Wolfgang Kügler was an SS-Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) and a Teilkommandoführer (detachment leader) for Einsatzkommando 2, a subdivision of Einsatzgruppe A. Following World War II, he was tried and found guilty of war crimes before a court in West Germany. His sentence was reported to have been 8 months in prison and a fine. The most serious charge against him was that he had organized and been a commandter at the massacre of about 2,700 Jews, mostly women and children, on the beach at Liepāja, Latvia. Kügler claimed he was absent on leave in Germany when these murders occurred.
The Nazi occupation regime planned to kill as many "undesirable" people as possible in the immediate wake of the invasion, Operation Barbarossa. "Undesirables" in the Baltic States included Communists, Gypsies, the mentally ill, and especially Jews. The executions were to be carried out by four task forces, known as Einsatzgruppen (A, B, C, D); for the Baltic States the responsible unit was Einsatzgruppe A, initially under the command of Franz Walter Stahlecker. A Nazi secret police organization known as the Sicherheitsdienst or SD furnished most of the personnel for the Einsatzgruppen. The SD first established its power in Latvia through Einsatzgruppe A, which was subdivided into units called Einsatzkommandos 1a, 1b, 2 and 3. As the front line moved further east, Einsatzgruppe A moved out of Latvia, remaining in the country only a few weeks, after which its functions were taken over by the "resident" SD,
Kügler arrived in Liepāja, Latvia on 10 or 11 July 1941, to take over command of the resident SD. From then until April 1943 he was responsible for the massacres in Liepāja and the vicinity. Consistent with SD practice, orders for killings were not issued in writing but were given only orally. Kügler travelled to Riga every two weeks to receive instructions. Kügler personally supervised at least one mass shooting.
In December 1941 the Liepāja SD, together with their Latvian collaborators, carried out the execution of approximately 2,700 Jews on the beach at Šķēde. Photographs were taken of the December killings and these survive today. They are some of the most well known images of the Holocaust in Latvia. Whether Kügler was actually present at the December massacre is a matter of dispute. At post-war trials, several German SD witnesses said Kügler was absent on leave, while all the Latvian witnesses said he was present.
In April 1943 Kügler was replaced by SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Kurt Jurgschait. According to a post-war trial in Germany, the grounds for his removal were his theft of property that had once belonged to the Jews whom he had murdered. He was also suspected of being too friendly with the Latvians, including his mistress and interpreter, Mrs. Kronbergs. Professor Ezergailis reports that Kügler was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment and a fine.
Albert Sauer (17 August 1898, Misdroy – 3 May 1945, Falkensee) was a German commandant of Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.Arajs Kommando
The Arajs Kommando (also: Sonderkommando Arajs), led by SS commander and Nazi collaborator Viktors Arājs, was a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police (German: Lettische Hilfspolizei) subordinated to the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD). It was a notorious killing unit during the Holocaust.Eduard Strauch
Eduard Strauch (17 August 1906 – 15 September 1955) was an SS-Obersturmbannführer, commander of Einsatzkommando 2, commander of two Nazi organizations, the Security Police (German: Sicherheitspolizei), or Sipo, and the Security Service (German: Sicherheitsdienst, or SD), first in Belarus – then called White Russia or White Ruthenia – and later in Belgium. In October 1944, he was transferred to the military branch of the SS (Waffen-SS).Erich Ehrlinger
Erich Ehrlinger (14 October 1910 in Giengen an der Brenz, Kingdom of Württemberg – 31 July 2004 in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg) was a member of the Nazi Party (number: 541,195) and SS (number: 107,493). As commander of Special Detachment (Sonderkommando, also known as Einsatzkommando or EK) 1b, he was responsible for mass murder in the Baltic states and Belarus.
