Thursday, April 12, 2018

Yom ha-Shoah 2018 - the murder of the Jews of Liepaja, Latvia



Tonight and tomorrow are Yom Ha-Shoah, and this is a post commemorating the deaths of the Jews of Latvia, among whom were my grandfather's uncle, Mordekhai Falkon, and his wife, Dobra Falkon.

A few years ago, I joined a Facebook group for Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel. One of the latest posts provided a link to a documentary that has been made recently on the murder of the Jews of Latvia. (It is one of several made in the series, "SEARCHING FOR THE UNKNOWN HOLOCAUST").

The documentary, called "Drawers of Memory: The Holocaust in Latvia," interviews Jewish survivors and their non-Jewish neighbors about what happened in 1941, after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union and conquered the Baltic states. A very high proportion of the Jews of Latvia were murdered by the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators, mostly by shooting (part of the "Holocaust of Bullets" which was perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppen, the squads of killers that followed the Wehrmacht as it invaded and conquered the western Soviet Union).

If you click on the video, it brings you to the segment on Liepaja (also known as Libau), where my grandfather's uncle, Mordekhai Falkon, lived with his wife Dobra. Mordekhai was probably killed in the summer of 1941, while Dovra probably died at the beach of Skede, north of Liepaja, where thousands of Liepaja Jews were murdered during December 15-17, 1941. The video shows the memorial at Skede, and the beach where people were killed. There are shown some photographs in a book of the Jews at Skede, before, during, and after they were shot. (My assumption is that a Nazi soldier or a Latvian collaborator took the photographs).

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