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Einsatgruppen A the actions in Latvia!

Einsatzgruppen A


Mass murder of Jews in Latvia



List of Jewish populations by country used at the Wannsee Conference showing Latvia with 3,500 left alive (click text to enlarge)

Jews have occupied the region of the Baltic countries since the fourteenth century. The primary concentration of the Jewish population was in the cities, Daugavpils, Vilnius and Riga in particular.


The Latvian census taken in 1935 identified 93,479 Jews living in throughout the country, of these, it is estimated that about 70,000 perished in the Holocaust, the vast majority at the hands of Einsatzgruppen death squads in December 1941. The totality and speed with which the mass murder of Jews in Latvia was achieved meant that most families were completely destroyed with no one left to mourn or even inquire about the dead.


On June 22, 1941 the Germans began Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. Because of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, the Baltic countries were considered a part of Russia. Immediately following the invasion, Himmler was appointed to take measures to strengthen German ethnicity in the occupied territories and to create lebensraum, or living space for German citizens. To this end, Himmler created special task forces within the SS, the Einsatzgruppen, and placed them under the command of Reinhard Heydrich.


On September, 21, 1939, Heydrich instructed those under his command to observe a distinction between a final solution which would take some time and intermediary steps necessary for reaching this end, which can be applied more or less at once. 


(Heydrich Directive)


To Chiefs of all Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police Subject:

Jewish Question in Occupied Territory

I refer to the conference held in Berlin today, and again point out that the planned total measures (i.e., the final aim) are to be kept
strictly secret.

Distinction must be made between:
1. the final aim (which will require extended periods of time)
2. the stages leading to the fulfillment of this final aim (which will be carried out in short periods).

It is obvious that the tasks ahead cannot be laid down from here in full detail. The instructions and directives below must serve also for
the purpose of urging chiefs of the Einsatzgruppen to give practical consideration to [the problems involved.]

For the time being, the first prerequisite for the final aim is the  concentration of the Jews from the countryside into the larger cities.


In the Baltic region, the Holocaust was organized and supervised by a special Operational Unit of the Nazi Security Service Sicherheitsdienst commanded by Brigadeführer Walter Stahlecker. This unit arrived with the advance troops of the occupying army. From November 1941 onward,  the command was assumed by SS and Police General Friedrich Jeckeln, the Supreme Commander of the SS and Police in Northern Russia and Ostland.


Jews in Latvia became Nazi victims within days of Nazi occupation. As in Lithuania, Latvian Jews fell into the hands of the German Einsatzgruppe A, aided by a group of Latvian citizens known as the Arajs Kommando who willingly assisted in the mass genocide of Latvian Jews.


The killing of the Jews occurred in two phases.


The first phase was between July and October 1941, where the rural population was liquidated. The second phase was the extermination of the Jews in the cities from November to December 1941. Of the approximately 66,000 Jews in Latvia at the time of the Nazi invasion, there were as many as 59,000 that were killed in 1941. The remaining Jews were sent to ghettos to be used as slave labor.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/lativia.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team


Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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