Liepaja


Liepaja

Libau

 

Distance from Riga 218 km (A9)

 

The local Jewish community was founded in the late 18th century. The first prayer house was officially opened in the city in 1799, and the first synagogue was built in 1806. The Jewish community opened a cemetery and a Chevra Kadisha in 1803. During the last quarter of the 19th century, two synagogues were built in Liepaja. The Major or Choral Synagogue was built in the historic centre of the city and the other one – in its new part. By that time, many Jews from Russia, Poland, and Lithuania settled in Liepaja. The majority of them were living here illegally. However, the Jewish community continued to grow and by 1897 it had 9,454 members. The overall population of Liepaja during that period consisted of 64,489 people.


Liepaja was one of the largest transit ports for the Jewish emigrants. During the period between 1906 and 1910, more than 100,000 emigrants from the Russian Empire went through Liepaja port, on their way overseas. The 7, 379 Jews, who lived it Liepaja, made up 13% of its total population in 1935.


On the order of Stalin’s administration, 181 Liepaja Jews were deported to Siberia on the 14th of June 1941. Tragically, the majority of them died in exile.


When Wehrmacht solders entered Liepaja in the late June 1941, there were some 7,000 Jews in the city. The Jews from the suburbs were also transported to Liepaja. During the first few days of the Nazi occupation, 33 Jews were shot dead in Raina Park in the city centre. On the 8th and the 9th of July 1941, hundreds of Jewish men were transported from the local prison to the seaside, south from the lighthouse, where they were executed by firing squad. By the end of July 1941, the mass executions began in Skede. During the period between the 15th and the 17th of December 1941 the occupants and their local collaborators shot dead 2, 773 people. Only 20 or 30 Jews survived the war by going into hiding in the city. Just a few hundreds Jews lived in Liepaja after the WWII. The majority of them came from other parts of the Soviet Union.


The local Jewish community was revived in the late 1980s. Some 400 Jews live in Liepaja at present.

 

The Great Choral Synagogue, Kuršu, 11/13. The synagogue, built in 1868, was destroyed in 1941.


Prayer House, Kungu, 21. Currently the building is at the disposal of the local Jewish Community. It also ventures museum “Jews in Liepaja.”


Prayer House and Almshouse Moshav Zekeinim, Kungu, 21, in the courtyard. It was built in 1911.


Hospital Linas Hatzedek, Bāriņu, 11.


Jewish Secondary School, Bāriņu, 12. This building ventured a Jewish primary school and a public Jewish secondary school.


Hebrew School, Kuršu, 20.


Sholem Aleichem School, Rožu, 8. The school opened its doors to the pupils for the first time in 1919 and functioned until 1940. The only Yiddish school in Liepaja was attended by 336 students in 1921. In 1926 it was named after world famous Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem.


Jewish Primary and Secondary Schools, Kūrmājas, 13. A Jewish primary school functioned here from 1935 to 1937. The building ventured a public Jewish secondary school from 1937 to 1940.


Spot of the Executions of the Liepaja Jews, Zvejnieku, 7. The systematic executions of the Jews were carried out here from the late July to the early October 1941.


Residential House, Tirgoņu, 22. It was used as a hiding place for the Jews during the Holocaust. Robert and Johanna Sedul sheltered 11 Jews in this house from 1943 to 1945. There is a memorial board dedicated to the saviours on the front wall of this building.


Chevra Kadisha, Klaipēdas, 41.


Cemetery, Cenkones, 18/20. It was built in the 19th century as a part of the local Livu Cemetery. The monument in memory of the Jews, who fought and perished in the Latvian War of Independence in 1919, is one of the landmarks of the cemetery. The memorial wall with the names of 6,428 Liepaja Jews died during Holocaust and in the Soviet concentration camps, was unveiled in 2004.


The Monument in Memory of Liepaja Ghetto, Kungu, 29. The ghetto was set up between Kungu, Apšu, Dārza, and Bāriņu streets in summer 1941, when not more than 800 surviving Jews remained in the city. All the ghetto prisoners were transported to Kaizerwald concentration camp in Riga in autumn of 1943. Later they were sent to different concentration camps in Germany.


Shkede Memorial, 15 km north from the city centre. In accordance to different pieces of evidence from 6,500 to 7,000 people, among them 3,640 Jews, 2,000 Soviet POWs and 1,000 Latvian civilians were shot dead in these dunes between 1941 and 1945. The memorial, representing a giant menorah lying on the ground, was designed by sculptor Raimonds Gabalins, and opened in June 2005. The quotes from the Bible are carved on the sides of the square columns placed beside the menorah, made of rough stones brought from different parts of Kurzeme.

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