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Daugavpils

Daugavpils, Daugavpils County, Latgale District, Latvia

To enlarge the map click here House of prayer in Daugavpils, Grinhaus, built in 1900 House of prayer in Daugavpils, Grinhaus, built in 1900 YVA, Photo Collection 8413/40 Plaque on the House where Solomon Mikhoels was born
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Photo by Vladimir Levin Plaque on the House where Solomon Mikhoels was born
Photo by Vladimir Levin
The Center of Jewish Art

The Jewish community of Daugavpils (before 1893, Dünaburg, before 1919, Dvinsk) dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century. Daugavpils had belonged to the Russian Empire; after 1919 it became part of independent Latvia.
Among the celebrities born in Daugavpils was Solomon Mikhoels, a famous actor and producer of the Moscow State Yiddish Theater, and Shaul Avigur, one of the Hagana leaders, who contributed greatly to the development of the Jewish national movement in the USSR.
In the 1920-1930s, all sorts of Zionist organizations were active in Daugavpils. A Hebrew high school and four Hebrew primary schools operated in the town. In addition, there were two Yiddish schools and a Jewish Russian-speaking school. After the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, private commerce was prohibited, and some enterprises nationalized. The Hebrew schools were closed and only one Yiddish school remained. In June 1941, a group of arrested Daugavpils Jews was sent to remote areas of the USSR. According to a population census, in 1935 11,106 Jews lived in the town, accounting for 24.6 percent of the total population.
The Germans occupied Daugavpils on June 26, 1941. Some weeks later, on July 15-26, 14,000 Jews from the town were imprisoned in a ghetto. Within a short period, Jews from the nearby settlements, including Ilukste, Vishki and Kraslava, joined the ghetto residents, as well as dozens who had survived the ghetto liquidations in Ludza and Rezekne. Immediately after the ghetto was established, the mass murders of its residents commenced, with the major operations carried out in August-November 1941. The last group of Daugavpils Jews was shot in May 1942.
Daugavpils was liberated by the Red Army on July 27, 1944.