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Drawing of accuser and accused at trial of suspected Latvian war criminal

Object | Accession Number: 1989.329.5

Courtroom drawing created by Charles (Hap) Hazard while on assignment for the Baltimore Sun newspaper during the November 1977 deportation trial of Karlis Detlavs held in Baltimore, Maryland. It depicts Detlavs, his daughter, and their attorney, looking at Holocaust survivor and prosecution witness, Boris Tsesvan, and Yiddish interpreter, Moses Aberbach. Tsesvan identified Detlavs as one of the uniformed guards who beat and took away another Jewish forced laborer from the Hotel Roma in Riga, Latvia, in June 1943. Detlavs was accused of withholding information on his petition for permanent residency by denying involvement in Nazi war crimes during World War II (1939-1945). He was accused of executing Jews in the Riga ghetto and selecting Jews for execution in the Dwinsk ghetto in 1943, while a member of the Latvian Auxiliary Security Police during the German occupation. In 1950, Detlavs emigrated from Munich, Germany, as displaced refugee, with his pregnant wife and young daughter. The family immigrated to the United States and settled in Baltimore. In October 1976, the Office of Special Investigations, US Department of Justice, accused Detlavs of war crimes and the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) filed a deportation action. After four days of hearings, the Honorable Martin J. Travers, the federal immigration judge for the case, announced a continuance so the prosecution could obtain more evidence from Soviet sources. In June 1978, while Judge Travers was on assignment in the US Virgin Islands, part of his circuit at the time, he was stabbed to death. New hearings in the Detlavs trial were held in November 1978 and January 1979. While Detlavs admitted being a member of the Latvian Legion, he denied committing any crimes. Judge Emil Bobek denounced Detlavs for his lack of credibility, but ruled that the identification of Detlavs as a perpetrator was not reliable and a lie was not enough to warrant deportation. The ruling was upheld on appeal.

Artwork Title
Sketches of Aberbach, Tsesvan, Deltavs, and Marite Klevins
Series Title
Karlis Detlavs Trial, Baltimore, Maryland, 1977-1979
creation:  1977 November
Object Type
Courtroom art (lcsh)
Courtroom sketches.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Charles R. Hazard and The Baltimore Sun
Record last modified: 2023-08-28 07:29:02
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