools with 300 pupils and thirty-seven teachers. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_84

Pupils attended religious or secular schools according to their parents’ wishes. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_85

There were also government pedagogic institutes for teachers in Hebrew and Yiddish, courses for kindergarten teachers, popular universities, a popular Jewish music academy, evening schools for working youth, a Yiddish theater, and cultural clubs. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_86

There was a Jewish press reflecting a variety of trends. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_87

After the Ulmanis coup d’état of May 15, 1934, restrictions were placed on the autonomy of minorities' "cultures and minorities" education as well as education in native language. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_88

This was part of a wider move to standardize Latvian usage in schooling and professional and governmental sectors. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_89

As a result, Jewish schools continue to operate while secular Yiddish schools were closed. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_90

This resulted in the works of eminent Jewish authors such as the poet Hayim Nahman Bialik (Latvian: Haims Nahmans Bjaliks) and historian Simon Dubnow (Latvian: Šimons Dubnovs) being removed from the Jewish curriculum. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_91

Notably, Dubnow was among the Jews who fled from Germany to Latvia for safety in 1938. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_92

(Latvia continued to take in refugees until the fall of 1938.) History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_93

All political parties and organizations were also abolished. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_94

Of Jewish groups, only Agudat Israel continued to operate. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_95

Jewish social life did, however, retain its vitality. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_96

Owing in part to the restrictions imposed on minorities including Jews, the influence of religion and Zionism increased, motivating some to return to the future Israel. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_97

This also increased the influence of the banned Social Democrats, while the Jewish intelligentsia gravitated toward Zionism. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_98

World War II History of the Jews in Latvia_section_5

Soviet occupation, 1940–1941 History of the Jews in Latvia_section_6

After first extracting 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 invaded Latvia on June 16, 1940. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_99

Jewish civic and political leaders began to be arrested in August 1940. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_100

The first to be arrested were the Zionist leaders Favid Varhaftig and Mahanud Alperin. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_101

The leadership of Betar were deported. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_102

In 1941, the Soviets arrested M. Noruk, M. Dubin and other Jewish civic leaders, Zionists, conservatives, and right wing socialists. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_103

Their arrest orders were approved by S. Shustin. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_104

When the Soviets executed the first round of mass Baltic deportations, on the night of June 13–14, 1941, thousands of Latvian Jews were deported along with Latvians. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_105

Of all the ethnic groups so deported, Jews suffered proportionately more than any other, and were deported to especially harsh conditions. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_106

Records have been preserved of the deportations of 1,212 Jewish Latvian citizens (12.5% of those deported to the far reaches of the USSR) but the actual number of Jews deported was certainly larger, on the order of 5,000 to 6,000 during the first Soviet occupation. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_107

The deportations of Jewish civic leaders and rabbis, members of parliament, and the professional and merchant class only a week before Nazi Germany invaded the Baltics left the Jewish community ill-prepared to organize in the face of the invasion and immediately ensuing Holocaust. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_108

Those deported included Constitutional Convention members I. Rabinovičs and I. Berzs, 1st and 3rd Saiema deputy and head of the Bund N. Maizels as well as other Jewish members of parliament. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_109

Men were separated from their families and sent to labor camps at Solikamsk (in Perm), Vyatka, and Vorkuta, while their wives and children were sent to Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, and elsewhere. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_110

Approximately half died as the consequence of their deportation, some deported more than once—M. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_111

Dubins died after being deported a second time in 1956. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_112

It is estimated that of the 2,100,000 Jews who came under Soviet control as a result of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact dividing Eastern Europe, about 1,900,000—more than one out of two —were deported to Siberia and central Asia. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_113

German occupation of Latvia, 1941–1944 History of the Jews in Latvia_section_7

Main articles: Holocaust in Latvia and Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_114

Latvia was occupied by the Germans during the first weeks of the German-Soviet war in July 1941. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_115

It became part of the new Reichskommissariat "Ostland", officially designated as "Generalbezirk Lettland". History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_116

Otto-Heinrich Drechsler was appointed its commissioner general, with headquarters in Riga, the seat of the Reich Commissioner for Ostland, Hinrich Lohse. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_117

At the end of July 1941 the Germans replaced the military with a civil administration. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_118

One of its first acts was the promulgation of a series of anti-Jewish ordinances. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_119

