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Germans Liquidated Twenty-one “jewish Camps” in Riga District Prior to Retreat

Eighteen-thousand Jews – 15,000 of them deportees from western Europe -were murdered or sent to unknown fates from 21 camps in the Riga district between July and October of this year, according to a report published here today by the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.

As the German military situation in Latvia deteriorated, the Nazis first began to move Jewish forced laborers from factories to concentration camps and strengthened the guards at all camps. As the Red Army drove closer, they began evacuating the camps. At the end of July, 3,000 Hungarian Jewish women were evacuated, but there is no indication that they ever arrived in Hungary.

In August, the Germans began liquidating some camps and on August 4, two thousand Jews were gassed to death, of whom 400 had been residents of Riga. Eventually all 21 camps in Riga and its environs were closed down. Thousands of Jews were moved by boat and train to various destinations and have not been heard of since. It is known that many were transferred to eastern Kurland, in Latvia, and murdered in the woods there.

Others were driven off to Germany, including the celebrated Riga surgeon Dr. Minz and the physicians Dr. Kretzer and Dr. Idelson. Dr. Shenfeld, director of the Riga Psychiatric Hospital, was tortured to death. Before leaving the Germans forcibly sterilized 150 Jewish women who were married to non-Jews and then taxed them 75 marks each for the operation.

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