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Source: http://0-muse.jhu.edu.library.uor.edu/d ... nders.htmlExecutions in Summer 1941
The dates and death tolls of the Liepaja murders are fairly well known from 20 September 1941 on, when the newly arrived SS and Police Chief Emil Dietrich began to record them in his diary. 40 But for the first twelve weeks of the German occupation, [End Page 125] there exist only approximate data, reconstructed nearly thirty years later in the 1968-71 Grauel Trial in Hannover. 41 In principle, we can get more precise information from our data, which give exact arrest dates for 161 of 1,054 victims. Most of these dates come from a few census takers who consistently recorded them, some from additional survivors, or from Yad Vashem. However, especially in the first weeks victims often were kept in jail for several days before execution, and thus arrest dates may not match execution dates. Figure 1 shows a histogram of these dates.
The data were recalculated as follows for the total number of victims. On the plausible assumption that the unknown dates are distributed as were the known dates, we have scaled the Y axis by the ratio of 1454/161 = 9.03, so that the numbers correspond to the actual number of arrests on each date. (The figure of 1454 represents the 1054 known July-August deaths plus a correction for an estimated 400 men missed in the census). Thus corrected, the diagram gives reasonably accurate figures for the arrests on each date. However, as the underlying numbers are small, the statistical errors are large, and we have therefore scaled their standard deviations by the same factor of 9.03.
The most prominent feature is the large peak from 22 to 25 July. This is due to an Aktion by the Arajs Commando, a Latvian SD unit commanded by Viktors Arajs that came from Riga to Liepaja to execute Jews. 42 Remarkably, H. L. Borgert has recently found that this Aktion was initiated not by the German or Latvian SD but by the navy commandant of Liepaja, Fregattenkapitän Dr. Hans Kawelmacher. 43 On 22 July Kawelmacher telegraphed the Navy's Baltic Command in Kiel requesting 100 SS and [End Page 126] fifty Schutzpolizei men "for quick implementation Jewish problem.... Here about 8,000 Jews ... with present SS personnel this would take about 1 year, which is untenable for pacification of Libau." On 27 July he followed up with the message: "Jewish problem Libau largely solved by execution of about 1,100 male Jews by Riga SS Commando on 24. and 25.7. SS Commando has left." 44
With the execution dates precisely fixed on 24 and 25 July, we clearly see the time lag between arrest and execution. Mass arrests started on 22 July, the day of Kawelmacher's message, and had nearly stopped on 25 July, the last day of the massacre. The number of victims in the peak, 910 ± 90, is slightly smaller than Kawelmacher's figure of ~1,100, but within the uncertainties of both figures.
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