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In Latvia, the Holocaust started on the night of June 23 to June 24, 1941, when in the Grobiņa cemetery SD murderers killed six local Jews, including the town chemist. On the following days 35 Jews were exterminated in Durbe, Priekule and Asīte. On June 29 the Nazi invaders started forming the first Latvian SD auxiliary unit in Jelgava. Mārtiņš Vagulāns, member of the Pērkonkrusts organisation, was chosen to head it. In the summer of 1941, 300 men in the unit took part in the extermination of about 2000 Jews in Jelgava and other places in Zemgale. The killing was supervised by the officers of the German SD Rudolf Batz and Alfred Becu, who involved the SS people of the Einsatzgruppe in the action. The main Jelgava Synagogue was burnt down through their joint effort. After the invasion of Riga, Walter Stahlecker, assisted by the members of Pērkonkrusts and other local collaborationists, organised the pogrom of Jews in the capital of Latvia. Viktors Arājs, aged 31 at the time, former member of Pērkonkrusts and a member of a student fraternity, was appointed direct executor of the action.


In Liepāja the first mass killing of Jews took place on July 3 and 4, when about 400 people were shot dead, and on July 8 when 300 Jews were killed. The German group of SD and policemen did the shooting, while the members of Latvian Selbstschutz convoyed victims to the killing site.


On July 16-July 18, 300 people were shot dead in the Kaziņu Forest. In July–August the remaining 700 Jews of the town were shot dead, while the Jews of the region were killed in the autumn.


In Daugavpils the extermination of Jews was initially commanded by Erich Ehrlinger, chief of Einsatzkommando 1b.[13] By July 11 they had killed about 1150 people. Ehrlinger's work was continued by Joachim Hamann, who was liable for the killing of 9012 Jews in the city and in southern Latgale.


In Rēzekne killings were carried out by a German SD group, which was helped by Selbstschutz men and Arājs murderers. About 2500 people were exterminated. By October 1941, altogether about 35,000 Latvian Jews were killed.