Historical Background

Jewish women before their execution in LiepajaJewish women before their execution in Liepaja

The killing of the Latvian Jews started shortly after the Germans occupied Latvia in the summer of 1941. By October half of Latvia's 70,000 Jews had been murdered and the remaining Jews were confined to ghettos.

The seaport city of Liepaja was occupied by the Germans on 29 June 1941. Mass shootings followed, and by July 1942 only 800 Jews remained who were confined to a ghetto. The killings on the beach of Skede are documented in the photos taken by the German officer Strott. Copies of these photos were secretly made by David Zivcon, a Jewish slave laborer who found the photos while working for the Germans. He buried them in the ground in the hope of rescuing the evidence for future generations to see.

The ghetto was liquidated in October 1943. By the end of the war only 30 of the 7,000 Jews in Liepaja survived. Zivcon was one of the survivors. He was hidden by the Seduls in their cellar.