He was also the commander of the Security Police (SiPo) and the Security Service (SD) for central Russia as well as a department chief in the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA). He did not hold a doctorate degree, as is sometimes reported. He would eventually rise to the rank of SS-Standartenführer.Franz Walter Stahlecker
Franz Walter Stahlecker (10 October 1900 – 23 March 1942) was commander of the SS security forces (Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo) and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD)) for the Reichskommissariat Ostland in 1941–42. Stahlecker commanded Einsatzgruppe A, the most murderous of the four Einsatzgruppen (death squads during the Holocaust) active in German-occupied Eastern Europe. He was killed in action by Soviet partisans and was replaced by Heinz Jost.Friedrich Panzinger
Friedrich Panzinger (1 February 1903 – 8 August 1959) was a German SS officer during the Nazi era. He served as the head of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA) Amt IV A, from September 1943 to May 1944 and the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A in the Baltic States and Belarus. From 15 August 1944 forward, he was chief of RSHA Amt V, the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo; Criminal Police), also known as the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (RKPA). After the war he was a member of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND; Federal Intelligence Service). He committed suicide after being arrested for war crimes.Fritz Dietrich (Nazi)
Fritz Dietrich (August 6, 1898 – October 22, 1948) was a German SS officer and member of the Nazi Party. He held a doctoral degree in chemistry and physics. His name is also seen as Emil Diedrich. He was hanged for war crimes.Humbert Achamer-Pifrader
Humbert Achamer-Pifrader (21 November 1900 – 25 April 1945) was an Austrian jurist, who was member of the SS of Nazi Germany. He was commander of Einsatzgruppe A from September 1942 to September 1943.Kaiserwald concentration camp
Kaiserwald (Ķeizarmežs) was a Nazi German concentration camp near the Riga suburb of Mežaparks in Latvia.
Kaiserwald was built in March 1943, during the period that the German army occupied Latvia. The first inmates of the camp were several hundred convicts from Germany.
Following the liquidation of the Riga, Liepāja and Daugavpils (Dvinsk) ghettos in June 1943, the remainder of the Jews of Latvia, along with most of the survivors of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, were deported to Kaiserwald.
In early 1944, a number of smaller camps around Riga were brought under the jurisdiction of the Kaiserwald camp.
Following the occupation of Hungary by the Germans, Hungarian Jews were sent to Kaiserwald, as were a number of Jews from Łódź, in Poland. By March 1944, there were 11,878 inmates in the camp and its subsidiaries, 6,182 males and 5,696 females, of whom only 95 were gentiles.Kalevi-Liiva
Kalevi-Liiva are sand dunes in Jõelähtme Parish in Harju County, Estonia. The site is located near the Baltic coast, north of the Jägala village and the former Jägala concentration camp. It is best known as the execution site of at least 6,000 Jewish and Roma Holocaust victims.Karl Jäger
Karl Jäger (20 September 1888 – 22 June 1959) was a Swiss-born German mid-ranking official in the SS of Nazi Germany and Einsatzkommando leader who perpetrated acts of genocide during the Holocaust.Korherr Report
The Korherr Report is a 16-page document on the progress of the Holocaust in German-controlled Europe. It was delivered to Heinrich Himmler in January 1943 by the chief inspector of the statistical bureau of the SS and professional statistician Dr Richard Korherr under the title die Endlösung der Judenfrage, in English the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Korherr, commissioned by Himmler calculated that, from 1937 to December 1942, the number of Jews in Europe had fallen by 4 million. Between October 1939 and December 31, 1942 (see, page 9 of the Report), 1.274 million Jews had been "processed" at the camps of General Government and 145,000 at the camps in Warthegau (location of Kulmhof).
