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View of Subate in the 1920's. Photo courtesy Mike Getz.
Small town in Latvia, 40 km northwest of Daugavpils, located in the Ilkuste region of Courland, on the border of Lithuania.
Alternate names: Subata, Subbat, Shubitz, Subitz.
Geographical location: 56 degrees 1' North latitude/ 25 degrees 54' East longitude
Modern Subate, from Bartholomew European Travel Map--Latvia, 1966. 1:400,000
Subate was founded on the western shore of a neighboring lake in 1550, and called Alt-Subbath. A small settlement, it was the property of Count Plater-Ziberg who adopted Catholicism. It became an important market place because of access to Lithuania. Neu Subata was created in 1685 on the eastern shore by Lutheran German barons. Disputes over church property are a feature of the relationship between Alt and Neu Subate. Annexed by Russia in 1795, both were united and designated a city in 1894.
Dating from 1686 Jews were forbidden to settle in Subate. A Jewish presence is first recorded at the beginning of the 19th century by the presence of Abraham bar Mose, as teacher and shochet. He also served Rakishiki across the border in Lithuania. There was a Jewish cemetery used by neighboring communities as well.
From 1898 to 1915, facilities for Jewish study opened and there were separate synagogues for misnagdim and chassidim. There were also three chedorim and an elementary school.
Subate was occupied by the Germans during World War I. They were preferred to the Russians who banished thousands of Jews to the interior, in the belief that they would favor the Russians. As a result the region was impoverished and many did not return after the war.
After the independence of Latvia in 1920 the community was assisted financially by relatives in the US and South Afiica. A shochet was appointed in addition to the Rabbi and a Jewish elementary school with Hebrew and Yiddish as the meditun, was opened. The school was supported by the town and had six classes in 1926. A Jewish school, taught in Russian,opened in 1930.
There were reports of anti-Semitism in Subate in the l920's. A:fter the war, returning Jews found themselves dispossessed. A "Gemilut Chesed" was operated by the community with help from the "Joint". Economically Jews were mainly in commerce, owning stores and the mill but also in traditional trades.
In June 1940, the Soviets took over Latvia. When the Germans attacked Poland on June 22, 1941, Jews from neighboring communities and Lithuania fled to Subate. The Germans arrived there at the end of June.
Subate's Jews and those who had fled there, were murdered at an unspecified date between summer and autumn of 1941. Descriptions of the killings feature brutality extreme even by Holocaust standards. The Red Army liberated Subate on July 13, 1944. At the urging of family members who survived for various reasons, Soviets authorized memorials over three mass graves bearing the inscription, "Here lie the victims of fascism 1941-1945" in Yiddish and Russian.
Subate's total population in 1914 was 2300, declining to 1489 in 1935, and made up of 32% Latvians, 32% Russians and 26% Jews.
1) Eliahu Smuel bar Mordechai Leib Jaffe who served 43 years in the mid-nineteenth
2) Moshe bar Mordechai Rabinovits, served 7 years and died in 1924.
3) Abraham Benj'amin Teitz, descendant of gaon Dov Ber, rabbi 1898 -1914.
4) Yakov bar Eliahu Dov Epstein, 1920's through 1941.
5) Tzvi Hirsh Hertzkovitch
Subate Photo Album
This is the field where the Jews of Subate were gathered prior to being shot in mass graves in June 1941.
This site is maintained by the Daugavpils Jewish community.
Caption reads: In memory of the victims of fascist terror, 1941-45.
Getz, Mike, "Dvinsk, Genealogy and Post-Holocaust Questions", Avotaynu, Volume III, number 4, Winter 1992.
Pinkas ha-kehilot. Latviyah ve-Estonyah : entsiklopedyah shel ha-yishuvim ha-Yehudiyim le-min hivasdam ve-'ad le-ahar Sho'at Milhemet ha-'olam ha-sheniyah, 'orekh, Dov Levin, be-hishtatfut Mordekhai Naishtat.Yerushalayim: Yad va-shem, rashut ha-zikaron la-Sho'ah vela-gevurah, 1988, pages 192-194.
The Jewish Community of Daugavpils
The material for this page was contributed by Mike Getz.. You may contact Mike at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org further information.