July 18, 1941 – Most of the Jewish population, 175 people, of a small Latvian town Akniste were murdered by the local Latvian nationalists. Akniste was proclaimed a Jew free town by the time German troops arrived days later.
20 year old Mozus Berkovich survived simply by a miracle. Studying in Riga, he visited his family in Akniste almost every week end. On July 14th Mozus telephoned his father, who told him not to come home as something bad was about to happen. This was the last time Mozus would hear his father’s voice.
The only testimony of these horrific events was recorder in Boston by his grandson Eugene Levin 6 month before Mozus passed away in June 2013.
Elly is a survivor of Kaunas ghetto in Lithuania and Dachau concentration camp. He was freed by American troops on April 28, 1945. Unknowingly, the soldiers handed out food to the emaciated people. A few hours later, pestilence began in the liberated concentration camp. When you spend several years on bread and water, any other food becomes poison. Only a small number of the saved prisoners who ate, survived.
You can find names of executioners
who are laid to rest as heroes of Latvia
at state sponsored gravesite memorial in Akniste.
Among them are the remains of Vilis Tunkelis,
Deputy Commander of the township and the leader
of the execution of Akniste Jews.
March 16, 1943 is considered the day of the creation of the Latvian SS units, who fought on the side of Hitler. Following the restoration of Latvia’s independence in 1991, this day is annually celebrated by a mass rally with the participation of members of parliament.
Following the publication of the book "Ours", which describes the participation of Lithuanians in the Holocaust, the writer began to receive threats. She had to leave her homeland. Now Ruta Vanagaite resides in Israel.
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Bauska’s defenders were Latvian Nazi collaborators. After the German army was defeated, they had no choice but to fight against the Soviet Union, knowing that they would be executed for their crimes if captured by Red Army. The Jewish community of Latvia was outraged that this monument was erected.
Zenonas Ignatavichius was a chaplain of the 12th auxiliary police battalion responsible for the murder of 20 thousand Jews in Belarus. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, states that the chaplain was also an accomplice in crime.
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