Valdemarpils


Valdemarpils

Sasmacken, Sasmaka

 

Distance from Riga 120 km (A10, P126, P125, P120)

 

The local Jewish community was formed in the late 18th century. In this period, a synagogue and a cemetery were built here. In the mid-19th century, 84% of the overall town population were Jewish. The 1,197 Jews, who lived in Valdemarpils in 1881, made up 67% of its total population. In 1935, among 1,135 local residents, 159 were Jews. Despite making up just 14% of the population of Valdemarpils, the Jews owned half of the local businesses.


By the time, when the Nazi occupation began, 117 Jews were present in the town. The unfit for work, elderly people, the disabled, and the young children were exterminated on the night of the 26th of July 1941. The remaining 56 people (an 11 years old girl among them) were transported to the turf-cutting field 5 km away from the town and killed there on the 7th of August 1941.

 

The Summer Synagogue, the Winter Synagogue, and the Rabbi's living headquarters, Ezera, 1. The first synagogue in Sasmaka was built in the late 18th century, later followed by another one. In the late 1930s, both synagogues were reconstructed. During the Holocaust, the buildings were used as vaults for the valuables, taken from the executed Jews. During the Soviet period, the Town Council used the converted synagogues for different purposes. The three buildings included in the List of State Protected Monuments. At present, the property is privately owned.


Cemetery, Ezera St. It was founded in the late 18th century on the hill near Sasmaka Lake. It was opened for burials until 1940. The cemetery has deteriorated at present; however, the remaining headstones are preserved and arranged in a group at the top of the hill.

 


Monument in Memory of the Prisoners of “Popervāle” Concentration Camp, 3,5 km from town by P126 Valdemārpils–Roja, turn off the left side of the road just before the bus stop “Pagrieziens uz Lubezeru”, the monument is located 500m down the path. It was one of the branches of Riga-Kaiserwald concentration camp, opened in summer 1943. At one given time there were about 600 to 800 prisoners kept there. The inmates worked building roads and tank testing grounds. During the course of its existence some 1,500 Jews from Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary and Poland were imprisoned in the camp. “Popervāle” was disbanded by the Nazis in July 1944.

 

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