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The ARAJS KOMMANDO (also: Sonderkommando Arajs), led by SS - Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer
Viktors Arājs , was a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police (German : Lettische Hilfspolizei) subordinated to the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
(SD). It was a notorious killing unit during the Holocaust .

CONTENTS

* 1 Formation * 2 Activities * 3 Prosecution * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading

FORMATION

After the entry of the Einsatzkommando into the Latvian capital contact between Viktors Arājs and Brigadeführer
Brigadeführer
Walter Stahlecker was established on 1 July 1941. Stahlecker instructed Arājs to set up a commando that obtained an official name Latvian Auxiliary Security Police or Arajs Kommando. The group was composed of students and former officers of far-right wing orientation. All of the Arajs Kommando members were volunteers, and free to leave at any time. The following day on 2 July, Stahlecker revealed to Arājs that his commando had to unleash a pogrom that looked spontaneous.

ACTIVITIES

The Arajs Kommando
Arajs Kommando
unit actively participated in a variety of Nazi atrocities, including the killing of Jews
Jews
, Roma , and mental patients, as well as punitive actions and massacres of civilians along Latvia's eastern border with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
. The Kommando killed around 26,000 Jews
Jews
in total. Most notably, the unit took part in the mass execution of Jews
Jews
from the Riga ghetto , and several thousand Jews
Jews
deported from Germany, in the Rumbula massacre of November 30 and December 8, 1941. Some of the commando's men also served as guards at the Salaspils concentration camp
Salaspils concentration camp
.

As can be seen in contemporary Nazi
Nazi
newsreels, part of a documentation campaign to create the image that the Holocaust in the Baltics was a local, and not Nazi-directed activity, the Arajs Kommando figured prominently in the burning of Riga\'s Great (Choral) Synagogue on 4 July 1941. Commemoration of this event has been chosen for marking Holocaust Memorial Day in present-day Latvia.

The unit numbered about 300–500 men during the period that it participated in the killing of the Latvian Jewish population, and reached up to 1,500 members at its peak at the height of its involvement in anti-partisan operations in 1942. In the final phases of the war, the unit was disbanded and its personnel transferred to the Latvian Legion .

PROSECUTION

Herberts Cukurs , wartime photo

After successfully hiding in West Germany for several decades after the war, Viktors Arājs was eventually arrested, tried, and imprisoned for his crimes.

More recently, the governments of Canada
Canada
, the United States
United States
, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
, and Australia
Australia
were involved in the attempt to extradite Konrāds Kalējs , a former officer of the Arajs Kommando, to Latvia for trial on charges of genocide . Kalējs died in 2001 in Australia
Australia
before the extradition could proceed, maintaining his innocence to the end, stating that he was fighting Russia on the Eastern Front or studying at university when the slaughter of Jews took place in 1941. Latvian Holocaust historian A. Ezergailis estimates about a third of the Arājs Kommando, 500 of a maximum of around 1,500 total members, actively participated in the killings of Jews, and claimed that one cannot be convicted of crimes against humanity based solely on membership in an organization.

SEE ALSO

* Herberts Cukurs , a member of the Arajs Kommado, assassinated by Mossad in 1965

REFERENCES

* ^ Breitman, Richard (Sep 1991). "Himmler and the 'Terrible Secret' among the Executioners". Journal of Contemporary History. Sage Publications. 26 (3/4): 431–451. doi :10.1177/002200949102600305 . JSTOR 260654 . * ^ A B C Ruth Bettina Birn and Volker Riess. "Revising the Holocaust". The Historical Journal, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 195-215. Published by: Cambridge University Press. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3020959 * ^ Angrick, Andrej; Klein, Peter (2009). The "Final Solution" in Riga: Exploitation and Annihilation, 1941-1944. Volume 14 of Studies on War and Genocide. pp. 65–70. ISBN 9781845456085 . * ^ Andrew Ezergailis (1996). The Holocaust in Latvia, 1941-1944. Historical Institute of Latvia, Riga ; United States
United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum; Washington, DC. OCLC 33403580 . * ^ Strods, Heinrihs (2000). "Salaspils koncentrācijas nometne (1944. gada oktobris – 1944. gada septembris". Yearbook of the Occupation Museum of Latvia (in Latvian). 2000: 87–153. ISSN 1407-6330 . * ^ "Konrad Kalejs: Target for Nazi
Nazi
hunters". BBC News. 2000-01-03.

