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Latvian Jewish Woman Who Fled to Sweden Reveals Massacre of Riga Jews

July 24, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Latvian Jewish woman, who arrived in Sweden recently after hiding from the Gestapo for a year-and-a-half, gave an eye-witness account today of the massacre of Latvian Jews by the Germans and also submitted a list of the 24 persons responsible for the atrocities.

The woman, Selma Anderson, whose family name before her marriage was Shebshelcvitz, was saved from the Riga ghetto in November, 1941, on the eve of a wide-spread massacre, by Alexander Anderson, whom she subsequently married. They lived in Latvia for more than a year, under the noses of the Gestapo.

At the outbreak of the war, Mrs. Anderson was a student at the English College in Riga. After the German occupation she was forced to work in the ruins of the bombed sections of Riga, and later as a kitchen maid in S. S. headquarters. In October, 1941, she was placed in a ghetto together with her parents, Josif and Emma. Here, seven persons had to live in a room nine yards square.

She reveals that in the first weeks of the occupation 26,000 Jews were murdered in the provinces, and the rest fled to Riga where further thousands were killed. Latvian guards fired into the ghetto houses at random, daily, killing hundreds. Many were beaten to death. Women were raped. Some Latvian policemen, students, hooligans and dregs from the Riga underworld participated in the atrocities.

About 15,000 Jews were killed in the first wholesale massacre in Riga, in the courtyard of the Qudrat Rubber Co. factory outside the city, on November 27, 1941. Several thousand were murdered in a second massacre on December 7. After that only Jews employed in the German war factories remained in the ghetto, which was finally liquidated in the Autumn of 1943, when the survivors were taken to Kaizerwald. Their fate is not known.

Mrs. Anderson turned over to the Federation of Jewish Relief Organizations here a list of many of the many of the Jews who were killed in Riga as well as those who were still alive when she left Latvia.

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