Rezekne

Rezekne

Rositten

 

Distance from Riga 242 km (A6, A12)

 

The earliest written records of the Jews in the locality are dated 1712. The Jewish community of Rezekne was formed in the last quarter of the 18th century. It deserved to be mentioned that eight blocks especially designated for the Jewish houses were included in the original city development planes, designed in the 1770s–1780s. The first records of a Jewish prayer house in Rezekne can be found in the documents dated 1784. By 1861, Rezekne Jews had 6 functioning synagogues and prayer houses.

The 1,072 Jews, who lived in the city in 1815, made up 90% of its overall population. By 1897, the number of Jews in Rezekne reached 6,478.

During late 19th – early 20th century, some Rezekne Jews emigrated to the USA and South Africa. Many local Jews became refugees during the WWI, many moved to Riga and Palestine during the 1920s and the 1930s. By 1935, the number of Jews in Rezekne decreased to 3,342, making up just 25% of its total population.

In contrast to other places, the women's education was rapidly developing in the city. A private girls’ school was opened in 1885, a Cheder for girls started functioning in 1908 and a Jewish folk school for women was in operation since 1912. There were also a Jewish primary school, a public Jewish secondary school, several Zionist, youth, and sport organizations in the city.

Rezekne was occupied by the Nazi troops on the 3rd of July 1941. The mass executions of the Jews started the following day at the Jewish cemetery in the village of Ancupani. The Jews fit for hard labour were initially transported to Daugavpils ghetto and later – to Kaiserwald concentration camp in Riga. Of all Rezekne Jews, only two adults and a few children survived.

The Jews moved to Rezekne from other towns and cities to join those, who came back to their home town after the WWII. By 1950 a few hundreds Jews lived there. The services in the Green Synagogue recommenced. By the 1970s, when the majority of the local Jews either emigrated to Israel or moved to Riga, the Jewish community life almost stopped. It was revived in 1980s and by now, there are 39 members in the Jewish community of Rezekne.

 

The Green Synagogue, Krāslavas, 5. Built in 1845, it is the oldest existing wooden synagogue in Latvia. The building renovation is planned in 2012-2013. The Green Synagogue is included in the List of Local Protected Monuments.

Cemetery, Upīša, 91. It contains of two parts: the old part (where the graves are dated prior to 1940) and the new one. There are two monuments in memory of the victims of the Holocaust at the cemetery. The first monument was opened in late 1940s at the lower part of the cemetery at the actual spot of the execution of the Jews. The second one was unveiled in 1989.

Monument in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, corner of Dzirnavu St and Krasta St. It was built in 2006 on the spot where 120 Rezekne Jews were shot dead.

Memorial to the Victims of the Nazi Terror, Ančupāni Hills, 1 km from the Rīgas St and Viļakas St junction. Some 15,000 people, among them 6,000 Jews from Rezekne, its suburbs and from several European countries were shot here during the WWII. The memorial, designed by sculptor Rasa Kalnina-Grinberga, was unveiled in 1973.

Latgale Museum of Culture and History, Atbrīvošanas aleja, 102. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of Latgale Jews.

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