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Rainis Park

Sketch of the Rainis Park murder site Sketch of the Rainis Park murder site GARF 7021-93-2419; copy YVA JM/21234

The first murder operation took place on the first day of occupation, June 29, 1941, when the Einsaztkommando shot a group of Jews along with other Latvian activists in anti-tank ditches in Rainis Park. The killings were carried out by Einsatzkommando 1a, under the command of SS-Obersturmfuhrer Fritz Reichert. Groups of victims (according to different sources, between 33 and 150 men) that apparently comprised Jews and suspected political activists were ordered to march in line along Brivibas Street to the two ditches previously dug by the Red Army, 100 and 200 meters in length, where they were shot.
Estimates of the total number of victims varies from several dozen to about 300. The Soviet Extraordinary State Commission investigating Nazi crimes noted that (a seemingly exaggerated) 1,430 people were killed in Rainis Park.