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Front: A tan envelope with writing in blue ink. Includes a blue postage stamp, two black hand stamps, and markings in orange.
Back: Includes a black hand stamp.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: This cover, postmarked Madona, October 30, 1941, bears a Russian stamp that was not recognized by the Latvian postal authorities, since it was no longer valid for postage. Latvia, one of the Baltic states, had been an independent republic from the end of World War I until 1940, when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. However, following Operation Barbarosa in June 1941, Latvia was occupied by Germany and included in the Reichkommissariat Ostland, which included Lithuania, Estonia, and Belorussia. Einsatzgruppen units -- whose purpose was to kill "undesirable elements" including Jews and Gypsies -- were aggressively active within days of the invasion of Latvia. The murder of Jews commenced in late June 1941, and Jews were exteriminated in a number of towns with the assistance of Latvian and Lithuanian auxiliaries, including the infamous Arajs Kommandos, who were mainly university students. Ghettos were established in the larger cities of Riga, Dvinsk and Liepaja. Mass shootings of Jews from the Riga Ghetto occurred in December, 1941, in the Rumbula Forest. Additionally, Jews from Austria and Germany were deported to the Riga Ghetto where most were murdered. In Liepaja, 700 Jews were killed in July alone. By the end of the war, only a few hundred Jews were left in all of Latvia.
4.5 x 6.5"
Russian, Latvia, stamp
"Envelope from Madona to Riga, Latvia with Unrecognized Russian stamp" (1941). Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. 2014.1.229.