The Port Worker Who Turned Rescuer

Jan and Johana Lipke

Latvia

Jan LipkeJan Lipke
Planting a tree in honour of Jan and Johana LipkePlanting a tree in honour of Jan and Johana Lipke
The tree in honour of Jan and Johana Lipke, Yad Vashem, 2010The tree in honour of Jan and Johana Lipke, Yad Vashem, 2010

Jan Lipke had been witness to one of the actions against the Jews in the streets of Riga, the Latvian capital. He then decided to help the Jews to the best of his ability. Lipke, a port worker, decided to go through retraining to become a contractor for the German airforce. He used his position to smuggle Jewish workers out of the Riga area camps. Using a variety of ploys, he was able to smuggle approximately forty people and hide them in various places until the arrival of the Red Army in October 1944. The forty survivors who were rescued by Lipke and his wife, Johana, constituted one fifth of an estimated total of 200 Jews that survived on Latvian soil. When Lipke passed away in 1987, the Jews of Riga held an impressive funeral for him.

In 1966 Yad Vashem recognized Jan Lipke and his wife, Johana, as Righteous Among the Nations.

 

This online story was made possible with the support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.