Baruch Liber, a Chazaan (cantor) and Sofer (religious scribe who can write and repair Torah scrolls, Mezuzah scrolls, etc.) was born in 1874.

He was the oldest son of Chana Beilah and Rabbi Labe Meir Lieber. He taught his brother, David, to also be a Chazaan and Sofer. David was seventeen years younger than Baruch, and Mitchell Lieber's grandfather.

In the film, viewers learn what Mitchell Lieber learns about Baruch Liber and his life, and the lives of other Jews from Latvia.


Chana (neé Klubinov) Liber, wife of Baruch Liber, was born in 1878. Chana is the daughter of the Vitebsk (a city in Belarus) Sofer (a religious scribe who can write and repair Torah and Mezzuzah scrolls and other sacred parchments), Baruch's teacher. [She should not be confused with Chana Beila Liber, her mother-in-law.]

In the film, viewers learn what Mitchell Lieber learns about Chana (neé Klubinov) Liber and her life, and the lives of many other Jews from Latvia.


Moshe Liber is the son of Baruch and Chana Liber and was born in 1909 . This means he is a first cousin of Mitchell Lieber's father. After this photo was taken Moshe matured, started a clothing business, married and had a daughter.

In the film, viewers learn what Mitchell Lieber learns about Moshe Liber and his family and their life, and the lives of many other Jewish families from Latvia.


The Riga Ghetto which was in existence from 1941-1943. The sign warns, in both Latvian and German, that those who attempt to enter the Ghetto or contact its inhabitants will be shot.

Created in August 1941, the Riga Ghetto initially held only Latvian Jews. Beginning in December 1941 it also housed Jews from Germany and other European countries and had outposts such as Kaiserwald and Lenta.

In the documentary, viewers learn - in detail - about the fates of Lieber family members and of other Latvian Jews taken to the Riga Ghetto.


Rumbula Forest, outside of Riga Latvia, is 8 kilometers from the Riga Ghetto. This forest played a pivotal role in the Nazi liquidation of the Riga Ghetto's Latvian prisoners.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's, Rumbula Forest became a gathering place for young Jews who cleaned up the site and marked the mass graves. A series of memorials were erected at Rumbula over the years, some of which only stood for one day. The history of Rumbula and its memorials illuminate the environment in Latvia for Jews under the Nazis, Soviets and after Latvian independence. The Soviet era memorial stone at Rumbula Forest is believed to be the first official Holocaust memorial in the USSR.

In the documentary, viewers learn about Rumbula Forest's history and contemporary role. After seeing the film, viewers will have more than one answer to the question, "What is Rumbula Forest?" More importantly, viewers may ponder the question "Why Rumbula Forest?"


The generations in this 1951 wedding photograph link Mitchell Lieber to Chana Beila Liber. The wedding couple is Mitchell's parents, Herbert & Suzanne. To the left of the groom is his father, David Lieber, son of Chana Beila. Immediately in front of David is his wife Rose, who is Herbert's mother.

Mitchell Lieber knew David and Rose well, and David was his link to Chana Beila, although grandfather David and his wife Rose never spoke of their family in Russia (Latvia).

An older offspring of Chana Beila and Rabbi Labe Meir Liber is also in this photograph. The groom's Uncle Reuben Lieber is just to the right of the young boy seen in the left portion of the photo.

In the documentary, viewers learn how Reuben, then young David and eventually Rose leave Latvia for the U.S. amidst intense life challenges.


Mitchell Lieber holds his newborn daughter in 1998. Naming her for great grandmother Chana Beila Liber, a rebbitzen (rabbi's wife) from Latvia, led to his search for information about her as well as her place, time and family. This genealogy story is the narrative device that brings viewers to the film's main story of Jews in Latvia.

In 2001-2002, the fruits of this genealogy research moved Lieber to create the web site www.Rumbula.org. The history that he continued to learn led to this documentary. Those who see the film will understand why. Some may investigate their own family connection to history.

Filmmakers



Production Team

Producer-Director: Mitchell Lieber
Produced and directed three documentary films about the Holocaust in Latvia. Produced and hosted more than 125 documentaries and interviews on Chicago's WNIB-FM. Director/editor of the educational web site, www.Rumbula.org.

Executive Producer: Mitchell Block
Executive produced the 2011 Academy Award-nominated Poster Girl. Conceived, co-created, and executive produced the Emmy Award-winning 10 hour PBS series, Carrier (2008). Thirty-five years of experience in broadcasting and documentaries.

Co-Producer: Beth Sternheimer
Co-produced the four hour PBS series, The Calling (2011) and associate produced the Emmy nominated eof Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, seen on PBS's P.O.V. Produced videos for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and others.

Assistant Producer / Assistant Editor: Sarah Klein
Edits rough cuts, oversees archival materials, directs interns, and handles data-wrangling on shoots. Sarah Klein joined the documentary in early 2010 and is a Radio-TV-Film graduate of Northwestern University.

Director of Photography: Sid Lubitsch
Director of Photography for the last two seasons of PBS' Craft in America and for Emmy Award winner Tod Lending's PBS documentaries. Sid's fine work has been seen on the BBC's Auschwitz, Out of Faith, The Optimists, and many other documentaries.

Field Sound: Rich Pooler
Rich Pooler's excellent field sound has been heard on PBS documentaries since the early 1990's including on P.O.V., Frontline, Nova, Ken Burns Jazz and Independent Lens' Milking the Rhino. Additionally, ABC Nightline, NBC Dateline and CBS Sixty Minutes.

Original Trailer Editor: Augie Augenstein
Augie Augenstein recently edited the historical documentary, Accidental Army: The Amazing True Story of the Czechoslovak Legion about the founding of Czechoslovakia. Augie got his start in public TV, performing lighting duties on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Latvia Interview Coordinator, Translator & P.A.: Lina Ferbere

Latvia translator - Daugavpils and Liepaja : Tatjana Libinsone

Latvia Driver and P.A.: Daniel Raizensons

Latvia Researchers: Lina Ferbere, Tatjana Libinsone, Daniel Raizensons

Historical and Academic Advisors

Professor Edward Anders
Author of Who Died in the Holocaust?, Liepaja Memorial Book and editor of English edition of History of Latvian Jews
Burlingame, California USA

Professor Andrew Ezergailis
Professor of History (retired) Ithaca College and author, The Holocaust in Latvia 1941-1944 (published in U.S. by U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.)
Ithaca, New York USA

Professor Ruvin Ferber
Chairman, Judaic Studies Center - University of Latvia
Chairman, Latvia Jewish Names Project
Riga, Latvia

Professor Aivars Stranga
Chairman, Department of Latvian History - University of Latvia
Chairman, Holocaust Working Group, Commission of Historians of Latvia
Riga, Latvia

Special Advisor: Margers Vestermanis
Founder, Jewish Museum and Documentation Centre
Author of books and scholarly papers on the Holocaust in Latvia
Riga, Latvia

Advisor Organizations

Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia - Riga, Latvia
Chairman: Arkady Suharenko
Liaison: Gita Umanovska, Executive Director

Jewish Survivors of Latvia USA - Roslyn Heights, New York
President: Steven Springfield
Liaison: Ivar Brod, Board Member

Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel - Tel Aviv, Israel
Chairman: Eliahu Valk
Liaison: Eliahu Valk, Chairman

 

Web site creative consultant, logo design and photo assistance: Marc Ziner

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