Jānis Lipke

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Jānis Lipke
Stamps of Latvia, 2011-14.jpg
A 2011 Latvian stamp dedicated to Žanis and Johanna Lipke
Born(1900-02-01)1 February 1900
Died14 May 1987(1987-05-14) (aged 87)
Riga, Latvian SSR, USSR
(now Latvia)
Resting placeForest Cemetery, Riga
Other namesŽanis Lipke
OccupationDock worker
Known forSaving Jews during the Holocaust
Spouse(s)Johana Lipke
ChildrenZigfrīds Lipke
Alfrēds Lipke
Aina Lipke
AwardsRighteous Among the Nations

Jānis Lipke (also Žanis and Jan Lipke; 1 February 1900, Mitau – 14 May 1987, Riga) was a Latvian rescuer of Jews in Riga in World War II from the Holocaust in Latvia.

Lipke, a dock worker in the port of Riga, was determined to help save Latvian Jews from capture by the Nazis after witnessing actions against them in the streets. He retrained in order to become a contractor for the Luftwaffe, and then used his position to smuggle Jewish workers out of the Riga ghetto and camps in and around Riga, whom he concealed with the aid of his wife Johana until the arrival of the Red Army in October 1944.[1] The Lipkes and their various helpers saved forty people in this way, one fifth of the approximately 200 Jews who survived the war in Latvia.

When he died in 1987, the Jews of Riga arranged his funeral


Žanis Lipke Memorial in Ķīpsala

Yad Vashem honored him and his wife as Righteous Among the Nations on 28 June 1966.[2]

On 4 July 2007, the day of remembrance of the victims of genocide against the Jewish nation, a monument commemorating those who saved Latvian Jews, and in particular Lipke, was unveiled at Riga's Great Choral Synagogue.[3]

The Žanis Lipke Memorial is located on the island of Ķīpsala in Riga, at 9 Mazais Balasta dambis. It was built next to Lipke's home, where he had arranged a shelter for rescued Jews.

The 2018 Latvian film The Mover tells his story.[4]


  1. ^ "The Lipke family | Žaņa Lipkes memoriāls". Žanis Lipke Memorial. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  2. ^ "Jan and Johana Lipke". Yad Vashem.
  3. ^ Latvia's History: Education, Remembrance, Research
  4. ^ Rich Tenorio (20 August 2019). "Blue-collar Latvian 'Schindler' saved dozens with few resources of his own". The Times of Israel.

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