The first executions, documented by the Germans, took place on July 3 and 4, after the local Latvian administration registered all the Jews living in the city at that time. The executions were carried out mainly on the territory of the city, as well as to the north of the Naval harbor, next to the water tower. During these two days, about 400 Jews, mostly men, were killed.

On July 5, 1941, the German military commandant issued an order that all Jews of Liepāja had to sew yellow square patches on their clothes, forbidding them to leave their homes for most of the day and use public transport.

On July 8 and 9, another 300 people brought from the prison in Tiesas Street were shot. The executions were carried out by the German SD group and local policemen, mainly in the area of ​​the lighthouse and the fishing port. Members of the Latvian organization “Selbstschutz” were initially involved in escorting victims to the places of murder.

According to the documents of the trial over the Nazi criminal Grauel, the first victims were 30 Jews and Communists, arrested from 5 to 7 July and executed on 7 July 1941 as “hostages” in retaliation for the shelling of a German patrol in the vicinity of Liepāja. For this, every fifth from the Women’s prison was selected and shot in the dunes near the lighthouse.

The killings took place on 8 July as well and continued on 9 and 10 July. At least a hundred people were executed every day. The killings were carried out by German and Latvian firing squads, which could be distinguished by their red-white-red armband. The victims were mostly Jews. They were brought from the Women’s prison in trucks of twenty people to the place of execution. After a round of killings German officers with machine guns entered the pit to examine the victims, and if any signs of life were found “insurance” shots were delivered.

The first time the Latvian SD Guard Platoon carried out a killing was at the end of September or early October1941 in the vicinity of the lighthouse, just past the Olympia Stadium. In that action about twenty of the Latvians participated. They were ordered by Lieutenant Galiņš to assemble at their headquarters at 5:00 in the morning, He picked ten men for the killing team, positioned them across the ditch from where the victims were placed. Five victims at a time were brought out and killed. The total number killed on that occasion was twenty people, and it took them about one hour to do it

In reality, during the months of July, August, and September 1941 there were more than two actions every week, for killings also took place in the vicinity of Liepāja— Priekule, Vaiņode and Grobiņa.

There are some extracts from testimonies of German Wehrmacht soldiers and Naval forces who witnessed the murder of Jews in Liepāja.

Werner Hartmann, a war correspondent and propagandist, went ashore on July 6 and visited the Women’s prison at 5 Tiesas Street. He saw that the cells were overcrowded with arrested persons, mostly Jews, and there was nowhere to sit. The theian Self-Defense Force.soldiers delivering the victims to the prison were mainly from

Werner Hartman, using his press card, entered the killing grounds on July 8 and stayed there from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. He saw about ten to fifteen SD men present and remembered a long ditch that ended in a pit

The Fighters for Freedom, as Hartman referred to the Latvians and the SD men, drove the Jews ten at a time into the pit and aligned them in a double row. Brains and blood splattered all over. Hartman testified that he remembered that about 200 people were killed in his presence.

A German marine, 22-year-old Karl-Heinz L., described the mass execution of Jews at the lighthouse, which he watched with other Wehrmacht soldiers on July 15, 1941 in Liepāja.

