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Taking into consideration the gravity of the charge leveled against the accused, namely that he personally supervised the killing of more than 30,000 men, women and children, and considering the extreme display of cruelty which the subject showed when carrying out his tasks, the accused Herberts Cukurs is hereby sentenced to death. Accused was executed by those who can never forget, on the 23rd of February, 1965. His body can be found at Casa Cubertini Calle Colombia, Séptima Sección del Departmento de Canelones, Montevideo, Uruguay. Time magazine 19 March 1965, ‘Men in the Icebox’
50 years ago today, on March 7 1965, headlines announced that the body of Herberts Cukurs – the Butcher of Riga, who was involved in the murder of 30,000 Latvian Jews in the Holocaust and escaped trial by fleeing to Brazil – had been found inside a crate in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
Attached to the corpse was a note listing the Nazi collaborator’s crimes, signed by an organization calling itself We Can Never Forget.
Uruguay police said that Cukurs, 65, had been kidnapped two weeks earlier upon his arrival from Brazil, where he lived with his Brazilian wife and children. Initial reports said he had been killed be a Jewish commando group.
Cukurs’ body was discovered after a mysterious report issued to a German news agency in Bonn, anonymously claiming that Cukurs had been killed. The report was immediately forwarded to Uruguayan police. The report directed police to a Montevideo apartment, where they found a large blood-stained crate containing the corpse inside a bedroom. Five bullet casings were found next to the body. Ynetnet online article 7th March 2015
Summer 1964, Brazil: the Latvian Nazi Herberts Cukurs was living quietly in Sao Paulo. For the man known as the Hangman of Riga it was a peaceful life. But all that was about to change. Nazi Hunters: Herberts Cukurs, 2010
Armed with a new identity the Mossad spy [Anton Kunzle] began the next phase of his assignment – the hunt for the Hangman of Riga. ibid.
But when Anton Kunzle returned to South America he would not be alone. ibid.
Cukurs was involved in some of the most vile crimes of the Second World War. And there’s a lot of testimony. Guy Walters, author Hunting Evil
The Jews were driven out of the ghetto at Riga by Cukurs and his men, through the forest where tens of thousands of people were murdered. Three people survived ... He would shoot children in front of their parents. Guy Walters
Two shots are fired into his head. And that was the end of Herbert Cukurs. Agents in underpants covered in blood looking down at the Hangman of Riga. He was gone. Guy Walters
We contacted paper agencies in Uruguay to tell them the body of this gruesome murderer will be found in a house in Montevideo. Anton Kunzle aka Yaakov Meidad, former Mossad spy
I was very proud of the Israelis for doing that. Even though it was horrible I thought he deserved it. We must always remember; we must never forget. Sasha Semenoff, Riga ghetto survivor
The Latvian murderer Cukurs got out of a car wearing a pistol (Nagant) in a leather holster at his side. He went to the Latvian guards to give them various instructions. He had certainly been informed in detail about the great catastrophe that awaited us. Max Kaufmann, The Destruction of the Latvian Jews
Eyewitnesses heard the people who were locked inside screaming for help and saw them breaking the synagogue’s windows from inside and trying, like living torches, to get outside. Cukurs shot them with his revolver. Bernhard Press, The Murder of the Jews in Latvia