* ^ Kalejs Not Necessarily Implicated, Reuters News Service, filed January 13, 2000, Canberra

FURTHER READING

Wikimedia Commons has media related to THE HOLOCAUST IN LATVIA .

* Lumans, Valdis O. (2006). Latvia in World War II. World War II—The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension 11. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-2627-6 . OCLC 64595899 . * Angrick, Andrej; Klein, Peter (2006). Die "Endlösung" in Riga: Ausbeutung und Vernichtung 1941–1944 (in German). Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. ISBN 3-534-19149-8 . OCLC 69983159 . * Foreign Ministry of Latvia: The Holocaust in German-Occupied Latvia

* v * t * e

The Holocaust in Latvia

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Estonia Lithuania Norway Poland Russia Ukraine

CRIMES

* Burning of the Riga synagogues * Dünamünde Action * Jelgava * Pogulianski * Rumbula * Liepāja (Šķēde)

VICTIMS

* Jewish people of Latvia * Gypsies * Joseph Carlebach * Simon Dubnow * Else Hirsch

PERPETRATORS

* Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
* Rudolf Batz * Fritz Dietrich * Otto-Heinrich Drechsler * Erich Ehrlinger * Karl Jäger * Friedrich Jeckeln * Heinz Jost * Konrāds Kalējs * Ernst Kaltenbrunner * Wolfgang Kügler * Rudolf Lange * Hinrich Lohse * Friedrich Panzinger * Hans-Adolf Prützmann * Eduard Roschmann * Alfred Rosenberg * Martin Sandberger * Albert Sauer * Rudolf Joachim Seck * Franz Walter Stahlecker * Eduard Strauch
Eduard Strauch

NAZI OCCUPATION AND ORGANIZATIONS

* Einsatzgruppen * Reichskommissariat Ostland * Rollkommando Hamann

COLLABORATORS Individuals Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs Kārlis Lobe Organizations Arajs Kommando
Arajs Kommando
Latvian Auxiliary Police Schutzmannschaft

GHETTOS AND CAMPS

* Daugavpils Ghetto * Jungfernhof concentration camp * Kaiserwald concentration camp * Riga Ghetto * Salaspils concentration camp
Salaspils concentration camp

DOCUMENTATION

* Generalplan Ost * Jäger Report

CONCEALMENT

* Sonderaktion 1005

WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS

* Einsatzgruppen trial * Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

* Jānis Lipke * Roberts Sedols

MEMORIALS

* Bikernieki Memorial

RELATED ARTICLES

* The Holocaust * Occupation of Latvia by Nazi
Nazi
Germany

* v * t * e

Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos

PEOPLE

DIRECTOR

* Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
* Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Commanders of Einsatzgruppen

* Humbert Achamer-Pifrader * Walther Bierkamp * Horst Böhme * Erich Ehrlinger * Wilhelm Fuchs * Heinz Jost * Erich Naumann * Arthur Nebe * Otto Ohlendorf * Friedrich Panzinger * Otto Rasch * Heinrich Seetzen * Franz Walter Stahlecker * Bruno Streckenbach

Commanders of Einsatzkommandos, Sonderkommandos

* Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski * Rudolf Batz * Ernst Biberstein * Wolfgang Birkner * Helmut Bischoff * Paul Blobel
Paul Blobel
* Walter Blume * Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock * Otto Bradfisch * Werner Braune * Friedrich Buchardt * Fritz Dietrich * Karl Jäger * Friedrich Jeckeln * Waldemar Klingelhöfer * Wolfgang Kügler * Walter Kutschmann * Rudolf Lange * Gustav Adolf Nosske * Hans-Adolf Prützmann * Walter Rauff * Martin Sandberger * Hermann Schaper * Karl Eberhard Schöngarth
Karl Eberhard Schöngarth
* Erwin Schulz * Franz Six * Eugen Steimle * Eduard Strauch
Eduard Strauch
* Martin Weiss * Udo von Woyrsch

OTHER MEMBERS

* August Becker * Lothar Fendler * Joachim Hamann * Emil Haussmann * Felix Landau * Albert Widmann