‘’… It was a hot day. We disembarked from the boat and went to the beach for a swim. We had fun in the water, tried to communicate with Latvian children. By 8: PM we had to return to the ship. On our way back, not far from the beach, we met a group of people. On the forts that were located here, sailors and soldiers of the Wehrmacht gathered. Most of them are in swimwear or tracksuits as if they came from the beach. At first glance, it seemed that some kind of sporting event was taking place here. Yes, a sporting event, albeit of a different kind … A sailor standing nearby announces that there will be 45 men and 7 women tonight!! …Everywhere soldiers, about 600-800 men standing, probably to satisfy their cruel curiosity. … All visitors to this “circus performance” are standing, smoking cigarettes and chatting when the first car pulls up. The command “Get out, get out” is heard and suddenly five heads rise from the truck. Insane fear distorts their faces. These were Jews. Victims run towards the trench, they are pushed with rubber sticks. Meanwhile, the firing squad stands at the edge of the ditch – 10 men – two shooters for each. The SS sergeant gives the command. “Ready!” Ten rifles are aimed at the necks of the doomed. “Fire”. The shots sound like a sharp crack of a whip. The execution is over. The shooting unit turns around, others look with interest into the trench. A sergeant approaches with a machine gun in his hand. He carefully looks at the dead and gives the command to cover the corpses with sand. Every 10 minutes a car arrives with victims, among them a Rabbi. Everything happens in the same way. The Rabbi wants to keep the kippah and puts it aside, but the sergeant orders to put it at his feet. Immediately a shot is fired, and the Rabbi also falls dead. Cars arrived five times that day. Twenty-five people were shot. Everyone slowly disperses. What’s going on inside the shooter? This work, night after night, can only be work for people whose nerves are like steel ropes. We also go home again, laughing and chatting, most of us chatting and cannot fully digest the experience. What happened will probably stay with me forever. This is a part of the experience that one will never forget … “

By the end of July 1941, almost 2,000 Jews, mostly men, had been detained and shot.

One of the most striking and tragic documents testifying the destruction of Liepāja Jews near the lighthouse by Nazi criminals and their collaborators is an amateur movie filmed in late July – early August 1941 by Reinhard Wiener, a German sailor from the 707th Naval anti-aircraft Corps during his vacation.

An interview with him was recorded on September 27, 1981 at Yad Vashem.

In the summer of 1941, R. Wiener, on his way from Memel to Riga, stopped in Liepāja and decided to shoot the city’s sights and the surrounding landscape with his Kinekodak 8 camera.

From the interview with R. Wiener:

… it was in late July or early August. It was a hot day. We went to the park with my friend Sergeant Weizel. A soldier was running in our direction, completely upset. He told us about a cruel sight nearby and advised not to go there. We asked why, and he replied that Jews were being killed there.”

“Nevertheless, we went to that place and saw a large number of Wehrmacht soldiers and the Navy, as well as civilians returning or going to the beach. They stood around the dug pitch like spectators.”

“I had my movie camera with me. It is always with me. I wanted to film it all because I had already heard from the Jews who worked for the Navy that their family members did not return home at night. They were caught by Latvian aizsargi or SS soldiers in the market or on the way home from work.”

First Jewish victims brought by Nazy murders to the lighthouse trenches

“First, I stood in the second row behind the soldiers, about 50 meters from the ditch. And began to wait to see what would happen next. In total, I filmed the murder of three groups of men. A little time passed as a truck appeared without an awning with people. I didn’t know how many there were. I didn’t see them; they were lying at the bottom of the truck. In the corners, on 4 sides, stood civilians with yellow armbands on their sleeves and guns in their hand. As soon as the truck stopped, people with yellow bands immediately jumped out of the truck. Someone shouted something and the Jews, (I immediately realized that these were Jews), got up. They had yellow patches on the front and back of their clothes.”

I did not see the David Star on them. I would like to emphasize that I did not see everything that was happening around, due to a rather narrow view in the lens of the camera. I only saw what I was shooting. The film was 15 meters long and I had to stop filming every 7.5 meters to start it. In addition, due to the technical features of the camera, filming was not possible as a single and continuous cycle. Therefore, there are not enough shots in the middle of the film, which could give a complete picture of what happened. Then the people with yellow bands shouted something again, as you can see in the film, and other people started jumping out of the truck over the side of the car. Among them were the lame and the weak.

The men supported each other. They had to line up first before being driven to the trench by SS soldiers and the Latvian auxiliary police. Then the Jews were forced to jump into the trench and run to the end. They had to stand with their backs to the firing squad. The moment they jumped down, they probably realized what would happen to them. They must have felt it, because under them there was already a layer of corpses, covered with a thin layer of sand. “

Researchers of the exact place of execution of the Jews of Liepāja in the lighthouse area, consider that the trench, which may still contain human remains, ran parallel to the seashore along the fortresses that are now located on both sides of Roņu Street. The assumption is based on the fact that during the war there was no Roņu street and the fortifications located on both sides of the street were connected.