Menu JTA Search

Mass Grave of Jews Martyred by Nazi in World War Ii Found in Latvia

A mass grave containing the skulls and bones of men, women and children shot by the Nazis during the Second World War in the Latvian town of Daugavpils, 120 miles east of Riga, was accidentally discovered by excavators while digging in a moat of a fortress in the town, Tass, the Soviet news agency, reported today from Moscow. (Following the usual practice of the Soviet agency, the report failed to mention the fact that the victims were Jews.)

The report said that the foreheads of the skulls of the children were pierced by bullets. Also found in a bottle in the grave was a well-preserved note on which was written: “Abe Tevis-Zelikson, aged 16, died 7/11/41.”

The fortress had been used as a concentration camp during the German occupation of Latvia. The Tass report noted that a commission investigating Nazi crimes in Daugavpils immediately after the liberation of the town, in 1944, established that about 30, 000 people, mainly women, children and old men, were shot in the summer of 1943 in a forest several miles from the fort, but nothing was known before about executions in the fort itself.

A Soviet dispatch from Vilna reported that arrangements are being made with government help for the erection of a monument to the 50, 000 Kovno Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Lithuanian occupation. The Government of the Soviet Lithuanian Republic reportedly has allocated the necessary funds. However, no details have been indicated as to the site or the nature of the monument.

There are such monuments to Jewish martyrs in several Lithuanian towns where there are no longer any Jewish residents. These monuments were erected on the initiative of Jewish survivors originating from those towns who now live in Vilna, and who went back to arrange for the monuments with the help of local officials. In all cases, there are modest memorials in local Jewish cemeteries.

NEXT STORY