A subordinate civil administration composed of local collaborationist elements was also established, to which Latvian general councillors were appointed. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_120

Their nominal head was Oskars Dankers, a former Latvian army general. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_121

In mid-June 1941, on the eve of Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union, 14,000 citizens of Latvia, including several thousand Jews, were deported by the Soviet authorities to Siberia and other parts of Soviet Asia as politically undesirable elements. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_122

During the Nazi attack of Latvia a considerable number of Jews also succeeded in fleeing to the interior of the Soviet Union; it is estimated that some 75,000 Latvian Jews fell into Nazi hands. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_123

Survivor accounts sometimes describe how, even before the Nazi administration began persecuting the Latvian Jews, they had suffered from antisemitic excesses at the hands of the Latvian activists, although there is some disagreement amongst Jewish historians as to the extent of this phenomenon. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_124

Latvian-American Holocaust historian Andrew (Andrievs) Ezergailis argues that there was no "interregnum" period at all in most parts of Latvia, when Latvian activists could have engaged in the persecution of Jews on their own initiative. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_125

The Einsatzgruppen ("task forces") played a leading role in the destruction of Latvian Jews, according to information given in their own reports, especially in the report of SS-Brigadeführer (General) Stahlecker, the commander of Einsatzgruppe A, whose unit operated on the northern Russian front and in the occupied Baltic republics. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_126

His account covers the period from the end of June up to October 15, 1941. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_127

Nevertheless, the Latvian Arajs Kommando played a leading role in the atrocities committed in the Riga ghetto in conjunction with the Rumbula massacre on November 30, 1941. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_128

One of the most notorious members of the group was Herberts Cukurs. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_129

After the war, surviving witnesses reported that Cukurs had been present during the ghetto clearance and fired into the mass of Jewish civilians. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_130

According to another account Cukurs also participated in the Burning of the Riga synagogues. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_131

According to Bernard Press in his book The Murder of the Jews in Latvia, Cukurs burned the synagogue on Stabu Street History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_132

At the instigation of the Einsatzgruppe, the Latvian auxiliary police carried out a pogrom against the Jews in Riga. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_133

All synagogues were destroyed and 400 Jews were killed. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_134

According to Stahlecker's report, the number of Jews killed in mass executions by Einsatzgruppe A by the end of October 1941 in Riga, Jelgava (Mitau), Liepāja (Libau), Valmiera (Wolmar), and Daugavpils (Dvinsk) totaled 30,025, and by the end of December 1941, 35,238 Latvian Jews had been killed; 2,500 Jews remained in the Riga Ghetto and 950 in the Daugavpils ghetto. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_135

At the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, Jews deported from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and other German occupied countries began arriving in Latvia. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_136

Some 15,000 "Reich Jews" were settled in several streets of the liquidated "greater Riga ghetto". History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_137

Many transports were taken straight from the Riga railroad station to execution sites in the Rumbula and Biķernieki forests near Riga, and elsewhere. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_138

In 1942 about 800 Jews from Kaunas Ghetto (in Lithuania) were brought to Riga and some of them participated in the underground organization in the Riga ghetto. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_139

The German occupying power in Latvia also kept Jews in "barracks camps", i.e., near their places of forced labor. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_140

A considerable number of such camps were located in the Riga area and other localities. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_141

Larger concentrations camps included those at Salaspils and Kaiserwald (Mežaparks). History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_142

The Salaspils concentration camp, set up at the end of 1941, contained thousands of people, including many Latvian and foreign Jews. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_143

Conditions in this camp, one of the worst in Latvia, led to heavy loss of life among the inmates. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_144

The Kaiserwald concentration camp, established in the summer of 1943, contained the Jewish survivors from the ghettos of Riga, Daugavpils, Liepāja, and other places, as well as non-Jews. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_145

At the end of September 1943 Jews from the liquidated Vilna Ghetto (in Lithuania) were also taken to Kaiserwald. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_146

When the Soviet victories in the summer of 1944 forced a German retreat from the Baltic states, the surviving inmates of the Kaiserwald camp were deported by the Germans to Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig, and from there were sent to various other camps. History of the Jews in Latvia_sentence_147

German retreat and Soviet re-occupation, 1944 History of the Jews in Latvia_section_8

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History of the Jews in Latvia.