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The Lighthouse south of Liepaja

Sketch of the Lighthouse murder site Sketch of the Lighthouse murder site GARF 7021-93-2419; copy YVA JM/21234 Women's prison in Liepaja Women's prison in Liepaja Courtesy Brian Friedman

The dunes near the lighthouse, situated south of the city, served as one of the murder sites. At the beginning of July 1941, the Germans killed some groups of political prisoners and Jews there. Most of them were brought to the dunes from the Women’s Prison in Tilzas Street, which had become a jail for political prisoners, male and female, and a transit station for Jews destined for the murder sites.
On July 8-10, 1941, mass murder operations were carried out by the Teilkommando 2 of Einsatzkommando A headed by Erhard Grauel, probably with the assistance of the Arajs Commando. Each day, at least 100 Jews were shot. The Jewish men snatched from the streets and their houses and Jewish prisoners from the Women’s Prison were brought to the site by truck in groups of twenty. They were forced to enter the pit – measuring four by fifteen meters – in groups of ten, where they were shot with bolt-action rifles from the edge of the embankment. At first, the marksmen were told to divide the Jews between them, one aiming at the head, the other at the heart. Later, the order was for both gunmen to aim at the head. After a round of killings, German officers armed with machine guns entered the pit to examine the victims, and if any signs of life were found, they delivered “insurance” shots.
Mass Murder of Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, 1941
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Mass Murder of Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, 1941
Archival footage of JUDENEXEKUTION IN LIBAU 1941 (Mass Murder of Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, 1941)
Courtesy of Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv/Transit Film GmbH
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