Aleksander Laak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Aleksander (Alexander) Laak
Aleksander Laak portrait.jpg
Born(1907-08-24)24 August 1907
Pöide Parish, Estonia
DiedSeptember 6, 1960(1960-09-06) (aged 53)
Cause of deathHanging
OccupationConcentration camp commander
DateWorld War II
Killed2,000 – 10,000

Aleksander (Alexander) Laak (24 August 1907 – 6 September 1960)[1] was a lieutenant and the commander of the Jägala concentration camp during the German occupation of Estonia.[2]

The estimates for the number of killed at Jägala concentration camp vary widely. The Soviet investigators reached the conclusion that 2,000–3,000 were killed in Jägala and Kalevi-Liiva taken together, but the number 5,000 (as determined by the Extraordinary State Commission in 1944) was written into the verdict.[3][4]

In modern sources, the number 10,000 occurs.[5][6][7] Some commentators have also given figures ranging from 100,000 (Michael Elkins,[8] Jonathan Freedland[9]) to 125,000 to 300,000 (Warren Kinsella), however, such figures contradict the findings of the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity and also the estimates of scholars who place the number of total Jewish victims for the Estonia of 1941–1944 at 8,500.[10]

Aleksander Laak was also known to have arranged drunken orgies with inmates.[11][12][13]

He emigrated to Canada after World War II,[11] in 1948.[14][15] In 1960 he was implicated in the Holocaust trials in Soviet Estonia,[16][17] and exposed as living as a naturalized Canadian citizen under the name of Alex Laak in suburban Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by the Soviet news agency TASS and Canadian journalists.[14][15][18][19]

Thereafter, after reading of the arrests of Jaan Viik and Ralf Gerrets for mass killings of mostly Jewish East Europeans while under Nazi occupation, and being himself identified as a mass murderer, he apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in the garage of his home at the age of 53, on 6 September 1960.[9][11][14][15][16][20][21][22][23][24][25]

It has been speculated that Laak was killed by the Israeli Mossad.[26] Israeli journalist Michael Elkins claimed that Laak was in fact confronted one day after his wife had left their house to go to the movies, by a Jewish Avenger squad that clandestinely murdered Nazis. He was according to Elkins confronted with his crimes, and their intended punishment, and he accepted their offer of being allowed to commit suicide rather than be killed.[9][13][15][27] An investigation of the death was reopened in 1991.[15][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Okupatsioonide muuseum". Museum of Occupations. Archived from the original on 12 January 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Laak Identified As Camp Chief". Montreal Gazette. Montreal. 12 September 1960. p. 3. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  3. ^ Hiio, Toomas; Meelis Maripuu. "Ülevaade juutide tapmisest Eesti territooriumil asunud laagrites" (in Estonian). Estonian Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Juudid pidasid Kalevi-Liiva koonduslaagri komandandi üle omakohut". Eesti Ekspress. 29 July 2008.
  5. ^ "PHASE II : THE GERMAN OCCUPATION OF ESTONIA IN 1941–1944" (PDF). Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  6. ^ Kaasik, Peeter (28 May 2010). "Holocaust in Estonia". Estonica. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Komisjon: 20.000 juudi hukkamine Eestis pole tõendatud". Virumaa Nädalaleht (in Estonian). 20 September 2004. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  8. ^ Elkins, Michael (1981). Forged in fury. Piatkus. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-86188-098-0.
  9. ^ a b c Freedland, Jonathan (26 July 2008). "Revenge". The Guardian. London.
  10. ^ e.g. Wolfgang Benz Handbuch des Antisemitismus: Judenfeindschaft in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Volume 1
  11. ^ a b c "Girls Forced Into Orgies – Then Slain, Court Told". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. 8 March 1961. p. 7. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  12. ^ Joint Committee on Slavic Studies, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council (U.S.), American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (1960). The Current digest of the Soviet press. 12. American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. Retrieved 17 August 2010.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Jonathan Freedland (26 July 2008). "The Jewish avengers who survived the death camps and tracked down their tormentors | World news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  14. ^ a b c "Canada Checks On Immigrant Who Took Life". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. Canadian Press. 7 September 1960. p. 1. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Suspected Nazi's Death Re-examined". The Jewish Post & News. Winnipeg: 34. 28 August 1991.
  16. ^ a b "Man Soviet Accused Found Dead". The New York Times. 8 September 1960.
  17. ^ The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader. Google Books. 24 September 2008. ISBN 978-0-88995-295-9. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  18. ^ "Family Tells Of Struggle". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. Canadian Press. 31 August 1960. p. 7. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  19. ^ Warren Kinsella (1995). Web of hate: inside Canada's far right network. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-638051-4. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  20. ^ Pat Nagle (8 September 1960). "Laak Widow Suspects 'Outsiders'". Montreal Gazette. p. 4. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  21. ^ "War Policeman Tells Of Deaths". The Spartanburg Herald. Spartanburg. AP. 7 March 1961. p. 1. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  22. ^ "Estonians Here Fear Red "Hate" Campaign". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. CP. 10 September 1960. p. 10. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  23. ^ Joseph Berger (27 March 2010). "Survival Tales Told in Snapshots: Czech Jews Enduring the Holocaust". The New York Times: C1.
  24. ^ Jews and the Jewish people: Evrei i ... Google Books. 1960. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  25. ^ a b Myrone Love (20 February 1991). "Manitoba RCMP looking into 30-year-old suicide of alleged Nazi". The Jewish Post & News. Winnipeg: 2.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Michael Elkins (1971). Forged In Fury. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-02162-2.