Obj. ID: 44141
Jewish Funerary Art Holocaust Memorial in the Jewish Cemetery in Preiļi, Latvia, 1950s (?), 2004
To the main object: Jewish Cemetery in Preiļi, Latvia
No official name
Who is commemorated?
Preiļi Jews murdered in this place and Vladislav Vushkan, Righteous of Among the Nations
It is unknown what the original monument looked like. Probably, it was a black granite stele on a concrete base. The stele featured a Star of David and inscriptions in Yiddish and Russian, which are completely identical to the inscriptions on the monument in Varakļāni, which probably was erected in the 1950s (see here). This stele is now part of the reconstructed monument.
The reconstructed monument on the mass grave is a composition consisting of three parts. On the right-hand side of the composition, on a concrete “shelf,” there is a black granite stele from the original monument, with a Star of David and inscriptions in Yiddish and Russian.
On the left-hand side of the composition, on a concrete “shelf,” two new black marble steles are inscribed in Latvian, Hebrew, and English. The left stele contains a dedication, while the right one contains words of gratitude to the Righteous Among the Nations Vladislav Vushkan and the donors’ inscription.
In the center of the composition, at the far end of the mass graves, also on a concrete triangular “shelf,” stands a black pier of triangular footprint. It supports a large stone on which a depiction of a tree is engraved. The pier is inscribed with a quote from the diary of Sheina Gram, a Jewish resident of Preiļi, who was killed on this site: the Yiddish original is a facsimile of Sheina Gram’s handwriting, and it is followed by Latvian and English translations.
Original granite stele:
מיר וועלן אייביק געדיינקן!
אונזערע עלטערן, ברידער, שוועסטער
און קינדער, וועלכע זיינען אומגעקומען
פון די מערדערישע פאשיסטישע הענט
יז מנחם אב שנת הת'ש'א'
Translation: Here are buried. We will remember forever! / our parents, brothers, sisters / and kinder, who perished at the hands of fascist murderers on the 17th of Maneham Av 5701. May their souls be bound in the bundle of life.
Мы будем вечно скорбить
о наших родителях, братьях
и сестрах, погибших от рук фашистов в 1941 г.
Translation: We will grieve forever / about our parents, / brothers and sisters / who perished at the hands of fascists in 1941.
The left stele:
Mūžīgā piemiņa Preiļu ebrejiem,
kurus 1941 gada jūlijā un augustā
noslepkavoja nacisti un
viņu vietējue atbalstītāji.
Translation: Eternal memory of Preili Jews, who in July and August 1941 were murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators.
ליהודי פריילי אשר נטבחו כאן ביולי ואוגוסט 1941
בידי הנאצים ועוזריהם המרומיים.
יהי זכרם ברוך!
Translation: To the Jews of Preili who were massacred here in July and August 1941 by the Nazis and their local helpers.
In memory of Preili Jews who were
massacred here by the German Nazis
and their local collaborators
in July and August 1941
The right stele:
Mūžīgā slava un pateicība
pasaules taisnajam Vladislavam Vuškānam (1887–1853),
kas nacistu okupācijā izglāba no nāves 8 Preiļu ebrejus.
Memoriāls rekonstuēts pēc Preiļos dzimušā ASV pilsoņa
Davida Zilbermana iniciatīvas un par viņa līdzekļiēm.
לזכרו והוקרתו של חסיד אומות העולם ולדיסלב וושקן (1887–1953)
שבזמן הכיבוש הנאצי הציל את חייהם של 8 מיהודי פריילי
אנדרטה זו שוחזרה ביוזמתו ובתרומתו הנדיבה של יחיד פריילי
דוד זילברמן (ארה"ב)
In gratitude to the Righteous of the World
Vladislav Vushkan (1887–1953),
who save 8 Preili Jews during the Nazis occupation.
The memorial was reconstructed owing
to the initiative and with financial support
of David Silberman, USA citizen born in Preili
Central stone, a quote from the diary of Sheina Gram:
זיך מיר אנטקעגען אלע געזיכטעס
פון די דערשאסענע. מיר דאכט זיך
אז מען וויינט.
“… Man acu priekšā
visu noslepkavoto sejas,
un liekas – viņi raud.”
No Šeinas Gramas diensgrāmatas -
meitenes, kupu šeit kopā ar ģimeni
nošāva 1941. gada 9. augustā.
“… The faces of all executed
appear before my eyes.
It seems they are crying.”
From Sheina Gram’s diary who was shot
here with her family on August 9. 1941.
Preiļi Jews (1950s)
David Silberman (2004)
The German troops entered Preiļi on 28 June 1941. Arrests of about 400 Jews by Latvian “self-defenders” took place on July 26, 1941, the arrested were placed in the synagogue. On the next day, July 27, the arrested were taken in groups to be shot at specially prepared pits behind the Jewish cemetery. The next mass shootings took place at the same site on August 9 and 10, 1941, and also included Jews from the vicinity of Preiļi. About 500 Jews were murdered. The Holocaust events in Preiļi were described in the diary of Sheina Gram, who was shot in August 1941. In 1944, the Nazis unburied and burnt the bodies of the dead.
Probably in the 1950s, a monument inscribed in Yiddish and Russian was erected on the killing site.
In 2004, a new memorial was constructed. It also included the black granite stele from the Soviet-times memorial. The new memorial was initiated and financed by David Silberman, a former inhabitant of Preiļi, an engineer, and a public figure in the USA. The author of the new memorial is Sergejs Rižs.
The memorial was supplemented in 2015 by a symbolic entrance gate to the cemetery (see here).
"Holocaust Memorial Places in Latvia," a website by the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia, http://memorialplaces.lu.lv/memorial-places/latgale/preili-municipality-preili-the-jewish-cemetery/., http://memorialplaces.lu.lv/map/ (accessed April 12, 2023)
Meler, Meyer, Jewish Latvia: Sites to Remember (Tel-Aviv: Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel, 2013), pp. 268-271.
Meler, Meyer, Mesta nashei pamiati: Evreiskie obshchiny Latvii, unichtozhennye v Kholokoste (Riga: by the author, 2010), pp. 297-300.
Rochko, Josif, Jewish Latgale: Guidebook (Daugavpils, by the author, 2018), pp. 58-60.