The decrease of Soviet Russian Jews from the territories overrun in Operation Barbarossa was not included due to lack of statistical data. The summaries came from the RSHA office receiving all SS reports about the so-called "already evacuated" Jews. Their "special treatment" was removed from the document on the request of Himmler who intended to share it with Hitler, and replaced by Korherr with "processed".Latvian Auxiliary Police
Latvian Auxiliary Police was a paramilitary force created from Latvian volunteers by the Nazi German authorities who occupied the country in June 1941. It was part of the Schutzmannschaft (Shuma), native police forces organized by the Germans in occupied territories and subordinated to the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei; Orpo). Some units of the Latvian auxiliary police were involved in the Holocaust. One of its units, the Arajs Kommando, was notorious for killing 26,000 civilians during the war, mostly Jews, but also Communists and Romas.In addition to regular stationary police (patrolmen in cities and towns), 30 Police Battalions were formed. These mobile groups carried out guard duties of strategic objects or building fortifications, participated in anti-partisan operations and fought on the Eastern Front.Liepāja massacres
The Liepāja massacres were a series of mass executions, many public or semi-public, in and near the city of Liepāja (German: Libau), on the west coast of Latvia in 1941 after the German occupation of Latvia. The main perpetrators were detachments of the Einsatzgruppen, the Sicherheitsdienst or SD, the Ordnungspolizei, or ORPO, and Latvian auxiliary police and militia forces. Wehrmacht and German naval forces participated in the shootings. In addition to Jews, the Germans and their Latvian collaborators also killed Gypsies, communists, the mentally ill and so-called "hostages". In contrast to most other Holocaust murders in Latvia, the killings at Liepāja were done in open places. About 5,000 of the 5,700 Jews trapped in Liepāja were shot, most of them in 1941. The killings occurred at a variety of places within and outside of the city, including Rainis Park in the city center, and areas near the harbor, the Olympic Stadium, and the lighthouse. The largest massacre, of 2,731 Jews and 23 communists, occurred in the dunes surrounding the town of Šķēde, north of the city center. This massacre, which was perpetrated on a disused Latvian Army training ground, was conducted by German and collaborator forces from December 15 to 17, 1941. More is known about the killing of the Jews of Liepāja than in any other city in Latvia except for Riga.Rollkommando Hamann
Rollkommando Hamann (Lithuanian: skrajojantis būrys) was a small mobile unit that committed mass murders of Lithuanian Jews in the countryside in July–October 1941, with a death toll of at least 60,000 Jews. The unit was also responsible for a large number of murders in Latvia from July through August, 1941. At the end of 1941 the destruction of Lithuanian Jewry was effectively accomplished by the Rollkommando in the countryside, by the Ypatingasis būrys in the Ponary massacre, and by the Tautinio Darbo Apsaugos Batalionas in the Ninth Fort in Kaunas. In about six months an estimated 80% of all Lithuanian Jews were killed. The remaining few were spared for use as a labor force and concentrated in urban ghettos, mainly the Vilna and Kaunas Ghettos.Rudolf Batz
Rudolf Batz (10 November 1903 – 8 February 1961) was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era. From 1 July to 4 November 1941 he was the leader of Einsatzkommando 2 and as such was responsible for the mass murder of Jews and others in the Baltic states.Special Prosecution Book-Poland
Special Prosecution Book-Poland (German: Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen, Polish: Specjalna księga Polaków ściganych listem gończym) was the proscription list prepared by the Germans immediately before the onset of war, that identified more than 61,000 members of Polish elites: activists, intelligentsia, scholars, actors, former officers, and prominent others, who were to be interned or shot on the spot upon their identification following the invasion.Wolfgang Birkner
Wolfgang Birkner (27 October 1913 – 24 March 1945) was a German SS functionary with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer, and the Holocaust perpetrator in World War II. Birkner served as the KdS Warschau (Komandeur der Sicherheitspolizei) in Warsaw following the German invasion of Poland in 1939.
After the German attack on the Soviet forces in eastern Poland during Operation Barbarossa, Birkner and his Einsatzkommando were deployed in the newly-formed Bezirk Bialystok district in the Army Group Centre Rear Area due to reports of alleged Soviet guerrilla activity. Birkner arrived in Białystok from the General Government on 30 June 1941, sent in by the SS Police commander Eberhard Schöngarth on orders from the Reich Main Security Office. As veteran of Einsatzgruppe IV from the Polish Campaign of 1939, Birkner was a specialist in rear security operations.Šķēde
Šķēde is a suburban settlement near Liepāja, Latvia, in Medze parish. It is located on the north border of the city. Šķēde was the biggest dacha cooperative in Latvia in the time of the Latvian SSR. One of Šķēde's notable features is its street names, which are known as "lines" and numbered from 1 to 18. Typical Šķēde addresses may thus appear as: Šķēde 1-15-2. Until 2005, the main Liepāja landfill was located near Šķēde.
|Nazi occupation and organizations|
|Ghettos and camps|
|War crimes investigations and trials|
|Righteous Among the Nations|