During wartime, there were several prisons, camps for prisoner-of-war and prison cells at working factories in Liepāja. But the most ominous, terrifying was the Women’s Prison. The Jews who were arrested during the first days of the German occupation and those who were seized on the streets during the raids were taken into it (only men, women were still missing). The Jews brought there were kept from days to a month in terrible confinement, they were beaten, mocked, humiliated and insulted in every possible way.
From the recollection of a Liepāja Jewish survivor Kalman Linkmeer:
“As soon as the gates of the prison opened, a hail of blows fell on our heads … We were stuffed like herring in a barrel in the prison yard. About a thousand Jews, young and old, stood in the sun, which blinded their eyes. Those who lowered their head or tried to move received terrible blows. The torturers beat them to death, and it was terrible to hear the voice of the exhausted victim being killed. “
Many famous people from Liepāja suffered from the beatings in this prison – doctors, teachers, including the respected doctor Schwab, who was later shot at the lighthouse along with hundreds of others.
There was only one way out of the Women’s Prison – to be shot. At dawn, trucks took the tortured victims into the dunes, forced them to dig their own graves and shot them.
Those who were not shot in the early days of arrests, sometimes survived. The currency was a LEIKA camera or a gold watch. Some were saved in this way (alas, as it turned out, only for a while). And those who could willingly helped, realizing that today they are saving someone, and tomorrow they will need help themselves.