1941: The massacre at Skede in Liepaja

The World War II occupation of the Latvian town of Liepaja (Libau, to the Germans) produced mass executions throughout 1941.

This date in 1941 commenced one of the largest such actions: over 2,700 Jews as well as 23 Communists forced over the course of two-plus days to strip on the freezing Skede dunes overlooking the Baltic and there shot by German and Latvian teams into a vast pit. It’s one of the most recognizable Holocaust atrocities because it was extensively photographed.*

As one can see from the pictures, the victims here were mostly women.

Some of the women in this photographs can be identified by name (pdf). Left to right: (1) Sorella Epstein; (2) presumably Rosa Epstein, her mother; (3) unknown; (4) Mia Epstein; (5) unknown. Alternate identification makes Mia Epstein (5) instead of (4), and (2) Pauline Goldman.

Almost all of Liepaja’s Jews perished during the war.

* Germany’s Bundesarchiv (search on Libau 1941) confirms the precise December 15 dating for these images; it also has some other photographs of atrocities in Liepaja/Libau on other occasions.

9 thoughts on “1941: The massacre at Skede in Liepaja”

  1. There is this scared beautiful little boy, in white pants who is being made to run up to the cliff with his little mother, and sisters, to be murdered,, by these COWARDS!! My heart Was completely broken as I seen his face grimace as he can see what his fate will be. His name is Ruben Aron Grimfeld. You my boy will wear the most Beautiful crown in heaven. God bless you all the little flowers-children of this digusting holocaust

  2. The perpetrators are unquestionably human; which at least lessens the moral impact. However, that fact is also the most disturbing aspect I would dare say.

  3. Are they humans or monsters ? how the humanity witnessed such barbaric acts.What the governments of developed countries did to save innocents from atrocities? it should teached to whole world and should not forget the crimes committed against the helpless civilians.

  4. God bless you darling, you look so alone and fightened Sorrella…it is beyond heart breaking…I have a daughter of my own, the sense of loss is horrid when I connect with that…they don’t deserved to be mentioned those perpetrators…I echo the thoughts of the first comment.. I hope to see your smiling face one day…my heart is with you always…blessed be and all my love. ..

    Your good friend Ty..xxx

  5. Sorella,

    I’ve known about you for years though I never knew your name or your birthday until today. I have cried with my brother in law when I first told him of you. i have two daughters and so could not bear the pain of seeing you struggle behind your Mom. i am with you and will see you and your Mom some day, God be willing.


  6. so sorry for you Litte Sorella, i fell so sad when i’m looking at you my tears fall if we could have the ability to change the past…..Never forget you, never …

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