The Jews of Latvia

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Teachers in the Ezra Schule
Riga, Latvia

"The communities of our innocent brothers and sisters, parents and children, who perished in the chambers of hell and the crematoria of the damned Moloch-Hitler or died in other ways will remain in Israel's memory forever.

These rivers of spilled blood with seethe and flood the world with the eternal sign of Cain until the evil that produced such destruction has been rooted out.

May these words be the flowers on their graves!

Honor to their memory!"

-- Max Kaufmann, author of the book "Churbn Lettland: The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia"

The history of the Jews of Latvia dates back to 1571. Although the vast majority of the Jewish community was killed in the Holocaust, there still exists a small Jewish community now in Latvia.

"The Jews of Latvia" exhibition, a work-in-progress, strives to give the Museum visitor a sense of the history of Latvia's Jewish community, often as told by those who once lived in Latvia or their descendants.

In 1947, Riga native Max Kaufmann, a survivor of the Second World War, wrote a book (mostly in German), called "Churbn Lettland: Die Vernichtung Der Juden Lettlands" ("Chorbn Lettland: The Destruction of the Jews of Lettland.")
This book is essential reading for those very interested in the history of Latvia and the Jewish community, as it was written not long after the war and describes in detail the events that occurred to the Jews during the Holocaust.

The English translation of the aforementioned book will appear here within the Museum's confines in an excerpted form (many of these excerpts are presented too in French) along with other pertinent material. The Museum welcomes other material of interest that relates to the history of the Jewish community of Latvia, e.g. family stories, photographs. Please contact the Museum of Family History at

Please read and view selected chapters and photographs pertaining to Latvia that are located within the Museum, by using the following link(s) below:

"Churbn Lettland: The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia" (in English)
"Churbn Lettland: La destruction des Juifs de Lettonie" (in French)

The Young Men and Women of our Towns: Riga, Latvia

The Jews of Latvia Wall of Remembrance

As part of this exhibition, the Museum of Family History honors and preserves the memory of those of our family members who died in Riga during the second World War. If you have photographs of such family members, please send them to the museum at the aforementioned email address. Include the name of the person(s) in the photo, the approximate date of the photo, where the photo was taken, and any biographical information you can supply about them.


--Photo credit: USHMM, courtesy of Esther Lurie





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