COLLABORATORS

* Viktors Arājs * Herberts Cukurs * Antanas Impulevičius * Konrāds Kalējs * Algirdas Klimaitis

GROUPS

GERMAN

* SS * RSHA * SD * Orpo * 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer * Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz * Sonderdienst

NON-GERMAN

* Schutzmannschaft (Belarusian , Estonian , Latvian , Lithuanian , Ukrainian ) * Arajs Kommando * Lithuanian Security Police * Rollkommando Hamann * TDA * Ypatingasis būrys

CRIMES

BELARUS

* Łachwa Ghetto * Minsk Ghetto * Slutsk Affair
Slutsk Affair

ESTONIA

* Kalevi-Liiva

LATVIA

* Burning of the Riga synagogues * Dünamünde Action * Jelgava * Pogulianski * Rumbula * Liepāja (Šķēde)

LITHUANIA

* Ninth Fort * Kaunas June 1941 * Kaunas 29 October 1941 * Ninth Fort November 1941 * Ponary

POLAND

* Operation Tannenberg * Intelligenzaktion * AB-Aktion * Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard

RUSSIA

* Gully of Petrushino
Gully of Petrushino
* Zmievskaya Balka * Lokot Autonomy

UKRAINE

* Babi Yar
Babi Yar
* Drobytsky Yar * Drohobycz * Kamianets-Podilskyi * Lviv pogroms * Mizocz Ghetto * Odessa

RECORDS

* The Black Book * Commissar Order * Einsatzgruppen trial * Generalplan Ost * Jäger Report * Korherr Report * Special Prosecution Book-Poland (Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen)

* v * t * e

Schutzstaffel (SS)

BRANCHES

* Allgemeine SS * Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) * Waffen-SS

LEADERSHIP

* Reichsführer-SS * SS and Police Leader * SS personnel * SS commands

LEADERS

* Julius Schreck * Joseph Berchtold * Erhard Heiden * Heinrich Himmler * Karl Hanke

MAIN DEPARTMENTS

* Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS * SS Main Office * Head Operational Office * Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) * Economics and Administration Office * Office of Race and Settlement (RuSHA) * Main Office for Ethnic Germans (VOMI) * Office of the Reich Commissioner for Germanic Resettlement (RKFDV)

* Courts Office * Personnel Office * Education Office

IDEOLOGICAL INSTITUTIONS

* Ahnenerbe
Ahnenerbe
* Das Schwarze Korps * SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz * Lebensborn

POLICE AND SECURITY SERVICES

* Regular uniform police (Orpo) * Schutzpolizei (Schupo) * Criminal police (Kripo) * Secret State police (Gestapo) * State Security police (SiPo) * SS Security Service (SD)

FüHRER PROTECTION

* SS-Begleitkommando des Führers * Reichssicherheitsdienst

PARAMILITARY UNITS

* Einsatzgruppen * Schutzmannschaft * Belarusian Auxiliary Police * Latvian Police Battalions * Ypatingasis būrys * Lithuanian Security Police * Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions * Rollkommando Hamann * Arajs Kommando * Ukrainian Auxiliary Police
Ukrainian Auxiliary Police
* Ukrainian collaboration * Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz * Trawnikis * Estonian Auxiliary Police * Police Regiment Centre

WAFFEN-SS DIVISIONS

* Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) * Leibstandarte (LSSAH) * SS Division Das Reich * SS Division Totenkopf * SS Polizei Division * SS Division Wiking

FOREIGN SS UNITS

* Germanic-SS * Germaansche SS in Nederland * Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen * Germanske SS Norge
Germanske SS Norge
* Schalburg Corps * Britisches Freikorps * S.S. Sturmbrigade R.O.N.A. * Finnish Volunteer Battalion of the Waffen-SS

SS-CONTROLLED ENTERPRISES

* Ostindustrie
Ostindustrie
* Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe * Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke * DEST
DEST
* Allach porcelain * Apollinaris * Mattoni * Sudetenquell * Anton Loibl

SS AWARDS

* SS Sword of Honour * SS Honour Ring * SS Honor Dagger

RANKS, UNIFORMS AND INSIGNIA

* Uniforms and insignia of the SS * Ranks and insignia of the Waffen-SS * Ranks and insignia of the Orpo * Corps colours of the

.