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Drawing of Holocaust survivor testifying at trial of suspected Latvian war criminal

Object | Accession Number: 1989.329.7

Courtroom drawing created by Charles (Hap) Hazard at the 1977 deportation trial of Karlis Detlavs. It depicts Detlavs looking at the Yiddish interpreter Moses Aberbach and a Holocaust survivor and prosecution witness, Boris Tsesvan. Tsesvan identified Detlavs as one of the uniformed guards who beat and took away another Jewish forced laborer from the Hotel Roma in Riga in June 1943. Detlavs was accused of withholding information on his petition for permanent residency by denying involvement in Nazi war crimes. He was accused of executing Jews in the Riga ghetto and selecting Jews for execution in the Dwinsk ghetto as a member of the Latvian Auxiliary Security Police in 1943 during the German occupation. In 1950, Detlavs emigrated as a displaced refugee from Munich, Germany, to the US with his pregnant wife and nearly 2 year old daughter 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 filed a deportation action. After 4 days of hearing in November 1977, Judge Martin Travers announced a continuance so the prosecution could obtain more evidence. The Jewish Defense League attendees began shouting at the judge and were thrown from the courtroom. Travers was stabbed to death while on vacation in the Virgin Islands in June 1978. New hearings 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. Detlavs, age 72, died in Baltimore in 1983. Hazard created the drawing while on assignment at the trial for the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

Artwork Title
Boris Zesswan testifies against Detlavs
Series Title
Karlis Detlavs Trial, Baltimore, Maryland, 1977
Date
1977 November  (creation)
Geography
creation : Baltimore (Md.)
Language
English
Classification
Art
Category
Drawings
Object Type
Courtroom art (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Charles R. Hazard and The Baltimore Sun
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:07:47
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1175